I got to visit Kagura for the first time thanks to Yuzawa town and SnowJapan. Thank you both.
Kagura the resort is made up of three areas, Tashiro, Kagura and Mitsumata. As I was with a non skier I was able to start in Tashiro, and make my way across, though Kagura and onto Mitsumata.
Tashiro area is access from Tashiro station by a ropeway. There's a ticket office, a small shop, nice waiting area, toilets and the ropeway station. The ropeway takes you to the top of a small hill overlooking a couple of resturants and the dragondola to Naeba ski resort. It's an easy ski down and once down there is a choice of two lifts to take you onto the resort proper.
The course guide for Tashiro shows mostly green runs, and they are nice pleasant runs, on the day I was there, there was plenty of loose powder on the sides of the runs, and tree areas that were easy to get into and though.
The lifts are well placed to take you across the side of the resort if heading for Kagura area, although I don't think you could get to Kagura in less than 5 lifts, if Kagura area is your main objective it's probably best to enter at Mitsumata.
I enjoyed the Tashiro area, the runs are gentle and wide, but if you make use of the sides of the runs and plan how to get down you can make the runs as hard, or easy as you want.
The Kagura area is mainly intermediate runs, except for the area accessed off of Pair lift 5. Unfortunately this area was shut when I was there. I'm not sure if it was because of the time, after 3, or other reasons but a few of the runs in the Kagura area were closed.
I did get the timing right and was the last one up the high speed lift no 1 so was able to ski down the Kagura main slope all by myself. (well except for a couple of patrol guys who followed later) I did this slope a couple of times and it was a lot of fun. Wide enough that it wasn't too hard, but steep enough that it was great fun, and you could travel very quickly.
The gondola course to get down from the Kagura area to Mitsumata area was very gentle, too gentle in places. I pasted a number of boarders walking, and at the end of the day saw a number getting on the gondola to go down. talking of the gondola, the trip up seemed very slow, it didn't seem to travel any where near as fast as other gondolas I've been on.
I can't say much about the Mitsumata area as by the time I got there it was snowing and visibility was almost zero. The tow runs down to the top of the ropeway were good, and fast, but as I couldn't see anything I was very reluntant to venture off the groomed piste. However I did see a number of tracks heading of the piste, so looks like there is fun in the trees to be had.
To get down to Mitsumata station you can either take the ropeway or ski down, I choose to ski down and it was actually one of the best runs of the day. Steep and narrow, but so many people had been down that every corner had a narrow banked track on it. Great fun. Note, There is no way to ski down instead of taking the Tashiro ropeway, if you are on that side of the resort keep an eye on the time.
I really enjoyed my day out at Kagura. Even though it was a Sunday and I'd read horror stories of how busy it can get, it was very quiet. The only time I had to queue for a lift was catching the pair lift up from the Kagura gondola station on the way down, and even then the queue was only 12 people.
For non skiers there isn't much to do, but this is a common thing amongst resorts that are accessed by a ropeway/gondola/lift. There are no kids facilities so if you have little non skiing kids might want to leave them at home. In saying that the staff at Mitsumata ropeway were kind enough to let my wife bring the non skiing half of the twins up the ropeway for free.(it was free for James anyway, but it was nice they didn't charge my wife) Although one up there wasn't much to do except build snowmen.
Great day, great resort, thank you SnowJapan and Yuzawa Town.
From March, 2014 To March, 2014
Snow condition on visit:
A couple of cms of new snow over hard packed icy snow
Things I liked:
Great variety of courses. Nice lift staff (slowed lifts for Rika (6 years old) every time) Free tickets for kids
Things I didn't like:
Kagura Gondola was very slow Nothing for non skiing kids to do