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 resort covers an extremely wide area and has four main interconnected '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.
For the 2020-2021 season, the Number 2 and 3 pair lifts in the Osawa area of Joetsu Kokusai (going up to Atema) will not be operating. The course connection between Atema and Oawa areas will also not be available.
Minamiuonuma city and neighbouring Yuzawa town - located just over 200km to the north north-west of the Tokyo region in Niigata Prefecture - are together home to over 20 individual ski and snowboard resorts, including some of the most well-known ski resorts in Japan. With easy and quick access by both train and road and a wide choice in a relatively compact area, this region is one of the most popular ski destinations in Japan. The region usually enjoys very heavy and consistent snowfall each winter and with Yuzawa town also being the inspiration and setting of the famous Nobel prize-winning novel Yukiguni (Snow Country), it can certainly lay claim to being the original 'Snow Country'.
Niigata Prefecture is located in the central region of Honshu to the north of Tokyo and has a 250km long coastline facing the Sea of Japan. Convenient transportation links make Niigata very easy to get to from Tokyo and other surrounding regions. Most of the larger ski and snowboard resorts in Niigata Prefecture are concentrated in the southern regions around Yuzawa town, Minamiuonuma city and Myoko city.
Ski and snowboard lessons are available at Joetsu Kokusai. There are a number of independent ski and snowboard schools that cover the Yuzawa area and offer lessons in English - please check the Lessons in English section for current listings on SnowJapan.
Ski and snowboard equipment rental is available. Ski and snowboard wear rental is also available.
The 'Yuki-no-yuenchi Kids Paradise' area is found in the area in front of the main resort hotel - 500 yen entry charge. There are also 'Spongebob Kids Park' and 'Sori Land' sledding areas that are free to use.
'Spongebob Snow Camp' and children lessons are available.
Note: there usual child-care facility will not be operating during the 2020-2021 season.
Two half pipes are planned - 100m and 130m - as well as a 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 open from 8:00am until 5:00pm every day in the daytime.
The Atema area planned season is 19th December 2020 until 21st March 2021.
Nighta in the main area in front of the base hotel is scheduled for every day from 19th December 2020 until 21st March 2021 and is open until 9:00pm.
No night skiing is planned for the Osawa and Atema areas of Joetsu Kokusai during the 2020-2021 season.
Joetsu Kokusai Lift Ticket Charges
3 years to Elementary School age
55 years & over
Long 1 Day (8am-9pm)
Season Ticket (JK + I)
2020-2021 season lift tickets
The 5 Hour ticket is valid for 5 hours from the time of purchase.
Special early (5th December through 18th December 2020) and spring season (22nd March through 4th April 2021) 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 from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station to the main base of Joetsu Kokusai. The journey takes about 20 minutes. If connections are convenient, it's quicker and recommended to take the local train to the Joetsu Kokusai Ski Jo Mae Station near the base lifts of Joetsu Kokusai.
A taxi journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station to the main base of Joetsu Kokusai costs around 4,800 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 4 main parking areas available at base areas of Joetsu Kokusai. At the main base in the East area there is parking for 1500 vehicles. An additional nearby parking area for up to 2,000 vehicles called Mina is usually open only on weekends and holidays. At the South area (Osawa) there is parking for 1,000 vehicles at the South area. 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 on every day of the season at the Mina, Osawa and Atema car parks. Parking is free at the main base parking on weekdays and 1,000 yen on weekends and holidays.
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