Japanese Ski Memorial Museum

印刷用ページを表示する 掲載日:2016年2月1日更新


Hours of Operation

9am - 5pm


Mondays; the day after a national holiday;

29 December - 3 January.

Entrance Charge

Entrance charge


Groups of 20+(per person)

General public



Under 18s



Major Lerch came to Japan from Austria and, in January 1911, gave the first skiing lessons to take place in Japan in Joetsu. This was the start of skiing in Japan. Major Lerch came to Japan with the aim of studying the Japanese army and spent around a year in Takada. The chief of the army's 13th division, Nagaoka Gaishi had a progressive attitude and during this time he eagerly devoted his energy to the ski instruction project. When one considers how skiing is flourishing today as a sport and leisure activity, the foresight of people such as Major Lerch, who passionately strove to make skiing popular, is certainly worthy of praise.

This museum was built to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the birth of skiing in Japan and was opened in April 1992. In order to heighten the appeal of Joetsu, the birthplace of skiing, to the rest of Japan during the Nagano Winter Olympics, the building was enlarged and the exhibits increased, and the refurbished museum was opened in February 1997. It displays precious artifacts from the time that skiing came to Japan as well as some of Major Lerch's favorite possessions. It is visited by many people from outside the prefecture, as well as by local people. Skiing equipment and related materials have been donated by people from all over the country and Major Lerch's family generously donated some of his favorite possessions so our store of exhibits has been greatly enriched. As a result of the refurbishment, the exhibits are now presented thematically and new facilities have been introduced.

In the first area, the Welcome Zone, a life-sized model of Major Lerch greets visitors, inviting them to experience the history of skiing in Japan. In the History Zone, one can learn about the development of skiing from various written materials and actual ski equipment. The Memorial Zone commemorates Major Lerch who brought skiing to Japan from Austria, and displays the desk and chair he used, as well as some watercolor pictures which he painted. There are also artifacts relating to Joetsu's Austrian sister city, Lilienfeld, and to Nagaoka Gaishi, who played a major role in increasing the popularity of skiing. In the Communication Zone, one can look back with nostalgia at old pictures of Mount Kanaya. There is also a ski simulator, where one can experience the fun of skiing.

Skiing is one of the major winter sports and we hope that the Japanese Ski Memorial Museum will continue to go from strength to strength in its mission to teach people about the history of skiing in Japan.

Map of the Area