Lotte Arai Ski Resort
Off Piste Wonderland
While not formally part of the Myoko Kogen Ski Area, Lotte Arai Ski Resort is close enough to be included under the same umbrella. There is a daily shuttle from Central Akakura to Lotte Arai, which takes about 45 minutes (Getting a rental car at Nagano Station on the way in can be very advantageous).
Lotte Arai Resort (previously known as “Arai Mountain and Spa”), came out of a 10 year hibernation in 2017, and after a major renovation has been operating since. It is an all season resort with a large summer market as well.
It is one of the few stand-alone resorts in Japan, that includes all accommodation, activities , restaurants and lift operations under one company. It’s a resort you come to and don’t leave until you check out. That being said, it is a also a popular resort for day trippers, especially after a big snowfall.
The resort has some beginners terrain on the lower slopes, in fact, the bottom lift is one of the best for first timers in Japan.
The resort has a relatively small number of lifts, but they offer access to a lot of terrain, and while the on piste, groomed slopes are good for anyone with a few days on the slopes, it is when the patrol take down the ropes and open up the side country that this resort rises above others in Japan.
On a powder day your first few runs are generally down the upper “Zendana” quad, and after a few runs, the patrol, after checking the avalanche risk, with start to open the side country gates. By late morning most of the resort will be open and this strata-ed approach will ensure fresh tracks throughout the morning. And if hiking is your thinking, then head to the left at the top of the Zendana lift and you can climb to the top of Mt Okenashi to get the very best runs on the resort.
The side country area is vast yet there are a couple of areas that are no-go zones and these are enforced strictly. Also take note that there are a few places that go into gullies and if you get stuck it can mean a tiring walk out.
In the morning the snow is light and easy, but if it’s a blue bird day, it will get heavier and heavier, and my afternoon it may be time to go back to the groomed runs.
Facilities wise, the Gondola Base Station is one of the best in Japan, with food and beverages, a great cafe, as well as shops and ski rentals (quality equipment). The only other restaurant on the mountain is at the Zendana Station at the top of the Gondola, so plan you meals at off peak times to get the best service.
Lotte Arai Resort offers 2 levels of lift passes. Economy Class is your basic package, while First Class gives you a 30 minute head start on the Gondola, and also preferential boarding on Zendana Quad. A word of warning though, most people go for the First Class Pass, and it can still get very crowded on a powder day.
If you’d like to stay on site and take in the full service this resort offers then check out the Lotte Arai Hotel page.
You can also purchase your lift passes in advance via our Hakuba Base Camp Site and not have to line up in the morning at the ticket office.
This resort is a must do for anyone liking a bit of off-piste action.
Lotte Arai Ski Resort Lift Map
Lotte Arai Resort Economy Class Lift Passes
4 hour ticket (11AM-)
1 Day ticket
2 Day Ticket
3 Day Ticket
4 Day Ticket
5 Day Ticket
6 Day Ticket
7 Day Ticket
Night Ski Ticket
Multiple Day Passes must be used on consecutive days.
A night skiing ticket must be purchased for night skiing (day passes are not valid)
4 hour ticket is only valid after 11AM
Guests can upgrade to a first class pass for 2,000yen per day (but all days on the itinerary must be upgraded, not per day)
Top : 1,280m
Vertical : 951m
Base : 329m