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Snow Lovers, Come To Niigata! Snowmobiling At YUKISATO Lodge

Snow Lovers, Come To Niigata! Snowmobiling At YUKISATO Lodge

Translated by Sandy Lau

Written by MATCHA-PR

Niigata 2020.03.17 Bookmark

Skiers and snowboarders from all around the world visit the Joetsu-Myoko Region in Niigata for the heavy snowfall and powder snow. Learn about YUKISATO Lodge, a stylish accommodation built in a former Japanese traditional house and located an area that's excellent for winter sports.

Ride a Snowmobile across Snowfields in Niigata!


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

Joetsu-Myoko is a region in Niigata with excellent ski slopes that make use of the local mountainous terrain. In winter, the area is visited by droves of skiers and snowboarders while spring and summer usher hikers here.

Okazawa is a quiet, lesser-known village with particularly large snowfall compared to other areas in Joetsu-Myoko. The fields and forest, which account for a large portion of Okazawa, are covered in heaps of powder snow from December to March. During this season, the land transforms into sprawling snowfields.

Mr. Tsukada

Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

This caught the attention of Mr. Takuya Tsukada, who is responsible for YUKISATO, a project that brings together snowy regions and people who love playing in the snow. Mr. Tsukada borrowed approximately 3,000 hectares of farmland and forest in Okazawa to use as a snowmobile field.

“You’ll understand the appeal of this place once you explore it aboard a snowmobile!” said Mr. Tsukada as he guided us to a snowmobile site called YUKISATO Base.


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

Snowmobiles are even bigger than a large motorcycle. At a glance, you wouldn't think that a beginner could steer and control this massive vehicle.

"Snowmobiles don't require a driver's license like cars or motorcycles. Anyone can learn how to operate a snowmobile if they practice for at least 30 minutes."

Just like Mr. Tsukada said, you’ll be able to maneuver the snowmobile quickly once you memorize the controls. The 40-kilometer course is abundant in nature and will satisfy the adrenaline rush of amateur and experienced riders.


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

All the snowmobiles at YUKISATO Base are two-person seaters so that rides can be enjoyed with your child or partner in the backseat.

Riding the snowmobiles gave us a rush beyond our expectations as we zoomed off into the snowfields! The powder snow has just the right amount of resilience and feels almost as if you were riding through ocean waves.


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

During the tour, participants travel through shimmering diamond dust that flutters in the crisp winter air. The group heads through a thicket of trees up the mountain.


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

Beyond the sleepy village, you'll spot a breathtaking view of Mt. Myoko and the Sea of Japan!

*Please refer to the official website for details on the snowmobile tour.

Arrive at YUKISATO Lodge aboard a Snowmobile


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

On the way back, Mr. Tsukada exclaimed, "Let's continue riding our snowmobiles to YUKISATO Lodge."

The snowmobile site YUKISATO Base and YUKISATO Lodge, an accommodation by the same name, operate in conjunction with the snowmobile field. This is why guests can ride their snowmobiles to the front of the lodge.


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

Mr. Tsukada stated, "If you stay here, I recommend riding a snowmobile first thing in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee on the summit."

Lodge guests have several opportunities to travel through the sprawling snowmobile field with a guide. It’s pretty hard to find a stay as luxurious as this!

YUKISATO Lodge, Your Second Home in Niigata

YUKISATO Lodge Exterior

Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

YUKISATO Lodge was renovated from an old, two-storied Japanese home and converted into a cozy accommodation. The lobby and communal guest areas are on the first floor. The guest rooms are found on the second floor.

YUKISATO Lodge Well-Lighted Stairwell

The atrium-style ceiling. A wood-burning stove is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2020 and will be available to use starting winter 2020. (Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association)

The bold atrium, built in this traditional Japanese home aesthetic, is striking.

Mr. Tsukada explained, "The heat from the wood-burning stove will travel through the atrium and warm the entire building. While this facility has air conditioning, we strived for it to be environmentally friendly."

A local artist made the wood-burning stove, and the firewood and wood used for furniture are cut from trees in YUKISATO's forest.

Guests will experience an eco-friendly lifestyle while benefiting from nature at this lodge.

Like a Share House! Enjoy the Open Communal Space

Love The Snow? Ride Snowmobiles At The Traditional YUKISATO Lodge

Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

The spacious kitchen in YUKISATO Lodge was made for everyone to use freely. "Staff members reside here and will assist guests by driving out to get groceries. If we're lucky, a farmer in the neighborhood might even share their vegetables with us!" Mr. Tsukada said with a smile.

Enjoy a meal in an earthen-floor area (doma) made without floorboards, and chat with fellow guests. These are fun ways to spend your time in a traditional Japanese home.


The back view of YUKISATO Lodge (Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association)

“There’s a pond in the front and back of the lodge that's been made by snow melting off the rooftops. We hope to add a sauna back there using this pond so guests can enjoy an authentic Finland-style sauna,” Mr. Tsukada revealed. The lodge plans to add several new services for guests to enjoy their stay even more.

Stunning Views Reserved for Guests


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

From dormitories to family-style rooms, there are four types of guest rooms on the second floor. The interior and facilities in each room are different. This enables guests to choose rooms based on their preference and number of people in their group.


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

But the view from the guest rooms is what will get lodgers excited! That's because they have a panoramic view of the snowmobile field visible from the large windows. Gaze at the snowy scenery as it slowly shifts, and you might catch a mountain fox dashing across the land.

Mr. Tsukada commented, "Nature is often quiet, so try listening carefully to the sounds of snow being trodden on and the cries of the animals. The starry sky at night is also absolutely beautiful!"

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, these fleeting moments of listening to the stillness of nature will guide you to inner peace.

The YUKISATO Community Connects Snow Lovers from All Around the World

Mr. Tsukada moved to Niigata from Tokyo in 2016.

"The Tohoku Earthquake made me reconsider life in the city. That's when I decided to work closer to nature so I could ski and snowboard. I also wanted to share the appeal of this snowy region. I told myself I was going to make that life a reality." Mr. Tsukada now works to share the features that made him call this place home.


A photo with the workshop members in front of YUKISATO Lab (Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association)

Okazawa currently has three hubs for snow activities. Workshops and events are held at YUKISATO Lodge, YUKISATO Base, and YUKISATO Lab.

While having fun in the snow, stay at this accommodation that feels just like your second home and learn about local culture. Mr. Tsukada shared his passion and hope that more people would discover the charm and appeal of this snowy region through their visit.


A workshop held at YUKISATO (Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association)

Mr. Tsukada told us, "We plan all types of events every season! For example, we hold workshops using the wood we cut from the forest. We also have a harvesting tour where we travel to nearby farms in the snowmobile field to taste freshly harvested rice."

Some guests have even moved to Okazawa after being charmed by their experience with YUKISATO.

Stroll the Roads and Grow Enchanted with Joetsu-Myoko


Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

Joetsu-Myoko is popular not only for its rich nature. It also has the nation's top powder snow and is easily accessible, with little distance between the ski slope and the city, and is the best place for those yearning to visit several ski slopes. It's great for those who want to ski and snowboard all day.

The closest ski resort from YUKISATO Lodge is just an eight-minute drive away. It's so close that you can see the slopes from the guest rooms. There are nine other ski resorts about a 30-minute drive from the lodge.

Make YUKISATO Lodge your travel hub to get a taste of skiing, hot springs, and local food!

Spend All Day at Akakura Onsen

Akakura Onsen

Akakura Onsen, located about thirty minutes by car from YUKISATO Lodge, is a hot spring town with a fun and traditional Japanese flair. The town has plenty of hot springs you can try on a day trip, restaurants, and bars. It’s also right next to two ski resorts! As a result, the area tends to get crowded with international visitors.


Yukibancho Rentals, a ski and snowboard rental shop owned by YUKISATO, is also in this hot spring town. You won’t have to worry about coming without any winter sports equipment after you visit this store.


The shop has a tasteful selection of items, making it fun to test them around the ski slopes! Some of the employees are from countries like New Zealand and Taiwan, so English assistance at the shop is flawless.

YUKIBANCHO RENTALS (Myoko Ski / Snowboard / Backcountry Gear Rentals Shop)

View Map & Details

Ichigoan Soba Restaurant: Enjoy Nature’s Bounty


The Okada Family runs Ichigoan

Ichigoan, located ten minutes on foot from YUKISATO Lodge, is a soba noodle shop started by the Okadas after being smitten by the beauty of local nature. Many fans come to visit from far distances in search of the fabulous flavor of their noodle dishes.

Ichigoan Soba Noodle

The homemade soba noodles at Ichigoan are made by grinding buckwheat seeds grown at the base of Mount Myoko with a stone mill. The noodles are packed with high-quality flavor! You should definitely order the Picked Wildflower Tempura and Soba Noodle Set (1,500 yen with tax).

Ichigoan Soba Noodle Sansai

The wildflowers were handpicked by Mrs. Okada with her expertise. The set is served with snow camellia and giant butterbur (fuki) that look beautiful together and represent the spring flavors of Japan.

As the shop is visited by many international customers, menus are printed with pictures and English text.

Ichigoan Soba Restaurant

View Map & Details

Access to YUKISATO Lodge

We recommend taking the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo, then alighting at Joetsumyoko Station to travel to YUKISATO Lodge. The ride takes about two hours.

It will then be a 20-minute drive from Joetsumyoko Station to YUKISATO Lodge. The lodge will send a car to pick you up if arrangements are made during your reservation. If you're able to drive, it would also be a great idea to rent a car. There are multiple car rental shops around Joetsumyoko Station. It's also a convenient spot for switching between driving and public transportation.

A Lodge You’ll Want to Stay More than Once

Visit YUKISATO Lodge to ride snowmobiles and experience life in a region blanketed by snow. You'll be simply enchanted with the snow and all the local winter phenomena.

Yukisato Cherry Blossoms

Picture courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

"If you like it here in the winter, please try visiting during a different season next time. The cherry blossoms will be in bloom come spring, or you can swim at the beaches in the summer. This area has completely different charms each season," Mr. Tsukada exclaimed with a confident smile.

YUKISATO Lodge will be a place you'll want to visit over and over again. Make this lodge your second home for snow adventures in Niigata.

YUKISATO Lodge Official Website:

Sponsored by Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association
Main image courtesy of Yukisato Okazawa Regional Development Association

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The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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