Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort
Operated the Prince Hotel group, Karuizawa Ski Resort is perhaps the most readily accessible resort from Tokyo – only a short distance from Karuizawa Station, a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Easy to get to from the capital, Karuizawa is a small resort that relies on snow-making equipment and as such is best-suited to families with young children, absolute beginners or those just wanting to enjoy the snow and winter atmosphere with easy access to everything else the resort town has to offer. Basically, if you are a keen skier or snowboarder or looking for Japan’s legendary powder dumps then Karuizawa definitely is not for you. But if you just want to enjoy snow activities within easy reach of Tokyo (and don’t mind that much of that snow is fake) in combination with Karuizawa’s array of high-quality hotels, restaurants and shopping, then it just might be the right resort for you.
Operating Dates & Times
Karuizawa Ski Resort advertises one of Nagano’s longest seasons, operating from November until April. It does so by relying on snow-making equipment. The resort itself is subject to unreliable snow and rarely receives the powder dumps that other Nagano resorts are famous for. Lifts operate daily from 08:00 to 17:00. Night-skiing is not currently available.
Karuizawa is a very small resort – around 30 hectares in size – offering 10 or 16 ski runs (depending how you count them) serviced by 9 chairlifts. Sitting between 940 to 1115 metres above sea level, the resort offers a disappointing 215 metres of vertical and steepest pitch of 31°. The official breakdown lists trails as: Beginner 50% / Intermediate 30% / Advanced 20%. The longest run is only 1.2KM. Based on those stats it should be clear, this is a resort targeted squarely at beginners and families with children.
When considering a trip to Karuizawa it’s important to set your expectations. This is a small and often crowded resort that relies of snow-making equipment to operate and charges more than most other resorts. So why is it popular? That’s easy to answer. Karuizawa is super easy to get to thanks to the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo Station. The journey from the capital to Karuizawa Station is quick and easy, from where it’s less than a 5 minute drive onto the resort. A large number of snow-making machines guarantee a cover of ‘snow’ while the large Prince Hotels and Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza offer visitors lots of things to do away from the ski runs. The resort and hotels are well-setup for families including those with young children while the surrounding areas offers some of Nagano’s best dining and accommodation. This is one resort where the true highlights have little to do with the resort itself but instead lie in all the trimmings you can enjoy in addition to a little time playing in the (largely fake) snow.
Tickets & Passes
Day passes for Karuizawa cost: Adults (18+): JPY7500/ Children and HS Students (6-17): JPY7000 / Seniors (55+): JPY7000. Half-day / 4 hour tickets are also available but at only a slightly reduced rate.
Rental & Ski School
It’s easy to arrange ski and snowboard rental while at Karuizawa. Both Karuizawa Ski Center and Karuizawa Prince Hotel East have outlets inside offering ski and snowboards, clothing and accessories. Ski and snowboard lessons are also available for both adults and children but should you wish to have a lesson in English, you will likely need to book a private lesson.
Kids & Families
Karuizawa is well-setup for families and children. There are multiple dedicated children’s activity areas including the ‘Day Trip (Higaeri) Snow Park’ and ‘East Park’ both costing JPY1800 to enter, along with the ‘West Chibbiko Land’ area for the exclusive use of Prince Hotel guests. Entry is JPY1000. ‘Mori no Kids Room’ is a childcare facility located in Karuizawa Prince Hotel East. Advanced booking is required with a rate of JPY3600 per hour. Children’s ski and snowboard lessons are also available with a range of other activities also on offer across the resort.
Accommodation & Village Info
Visitors heading to Karuizawa are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. As one of Japan’s oldest and most famous mountain resort towns, Karuizawa boasts some of Nagano’s best accommodation including the large Prince Hotels providing easy access to the resort. Many if not most guests heading to Karuizawa Ski Resort choose to stay at one of the Prince Hotels and package everything including ski / snowboard rental as part of their accommodation package but it’s worth noting that there is huge range of options in the area around the resort including high-end hotels and traditional ‘ryokan’ (guesthouses).
30 Things to Do Around Karuizawa & Where to Stay
Only 70-minutes from Tokyo using the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Karuizawa is one …
The ski resort is adjacent to the sprawling Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza and only 5-minutes drive from Karuizawa Station. On the opposite side of the station the Old Ginza area of Karuizawa is the traditional village of the resort town. Accommodation is spread throughout with an excellent range of restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping all within easy reach. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Karuizawa Area’ hotel page.
Getting to Karuizawa Prince Hotel Snow Resort
Karuizawa is one of the easiest ski resorts to reach from Tokyo. To do so, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa Station – a journey of between 65 to 75 minutes / JPY5490. Once at Karuizawa, Prince Hotel resort shuttle buses or a taxi will take you onto the resort in under 5 minutes. For more information about how to reach the resort from Tokyo and other staring points, see our ‘How to Get to Karuizawa’ page.
November to April*
Lift tickets range from JPY7000 to JPY7500
From Tokyo Station, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Karuizawa Station - 65 to 75 minutes / JPY5490. Once at Karuizawa, shuttle buses or taxis will take you onto the resort in under 5 minutes