Beautiful coastlines, premium quality rice and the birthplace of skiing in Japan, Niigata Prefecture has a lot to offer. As the temperature drops and winter descends, it’s time to begin planning your trip into a winter wonderland. With ideal powder conditions, 11 ski slopes and just a two-hour shinkansen ride away from Tokyo, Lotte Arai Resort is the perfect mountain resort to experience winter sports in Japan.
Located on the southern tip of the prefecture in Myoko, the resort stands on Mt. Okensahi. Covering over 1.5 million square meters — with beginner, intermediate and expert courses — the resort boasts Japan’s largest in-bounds free-ride terrain. Off the main slopes, there are nearly 212 hectares of ground patrolled by the mountain’s top-notch avalanche monitoring staff. When open to visitors, it creates a massive ungroomed, freeride area. The main slopes also offer night skiing for resort guests, ensuring you get in all the runs you want during your stay.
Even those who have to mentally repeat pizza and French fries, or families with varying levels of skill can enjoy what the mountain has to offer. Ski schools run throughout the week, which are great for skiers of any age to enroll and improve their skills, whether you are still on beginner slopes or gliding down black diamond runs.
Alongside superior ski conditions, Lotte Arai Resort’s appeal also comes from its luxury amenities. Standing out as the resort’s pride and joy is the Hoshizora onsen. The natural hot spring water allows guests to comfortably relax outdoors with a spectacular backdrop of snow-capped mountains and star-filled nights. The onsen’s gentle, low-alkaline waters are said to improve skin health, and will help with muscle soreness after a long day of skiing.
After your onsen excursion, you can enjoy karaoke with plenty of sake and beer on hand, or sit down to a meal at one of three hotel gourmet restaurants: Japanese, Italian or Western fare. If you’re looking for something unique to Niigata, be sure to try some snow-aged pork or hand-dripped coffee made from beans stored in snow.
The resort also has everything from rock climbing to snow rafting, romantic gondola rides and adventurous snowmobile tours. If your children are too young to join on your excursions, daycare options are available, allowing partners to get some valuable time away from the little ones.
As the first mountain operated by a foreign-owned global hotel brand, with English-friendly customer service, Lotte Arai Resort has it all. Witness for yourself the beauty of Niigata’s Myoko region, and what makes this resort the perfect embodiment of winter paradise.
1966 Ryozenji, Myoko City