Resort Spotlight: Minamiuonuma (Niigata)

Minamiuonuma City
Niigata Prefecture

Minamiuonuma City is located in southern region of Niigata Prefecture, just to the north of Yuzawa Town.

With 10 ski and snowboard resorts within the city and more resorts in neighbouring Yuzawa Town (to the south) and Uonuma city (to the north), Minamiuonuma is an excellent base for experiencing a variety of

Minamiuonuma is not just about skiing and snowboarding... it is a popular destination throughout the year. It is well known for 'koshihikari' Uonuma rice - often referred to as the best in all Japan - as well as onsen hot springs.

The region is in an excellent location making it very convenient to get to from central Tokyo.  The Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train leaves Tokyo Station and arrives at Echigo Yuzawa Station (the main station in neighbouring Yuzawa) in around 80 minutes. Minamiuonuma is just a short journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station.


Special offer for the 17-18 season
Stay at an accommodation including two 1-day lift tickets for resorts in Minamiuonuma!
More information here

Ski and snowboard resorts in Minamiuonuma

There are 10 ski and snowboard resorts within the boundaries of Minamiuonuma city ranging from very small ski hills popular with locals to large resorts that are famous throughout Japan. Most are within easy reach of train stations and the Kanetsu Expressway and Route 17 roads that go through the valley. Below is a list of the resorts in Minamiuonuma.

Click on the resort name for detailed information on each of the resorts.

Resort Top
Vertical Steepest
Number of
Number of
Ski Lifts
Chateau Shiozawa 579m 210m 369m 37° 7 4
Hakkai Sanroku 420m 212m 208m 30° 7 2
Ishiuchi Hanaoka 405m 280m 125m 29° 4 1
Ishiuchi Maruyama 920m 256m 664m 35° 23 16
Itsukamachi 510m 160m 350m 32° 8 4
Joetsu Kokusai 1017m 200m 817m 38° 22 25
Maiko Snow Resort 920m 260m 660m 32° 26 11
Mt Granview 620m 250m 370m 30° 7 3
Muica Snow Resort 748m 348m 400m 33° 12 4
Muikamachi Hakkaisan 1147m 355m 792m 38° 15 4

Winter is not only about skiing and snowboarding... there are many local events taking place throughout the winter season in the region...


Selection of winter events in Minamiuonuma

Information for the 2018-2019 season in autumn 2018


Famous koshihikari rice and local sake

Delicious local cuisine

Local temples


Getting to Mimamiuonuma

Getting to Minamiuonuma is a very simple journey from Tokyo - both by train and car.

By Public Transport

Many people visiting Minamiuonuma by train use the Joetsu Shinkasen (bullet train) that stops regularly at the nearby Echigo Yuzawa Station.  The train from Tokyo takes on average between 75 to 85 minutes to Yuzawa.

You can take the local train (Joetsu line) from Echigo Yuzawa Station to the stations in Mimamiuonuma - Ishiuchi, Joetsu Kokusai Skijo Mae, Muikamachi.

Alternatively on exiting Echigo Yuzawa Station you will find shuttle buses going to most of the main resorts.   The journey from the station to resorts in Mimamiuonuma takes between 10 minutes and 40 minutes.

From Narita

From Narita International Airport (About 4 hours)

From Narita International Airport, you will first want to get into central Tokyo using either the Narita Express or Keisei Skyliner - both take around 1 hour.

The Narita Express goes direct to Tokyo Station, and from there you can easily transfer to the Joestu Shinkansen. 

The Keisei Skyliner goes to Keisei Ueno Station.  From there it is a 5 minute walk over to the JR Ueno Station where you can also catch the Joetsu Shinkansen.

See above for info on the Joestu Shinkansen.

By Car

The Kanetsu Expressway (toll road) runs through the Minamiuonuma valley. The journey from Nerima I.C. in northern Tokyo to Shiozawa Ishiuchi I.C. is about 185km and in good conditions can take around two hours. In bad weather conditions and peak times, it can take longer. The journey from Tokyo takes you north through Saitama Prefecture and Gunma Prefectures, under the Tanigawa mountain range in northern Gunma and into Yuzawa town. Minamiuonuma is just to the north of Yuzawa town.

If you are planning on visiting the resorts in the Shiozawa and Ishiuchi area, it is best to get off the Expressway at Shiozawa Ishiuchi I.C.  

If you are planning on visiting the resorts in the Muikamachi and Urasa area it is best to get off the Expressway at Muikamachi I.C, a bit further on.




Photo Gallery of Minamiuonuma throughout the year


Before 2005, Minamiuonuma was known as three different towns - Shiozawa, Muikamachi and Yamato.