After checking the snowfall prediction map on snow-forecast.com, Rob and I decided to continue north and ski Tainai several hours away. This resort or any of its neighbors was mentioned on powderhounds, so we spent an agonizing hour Google translating the multitude of ski resort webpages. Tainai looked like there largest of the options.
En route, we made a brief stop at a rice cracker factory that I found on trip advisor, the Senbei Okoku Rice Cracker Factory.
We sampled tons of rice cracker varieties then bought a bunch off of there seconds rack with unknown flavors. If you’re not cheap like us, you can try decorating and roasting your own rice crackers.
Arriving at Tainai, it was puking snow. As it was 2 pm, folks were leaving. One gave Rob his lift ticket, so Rob skied while I caught up on my Japanese lessons in the lodge and listened to the J-pop blasting over the lodge speakers.
It continued to snow overnight, so we stayed nearby to ski the next day. We considered hitting up Shibataninoji NINOX for some variety, but it was even smaller, more expensive and park-focused. Instead, we returned to Tainai and purchased their 4 hire package deal with lunch and onsen for the same price as two half day tickets to the other place.
Unfortunately, when we took the chair up, we realized that they groomed all the powder on most of the slopes. :(. Then we got ourselves yelled at for skiing in the powder slightly off-piste/in the lift line. All there trees that looked somewhat accessible to pack based on the map were actually out of reach. After a few hours of fast groomers and laps down the couple ungroomed runs (may or may not have been closed), we packed it in for our lunch.
We did at least get to use the onsen at this fancy hotel nearby before continuing north toward our next destination Yamagata Zao Onsen.
Tainai has great snow, but the terrain suits beginner and intermediate skiers/boarders better. Powder poaching options are limited and the chairs are old and slow two-mans (apparently the Japanese call these romance chairs).