Marunuma Kogen, also known as Marunuma Highland Resort, is situated along route 120 at the bottom of Mount Nikko-Shirane san, Japan’s highest peak in the north of the Kanto region. Marunuma offers the longest skiing season in Katashina, giving you the opportunity to ski or snowboard for 6 whole months (from 22 Nov until 06 May).
Overall the slopes are categorised into 3 levels (green: beginner, red: moderate, black: advanced). To reach these pistes the resort has 8 ski lifts and 1 rope way. The rope way takes you from 1400m to 2000m in altitude – Katashina’s highest piste. From the top you can then enjoy a 4,000m long ride all the way back down to the bottom of the ski resort! Yet, before you cruise back down the piste be sure to take a short march to the tranquil Futara-san shrine that peacefully lies in between snow-capped fir trees. When you are at Marunuma, I would definitely recommend soaking in this picturesque Japanese winter scene.
Not to miss at the end of the rope way is a breathtaking panoramic view. Especially if the weather is on your side this vista is priceless: the soft snow glistening in the sun and the majestic mountains sleeping under a white duvet in the background.
Marunuma Kogen especially attracts many young snowboarders. While sitting on the ski-lift and listening to the music from the resort, I was overlooking the brightly colourful and funky-dressed people swooshing down the pistes on their boards.
A reason for Marunuma’s popularity among a younger age group is because of its terrain park. Many snowboarders, free-skiers or new-school skiers can practise their jumps and tricks on the rails, boxes, jibs and other various obstacles. Even if you cannot (or do not dare to) do any tricks it is worth to pass by on your skis or snowboard and just watch their impressive skills.
Marunuma Kogen also offers a mogul area; a 755m long piste covered with bumps in the snow. This is especially for mogul skiing, which actually is a type of freestyle skiing, usually seen in competitions. At the moment there is not sufficient snow for many big bumps but being the steepest piste at Marunuma Kogen (32°) it is still a fun challenge.
This year is Marunuma Kogen’s 40th anniversary, hence they have organised special events to celebrate this occasion. For example, they offer couple-days with several small races and games (25.12, 14.02 – Valentine’s day, 14.03 – White day: the opposite of Valentine’s day, where the girl spoils the guy). There are ‘gloomy nights’ where the pistes are open at night and lit up (11.01, 07.02, 07.03). Following the common Japanese tradition for the new year they offer mochi-tsuki (making sticky rice cakes) on the 1st of January. On top of that, there are various skiing and snowboarding competitions for juniors, adults and professionals.
The ski resort also offers a kids area and park where they can learn to ski or snowboard or just simply play around in the snow – for example by sledging or sliding around in a donut-shaped tube.
To take a rest and replenish energy stores 4 different restaurants await you. These serve typical hearty Japanese winter dishes that warm you up in no time: such as ramen, curry and rice bowls (approx. ¥1,100).
During Marunuma Kogen’s skiing season there is a free shuttle bus that leaves from Kamata at 10:30 and returns at 16:30 everyday. However, you may also ask your accommodation if they maybe offer a service and are able to help you get there. Yet, if you are really eager to be the first and last on the pistes you can also stay at the Marunuma ski resort itself in the so-called ‘Chalet’. This hotel is a great place to rest and additionally offers just a visit to their Onsen.
Fees for tickets allowing access for all ski lifts and rope way from 22 Nov – 12 Dec (given in Japanese Yen [¥])
1 Day Ticket 4,200 3,700 3,00 2,000
1 Day ticket Set Weekend 4,900 4,400 3,700 2,700
1 Day Ticket Set Weekday 4,700 4,200 3,500 2,500
The 1 Day Ticket Set includes lunch and a drink of choice.
There is a special deal on Mondays and Fridays known as ‘Ladies and Seniors Days’. All ladies and seniors (55+) can get a 1 day ticket with lunch and drink for just 3,000!
You can also rent everything you need for the ultimate ski or snowboard fun at the ski resort.
Rental prices for skiing equipment given in Japanese Yen (¥)
1 Day 2 Days
Full Snowboard Set (board and boots) 3,500 5,500
Full Ski Set (skis, boots and poles) 3,500 5,500
Telemark Skis (combination of Alpine and Nordic skiing) 4,000
Jacket and trousers 2,500 4,000
Ski or Snowboard School:
If you are new to skiing or snowboarding or just want to improve your riding style why not get a teacher (this will most likely be in Japanese – but in order to learn gestures and practise are most important anyhow!).
Ski School (SAJ: 0278-58-4722) Snowboard School (JSBA: 0278-58-3330
2 hours 4 hours 2 hours 4 hours
Adults ¥3,000 ¥5,000 ¥4,500 ¥7,000
Children ¥3,500 ¥5,000 Ask Ask
Another ski and snowboard school that includes lunch and accommodation very close to Marunuma Kogen is the 330 club. See more information on the websites:
Ski School: http://330club.com/ski-s/
Snowboard School: http://330club.com/sb-s/
Find out what Marunuma Highland Resort has to offer during the warm summer months (click on the images below):