GALA Yuzawa is famous for being the only ski and snowboard resort in Japan with its own Shinkansen bullet train station - the train station and ski gondola which goes up to the base of the main courses are actually in the same base building. Such convenience makes GALA Yuzawa extremely popular for day-trips from Tokyo and the resort increasingly caters for the growing number of international visitors.
There are four main areas to GALA - Central Area, Southern Area, Northern Area and the downhill course. With a relatively high altitude, GALA Yuzawa enjoys a long season and generally some of the best snow conditions in the region. GALA Yuzawa is lift-connected to the Yuzawa Kogen resort (from the South Area) and also to the Ishiuchi Maruyama resort (from the Northern Area). A joint lift ticket that is valid at all three resorts is available. A new simple course that connects the North Area with the base of the Central Area opened for the 2017-2018 season. For the 2018-2019 season the ‘play in the snow’ area near the Central base - called 'Snow Enjoyment Park' - has been expanded.
GALA Yuzawa has been operating since 1990.
Yuzawa town and neighbouring Minamiuonuma city - located around 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 GALA Yuzawa - lessons in English and other languages are available directly with the resort. There are also a number of independent ski and snowboard schools that cover the Yuzawa area, 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 'Snow Enjoyment Park' (playing in the snow) area is near the base of the ski runs in the Central Area of GALA Yuzawa. Renewed and expanded for the 2018-2018 season.
Special 'SpongeBob Snow Camp' lessons for childen are also available.
A 'Kids Room' child-care facility is also available on the 2nd Floor of the Resthouse 'Cheers' and is for children ages 2-6 years old. The charge for one hour is 1,200 yen. Open from 15th December 2018 until 7th April 2019.
There is not official snow Park at GALA Yuzawa, but there is an ungroomed in the North Area (and nearby some items have been known to appear).
GALA Yuzawa Season & Opening Times
Typical season is from Mid December until Early May
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
GALA Yuzawa is generally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm in the main season.
From 1st April 2019 until the end of the season, the resort is open until 4:30pm (until 4:00pm on weekdays in April).
There is no nighta at GALA Yuzawa.
The lift ticket that is valid at GALA Yuzawa, Ishiuchi Maruyama and Yuzawa Kogen is available from 29th December 2018 until 31st March 2019. The direct lift connection between GALA Yuzawa and Ishiuchi is available from 29th December 2018 until 17th March 2019. The direct Ropeway connection between GALA Yuzawa and Yuzawa Kogen is available from 5th January until 17th March 2019.
GALA Yuzawa Lift Ticket Charges
Elementary School age
55 years & over
Gondola (1 day)
1 Day - Mt 3
2 Days - Mt 3
Pre-schoolers ride the lifts for free at GALA Yuzawa.
Children's Day (Kodomo-no-hi) is the third Sunday of the month between December and April. On those days the lift ticket for children is available for no charge.
Mt 3 Ticket The Mt 3 ticket is valid at GALA Yuzawa and also the connecting Yuzawa Kogen and Ishiuchi Maruyama resorts. This ticket is available from Saturday 29th December 2018 until Saturday 31st March 2019.
Spring season tickets for GALA Yuzawa are available from 1st April 2019 and they are cheaper than the tickets sold in main season:
1 day - 3,700 yen (adult); 1,850 yen (child); 3,100 yen (senior) 2 day - 5,700 yen (adult); 2,800 yen (child); 5,000 yen (senior) AM or PM - 3,000 yen (adult); 1,400 yen (child); 2,600 yen (senior) PM3 - 3,000 yen (adult); 1,400 yen (child); 2,600 yen (senior)
A ticket that is valid for every day from 1st February 2019 costs 31,000 yen. A ticket that is valid on every day from 1st March 2019 costs 21,000 yen. A ticket that is valid on every day from 1st April 2019 costs 11,000 yen.
Getting to GALA Yuzawa
By public transport
0km from Gala Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen line
1.9km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Line
1.9km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Hokuhoku Line
GALA Yuzawa is unique in that it has it's own Shinkansen bullet train station. As an extension to the main Joetsu Shinkansen line and just 2km further on from the main Echigo Yuzawa Station, the GALA Yuzawa building houses both the train platform and the ski resort gondola. Not all Joetsu Shinkansen train services stop at Gala Yuzawa Station and so be sure before choosing which train. If you do get on a train that stops only at Echigo Yuzawa Station, there are free shuttle buses from there to GALA Yuzawa and they only take around five minutes.
Connections to the Hokuhoku line are also available at Echigo Yuzawa Station.
Excellent value day trip return tickets that include the Joetsu Shinkansen train and ski lift tickets are available.
A free shuttle bus is available from the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. Another free shuttle bus also connects GALA Yuzawa with the nearby Yuzawa Kogen and NASPA Ski Garden resorts.
A taxi journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station to GALA Yuzawa costs around 900 yen.
4.3km from the Yuzawa IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
6.3km from the Shiozawa Ishiuchi IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
Nearest national route: Route 17 (0.8km away)
Nearest prefecture road: Prefecture Road 462
From the Yuzawa IC exit, turn right onto Route 17 and continue north towards Minamiuonuma for 3.4km after which there is a large sign for GALA Yuzawa on the left hand side. Turn left at the sign and follow the road for about 700m to the car parks at GALA Yuzawa. There is a small car park right in front of the GALA Yuzawa building, and once that is full staff will direct you to the other nearby car parks.
The 2018-2019 winter season is approaching! Hurray!
At the time of writing more than 60% of the ski hills in Japan have still not updated their own information for the upcoming season. We are continuing to manually update the information on these ski resort pages of SnowJapan but for the moment things are unavoidably a mix of old and new. In most cases ski resorts open and close around the same dates each season, so even if the planned season dates shown on this page are still from the 2017-2018 season, that is usually a good indication of what to expect this time round.
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