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Aizu Kogen Takatsue

Takatsue Ski Resort in the Minamiaizu region of Fukushima is a small ski resort that’s not on the radar of most international skiers and snowboarders. The area offers an unadulterated Japanese experience.

Pros and Cons of Aizu Kogen Takatsue

  • A trip to Takatsue is very affordable. Lodging and food are cheap and lift tickets are well priced, particularly when you score a mid-week deal or get a cheap lift pass from 7-Eleven.
  • The ski area is really quiet on weekdays.
  • Takatsue Ski Resort offers lovely views of big mountains such as Hiuchi Peak and Aizu Koma Peak.
  • Takatsue ski area has a good terrain park (by Japanese ski resort standards).
  • This area isn’t westernised at all, so you’ll get the full Japanese cultural experience.
Cons Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • There are various ski areas nearby so you could have a smorgasbord of ski resort experiences, however Takatsue is probably the best of them.
  • There are some kosher zones for off-piste riding, yet the tasty ones are considered out-of-bounds. If you’re discrete, there is usually negligible rivalry for the fresh powder.
  • You’ll need a car if you want to explore the Minamiaizu ski resorts, which helps to keep the foreigners away.

Takatsue Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Aizu Kogen Takatsue is a small ski area with 65 hectares of terrain, which presumedly is just counting the piste terrain which consists of 15 trails (aka courses). The ski resort is narrow and has 707 metres of vertical (943 - 1,650m). Takatsue has 8 lifts which includes a hooded quad chair and another quad chair. It takes 4 lifts to get to the top, and a couple of the chair lifts run in parallel so they don’t always operate.

The terrain stats are 10% beginner (there are one and a half beginner runs), 60% intermediate, and 30% advanced which consists of 4 black runs at the top of the ski area that are left ungroomed and are not particularly steep.

There are some off-piste zones within the resort boundaries where tree skiing is tolerated, whilst the sidecountry zones off the top single chair lift require more discretion. Better snow can be found to skiers left, whilst the skiers’ right terrain is better that feeds into a large drainage.

Takatsue has a small “joyful” terrain park on the Joyful Course that includes a slopestyle course with waves, banks and table tops. There is also a half pipe which is more like a quarter pipe, actually it’s more like a 1/8 pipe. Supposedly it’s only for snowboarders, so skiers should have some fun messing with that stereotype.

Takatsue Snow

Snow volume statistics are not cited, as is common in Japan, although with snow depths that are usually around the 1.5 metre mark, don’t expect the huge snow volumes often seen in Niigata and Nagano. The slopes are mostly southwest facing, which is not great for snow quality but at least the top elevation is decent for the area.

Where is Aizu Kogen?

Aizu Kogen Takatsue is located 33km southwest of the town of Minamiaizu. Other ski resorts in this Minami Aizu (ie south Aizu) region are Oze Hinoemata Onsen, Aizu Kogen Nango, Aizu Kogen Daikura and Kita Nikko Takahata. Takatsue is in the SW part of the Fukushima Prefecture, and not too far from the borders of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures.

Takatsue is located to the southwest of Lake Inawashiro (and the Aizu ski resorts) and 75km southwest of Aizu-Wakamatsu, the castle town known for its samurai traditions. Takatsue is a 230km drive north of Tokyo.

Takatsue Ski Resort shouldn’t be confused with Takasu Ski Resort in Gifu.

Getting There

As you will probably want to explore other Aizu and Minami-Aizu ski resorts, you’ll need a car to explore the area. The telephone number of the Takatsue ski resort for GPS navigation is 0241-78-2241.

If Takatsue was your only destination, it is possible to get there via a train to the Aizu Kogen Ozeguchi Station, and then get the number 40 bus to Hinoemata Nakadoai Park, and get off at the Takatsue Ski Resort. Some of the accommodations at the ski area provide their own shuttle service from the train station if pre-arranged.

Takatsue Accommodation

The Aizu Astoria Hotel is a ski-in ski-out hotel that sits at the base of the ski resort. It has western and Japanese/western combo rooms that are a bit dated, but fine if you love old flowery bed spreads.

Within walking distance of the slopes (200 to 900m away) are various minshuku and pensions, and another collection of pensions at Takatsueharako, about 1km away.

Ski Resort Facilities & Activities

The ski resort has a few day lodges at the base that house the facilities as well as a couple of rest houses mid-mountain that also have restaurants.

Equipment rentals are available at the base and kids day care is provided inside the Ski Center Spacia for ages 2 to 6. Takatsu has a ski school and a snowboard school, with lessons in Japanese.

A kids play park that has a magic carpet is located near the base. Other activities besides skiing and snowboarding include the onsen (Shirakaba Spa), snowshoe tours, and snowcat tours to head to the top of the ski area to admire the frosted trees (or you can see the hoar frost on the trees if you just get on the lifts and go skiing or snowboarding!).
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