Snow Resorts are very popular in Japan during winter. Most people pay for a package that includes hotel accommodation, lift pass and rental gear. Sometimes food is included, too. However, it is not essential to make a full weekend of it, many of the resorts are accessible and accommodating to those on a day trip. Here are just some of the snow resorts you can access from Tokyo for a day trip of snow boarding, skiing or sledding. The NAGANO based resorts mentioned in this article are widely accepted as being family friendly. They are listed in no particular order.
Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort
Arrive to the slopes in just one hour from Tokyo on a bullet train to Karuizawa Station. The resort is a 1 minute taxi ride or 10 minute walk from JR Karuizawa station. Lots of sporting and relaxing activities for all ages.
Address: Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano 389-0102
Season: October 31st to April 3rd 2016
Lifts: 9 Preschoolers: Lift free
Kids park: 1,300 yen for the day, children under 2 free.
Parking: Free on weekdays, 1000 yen weekends
Ski Lessons: From 3 years old, English also available.
Snowboard Lessons: From 3 years old, English also available.
Creche: Accepts children from 3 months old to 12 years old
Baby facilities: Changing and nursing room. Rest area
Attraction: They have events for kids, off slope activities too
Onsen: Yes in the adjacent hotel
Events: Kids free program, children under 13 ski free
Discounts: 20 year olds free lift pass. There is a discount available online: http://princehotels.co.jp/ski/karuizawa/lift/coupon.html
You can get information on the costs, lessons, slope gradient and much more on the English webpage for the resort: http://www.princehotels.com/en/ski/karuizawa/index.html
Chateraise Ski Resort Yatsugatake
A ski resort brought to you by a confectionor. There is a sweet factory within the ski resort. This one is convenient for drivers, only 1 hour and 50 minutes from the Hachioji Interchange on the Chuo Expressway. However, by train it takes about 3 hours to get to Japan's highest railway station Nobeyama.
Address: Goshodaira 1841, Kawakami-Mura, Minami-Saku-Gun, Nagano-Ken
Season: December 12th to March 21st
Lifts: 3 Preschoolers:
Kids park: 500 yen.
Ski Lessons: From 4 years old
Snowboard Lessons: From 4 years old
Baby facilities: Nursing and changing room, family rest area, indoor playroom
Attraction: Snow Machines, cake bouncing castle, sweet factory, indoor playroom
Events: The Chateraise mascot is on the slopes on weekends and gives the kids freshly made sweets
Discounts: 500 yen off a lift pass; print from here http://www.chateraiseresort.co.jp/SKI/coupon.html
You can get information on the costs and other information on the English webpage for the resort: http://snow.gurunavi.com/guide/htm/r0106ens.htm
Saku Ski Garden Parada
This is a good one for introducing young children to snow and/or skiing and snowboarding on a day trip from Tokyo or Saitama. It only takes about 90 minutes to get to Parada by train and car is not much longer.
TEL: North Parada – 0267-68-5116, South Parada – 0267-67-8100
Address: 2681 Shimohirao, Saku, Nagano 385-0003
Please see more information on my personal blog: http://insaitama.com/saku-ski-garden-parada-nagano/
This is just a small selection of snow resorts in Nagano. However, a lot of the Nagano snow areas are not suited to a day trip, whereas this selection is. Please see the Niigata article for other suggestions and watch this blog for other family friendly ski resorts in the Kanto area. If you are driving to these areas, please be sure to have snow tyres on your car.