Travel To & Around Yuzawa

Travel To & Around Yuzawa

Snowcountry Progression Package
World Nomads Travel Insurance

Where is Yuzawa?

Yuzawa is located in the Minamiuonuma District in the southern part of the Niigata Prefecture, about 200km northwest of Tokyo. Yuzawa sits just east of the northern “blip” of Nagano, and the Nagano Prefecture is only 40km away by road (Nozawa Onsen in northern Nagano is only 60km to the west). The Gunma Prefecture border (on the Tanigawa mountain range) is only 17km to the southeast, and Minakami with its concentration of ski resorts (such as Tanigawadake Tenjindaira) is only 32km away.

Train to Yuzawa

Getting from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa on the Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) is very fast, only taking about 75-80 minutes. See Hyperdia for routes, schedules and rates. If your only train travel is to and from Yuzawa, it’s probably not worth purchasing a Japan Rail Pass.

To get the train from Nagano to Yuzawa you can go via Takasaki.

The Echigo Yuzawa train station is a fun place to explore. There are lots of market stalls selling food, souvenir confectionary, homewares and sake, and there are plenty of opportunities to sample snacks and sake.

Saturday mornings at the Echigo Yuzawa train station are a sight to behold just after a Shinkansen arrives, and hundred and hundreds of skiers and snowboarders pile off the train and head for the bus stops.

Driving to Yuzawa

The Kanetsu Expressway runs alongside town, making Yuzawa very accessible from Tokyo and other parts of Honshu. The drive from the Nerima IC in northern Tokyo to the Yuzawa IC can take under 2 hours when road conditions are good. Snowy roads and weekend crowds can increase the journey time significantly.

Whilst it is possible to get from central Yuzawa (at the train station) to the many ski resorts via bus services, having a car provides more flexibility and gives you the option of staying on the outskirts of town or slope-side at one of the ski resorts. If you want to catch the train to Yuzawa and just rent a car when you get there, there are various car rental outlets adjacent to the Echigo-Yuzawa train station.

Public Transport to the Ski Resorts

Once in Yuzawa, it’s really easy to get to the many Yuzawa ski resorts via bus or train. The tourist information centres at the station or your accommodation will be able to assist you with bus timetables.

South Yuzawa Ski Resorts
From central Yuzawa:
  • Naspa is 1.5km to the south (skiers only). There is a very regular free bus service between Naspa Ski Garden, the Yuzawa Grand Hotel (opposite the station west exit), Yuzawa Toei Hotel (next to Yuzawa Kogen), Yuzawa Kogen ski resort, and Gala Yuzawa. The bus goes every 15-30 minutes depending on the time of day, from 8:15am to about 5:30pm.
  • Kandatsu Kogen is 4.3km to the south. There are free shuttle buses (marked with Kandatsu Kogen logo) that take about 10 minutes and depart from the station west exit.
  • Iwappara is 3.5km to the east. There are free shuttle buses from the station east exit that take about 15 minutes.
  • Yuzawa Park ski area is 5.5km to the east. Free shuttle buses from the station east exit take about 10 minutes.
  • Nakazato is 6km to the southeast. Free shuttle bus departs from the station west exit that take about 20 minutes.
  • Ludens Yuzawa ski area is 6.5km southeast. You’ll need to catch a taxi.
  • Naeba is 21km to the south. A shuttle bus is available from the east exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station that attracts a small fee.
  • Kagura is to the southwest, on the Yuzawa ski of Naeba. The pay shuttle bus departs from the station east exit and takes about 30 minutes.
North Yuzawa Ski Resorts 
(and Minamiuonuma resorts)
From central Yuzawa:
  • Yuzawa Kogen is 0.5km northwest of the station. It’s easy enough to walk there from some of the hotels or it’s on the shuttle bus loop that stops at a few hotels (including Yuzawa Grand Hotel opposite the station) and Naspa Ski Garden and Gala Yuzawa.
  • The base of Gala Yuzawa is 3km northwest of the town. You can catch a train there or it’s on the shuttle bus route as above.
  • The Hatsuka Ishi base of Ishiuchi Maruyama is 5km north – free shuttle bus from the train station.
  • Maiko is 9km north of Yuzawa. A free shuttle bus is available from the Echigo Yuzawa Station (20 minutes).
  • Mt Granview is 9km north (a little west of Maiko).
  • Joetsu Kokusai is 14km north. Buses are available from the station. 
  • Chateau Shiozawa is 16km north – shuttle bus from the station.
  • Muikamachi Hakkaisan is 30km northeast of Yuzawa. Catch a train to Muikamachi station (Joetsu and Hokuhoku lines) then shuttle bus.

Getting to the Yuzawa Ski Resorts - Other

If you don’t have your own wheels, you can catch taxis from town to get to the ski resorts. Taxis are readily available and many of the taxis have roof racks for your skis or snowboard.

If you’re on a Snow Country Instructors tour or package, transport to and from the ski resorts is included.

A couple of the Yuzawa ski rental shops offer shuttles to the ski resorts to try and sweeten the deal, although equipment rental prices tend to be a little inflated.

Some of the Yuzawa hotels and ryokans offer their own shuttle service to some of the ski resorts. For example Takahan offers transport to the Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway, Gala Yuzawa and the train station.