Joetsu Kokusai (often known as 'Jo-koku') is located in the south western area of Minamiuonuma city in Niigata Prefecture. Despite the name it is actually in the Chuetsu region of Niigata (rather than the Joetsu region). The ski area covers an extremely wide area and has four main interconnected official 'areas'. The main area close to the train station and by the Hotel Green Plaza Joetsu is known as East. There are three other areas - the South 'Active Zone' (often known as Osawa), the North 'Panorama Zone' (often known at Atema) and the West 'Forest Zone'. Due to the scale of Joetsu Kokusai, it is a probably a good idea to concentrate on one or two of the areas rather than try to cover it all in one day. Joetsu Kokusai has been operating since 1968.
Joetsu Kokusai and the Iwappara ski area in neighbouring Yuzawa town offer joint lift tickets and season tickets.
Minamiuonuma city and neighbouring Yuzawa town are home to over 20 individual ski areas, including some of the most well-known in Japan. With easy and quick access by train and road and a wide choice in a relatively compact area, this region is one of Japan's most popular ski destinations. The region usually enjoys very heavy and consistent snowfall each winter.
Joetsu Kokusai Snow Depth Statistics
Official snow depth numbers from the current season and previous season
Ski and snowboard lessons are available at Joetsu Kokusai. There are a number of independent ski and snowboard schools that cover the Yuzawa & Minamiuonuma area and offer lessons in English - please check the Lessons in English section for current listings on SnowJapan.
Ski and snowboard equipment & wear rental is available.
The Kids Paradise area, in front of the main hotel at the base of the ski runs, is open from 9:00am until 4:00pm and the entry charge is 500 yen per day.
The Sori Land sledding area, also in front of the hotel, and the Spongebob Kids Park on the Nagamine run, are both free to use.
Two half pipes are planned - 100m and 130m - as well as an official snow park area.
Joetsu Kokusai Season & Opening Times
Typical season is from Early December until Early April
Weekends and holidays
Normally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm
Normally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm
'Nighta' (night skiing)
Weekends and holidays
Joetsu Kokusai is normally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm every day in the daytime.
The Atema area planned season is 18th December 2021 until 21st March 2022.
Night skiing is in the main area in front of the base hotel, 5:00pm-9:00pm, from 18th December 2021 until 21st March 2022.
Joetsu Kokusai Lift Ticket Charges
3 years to Elementary School age
55 years & over
Long 1 Day (8am-9pm)
Season Ticket (JK + I)
2021-2022 Season Lift Tickets
The 5 Hour ticket is valid for 5 hours from the time of purchase.
Special early (until 17th December 2021) and spring season (from 22nd March 2022) tickets are available as follows:
Adults: 2,000 yen Junior: 1,500 yen Senior: 1,500 yen
The Season Ticket noted as 'JK+I' is valid for the season at both Joetsu Kokusai and the Iwappara resorts. With the joint Joetsu Kokusai and Iwappara season ticket, one day lift tickets at GALA Yuzawa can be bought for 1,500 yen. With the Joetsu Kokusai-only season ticket, one day lift tickets for Iwappara or GALA Yuzawa resorts can be bought for 1,500 yen. Parking is also free for season ticket holders along with other special discounts.
Getting to Joetsu Kokusai
By public transport
12.5km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen line
0.1km from Joetsu Kokusai Ski Jo Mae Station on the Joetsu Line
12.5km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Line
The Joetsu Kokusai Ski Jo Mae Station is a small train station on the Joetsu line and is located right at the base of Joetsu Kokusai - the closest ski lift is about 100m from the station exit. Local trains from the major Echigo Yuzawa Station are available - the train journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Joetsu Kokusai Ski Jo Mae Station takes about 14 minutes. There are shuttle buses available from Echigo Yuzawa Station to the main base of Joetsu Kokusai.
A free shuttle bus is available for guests of the hotel from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. If connections are convenient, it is quicker and recommended to take the local train to the Joetsu Kokusai Ski Jo Mae Station which stops close to the base lifts of Joetsu Kokusai.
A taxi journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station to the main base of Joetsu Kokusai costs around 4,600 yen.
5.7km from the Shiozawa Ishiuchi IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
9.4km from the Muikamachi IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
13.3km from the Yuzawa IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
Nearest national route: Route 17 (1.1km away)
Nearest prefecture road: Prefecture Road 451
The main base of Joetsu Kokusai is about 6km from the Shiozawa Ishiuchi IC and just over 9km from the Muikamachi IC of the Kanetsu Expressway.
From the Shiozawa Ishiuchi IC turn right onto Prefecture Road 28 for about 1km until reaching the traffic lights on Route 17. Turn right onto Route 17 for about 4.5km until reaching a set of traffic lights with a large Joetsu Kokusai sign on the left hand side and a 7-11 on the far right side. Turn left at these traffic lights and go straight ahead for about 1km to arrive at the resort and main base car park.
From the Tsunan town and Tokamachi city areas to the west side using Route 117, turn east off that road onto Prefecture Road 76 at the Atema Iriguchi traffic lights. Follow the road for about 6.5km to the Atema car parks.
There are a number of parking areas available at base areas of Joetsu Kokusai in winter. At the main base in the East area there is parking for 1,500 vehicles. At the South area (Osawa) there is parking for 1,000 vehicles. There is also parking for 500 vehicles at the base of the West area (Atema) which allows good access from Route 117, Tsunan town and Tokamachi city. There is no parking available at the North 'Panorama Zone'.
Parking is free at the Osawa and Atema car parks but there is a charge of 1,000 yen on the main Annex car parks that are open 24 hours.
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