Perfect for beginners! Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, known for its very beginner-friendly courses

February 15, 2023
Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort is a ski resort located deep in the Hakuba Area of Nagano Prefecture. It’s one of the most beginner-friendly ski resorts in Japan, with about 80% of its courses geared towards beginners and intermediate-level skiers. The kid’s school offers many kinds of lessons as well, making this the perfect spot to visit as a family. Let’s take a closer look at the charms of the Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort.

Why is it known as a beginner-friendly ski resort?

Slope at Tsugaike Kogen
One of the reasons Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort is known for being beginner-friendly is the placement of courses on the slopes. Most of the major courses at this resort, including “Kane-no-naru-oka Slope,” are beginner-friendly. The courses are all generally very wide, with relatively flat slopes of snow as far as the eye can see.

The slopes near the base of the mountain are all characterized by gentle slopes and an expansive area, making them perfect for beginners to practice on. These easy-to-ride slopes draw many repeat visitors, and on the weekends, the resort is lively with families. And because there are a lot of areas for skiing/snowboarding, the courses don’t get very crowded even during peak season.

“Kane-no-naru-oka Slope” is an ultra-beginner-friendly course, with an average incline of 8 degrees

Kane-no-naru-oka Slope
Kane-no-naru-oka Slope, located at the base of the mountain, is an ultra-wide course with a maximum width of 1,200 meters. This is a beginner’s heaven, with a very gentle slope with an average incline of 8 degrees.

There aren’t very many courses that are this wide, with such gentle slopes, in all the ski resorts in Japan. The slopes also have very good visibility, which means you don’t have to worry about running into other skiers and snowboarders. Because it’s so safe, this ski resort is very popular with families.

Lots of other kinds of beginner-friendly courses as well!

Course at Tsugaike Kogen
“Kane-no-naru-oka No. 2 Slope,” located near the middle of the mountain, is a slightly more advanced beginner-friendly course. This course merges into “Kane-no-naru-oka Slope,” which means you can go non-stop from the last stop of the ski lift (1,030-meter elevation) to the base of the mountain - a very satisfying ride.

On the other side of the forest from “Kane-no-naru-oka Slope” are “Karamatsu Slope” and “Oya-no-hara Slope.” These are also long courses, at about 1,000 meters long, with a gentle slope. A high-speed two-person lift can take you from the base of the mountain to about the middle of the mountain. There are also ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns) and a restaurant area near the base of the mountain, making things even more convenient.

Relatively few courses for advanced skiers

Nighttime skiing at Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort
Though Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort is full of great courses for beginners, there aren’t very many places suited for more advanced skiers. The most difficult course is the “Uma-no-se (Horseback) Course,” which is a steep slope that starts all the way up at the summit, and allows you to enjoy a long-distance run. This course has a steep slope with a maximum incline of 32 degrees, with a lot of variability and many large moguls in a row.

The “Champion Slope” is another fairly steep and difficult slope, with an average incline of 26 degrees. The moguls aren’t as large as in the Uma-no-se Course, making this course just barely accessible for intermediate-level skiers as well. We’d recommend this course to skiers that want to improve their technique (turns, etc.).

These are the only two major courses aimed at advanced skiers, so this resort is, in general, unsuited for those who want to practice and strategize on a multitude of difficult courses. Advanced-level skiers who want a more thrilling experience may want to choose a different ski resort, as the majority of the courses are for beginners.

Full of all kinds of other events as well

Fireworks at the ski resort
At Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, you can watch fireworks from the slopes! This is one of the most famous winter events at Tsugaike Kogen and the Hakuba Area. There are all kinds of winter-specific events, like the “Torch Skiing” event, where skiers go down the slopes holding torches. Depending on when you come, you may be able to experience one of these extraordinary events.

Hard to get to, so try to find lodging there

Tsugaike Kogen Station
Because it’s located deep in the Hakuba Area, it’s more difficult to get to than some other ski resorts. It takes about 90 minutes to get there by bus from Hokuriku Shinkansen Nagano Station, if you’re getting to the station by train. By car, it’s about 60 kilometers from the Nagano Expressway Azumino Interchange, and about 70 minutes from the Highway Interchange.

Because it’s hard to get to, it’s not very suited for day trips. The Hakuba Area is home to many hot spring ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inns) and hotels. We recommend you stay in this area and take your time skiing. Because this ski resort is popular with families, however, the restaurants/lodging facilities around it can get quite crowded. Try to make all your reservations and preparations in advance of your arrival for a more comfortable experience.

Adults and children alike can improve their skills at the ski school

Snowy scenery at Tsugaike Kogen
Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort, being as beginner-friendly as it is, also offers many kinds of ski lessons. Practice to your heart’s content on the resort’s expansive slopes. Instruction is detailed and easy to understand, and made so that anyone, from children to those of middle and old age, can improve their skills. There are always a few dozen staff members on hand, so why not try out a lesson if you want to be sure to get the basics down?

The best spot for beginner-friendly fun for the whole family!

There aren’t very many courses in the whole of Japan that are this expansive. We highly recommend this ski resort to people who really just want to practice in a wide-open space.

One con is that it can be hard to get to, but that’s not a problem as long as you have accommodation there. This is a ski resort perfect for relaxing and enjoying the snow in Japan with your entire family.

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

Related ski resorts
Dec. 1st to May 6th
Longest run distance5,000 m
Maximum gradient35 °
Longest run5,000 m
Maximum35 °

Adult 2 people1 night

USD 175.81〜 (JPY 27,818〜)