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The Resorts

Mt. Okenashi is located in the northern outskirts of the Myoko ski area and at its base resides one of Japan’s premier luxury ski resorts, Lotte Arai. Originally opened in the early 1990’s, this luxury ski resort closed in 2006 as it was unable to compete after the collapse of the Japanese ‘Bubble Economy’. Since this time, Japanese ski tourism has shown steady growth for the better part of a decade, prompting the refurbishment and revitalisation of this incredible resort. Lotte Arai is a small, boutique resort in relation to other resorts around Japan, having 11 runs and 5 gondolas. The 11 runs are geared more toward the intermediate skiier, with 45% of Lotte Arai’s runs attributed to intermediate runs. Beginners can enjoy the 2500m groomer of the Rindou Lower track, a nice track to hone your skills on. Beyond this, there is little for beginners. Experts have the option of the Legendary, Exciter and the Discovery runs, but the true fun begins when you get in amongst the trees and shred a bit of fresh powder.

Resort Facts

  • Start Season: Mid December
  • Season End: End of March
  • Night Skiing: Yes
  • Max Elevation (m): 1,280
  • Vertical Rise (m): 951
  • Difficulty (beg/int/adv): 25% / 45% / 30%
  • Longest Course (m): 5,200
  • No. of Courses/Runs: 11
  • No. of Lifts  & Gondolas: 5

Getting there

Lotte Arai is located right next to Myoko Ski resort, which is situated in the central Japanese alps and sits to the west of Tokyo. Transport in Japan has been battle tested and continues to provide travelers with efficient means of getting from A to B, in Lotte Arai’s case this includes options such as shuttle bus, train and car. The most popular method is travelling from Tokyo to Jotesu-Myoko by train and then a free shuttle bus to Lotte Arai. This option gets you to Lotte Arai in around 2 hours. A preference of travelers is the us of the JR east pass, which gives you access to the train network and will give you great flexibility of getting to Myoko and Lotte Arai.

Tokyo to Jotesu-Myoko by train (Railpass, 1.5 hrs)  
Free shuttle bus to Lotte Arai (30 mins)

The Snow

Geographically, Lotte Arai is in a fantastic location, sitting just to the northeast Myoko Kogen which is one of the tallest and closest mountains to Japan’s western peninsula. This geography gives it a very similar snow profile to Myoko Kogen, which is close to 15m of annual snowfall a year and the snow itself has a water content of typically 4-7%. This amount of water content defines it as powder snow, something that Japan has become famous for and it holds a perfect association with what you can expect from the snow in the Lotte Arai/Myoko Kogen areas. The snow is of immaculate quality and it comes in huge quantities, this is thanks to the eastern siberian air mass that crosses the sea of Japan during winter. As this cold air mass interacts with the relatively warm Sea of Japan, it gorges itself on the moisture on the surface of the sea. This moisture rich air mass hits the massive mountains and it is forced to dump everything it has picked up on its voyage, spewing out fresh powder onto the huge mountains of Japan, specifically Lotte Arai and the greater Myoko area.

The Luxury

Luxury properties really set themselves apart with the excellent cuisine that is available at the resort and Lotte Arai Resort is no exception. You can dine at a wide array of restaurants that offer cuisine such as classic Japanese, Italian, a take out cafe, curry and ramen shop and a bakery that serves freshly baked bread and coffee. There is also an all day western dining facility that serves up A-La-Carte lunch and a buffet dinner and breakfast. There is also an incredible onsen facility on site, with water bubbling up from a depth of 1750m. This water contains a naturally weak alkaline level, providing a soothing effect and releasing tension deep within the muscles.

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