At a glance
- Akakura Onsen
- Akakura Kanko
- Seki Onsen
- Myoko Ski Park
Average Snowfall: 14 - 16m
Lifts - 70
Runs - 95
Vertical - 1124 (Suginohara)
Advanced - 22%
Intermediate - 53%
Beginner - 25%
Season: Early December - Late April
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Myoko - Niigata - Honshu
Where is Myoko?
Myoko is located in the Niigata prefecture at the southern end and is about 3 hours via the train system from Tokyo. Take the bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano, then its a short train to Myoko-Kogan station where you will need to pre-arrange with your hotel for a pick up or get a taxi. Taxi's are quite limited in Myoko so bare that in mind when booking your accomodation. The Myoko region has some of the biggest natural snowfalls recorded in the world with and average of 14 and 16 meters in a 4 month season. If your staying for a week you are nearly garanteed a 50cm powder day. So keep an eye on the weather forecasts!
Well where do we start. This place is amazing. With the 2454 meter high Mt Myoko as the back drop, you have the choice of 7 different resorts to enjoy all levels of skiing. Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko or Akakan as its also known are the 2 resorts most popularly visited resorts in the area as majority of the accomodations and night life are situated there (see below). Both resorts are interconnected but will require a different lift ticket. Akakura Onsen offers night skiing and wide open runs with and some steep stuff near the ski jump. Whilst Akakan boast the longest run out of the 2 at 4.5 kmls. Akakan has some steep and deep tree runs on powder days but be warned don't ski under the chair lifts other wise you will have your pass taken off you.
Suginohara is the southern resort wrapping around the mountain. Sugi as the regulars call it boasts the regions longest run at 8.5 kmls top to bottom as well as the highest elevation point. It is also the largest of the resorts on the Myoko mountain. Keep an eye on the weather as the southern storms bring the deep snow to Sugi first. Seki Onsen in a no frills but massive thrills mountain. Only 2 lifts, a double chair and a single chair and heaps of steep terrain, on a powder this place goes off! If you're staying in Akakura you will need to drive or get a cab to the mountain. At 11 am the single chair opens, make sure in line for first tracks steep and deep. You will notice the lifty's also work in the restaurant and bar through out the day. Ikenotaira is the park resort of Myoko. 2017-2018 season Ikenotaira is increasing their park size both with more features and bigger jumps. 2 other smaller resorts with only 1 chair each are Kyukamura and Myoko Ski Park
Myoko is unique as it gets the best of both storms. Meaning the Siberian winds bring the cold dry air and the South China seas bring the warm moisture, causing buckets of snow to fall out of the sky. When the winds are blowing from the north Seki Onsen is the place to be and from the south Suginohara. On a clear day you can see the ocean from the top of Akakura meaning the snow flakes have a little more moisture in them and are not quite champagne powder. The Myoko resorts are known for their tree runs, to find the best powder hit them up!
Average Snow Fall
No matter where you are staying you will be able to get around. The resorts at Myoko don't connect as there are valleys, rivers and water falls between them (except Akurkura Kanko and Akakura Onsen). The bus system in between resorts is pretty good, in classic Japanese style the run on time to the second and run ever half an hour in the morning and afternoon. There are also busses taking you to other resorts in the area - Madarao/ Tangram and the new for 2017-18 season Arai.
As there is multiple resorts at Myoko we suggest purchasing your lift tickets on the day as you may want to check out different resorts depending on which way the storm is coming from Suginohara for the southern storm and Seki Onsen for the northern storm. Tickets wont break the bank starting from 3900Y for a day ticket. But remember that the resorts don't link up. Bring cash as some ticket booths don't have eftpos or credit card facilities. If you need to draw out cash you can from the post office ATM. You can also purchase tickets at most hotels as well.
Accomodation and Night life
There is accomodations available at each mountain however if you are looking for variety in night life and restaurants Akakura is the place to be. The Main Street of Akakura Onsen is lined restaurants, bars, gift shops and hotels. When going out to dinner make sure you book or get in early as most restaraunts fill up fast you will find yourself wondering the streets starving and eating pork buns from the local gift shop and convineace store, not that pork buns are a bad thing though. Check out Popcorn and Skate Bar for late night shinaigans. Keep in mnd the train station pick up when booking your accomodation.
It is important not to go in to the backcountry without the proper know how and up to date avalanche safety information.
Myoko and the region has some of the best side and slack country just off resort. With many runs finishing on piste. As most the lifts terminate before the top of the mountain there is plenty of vertical still to be had by hiking straight up. Take your snow shoes, split board and touring skins for ease of access. If you're chasing the summit of Mt Myoko access is from the top of Suginohara.
Its recommended if you want to venture in to the back country you hire a guide as you don't want to be boot packing out of an awesome line, or sailing off a cliff. Guided tours are the best way to see the secret stashes as the landscape changes from season due to weather.
Akakura Kanko Hotel
From 20,000Y a night including breakfast.
A premium Hotel with ski in, ski out.
Myoko Powder Hostel
From 3900Y a night.
9 Minutes walk to Akakura Kanko ski resort.
From 8900Y a night plus breakfast.
Only a 7-minute walk from Akakura Ski Resort, Hotel Taiko features indoor and outdoor public hot spring baths
From 8200Y a night including breakfast
Open air onsen 3 minutes walk to Akakura kanko and Akakura Onsen ski areas
From 8200Y a night including breakfast
right in the middle of the main street. Onsen 1 Minute walk to Akakura Kanko ski resort