Kanayasan: I Visited the Cradle of Skiing in Japan

In the previous post, I talked about the Japanese ski soup Ski Jiru (スキー汁) and mentioned the place where the art of skiing was first transmitted from abroad.

Specifically, for the first time in 1911, Major Theodor Edler von Lerch from Austria gave ski lessons to Japanese people at Kanayasan (金谷山: Mt. Kanaya) (Google Map) in Joetsu City, Niigata.

And yesterday, I visited the Kanayasan for this blog article, the mountain regarded as the cradle of skiing in Japan.

Kanayasan Ski Area in Joetsu, Niigata

At the street intersection of the foot of Mt. Kanaya, I noticed a signboard showing the direction of the mountain, saying 金谷山スキー場 (Kanayasan Ski Area) is 日本スキー発祥の地 (the cradle of skiing in Japan).

As Kanayasan, or Mt. Kanaya, is very low in altitude, just 145 meters high above sea level, it only takes several minutes to get to the ski area by car through the upward slope from the intersection.

Kanayasan Ski Area in Joetsu Niigata

Driving my car for a while, I arrived at the entrance of the Kanayasan Ski Area 金谷山スキー場.

Unlike every year, as of yesterday (January 24, 2020), there wasn’t any snow there.

When looking back at the opposite side of the ski area, there was a nice view of Joetsu, even though when I visited, it was drizzling.

Memorial Hall

I saw a Western-style white house at the end of the parking lot. It is a memorial hall celebrating the cradle of skiing.


During the summer months, you can enjoy a bobsled ride using the ski lifts installed on the edge of the sight.

Statue of Major Theodor Edler von Lerch

The Statue of Major Theodor Edler von Lerch

On the top of the hill adjacent to the ski area, even now overlooking the city, the bronze statue of Major Theodor Edler von Lerch is standing.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: