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Marunuma Kogen


I won a lift ticket last year for White World Ose Iwakura. But I had already written a resort review a few years ago and did not feel that it needed to be updated. Instead, I offer this review of Marunuma Kogen, which boasts of Gunma-ken “super fine snow.”


Executive Summary


Marunuma Kogen is a medium size resort in Gunma prefecture, perhaps one of the more popular ones. It has a bit of something for everyone, including a terrain park, mogul bahn, and a kids play park, the only thing lacking may be some more advanced terrain. There is even an onsen (hot springs) at the base of the ski area, a perfect way to end the day. The top of the Ropeway offers a fine view of Mount Nikko Shirane on clear days.


Trails and Lifts


The resort has 13 named ski trails, with the longest run 4 km., steepest pitch 32 degrees, and vertical 610 (from 2000 to 1390 meters).


The runs are (un)imaginatively named with colors of the rainbow, Gold, Silver, Rose, Cobalt, Green, Violet, Yellow, Red, Orange and Blue, except for 2 trails, Shirane and Karakura.


There are 8 lifts (a couple of them are not operating), most of them pair lifts, with a couple of “super twin” which is Japanese speak for detachable chairlift. There is also a single chair, Lift No. 7, which is only operated on the weekends and national holidays. The Nikko Shiranesan Ropeway is an 8 person gondola that goes to the top of the mountain at 2000 meters.

The lift ticket is an IC card which is used to open the automated gates, and moreover, to capture information that can be seen using the Skiline App or online, just make sure to get the number off the card before returning it to get the 1,000 yen deposit back.




For novice or learning skiers, the Blue course serviced by No. 4 pair lift is the place to be, since it is ski only and snowboarders are not allowed. It is a maximum of 13 degrees and average 9 degrees.


The Red course off towards the left side is also a nice area for beginners, in order to get to this, it requires a little skating or walking from the top of Lift No. 1. Also since it is out of the way, it is not so crowded, and is a steady 11 to 8 degrees.

Although Karakura and Rose runs are marked green on the trail map, they are a little more intermediate, and good cruising runs.




The sweet spot of the resort is the abundance of intermediate terrain including some nice long cruisers. You can go from the top of the mountain all the way to the bottom for a total distance of 4 kilometers via Karakura and Rose. Or, start with the more advanced runs such as Shirane (maximum 30/average 13 degrees) and Silver (32/17) then cruise on Cobalt (15/10) and Red (11/8) or through the park on Orange (14/9) down to the base.




For advanced skiers and snowboarders, the only way to get to the advanced trails and the top is by the Ropeway (gondola).

The challenging terrain would be the bottom part of the Shirane course or Silver. They are marked as max. 30 and 32 degrees, respectively, but are probably flatter, towards the average of 13 and 17 degrees.


There is a mogul bahn on the right side of the Chuo lift, as well as a pole course on the Gold run.


Terrain Park


The terrain park has a variety of small to medium features such as kickers, pipes, rails, wide and narrow boxes, even a drum can.




Base Center


Center House has an information counter, ticket sales, changing rooms, cafeteria, etc. on the second floor. There is even an onsen (Zazen Spa) next to the rental area on the first floor, the perfect way to end the day.

One good point is that there is a separate special changing room on the third floor for bus tours. There is also a free rest area, as well as some rental rooms.


Accommodations and Onsen


Chalet Marunuma offers accommodation right at the base of the ski resort, and an outdoor open air bath as well as onsen hot springs. They offer some package deals including lodging, meals, and lift tickets.


On Mountain Dining - Restaurants


At the base of the mountain, Restaurant Plateau is in the main Center House building, cafeteria style dining with various dishes including soft serve ice cream. It has 240 seats. They stop serving drinks at 4 pm so might want to end a bit early to enjoy that draft beer. (Note to self for future visits, since I settled for can beer which is sold in the gift shop.)


Kogen no Eki Marunuma with 170 seats is also located at the base, off to the left near Lift No. 1 and the kids park. They have a special kids menu as well as some family tables that can be used for the day for 1,000 yen with advance reservation.


In the center of the ski area, Chinese restaurant Dongfang (Tonfuan in katakana) has the usual assortment of ramen as well as some Hokkaido dishes like soup curry. It is located at the bottom of Lift No. 2, and with 530 seats, it would seem that you would be able to get a seat even at peak lunch hour, especially considering quick turnover.


Almost exactly at the midpoint of the slopes, near the bottom of Lift No. 8 and 3, is La Foret, with 260 seats. It did not appear to be operating for business although there was a sign that said that it was open to use the toilets.


At the top of the ropeway and at 2,000 meters is Shirane, a cafe/restaurant with a cozy 50 seats, only open on weekends and national holidays. There are various cake sets in addition to the Zekkei (marvelous view) lunch.




Marunuma Kogen resort is located about 40 km. from Numata interchange on Route 120. That makes for a far drive, but other resorts in the area such as Ose Iwakura, etc. are also about 35 km. from the IC.


For people staying at Chalet Marunuma, there is a special bus service available only by reservation. Otherwise, the only way to get there is by car or tour ski bus, although there did not seem to be many buses in the parking lot, unlike many other resorts.




There are 4 parking lots, including one that gives priority to those with small children (younger than elementary school). I think there is also a fifth lot which is not normally used.


The other parking lots are free, but there is a charge for the central parking lot in front of Center House, 500 yen for regular vehicles.


Lift Tickets


Besides the usual 1 day, Set 1 day (lift ticket, lunch, and soft drink) and half day/half day set lift tickets, they have a 10 hour and 20 hour ticket which is enabled by the function of the IC card. There is also a 3 point ticket (1 lift requires 1 point, or the Ropeway requires 3 points).


Monday is Ladies Day and Friday is Seniors Day (over 55 years old) with a special lift ticket, lunch, and soft drink pack for 2,700 yen. There was a “thank you” (39, san kyu, get it?) from January 7 to 18 weekdays for the same set.


There is also a Oyako (family) pack for 1 or 2 parent(s) and 2-3 elementary school children (although 1 parent can only have 2 kids) that requires an application form only downloadable from the website. For some reason you cannot get the form at the information counter.


Gaijin Friendly?


Trail signs are written in English as well as Japanese. But for some reason, Marunuma does not have any English pages on their web site. Other area resorts, such as White World Ose Iwakura even offer Chinese and Korean in addition to English and of course Japanese.


I did not see any foreigners at the resort the one Saturday that I visited, but it was also a relatively uncrowded day.


Conclusion: Well worth a visit for a day trip!

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  • SnowJapan Admin

Very interesting dyna8800, thanks.


I like it there. About you comment near the end there. Marunuma are another of those places that seem to have 'lost interest' and they did actually used to have some English and a relationship with us and donated tickets. But decided to stop that.



When our new setup goes online, hopefully sometime before December 2016, I'll explain how to add reviews like this to the main site where they get seen much more than on the Forums. Will be much easier and clearer to explain when it's all available, so will wait until then. Unless I have retired by then, of course.



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what i love most about your reviews is your consideration for other people. You give them info they would actually want and need to know. Love seeing them to be honest and i wish there was more of them. Theyre so detailed and free of bullshit. :)

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I heard that mid season Marunuma doesn't get too crazy busy.

It's just too far to get to for many.

It's most busy early and late season when other places are closed.

Don't know how true that is but I can imagine it being so.

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I think that is due to be open next year.


Yes it should make the journey quicker. That road is a pain especially if you get behind some slow vehicles.

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