I wanted to check out a Niigata resort on my way back from Hokkaido and managed to squeeze in a day and a half at Kagura, about which I'd heard a lot of good things. Here are my thoughts:-
1. There's a lot of terrain. Although Tashiro was closed (I'm not sure if this was due to late-season or post-earthquake electricity-saving), Kagura's a big resort and of course you've got Naeba nextdoor as well.
2. The top areas (accessed from the skiers' left of Kagura pair lift #5) looked fantastic, though that lift only runs late-season. Sadly the snow was heavy Spring slush when I went but it would be worth a hike out on a good day!
3. Good access to Mitsumata Ropeway from Echigo-Yuzawa station either by ski shuttle bus (300 yen) or local bus (470Yen incl. skis or snowboard). I can therefore imagine the Mitsumata area (especially the small locker areas) gets very crowded in high season but it was fine at the end of March.
4. It takes a long time to get to the top of the mountain from the Mitsumata Ropeway - definitely a case of all good things come to those who wait!
5. I don't know if it's a permament fixture but there was a Ride/K2 demo place in the Mitsumata car park when I went, so I gave my board a rest and tried out 3 of next year's boards for 1,000Yen - sweet!
Overall, I enjoyed Kagura even though Tashiro was closed and the snow wasn't great. Would definitely like to return when it's all up and running and of course, with some decent snow!
From 29 March, 2011 To 30 March, 2011
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
Lots of terrain, good transportation links
Things I didn't like:
A bit of a trek to the top of the resort from Mitsumata