The indoor ski hill at Sayama at the Seibu Dome is a uniquely Japanese place to learn to ski or snowboard before you hit the big time at a real resort. A short and scenic 20 minute drive from the base gets you to the Seibu Dome. Most of the signage is in Japanese, but I’ve been fine just mumbling and pointing (as usual) to the very friendly and accommodating staff. The best part is that kids under 13 are free. When you arrive, purchase a lift-ticket at the counter and enter through the booth. If you plan to go a few times, the 500 Yen membership card is worth it as Thursdays are “Guys night” for members. The lifts are one-person at a time and easy enough to navigate for kids. For the first time, you can walk up the hill slightly to let your kids try it out before getting on the lift. At the bottom of the hill is a nice sitting area with hot food and drinks available (my favorite part). I’m not sure about coming in as a non-skiing observer, but there is at least one bench on the outside. *Note, if you are considering teaching your kids to ski/board, think twice about whether you really need to do it yet. I’ve seen some dads/kids up there looking pretty miserable (including myself). Also, it means a few years of bunny slopes only. A day at Sayama helps you figure it all out for less. Good luck! Zeke Lyons – December 2017
Open from late October until April
Lift tickets starting at 3100 Yen for four hours (Guy’s night on Thursday for 2000 Yen)
Parking: 1200 Yen
Lockers: 500 Yen (you can change in the parking lot and skip the lockers – you can also leave a bag at the bottom of the slope)
Rentals available, including clothing. At least one English-speaking instructor is available for lessons.