As the winter months approach, it’s time to begin planning your getaway to one of Japan’s famous snow-covered landscapes. Niigata Prefecture is one of the country’s best winter destinations; just north of the Japanese Alps, it offers superb skiing and snowboarding conditions with easy access from central Tokyo via Shinkansen. A true luxury resort, Lotte Arai Resort is one of the newest accomodations in the area, attracting visitors for its full-package experience and average annual snowfall of 18m. Located in Myoko, Niigata, on the southern tip of the prefecture, the resort boasts ideal powder conditions for winter sports enthusiasts looking to experience some of Japan’s well-known deep powder terrain.
Lotte Arai Resort’s 1,280m mountain includes some unique features, including Japan’s largest in-bounds free ride terrain. Off the main slopes, there are nearly 212 hectares patrolled by the mountain’s top-notch avalanche monitoring staff. When conditions are deemed safe, portions of this area may be open to visitors, creating a massive freeride area and allowing skiers and boarders free reign on a mountain face drenched in powder snow. About 84% of the mountain is ungroomed, free-ride areas. If you’re looking to get some time off-course, Lotte Arai Resort has plenty of options on offer. The main groomed slopes also offer night skiing for resort guests, ensuring you get in as many run as you want during your stay.
Even less experienced skiers, like those looking to perfect their plow before venturing into free-ride areas, or families with varying levels of ski experience 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 still on beginner slopes or gliding down black diamond runs. If your children are too young to join you on the mountain, daycare options are on offer and there are plenty of non-ski activities run through the resort — ziplining, rock climbing and trampolining, just to name a few. In order to avoid the hassle of lugging a family’s worth of skis on your back, Lotte Arai Resort has ski-in and ski-out lodging, providing easy access to the mountain’s groomed slopes.
Alongside superior skii conditions, Lotte Arai Resort’s appeal comes from its luxury resort amenities. First and foremost is the Hoshizora onsen (hot springs), which allows guests the opportunity to take a long soak in natural hot water baths after a day on the mountain. Rotenburo (outdoor onsen baths) are also available, so you can relax while taking in the snow-peaked scenery and starry night skies. The onsen baths’ 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, whether you’re craving Japanese, Italian or Western fare.
Just a two-hour ride from Tokyo by Shinkansen, or a two-hour drive from Niigata Airport, Lotte Arai Resort is the first mountain operated by a foreign-owned global hotel brand. A visit to this Myoko resort ensures a luxury stay and superior English-speaking customer service, while enjoying Niigata’s top powder snow conditions. Make Lotte Arai Resort you next winter ski trip destination.