Iwappara enjoys a commanding position on the southern slopes of the Mt Iiji close to the central area of Yuzawa town in Niigata Prefecture and is clearly visible for people approaching on the Kanetsu Expressway. It first opened in 1931 and has a long history. The central part of the resort has long, wide and gentle slopes making that area particularly suitable for beginners. More advanced skiers and boarders will want to head up to the top for more of a challenge. A joint lift ticket and season pass that is valid at Iwappara and Joetsu Kokusai in Minamiuonuma is available.
Yuzawa town and neighbouring Minamiuonuma city - located around 200km to the north north-west of the Tokyo region in Niigata Prefecture - are together home to over 20 individual ski and snowboard resorts, including some of the most well-known ski resorts in Japan. With easy and quick access by both train and road and a wide choice in a relatively compact area, this region is one of the most popular ski destinations in Japan. The region usually enjoys very heavy and consistent snowfall each winter and with Yuzawa town also being the inspiration and setting of the famous Nobel prize-winning novel Yukiguni (Snow Country), it can certainly lay claim to being the original 'Snow Country'.
Niigata Prefecture is located in the central region of Honshu to the north of Tokyo and has a 250km long coastline facing the Sea of Japan. Convenient transportation links make Niigata very easy to get to from Tokyo and other surrounding regions. Most of the larger ski and snowboard resorts in Niigata Prefecture are concentrated in the southern regions around Yuzawa town, Minamiuonuma city and Myoko city.
Ski and snowboard lessons are available at Iwappara. There are a number of independent ski and snowboard schools that cover the Yuzawa area and offer lessons in English - please check the Lessons in English section for current listings on SnowJapan.
Ski and snowboard equipment rental is available. Ski and snowboard wear rental is also available.
The large 'Kids Paradise' area is located near to the base of the central quad lift - it is free to those with valid day tickets, 500 yen entry otherwise. A ticket that is sold at the base Resort Center 1 and includes a 1 time ride on the base Number 1 pair lift (which goes up to the Kids Paradise area) is available for 700 yen. (The ride back down is free).
There is also an indoor area for children to play in.
The 'Snow Park' is located near Resort Centre 2 in the main area and features a number of items.
Iwappara Season & Opening Times
Typical season is from Early December until Early April
Weekends and holidays
Normally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm
Normally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm
'Nighta' (night skiing)
Weekends and holidays
Iwappara is normally open from 8:00am until 5:00pm every day in the daytime.
Nighta is open every day from Saturday 15th December 2018 until Sunday 24th March 2019; nighta times are 5:00pm until 8:00pm on weekdays and until 9:00pm on Saturdays and over New Year.
Iwappara Lift Ticket Charges
Junior (Elementary School)
55 years & over
1 Day (8am-5pm)
Long 1 Day (8am-closing)
PM & Nighta (12pm-closing)
1 Lift Coupon
Season Ticket (I+JK)
The 5 Hour ticket is valid for five hours from the time of purchase.
The season ticket noted as 'I+JK' is valid for the season at both Iwappara and the Joetsu Kokusai resorts. With the joint Iwappara and Joetsu Kokusai season ticket, one day lift tickets at GALA Yuzawa can be bought for 1,000 yen.
With the Iwappara-only season ticket, one day lift tickets for Joetsu Kokusai or GALA Yuzawa resorts can be bought for 1,000 yen.
Special early season (8th until 14th December 2018) and spring season (25th March until 7th April 2019) tickets are available as follows:
Adults: 2,000 yen Kids: 1,000 yen Junior: 1,500 yen Senior: 1,500 yen
Getting to Iwappara
By public transport
3.3km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen line
3.3km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Line
3.3km from Echigo Yuzawa Station on the Hokuhoku Line
The nearest train station is Iwappara Ski Jo Mae (named after the resort and about 1km from the base), but it is a very small local Joetsu line station. Most people use Echigo Yuzawa Station which is serviced by the Joetsu local line and Joetsu Shinkansen lines.
A free shuttle bus is available from the East Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station. The journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Iwappara takes about 12 minutes.
A taxi journey from Echigo Yuzawa Station to Iwappara base costs around 1,500 yen.
2.9km from the Yuzawa IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
10.5km from the Shiozawa Ishiuchi IC on the Kanetsu Expressway
Nearest national route: Route 17 (2.3km away)
Nearest prefecture road: Prefecture Road 268
The base area of Iwappara (Resort Center 1) is just over 3km away from the Yuzawa IC of the Kanetsu Expressway. Resort Center 2 is located at a higher location and can be accessed by car. It is a further 1.5km along the same road.
From the Yuzawa IC exit, turn left onto Route 17 and go about 600m to the traffic lights at the 7-11 convenience store. Turn left at the traffic lights and continue for about 650m until you reach another set of traffic lights by a Save On convenience store. Turn right at these traffic lights and continue for 850m - through one set of traffic lights until you arrive at the second set of traffic lights. At this junction there are signs for Iwappara. Turn left here and head towards Resort Center 1 which is around 800m from the traffic lights.
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