This blog is basically written with one person in mind, but occasionally I may write an article for families. The topic this time is a slightly irregular way to get to Katsuyama Ski Jam, a ski resort in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture.
Ski trip for a family of 4…How to go to Ski Jam Katsuyama by staying at Fukui Station
Katsuyama Ski Jam has a hotel called “Hotel Harvest Ski Jam Katsuyama” attached to it, and staying here is the best option, especially for families. This year, however, the hotel is fully booked on weekends until the end of March…I heard that this year there is not enough snow to ski at the surrounding ski resorts, so skiers are concentrated in Katsuyama.
So we had to find another hotel. Katsuyama is not a city with many hotels. After much searching, we decided to stay overnight at JR Fukui Station and take a direct bus to the Katsuyama Ski Jam in the morning.
Fukui Plaza Hotel｜Conveniently located 1 minute walk from Fukui Station! Rooms are small, but no problem if you just want to sleep.
The area around JR Fukui Station was a calm town with few commercial facilities despite the fact that it is the prefectural capital.
The hotel we stayed at that day was a one-minute walk from the west exit of Fukui Station. The Fukui Plaza Hotel can be seen almost directly in front of the hotel after exiting the station.
The hotel is cozy and somehow retains the atmosphere of the Showa period. The front desk is staffed by a man and woman who seem to be a couple and their mother. The front desk was staffed by a man and woman, who appeared to be a couple, and their mother, who took turns serving guests.
The room we were shown was this one…
As you can see, the basic structure is a normal business hotel. The room has three single beds plus an extra bed by the window. There is a small desk to the left of the extra bed, although it is not shown in the photo. This is 24,800 yen per night for an overnight stay with no meal.
With a family of four, there is only space left for walking except for the beds, but it is not bad if you consider it as a relay point for just sleeping. It is conveniently located near the station, and there are three or four convenience stores within a five-minute walk, so there is no need to worry about buying lunch boxes or snacks.
Keifuku Bus operates a direct bus to Ski Jam Katsuyama… What was the most difficult part of your 2-day/1-night trip?
Now, the problem is how to get to the ski resort from here. If you have your own car, there is no problem, but if you arrive in Fukui by train, it is a bit of a headache.
The first way is to take a local train called “Echizen Railway” to Katsuyama, and you will see Fukui Station of Echizen Railway on your left when you exit the East Exit of JR Fukui Station. It takes about one hour from Fukui Station to Katsuyama Station. There are trains available early in the morning, so getting to Katsuyama Station is not a problem.
The problem is what comes next. As far as we can tell, there is no public transportation from Katsuyama Station to the ski jam. A shuttle bus comes regularly, but only guests staying at the Hotel Harvest are allowed to ride it.
According to Google Maps, it takes about 20 minutes by car from Katsuyama Station on the Echizen Railway to the ski jam. If you are lucky enough to catch a cab, but if not, you will be stuck waiting at the station for a long time.
Another option is to take the direct bus operated by Keifuku Bus from JR Fukui Station (2,000 yen one way for adults, no round-trip discount). This is the way our family went to the ski jam this time. The round-trip fare with lift ticket (6,000 yen for adults and 4,000 yen for children) was cheaper, and there was a discount for a parent-child package (9,900 yen for round-trip bus + lift ticket), which was nice, but….
But let’s be frank. The only thing I am not happy about this bus is…
You can’t reserve a seat even though it’s ticketed.
I don’t think you’ll understand what I’m complaining about if you read just this, so I’ll explain now.
If you visit the Keifuku Bus website, you will find the following information on the page for the direct bus to Ski Jam Katsuyama…
- No advance reservations accepted
- Seats are limited, so if seats are full, you will not be allowed to board.
As a person coming from far away, you don’t want to waste your trip, so you want to make as many reservations as possible to make the trip go as smoothly as possible, don’t you? First of all, it would be a shame if that were not possible. Then you think, “How can I make sure I can get on the bus? And then you think, “How can I make sure I can get on the bus?
Continuing to read the Web site, it says, “You must buy a ticket to ride this bus. Then, why don’t I get in line early in the morning and hold the ticket? My mind comes up with a countermeasure.
Then, I should look for a ticket office so that I can come first thing in the morning…. But nowhere on the website (at least at the time of writing this article) does it say where the ticket office is located. When we arrived in Fukui, we asked the hotel staff and the convenience store staff at the station, but they said they didn’t know where the ticket office was… After going this way and that way, and wandering around with the whole family, we found that the office was located inside the Echizen Railway station. If you are planning to take the Keifuku bus to the ski jam in the future, please keep this in mind.
Well, the next morning…I leave the hotel at 6:20 AM to buy bus tickets for my family of four. The office opens at 6:40 a.m., and there were already a few customers waiting in the waiting room.
The ticket office opened at 6:40 and I was able to get tickets for my family of four. However, the receptionist told me that just because I could buy tickets did not mean I could take the bus of my choice. The buses are allocated in the order of the first person in line at the bus stop.
I honestly wonder how this system works. If the bus has a capacity of 40 people and 50 people show up, do they sell tickets to all 50? And are they going to bash out the 10 people who couldn’t get on the bus, saying, “It’s on the website, isn’t it?
If this office is the only one that sells bus tickets, it should be easy enough to at least manage the seating. Can’t the bus company at least do that? This bus company’s system, which causes trouble on its own and then puts the blame on the customer, makes me want to tilt my head back in the direction of the bus company. If you are going to go to a ski jam using this bus, you need to understand this kind of situation before making preparations.
By the way, another thing to mention is that credit cards are not accepted to buy tickets. Be sure to have a sufficient amount of cash on hand.
Bus to Ski Jam Katsuyama
- Round-trip ticket for parent and child with ski jam lift ticket: 9,900 yen
- Round trip ticket for adult 4000yen x 2 persons
Ski Jam Katsuyama｜The ski school here has a reputation for speedy progress!
Despite all that happened, our family was able to board the bus to the ski jam without incident. 7:50 a.m. from the east exit of Fukui Station, we arrived at the ski jam at 8:45 a.m.
I looked around the scenery on the bus on the way, and it was true that there was not much snow. As you can see, there was not much snow on the slopes…grass was showing its face on some slopes, and in the afternoon, there were even fewer areas covered with snow.
The main reason our family came here was to have our children learn to ski. We came here last year and liked the instructors’ kindness and their unique advancement system, so we decided to go back this year.
What is the unique advancement system… this school does not give a test during the lesson time. Generally speaking, if you have a 90-minute lesson, the last half hour is used for a test to see if you advance to the next level. However, this school teaches skiing until the end of the lesson, and if you are judged to have reached the standard for advancement, you can advance to the next level by paying the advancement test fee and badge fee afterwards. In other words, it is more efficient than other schools.
Daytime lessons begin at 9:30 a.m. and consist of two morning lessons and one afternoon lesson. To attend the 9:30 a.m. lesson, you must be at the registration desk by 8:40 a.m. or make a reservation in advance. But don’t worry about that, because there is an Internet reservation service. The office closes at 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, so please be careful when making last-minute reservations.
Ski Jam Katsuyama Ski Lesson
- Ski lesson (group) 2 lessons x 2 persons 26,300 yen
- Entrance fee for beginners to the slopes 900yen x 3 people
- Advancement badge fee (Jr Yellow) 3000yen
The Keifuku bus bound for Fukui Station on the return trip leaves from the parking lot next to the Ski Jam Katsuyama Rental Plaza.
So the afternoon ski lesson ends a little after 3:00 p.m. and the kids come back. The return bus for Fukui Station departs at 16:30, so they will have some extra time to return the rented ski equipment, get their advancement badges, and so on.
In addition to the hotel, there are hot springs and a heated swimming pool in this facility, which can be used even by non-guests. In front of the hotel’s front desk, you can also use the Italian café “Irori,” which has a genuine stone oven and is beyond the level of facilities attached to ski resorts. In this open space with a panoramic view of the slopes, it may be a good idea to have some tea time until the bus departs.
The return bus departs from the parking lot next to the Ski Jam Rental Plaza (the same place where you got off the bus). As with the bus to the destination, it is not possible to reserve a seat, so we recommend that you head to the bus stop early to ensure a ride.