A mountain paradise for snow, music, and literature
A historic hot spring resort area just over an hour from Tokyo, Echigo-Yuzawa is home to 16 ski fields. With fresh mountain air and pure water, the area also produces famous sake.
- Taking a relaxing dip in the hot springs after a day on the slopes
- Trying different varieties of Niigata sake at Ponshukan
- Rocking out to world-class music at the Fuji Rock Festival in the summer
How to Get There
Echigo-Yuzawa is easily accessible by train or car.
By train, Echigo-Yuzawa Station is about 80 minutes away from Tokyo on the JR Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station.
By car, it takes about two hours to drive from Tokyo on the Kanetsu Expressway. The closest interchange is Yuzawa IC.
The 16 ski fields in Echigo-Yuzawa attract over six million skiers each year
You can bathe in a rice wine spa in the main station's sake museum
Some 100,000 concert-goers crowd Naeba in Echigo-Yuzawa for the annual Fuji Rock Festival
The true Snow Country
Celebrated in literature by the writer Yasunari Kawabata, Echigo-Yuzawa truly is snow country. The area gets abundant, powdery snow for long periods each year, making it ideal for skiing and snowboarding.
There are 16 ski fields in Echigo-Yuzawa that attract over six million skiers and snowboarders each year. The resorts are equipped for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers and snowboarders.
After a day on the powder, you can soothe tired muscles in one of the many hot springs. Some are outdoors, so you can soak in the hot waters while enjoying the snowy mountain views. Many hot springs here allow public access, but most hotels and accommodations offer some kind of hot spring package.
Light up the night
On winter nights, the slopes are aglow as illumination events and fireworks are held across the ski resorts. The shows put on may vary by resort, but the magical colors reflected on the pure white snow will undoubtedly warm your heart.
The taste of snow country
Besides snow, Niigata is famous for its rice and sake. Conveniently, there is a sake museum called Ponshukan inside the Echigo-Yuzawa Station where you can get a taste of more than 100 different types of sake produced in the prefecture.
The various sake varieties are available from mini vending machines, and you can enjoy five cups for only 500 yen. If just drinking is not enough, you can also bathe in the 41-degree Celsius sake spa for the ultimate rice wine experience.
A green, summer wonderland
Echigo-Yuzawa is beautiful throughout the year, and when the snow melts, the mountains are carpeted in green. Take the Yuzawa-onsen ropeway from Sanroku Station to Sancho Station to reach Alp-no-Sato, a botanical park containing over 1,000 different types of alpine plant species. Enjoy skunk cabbages in the spring, yellow lilies in the summer, and autumn leaves in the fall.
Commune with nature
If you like to sleep under the stars, Echigo-Yuzawa is the perfect place for camping. Around the gorgeous forests and lakes near Mt. Daigenta lies Daigenta Canyon. There are numerous waterfalls, hiking trails, BBQ pits, and readily available rental canoes and stand-up paddle boards.
Fuji Rock Festival
Summer is a great time to visit since Echigo-Yuzawa hosts the annual Fuji Rock Festival at Naeba Ski Resort every July. It is a three-day event, with over 200 Japanese and international music acts from all genres. Over 100,000 rock music lovers gather each year around seven main stages and many other smaller stages. There are direct buses from major cities to the festival site, and camping is available.
More than just great music, you can also feed your heart and soul with ethnic food and an all-night rave. Take the Dragondola, the longest lift in the world, to the top of Mt. Naeba for a panoramic view of the festival site.
Whether you are searching for powdery snow, delicious sake, refreshing nature, or rock music, Echigo-Yuzawa has something for everyone.