Biwako Valley resort review (Otsu City, Shiga)

Biwako Valley
びわ湖バレイ
Otsu City, Shiga
Submitted by andrewl on 7th January 2011
Biwako Valley review by rp
This was my first time at Biwako Valley. I had very low expectations based on some of the other reviews but was pleasantly surprised. I did a bus tour from shin osaka that cost 6000 yen for the bus and the lift ticket, which I thought was a pretty good deal overall (depending on day, cost is 5000-9000 yen, and there are also pick ups from 5 spots in Kyoto and Osaka).

On the plus side, the views were amazing and the snow was much better than I expected. The crowds weren't too bad, although this was a sort of family holiday in Japan, so they might be worse on a more typical weekend.

They had a small terrain park with a few big jumps and a rail, but otherwise the mountain maxes out at beginner/intermediate. The bus only took about 1 1/4 hrs to get there from shin osaka, so I was on the slopes by 930, but the return took about twice that due to heavier traffic.

As noted, there are only 3-4 longer trails and they were all closed that day, which was a bummer. As it was, all my runs were less than 3 minutes, but the lines at the chair moved quick, so i got a lot of them in. If those longer runs are open, I think you might not get bored as quickly.

Overall, I had a surprisingly good day on the slopes of Biwako Valley. I would say if you want something close to Osaka/Kyoto for a day, this is a solid one-day option. The views of the lake would impress anybody, and I think it would be particularly good mountain if you have kids or are with a beginner, or perhaps if you want to use your first day of the season to practice and loosen up before going on a multi-day trip (which is what I did).
Date visited: From 03 January, 2011
Snow condition on visit: Soft, and clumpy but not too sticky. Nice
Things I liked: Good snow, awesome views, close to Osaka/Kyoto
Things I didn't like: Only a couple longer trails and those were closed.
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Biwako Valley

びわ湖バレイ
Otsu City, Shiga
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Average Rankings

General score: 80
Snow conditions: 85
Courses/Terrain: 70
Lift system: 85
Apres ski: 0

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 1174m
Min. elevation: 950m
Vertical: 224m
Steepest slope: 30°
Longest course: 1400m
Number of lifts: 6

Location of Biwako Valley