Think Club Med Japanese style and you have a pretty good idea about what to expect at Naspa New Otani ski garden. The hotel is mostly geared to families and to Japanese speaking families in particular. However, even though we didn't speak a word of Japanese we were able to just about negotiate our way around the resort and found our stay quite enjoyable.
The resort advertisers itself as a family ski resort which is exactly what it is. You will feel comfortable leaving the kids alone to ski on the slopes or join any of the numerous activities they have on offer including learning to ski for the first time through to mogul skiing. The classes however are only in Japanese meaning if you don't speak the local lingo you might get away with joining up for first time ski lessons but would struggle to comprehend advanced ski classes. In the evening there is night skiing and also game rooms to keep the kids entertained throughout the whole day.
The ski resort also offers grownups a reasonably good ski experience with green, blue, black, and expert slopes that offer a reasonable test to average to good skiers but may not fully challenge hardcore types. Still, there are plenty of ski resorts in Yuzawa allowing you to base your stay at Naspa and use the shuttle bus or train to access other resorts in the area.
The property and rooms are tidy and clean and we never found wanting for a ski resort. Each room comes with their own ski locker in the lobby area to store ski gear. The hotel also has a super onsen overlooking the snow covered alps that is free to use for all guests and open 24hours. Wifi is also free throughout the resort.
The resort was crowded when I stayed there and being only an hour and a half by Shinkansen from Tokyo I guess its a popular destination for families to escape the capital but I never once felt boxed-in or disturbed by noisy kids and in fact quite enjoyed hearing and seeing kids running around having a lot of fun.
The resort is not cheap but if you are a family looking for a base to let your kids go off skiing on their own while you look for more challenging slopes then Naspa can't be beat.
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- Also Known As:
- NASPA New Otani Japan/Yuzawa-Machi, Niigata Prefecture