Yuzawa & Minamiuonuma Travel Guide - By public transport

Yuzawa & Minamiuonuma by public transport

Yuzawa Town and neighbouring Minamiuonuma City - located around 200km to the north north-west of the Tokyo region in Niigata Prefecture - are together home to around 20 individual ski and snowboard resorts including some of the most popular and well-known resorts in Japan.

With easy and quick access by both train and road and a lot of choice in a relatively compact area, the region is one of the more popular destinations for people in the Kanto region in particular. With heavy and consistent snowfalls each winter and the town being the inspiration and setting of the famous Nobel prize-winning novel 'Yukiguni' (Snow Country), Yuzawa can certainly lay claim to being the original Snow Country.

Yuzawa area by public transport
Getting to resorts from the station
Town map
Expressway bus and day trips
Getting from Yuzawa to nearby snow regions
Joshinetsu region map
Additional Yuzawa resources on SnowJapan
Yuzawa by car
Go to our guide for getting to the Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma area by car

What is Yuzawa?

  Yuzawa is the name of a town Yuzawa Town 湯沢
  Echigo Yuzawa is the name of the main train station in Yuzawa Town Echigo Yuzawa Station 越後湯沢
  The interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway is called Yuzawa IC Yuzawa IC 湯沢IC
  Some of the ski resorts in Yuzawa Town include the word Yuzawa in their name
Note: There is no ski resort that is called just 'Yuzawa'
GALA Yuzawa
Yuzawa Kogen
Yuzawa Nakazato
Yuzawa Park
GALA湯沢
湯沢高原
湯沢中里
湯沢パーク

Naeba and Kagura are located a little further out of the main town area than most of the other ski and snowboard resorts, but they are still geographically within Yuzawa town. Naeba has hosted international events in the past and will be hosting the 2016 Alpine Skiing World Cup between 12th-14th February 2016. Also famous for being the venue for the annual Fuji Rock Festival in late July, Naeba is a name that most Japanese people will know. Kagura is famous for a very long season usually stretching from late November until late May - and some excellent powder conditions for much of the peak season. Naeba and Kagura resorts are connected by the 'Dragondola'.

Minamiuonuma is the name of the city just to the north of Yuzawa town. Some of the resorts in Minamiuonuma are very close to the centre of Yuzawa making them easy to get to - and they feel like part of the same area.

Getting to the Yuzawa area by train

  Shinkansen bullet train:  

  Joetsu Shinkansen 上越新幹線
  Echigo Yuzawa Station 越後湯沢駅
  Gala Yuzawa Station ガーラ湯沢駅
  Local trains:  
  Joetsu-sen 上越線
  Hokuhoku-sen ほくほく線
  Echigo Yuzawa Station 越後湯沢駅

The Joetsu Shinkansen (‘bullet train’) line connects central Tokyo with Niigata City. The train starts from Tokyo Station, stopping also at Ueno Station with many of the trains stopping at Echigo Yuzawa Station on the way to Niigata. The fastest train from Tokyo Station takes people to Yuzawa in just 66 minutes.

Two local train lines also go through Yuzawa Town - the Joetsu-sen, connecting Takasaki City in Gunma Prefecture with the Nagaoka City area of Niigata Prefecture) and the Hokuhoku-sen (which actually officially operates from Muikamachi Station, but some trains run straight through from Echigo Yuzawa Station. The Hokuhoku-sen goes to the Naoetsu area of Niigata Prefecture.

The main train station in Yuzawa Town is called Echigo Yuzawa Station.

Yuzawa Town is unique in that it is actually home to two Shinkansen train stations. The second Shinkansen station is called GALA Yuzawa Station and is less than 2km further on from Echigo Yuzawa Station and actually located in the same building as the gondola that takes you to the slopes of the GALA Yuzawa ski resort.... ultra convenience! More information on that here.

Most people visiting from the Tokyo and Kanto region use the quick and convenient Joetsu Shinkansen to get to Yuzawa.

From   To Distance Approximate travel time
Joetsu Shinkansen
Tokyo Station > Echigo Yuzawa Station 199km around 70-80 minutes
Niigata Station > Echigo Yuzawa Station 135km about 45 minutes
Joetsu-sen
Minakami Station > Echigo Yuzawa Station 35km about 35 minutes
Nagaoka Station > Echigo Yuzawa Station 71km about 75 minutes

The normal charge for the Joetsu Shinkansen journey from Tokyo Station to Echigo Yuzawa Station is just under 6500 yen one way, but various discounts are available with various ski packages and they are worth looking into.

Echigo Yuzawa Station is located right in the centre of Yuzawa Town and there are two main exits – the West Exit and the East Exit. The main tourist ‘onsen road’ area of Yuzawa is found just outside and to the right of the West Exit of the station. In mid-winter Echigo Yuzawa station is often very busy and bustling with interesting food stands and omiyage souvenir shops to browse.

Taxis are available from both the West Exit and East Exit and many of the major ski and snowboard resorts as well as some of the major hotels in the area also offer shuttle buses and pick-ups from the station – some are free and some for a small charge. If you are staying in Yuzawa it is probably worth asking your accommodation if they will come and pick you up from the station.

More resort-specific shuttle bus information can be found below.

Joetsu Shinkansen
Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Echigo Yuzawa Station and beyond
>> Full Joetsu Shinkansen details
>> Diagram showing regional train line connections
Station name Japanese Prefecture From Tokyo Station From Echigo Yuzawa to Tokyo Station or Niigata Station
Tokyo Station 東京駅 Tokyo >>> 199.2km
Ueno Station 上野駅 Tokyo 3.6km 195.6km
Echigo Yuzawa Station 越後湯沢駅 Niigata 199.2km >>>
Niigata Station 新潟駅 Niigata 333.9km 134.7km
 
Joetsu-sen
Joetsu-sen from Takasaki Station to Echigo Yuzawa Station
>> Full Joetsu-sen details
>> Diagram showing regional train line connections
Station name Station name in Japanese Prefecture Distance from Takasaki Station to each station on the line Connecting train lines 
Takasaki 高崎駅 Gunma >>> Joetsu Shinkansen
Echigo Yuzawa 越後湯沢駅 Niigata 94.2km Joetsu Shinkansen
(Hokuhoku-sen)
Nagaoka 長岡駅 Niigata 165.6km Joetsu Shinkansen

See also:

>> Joetsu Shinkansen train line
>> Joetsu-sen local train line

>> Hokuhoku-sen local train line


Maiko Snow Resort looking towards Yuzawa town


Getting to ski and snowboard resorts from Echigo Yuzawa Station

Ski resort Distance from Echigo Yuzawa Station Shuttle bus information
Information to be updated by December 2015
Ipponsugi
一本杉
about 300m No shuttle bus required - this small hill is located just off the main onsen road of Yuzawa, about 300m from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station.
Yuzawa Kogen
湯沢高原
about 650m A free shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 700 yen.
NASPA Ski Garden
NASPAスキーガーデン
about 1.5km A free shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 900 yen.
GALA Yuzawa
GALA湯沢
about 2km
0km from GALA Yuzawa
A free shuttle bus from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. The GALA Yuzawa resort Gondola to the slopes is located in the same building as GALA Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 900 yen.
Iwappara
岩原
about 3.5k A shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 1,500 yen.
Kandatsu Kogen
神立高原
about 4km A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 1,500 yen.
Yuzawa Park
湯沢パーク
about 5km A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 1,900 yen.
Ishiuchi Maruyama (Chuo)
石打丸山
about 5.5km A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 2,000 yen.
Yuzawa Nakazato
湯沢中里
about 6km
0km from Echigo Nakazato Station
A free shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. The local Joetsu line stops at the Echigo Nakazato Station which is located directly at the base of Yuzawa Nakazato ski resort. Taxi journey costs around 2,100 yen.
Ludens Yuzawa
ルーデンス湯沢
about 6.5km No shuttle bus is available. Taxi journey costs around 2,200 yen.
Ishiuchi Hanaoka
石打花岡
about 7.5km No shuttle bus is available. Taxi journey costs around 2,400 yen.
Kagura (Mitsumata Ropeway)
かぐら(みつまた)
about 8.2k A shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 2,900 yen.
Mt Granview
Mtグランビュー
about 8.5km No shuttle bus is available Taxi journey costs around 2,900 yen.
Maiko Snow Resort (Maiko)
舞子スノーリゾート
about 9km A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 2,900 yen.
Maiko Snow Resort (Gondola)
舞子スノーリゾート
about 10.5k A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 3,400 yen.
Joetsu Kokusai
上越国際
about 12.5km A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 4,800 yen.
Chateau Shiozawa
シャトー塩沢
about 16km A shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 5,000 yen.
Kagura (Tashiro Ropeway)
かぐら(田代)
about 17km A shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 4,800 yen.
Muikamachi Ski Resort
六日町スキーリゾート
about 23km
(5km from Muikamachi Station)
A free shuttle bus is available from Muikamachi Station on the local Joetsu-sen line. Taxi journey costs around 6,500 yen.
Naeba
苗場
about 24km A shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Taxi journey costs around 6,900 yen.
Muikamachi Hakkaisan
六日町八海山
about 32km
(13km from Muikamachi Station)
(16km from Urasa Station)
A shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Muikamachi Station (Joetsu and Hokuhoku lines) and also from Urasa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen line). Taxi journey costs around 9,800 yen.

* The distances shown above are the main routes that are usually taken by shuttle buses - various short cuts exist!

See also:

>> This map alongside googlemaps
>>
Naeba town map (Naeba and Kagura)
>> Ishiuchi town map (Ishiuchi and Maiko)

>> Joetsu Shinkansen train line
>> Joetsu-sen train line
>> On the above map click on the resort names, train lines and expressway names for more details.


Minamiuonuma valley


Getting to the Yuzawa area by expressway bus

Bus services that run from the Tokyo area through Yuzawa and continuing on to Niigata City are available. The company operating this service is called Niigata Kotsu.

The bus uses the Kanetsu Expressway and takes just under 3 hours to get to Yuzawa and costs between 2500 yen and 4100 yen depending on the day and time of day.

The bus picks up people from the following areas:

  Shinjuku Station West Exit (late night only)
  Ikebukuro Station East Exit
  Shimo-Ochiai Station
  Nerima (near the city office)
  Kawagoe Matoba

The first stop in Niigata is at the bus stop on the expressway by the Yuzawa IC.  The exit is a few km from the centre of Yuzawa and you'll probably need to get a taxi (or perhaps ask your accommodation to see if they can pick you up).

This expressway bus option is cheaper than the Shinkansen train but not as fast, comfortable or convenient. 

Day trips from Tokyo

Many travel and tour companies offer day trips from the Tokyo region to various resorts including those in the Yuzawa area by train or bus or a combination of both.

Sometimes these offer excellent value for money though they often offer you less time on the slopes. Check out the local train stations and travel companies for information on these offers... if you can speak and read Japanese you might be surprised at how many options there are available!


Getting from Yuzawa to nearby snow resort regions

Important:
The times shown below are simple guidelines to indicate the train journey times between the stations mentioned and may vary depending on the trains and connections used. The lower number indicates travel time, the higher number indicates a sample journey including connecting times. Times from stations to ski resort areas are not included. Please check for specifics.

Region Approximate distance by train General directions
Yuzawa to Minakami
(Gunma)
about 13 minutes Shinkansen line:
Joetsu Shinkansen from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Jomo Kogen Station
35-40 minutes Local line:
Joetsu-sen from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Minakami Station
>> SnowJapan Minakami Travel Guide - By train : By car
Yuzawa to Nozawa Onsen
(Nagano)
110-160 minutes Local line:
Joetsu-sen from Echigo Yuzawa to Muikamachi.
Hokuhoku-sen line from Muikamachi to Tokamachi.
Iiyama-sen from Tokamachi to Togari Nozawa Onsen Station.
Nozawa Onsen is about 7km from Togari Nozawa Onsen Station.
>> SnowJapan Nozawa Onsen Travel Guide - By train : By car
Yuzawa to Madarao (Nagano) 110-140 minutes Local line:
Joetsu-sen from Echigo Yuzawa to Muikamachi.
Hokuhoku-sen line from Muikamachi to Tokamachi.
Iiyama line from Tokamachi to Iiyama Station.
85-100 minutes Shinkansen line:
Joetsu Shinkansen from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Takasaki Station
Hokuriku Shinkansen from Takasaki Station to Iiyama Station
>>
SnowJapan Madarao Travel Guide - By train : By car
Yuzawa to Myoko
(Nagano)
135-180 minutes Local line:
Joetsu-sen from Echigo Yuzawa to Muikamachi.
Hokuhoku-sen line from Muikamachi to Naoetsu.
Myoko Haneuma Line from Naoetsu to Myoko Kogen Station.
Yuzawa to Shiga Kogen
(Nagano)
130-200 minutes Shinkansen line:
Joetsu Shinkansen from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Takasaki Station.
Hokuriku Shinkansen from Takasaki Station to Nagano Station.
Nagano (Nagaden) line from Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station.
The nearest area of Shiga Kogen (Sun Valley) is about 13km from Yudanaka Station.
>> SnowJapan Shiga Kogen Travel Guide - By train : By car
Yuzawa to Nagano City
(Nagano)
80-100 minutes Shinkansen line:
Joetsu Shinkansen from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Takasaki Station.
Hokuriku Shinkansen from Takasaki Station to Nagano Station.
Yuzawa to Hakuba
(Nagano)
200-280 minutes Local line:
Joetsu-sen from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Muikamachi Station.
Hokuhoku-sen line from Muikamachi Station to Naoetsu Station.
Nihonkai Hisui line from Naoetsu Station to Itoigawa Station.
Oito-sen from Itoigawa Station to Hakuba Station.
>> SnowJapan Hakuba Travel Guide - By train : By car

See also:

>> Regional train lines connection map
>>
Regional expressways connection map
>> On the above map click on the resort names, train lines and expressway names for more details.


View from Yuzawa Kogen
 

Additional Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma resources on SnowJapan

For detailed information on how to get to Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma by car, please go to this section.

Daily reports Exclusive daily snow and weather reports from Yuzawa (Yuzawa Now)
Exclusive daily snow and weather reports from Naeba (Naeba Now)
Ski and snowboard resorts List of ski and snowboard resorts in Yuzawa
List of ski and snowboard resorts in Minamiuonuma
Resort Spotlights GALA Yuzawa
Ishiuchi Maruyama
Iwappara
Joetsu Kokusai
Kandatsu Kogen
Maiko Snow Resort
Minamiuonuma
Muikamachi Ski Resort
NASPA Ski Garden
Yuzawa Kogen
Yuzawa Nakazato Ski Resort
Yuzawa Town
Accommodation Accommodation Spotlights - Yuzawa
Accommodation Spotlights - Minamiuonuma
Online booking for accommodation in Yuzawa
Online booking for accommodation in Minamiuonuma
Ski lessons Lessons in English
Maps Yuzawa town map (central Yuzawa)
Naeba town map (Naeba and Kagura)
Ishiuchi town map (Ishiuchi and Maiko)

SnowJapan Travel index >>