Wonderful snow, but terrible shuttle bus to from the shinkansen
I've already been to Kagura several times last season. It is a very nice place, in particular for the quality and volume of snow. Some nice runs between the trees and on the back side behind the highest lift.
From 16 December, 2014 To 16 December, 2014
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
The ski condition was very good. Some parts off tracks are not accessible yet because there is not enough snow yet to cover the smaller vegetation and the rivers (in particular bellow the 4 squad lift). Also, the last 2-seater at the top of the resort is not open yet, so not much back country skiing to do. Should be ok very soon tho.
Things I didn't like:
Previous times I always went by car with my canadian buddy, but this time I went there on my own, using the Shinkansen. Shinkansen runs well, but then it me 2 hours and half between the arrival of the Shinkansen and the real ski. That's terrible.
The resort suffers two handicaps.
- First, from the parking, it takes 45 min to reach the interesting area (top of the gondola). The same way back takes 30 min going straight without stop. That's a lot of incompressible and useless transfer time.
- Secondly, the bus service between the Echigo Yuzawa train station and the resort is terrible. Never seen anything as bad in Japan, and probably even elsewhere. So they have about 2 shinkansen per hour coming in in the morning, and the same rate going back to Tokyo in the evening. A normal manager would adjust the bus time to be right 10 minutes after and before each train, right? Not in Echigo Yuzawa. They have the city bus leaving every hour and an half on the east exit side, which nobody knows about. And then they have the ski shuttle bus running only during the ski season, with terrible time schedule (you'll have to wait between 30 and 80 minutes according to your train schedule). Plus, the bus is not big enough, an not everybody could fit in the bus despite the Yamanote-sen like compression rate. For those left out, it is either 2800 yen taxi or 90 minutes wait. On the return trip, the bus which was (almost) fitting the 17:04 and 17:08 shinkansen simply doesn't run on weekdays. About 10 of us were strangled, waiting for a bus which never came, and forced into a taxi.
Here I am asking the admin of this site if they have some connection with Echigo Yuzawa city or the Prince hotel company running the whole resort: please do something! There is room for a convenient and profitable bus service...