Kagura Ski Resort

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Kagura Ski Resort Japan
Kagura Ski Resort Japan
Kagura is part of Mt Naeba
Kagura is part of Mt Naeba
Kagura Japan
Kagura Japan
Kagura backcountry skiing
Kagura backcountry skiing
Kagura backcountry skiing is well renowned
Kagura backcountry skiing is well renowned
Kagura Japan
Kagura Japan
The top lift provides access to some great tree skiing
The top lift provides access to some great tree skiing
Lovely views from Kagura
Lovely views from Kagura
Kagura Ski Resort Near Yuzawa
Kagura Ski Resort Near Yuzawa
Kagura Japan
Kagura Japan
Kagura Mitsumata
Kagura Mitsumata
A funky lodge
A funky lodge
Short skins from the top lift open up lots of terrain
Short skins from the top lift open up lots of terrain
Kagura Mitsumata Ropeway
Kagura Mitsumata Ropeway
The Kagura villages are very quiet
The Kagura villages are very quiet
Powder Station Mitsumata
Powder Station Mitsumata
Kagura Mitsumata base
Kagura Mitsumata base
Equipment rentals including backcountry gear
Equipment rentals including backcountry gear
The facilities at the base areas are rather no frills
The facilities at the base areas are rather no frills
Nearby road stop
Nearby road stop

Kagura Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Kagura

Kagura3.5/510
Kagura3.5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
  • Recommend
    80%
  • Would Revisit
    80%

Kagura Ski Resort Mt Naeba

To some, the term “Kagura” means a dance to entertain the gods, but to powder hounds “Kagura” is a ski resort where powder hounds pray to the snow gods so that they can be entertained amongst the deep powder! Kagura Japan has a reputation for receiving lots of powder, so it seems that their prayers are often answered!

Kagura is a three-in-one ski resort that incorporates the areas of Kagura, Mitsumata and Tashiro. The Kagura Ski Resort is also interconnected with Naeba Ski Resort via a super long gondola, the Dragondola, to form one large ski area referred to as Mt Naeba. Kagura is generally quieter than Naeba, and the approach is much more relaxed and casual. 

Pros and Cons of Kagura Japan

Pros 
  • It snows a lot at Kagura and the snow quality is usually great in the upper reaches due its high elevation, especially relative to the other Yuzawa ski resorts.
  • Kagura offers good options for off-piste, sidecountry and backcountry skiing, and these powder chasing pursuits are permitted.
  • Kagura Ski Resort is tranquil relative to Naeba, and is frequently uncrowded on weekdays.
  • Kagura is one of the best Yuzawa ski resorts for powder skiing.
  • Those looking to cruise about on groomed runs will enjoy the mellow slopes of Kagura Ski Resort and the gorgeous views across the lake.
  • Kagura is a sizeable ski resort by Japanese standards, and when you include the inter-connected Naeba Ski Resort, the combined Mt Naeba offers plenty of terrain variety.
  • Kagura has one of the longest ski seasons in Japan.
  • It’s quick and easy to get there from Tokyo. Whilst not quite as fast as getting to Gala Yuzawa, it’s also not as crowded.
Cons
  • The slopes are mostly mellow so experienced riders will have to head into the sidecountry to find adequate challenge.
  • There are various flat spots across the resort, which may be challenging for inexperienced snowboarders.
  • The top chair provides the best powder goodies, but it is only open a few hours a day, and that’s if the weather is good.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Kagura is not a commercial glitzy resort, there is not much to the associated villages and they look a little run-down, and not much English is spoken. This can be rather refreshing compared to the sterile and OTT Naeba ski resort.
  • Children 12 years of age and under ski for free, but it’s not the most family friendly ski resort for international travellers.

Kagura Ski and Snowboard Terrain

At Kagura it’s a sea of green - there are green runs galore. Many of these are a little steeper than a standard beginner slope so they could be more aptly rated as “turquoise” (to match the beautiful colour of the Tashiro Lake). Subsequently Kagura is paradise for confident beginners and timid intermediates, where they can cruise from one end of the resort to the other.

The piste statistics are 37% beginner, 44% intermediate, and 19% advanced, but in reality it feels even more skewed towards beginner terrain. Nevertheless Kagura attracts lots of experienced skiers and snowboarders due to the off-piste and backcountry opportunities, and thankfully ski patrol has an incredibly relaxed approach to tree skiing, so long as you do it at your own risk. The peak chair in particular offers a plethora of tasty treats. You can get a guide to show you around the Kagura sidecountry and backcountry.

The lift infrastructure at Kagura isn’t quite as snappy as at Naeba, but it’s still pretty good. The only limitation with the lift capacity is that on weekends the ropeways up from the car parks may have long queues. The Mitsumata ropeway is sometimes so packed it becomes a gropeway!

Where is Kagura Ski Resort?

The Mitsumata ropeway of Kagura Japan is located about 8km southwest of Yuzawa in the Niigata Prefecture, about 175km northwest of Tokyo. A further 6km south on route 17 is the Tashiro ropeway station, and a further 6km south is Naeba ski resort.

Kagura is easily accessible from Tokyo because the train from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa on the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) takes only 70 to 90 minutes. From the Echigo-Yuzawa train station the bus only takes 25 minutes to get to Mitsumata.

Kagura Accommodation

Kagura accommodation is available in the very small villages of Mitsumata and Tashiro in simple pensions and minshuku (basic Japanese bed and breakfasts), where there is very little to do in the evenings except have an onsen.

Kagura Accommodation Listings

You can stay at the simple Wadagoya Lodge in the middle of the ski resort, where you get the added bonus of scoring fresh tracks the next day.

Or you can stay in nearby Naeba accommodation such as the Naeba Prince Hotel or other hotels, and catch the dragondola over to Kagura. If you want to be at Kagura for first tracks, you’ll want to have a car.

Naeba Accommodation Listings

Or if you want a traditional Japanese experience, you could stay in one of the central Yuzawa hotels and catch the bus up to Kagura.

Yuzawa Hotels Listings 

Ski Resort Facilities

Kagura doesn’t have the comprehensive amenities of Naeba ski resort, but the facilities at Kagura more than cover the basics. Standard ski and snowboard rental is available at little shacks near the top of the Mitsumata ropeway, at the base of the Tashiro ropeway, and at the Powder Station in the Mitsumata car park. This little shop rents out fat skis and sells a range of snow apparel, hardwear and lots of backcountry accessories.

Kagura has a ski school where you can make a reservation for private lessons in English (pending instructor availability).

The ski resort has several on-mountain restaurants serving the usual Japanese ski resort fare. The rustic ambience of the Wada-goya lodge makes for an enjoyable lunch experience, but you’ll have to take off your boots to sit on the tatami so don’t wear your stinky socks!

If you’ve been skiing or boarding a bit in Japan you’ve probably had a chuckle at some of the Japanese that like to have a sleep at the lunch table! At Kagura there’s no need to take a kip at the lunch table because they have free nap rooms in the Mitsumata area.
Tours That May Include Kagura

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

The Legendary Roadie
HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
11 Days | 10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Experience Japan powder like no other on this legendary road trip where you will visit up to 8 resorts in 3 prefectures; Nagano, Gunma & Niigata! Join a tour as a solo traveler, couple or small group. Max 6 spots per tour so get in quickly!
Price p/p From price based on twin-share, standard package at Lodge Aibiya.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,293
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Kagura here

Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area Tours

Naeba Powder Guiding
DAY GUIDING | NAEBA & KAGURA
Lift Access Only or Lift + Touring or Touring Only
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Explore the powder stashes at Naeba or Kagura & get the best & safest experience with the knowledge of a local certified guide who has intimate knowledge of the terrain. Tours are for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 5 guests per group.
Price p/p Price is per person based on a PRIVATE GROUP of 3
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed price might vary slightly from actual due to fluctuations in exchange rates.
USD 174
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See all Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area tours that visit Kagura here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Tenjindaira Backcountry Tours
ADVANCED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS
Fully guided - from 3 days/nights
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This tour is for hard-core skiers and boarders wanting to ski & ride some of the deepest and steepest terrain in Honshu Japan. Whilst some of the terrain is accessible by lift, there will be a degree of hiking / touring involved. Snowboarders will require either a split-board or snow shoes....
Price p/p From price based on 3 nights/days; twin-share tatami room for travel in January and February 2024.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 865
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Kagura here
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