|Glorious snow awaits you in Minamiaizu.|
Takatsue has just eight lifts, but over a dozen different runs of varying difficulty, including some amazing tree runs under the lifts. It also has a full terrain park, complete with a massive, full-sized half-pipe. The snow is frequent and fluffy, and it’s a rare day that I don’t get to make some fresh tracks somewhere on the mountain. Everything except the uppermost lift is well shielded from the wind, so even in the worst of weather you’ll still have a great time. Best of all, if you don’t feel like braving the icy and snowy roads (or don’t have a car equipped to handle it), Takatsue actually offers a free “park and ride” shuttle bus service, from Nasushiobara’s “Nasu Garden Outlet”.
|There's always some fresh powder on Takatsue.|
Daikura, on the other hand, is even smaller than Takatsue, with just five lifts and 11 runs. However, it is one of the cheapest ski resorts in the area, at just 3,900 yen for the same kind of discount lunch ticket that Takatsue offers. It’s also ever-so-slightly closer: about an hour and 20 minutes from Nasushiobara station. Advanced skiers and snowboarders won’t find too much to do here, with only three, relatively short black runs, and no real tree runs to speak of, but beginners and intermediates should have a blast experiencing the same kind of famous Japanese powder snow that all its big resorts are known for around the world. Ski and snowboard hire will set you back 3,000/3,800 yen respectively for a set.
|The views from Daikura's summit are just astonishing.|
So whether you’re a powderhound who’s sick of having to share the slopes of Hakuba and Niseko with a million other foreigners, or a local in the Kanto area who is just looking to get in a bit of skiing, next time you think skiing or snowboarding, think Fukushima, and its unspoiled snowsports paradises.