Formerly known as the Arai Mountain Resort and Spa, it has now been taken over by Lotte, the largest hotel group in Korea. Previously, it was owned by Hideo Morita, the son of the founder of Sony. After closing in 2006, the new ski resort had its grand opening on 16 December 2017 by its new owner.
Niigata is well known for its heavy snowfall. Lotte Arai Resort is located not too far from the coast of the Sea of Japan, which makes the snowfall even better for winter sports.
Having been closed for more than 10 years, major renovation and restoration works have been done to the ski lifts and other infrastructure to turn it into a high-end resort.
The newly refurbished boasts of many dining options including high-end restaurants, bars, bakery and foodcourt. Prices generally may be higher than other ski resorts but expect the quality to be better.
Their ski and snowboard school offers English speaking instructors, catering to both adults and kids. There is also a child care centre to look after your young ones while you have a go at the snow.
In Japan, onsen usually completes a day out skiing. Over here, they have onsen, spa as well as indoor swimming pool.
Besides the usual snow activities, there are also all season activities that you can also take part in all year round.
All Season Activities
Bouldering at their indoor rock climbing facility. There is also a fun wall suitable for children as well.
Probably the largest ziplining in Asia, it brings you from the Zendana station (peak gondola station) across a deep valley over 1,500 metres slope length. This exhilarating experience lasts for a few minutes but will surely wow you, especially if you crave for speed downhill.
For those faint at heart, a milder version of the Zip Tour is available and it is located within the activity park.
Fun for kids and adults alike as you go sliding down the tubing hill.
In summer, they have special mats on the slope which gives you the same thrill as on snow.
Access to the resort is not too difficult.
By car, it takes slightly over 3 hours from Tokyo.
By train, you can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to the Joetsu Myoko Station.
From the station, you can either take a free shuttle bus or a taxi which will take you to the resort in about 20 to 30 minutes.
Niigata is famous for their water and rice, hence sake as well so this is a good chance to try some of the best sakes around.
Around the area, there are some sake breweries that you can visit and deepen your knowledge of sake. Some offer free samples of their sake for tasting.
Reservation is required so do call in advance. Links below.
Otherwise, just driving around and soaking in the scenery is also good for the soul.
Vast green patches of rice fields in summer and long white patches of snow covered fields in winter amidst a backdrop of mountains will leave one in awe and appreciative of the beauty of nature.