I visited Kawaba on a day-trip from Kanagawa on the Monday after Christmas.
The reviews on here had said good things about the place and they weren’t wrong! It’s not that far from Tokyo, has decent facilities at the base (including that multi-storey car park) and offers a variety of slopes and features (trees, moguls, park) to keep everyone happy. With plenty of early-season snowfall, on-piste conditions were good and there was about 20-30cm of largely untracked snow in the trees, which is where I kept heading.
Other reviewers mentioned this but some of the powder in the trees was the driest I think I’ve experienced outside of Hokkaido, particularly the treed area under the top section of lift ”A”.
Overall, I really enjoyed Kawaba and would definitely go back. Although there were lots of young, Japanese snowboarders (on winter vacation) it didn’t feel too busy and lift lines weren’t that long, even on the popular lifts, though it might be a different story at weekends, when I could see the bottom lifts becoming bottle-necked.
So, to sum up, Kawaba may not be the biggest or perhaps most challenging resort, and is definitely not an apres ski place but on all other counts, it gets a big thumbs up from me.
From 29 December, 2014 To 29 December, 2014
Snow condition on visit:
Very good for this early in the season, with 20-30cm of powder off to the sides and in the trees.
Things I liked:
Easily-accessible from Tokyo, varied terrain, off-piste opportunities and indoor parking.
Things I didn't like:
The only thing that springs to mind is the music that kept being repeated over the speakers. Nothing unusual there except that the playlist included not only the Titanic theme track (thanks Celine!) but that insanely annoying song from Disney's "Frozen"! Please Japan, let it (namely that bloody song) go!!!!!!!!