Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen offers some of the country’s best powder snow and adventurous experiences for visitors to revel in. With an average snowfall of 10m a year, the all-natural ‘Japow’ here is slightly heavier than that found on Hokkaido. It’s always the ski-son to be jolly on this side of Nagano Prefecture. Considered by many to be the birthplace of skiing in Japan, this tiny village in the Japanese Alps has churned more Winter Olympians than any other town in all of Japan.

Opened in 1924, the Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, with its modern lifts and gondolas, is an impressive establishment. It houses 40 odd ski slopes and courses, including half pipes, cross-country training facilities, and eight official runs where you can dash through fresh powdered snow. The high-quality powder snow from the mountain’s peak to the bottom of the slopes makes the place thoroughly suitable for long runs. Novices and those rusty can practice on short, easy runs like the Nagasaka course before jumping on a gondola ride for the longer Uenotaira slope. Located at an elevation of 1220m-1410mm, the Uenotaira area also has a snow park and a halfpipe.

On the other hand, the more experienced professionals can head to the Yamabiko area at the top of the mountain for jaw-dropping views of the surrounding peaks. If you’re looking to explore your own, we suggest you grab a copy of the Nozawa Onsen Ski Map: a one-stop resource for all the slopes and lifts found in the vicinity. Did you know that night skiing is also a thing in Nozawa Onsen? Every Saturday, from mid-December through late March, the slope under the Nagasaka Chair lift is lit up for what the locals refer to as “nighta.”

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort Pass Pricing (2021-22 season):

One-day lift pass: ¥5,200 (adults), ¥2,900 (kids), and ¥4,200 (seniors)

Half-day (4 hrs) passes:  ¥4,400 (adults), ¥2,500 (kids), and ¥3,500 (seniors)

Night skiing passes ¥1,900 (adults) and for ¥1,050 (kids)

If you’re a traveler visiting without any gear of your own, renting quality and affordable ski gear has never been easier! The Nozawa Onsen ski rental shop offers the widest range of ski & snowboard hire and retail gear. Apart from catering to adults of different skill levels, the rental shop also boasts a wide range of gear for kids. In case you’re left looking for more, several other ski rentals are scattered around the village central.

For those looking to hone their skills, Staynozawa arranges for qualified and highly seasoned instructors to impart the necessary skills one needs to learn to enjoy skiing or snowboarding.  One need not look any further to find the best of Nozawa Onsen ski lessons and Nozawa Onsen snowboarding lessons. Staynozawa offers several enticing Nozawa Onsen ski packages based on your preferences, comforts, needs, and timings. They also offer an eye-watering 10% discount on ski rental equipment if you book in advance.

The ski season in Nozawa Onsen generally runs from late November through early May. Plan your travel around January and February if you wish to revel in thick layers of snow and fresh powder. However, if your idea is to cut costs and avoid crowds, it would be better to visit in December or late March. Be sure to take part in the festivities of the Winter Light Festival if you’re in town around mid-Jan and mid-March.  Plan your trip around January 15 if you wish to catch one of Japan’s top three fire festivals – the Dosojin Fire Festival! The 300-year-old tradition celebrates childbirth, marriages, good harvest, and health, and has even been expanded to include a great ski season!

During the snow season, the restaurants are usually booked out at night, so making a reservation early in the day would be a good idea. Exploring these restaurants during lunchtime is also great because the crowd is mostly up the mountain skiing. So if you like some quiet meal time, afternoons are best for you.

Accommodations are hard to come by in winter, so it’s best to plan and book well in advance. But just like how you have a choice with the ski slopes, you can also choose any accommodation that suits your budget.

Getting to your accommodation in and around the resort area has never been easier. The Nozawa onsen shuttle is the most convenient, safest, and economical service to and from the Nagano Ski Resort Areas. It brings a wide range of transport suppliers and integrates services to connect with flights, trains, and other shuttles out of its Nagano Station hub.