Kashimayari is a resort that I used to visit a lot when I first moved to Nagano. It is located at the far end of the Hakuba valley in Omachi, which makes it the first bigger resort you come to if you are driving up from the south.
Until about 6 years ago, Kashimayari used to be part of the interconnected Sun Alpina 3 resort area, along with Aokiko and Sanosaka. At this time the Sun Alpina linked resort area was one of the biggest areas in the Hakuba valley that could be ridden on one ticket. It was also really good, with excellent side country lines between the resorts. This all changed however, when Aokiko resort closed down and was left to rot. Since then I have visited Kashimayari a lot less, but I still go back there a couple of times per season.
During the daytime, Kashimayari is well suited for beginner and intermediate riders. The E quad lift takes you up to the main plaza area from the bottom and main parking area. The main run this lift serves is kind of steep and not suitable for total beginners, so you often see beginners downloading on this lift in the afternoon.
The main plaza area is at the base of the A, B, H and F lifts. These all serve gentle runs, suitable for beginners, families and ski school. The D lift is just a short walk walk from the main plaza area and serves the steepest terrain at Kashimayari. The lift is slow but takes you up to the north facing aspects of the resort with a significantly better quality of snow.
Last season I rode at Kashimayari at night for the first time. Aside from Niseko, I am not a fan of night riding and tend to avoid it at all costs. Kashi however, is definitely good fun to ride at night! I went there a couple of times when the snow was hitting hard and couldn't believe how good it was. Thigh deep powder turns and riding through the trees at night. Something I had only experienced in Niseko was now just 50 minutes from my front door, plus much steeper than the night stuff in Hokkaido. A fair few runs are open at night and the lights are bright enough that you can easily see enough to ride through the trees next to the lit courses. The E lift runs from the base area and serves the main, steepish run and the small but fun terrain park at the bottom. Also, the resort is almost empty on weeknights!
I will definitely be going back to Kashimayari for a couple of night sessions this season. That is when the big snow events finally come around!
No specific date.
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
Not crowded, free parking, fast lifts, powder night runs.
Things I didn't like:
Loud J-Pop music on the lifts.
Not recommended for:
Authentic Japan experience