- Reliable snowfall and crowd-free slopes
- Large lift-serviced inbounds tree skiing zone
- Beginner runs on lower and upper sections of the mountain
- Authentic Onsen (hot springs) village
- Skiing the powder stashes between slopes is technically not allowed
- Need to speed up to cross flat spots
- Windhold can shut down some lifts
- On-mountain slopeside restaurants can get very busy
Fan of face shots? Nozawa Onsen has got the goods. Regularly receiving more than 33 ft of light and fluffy powder every winter season, it’s a dream destination for any self-respecting powder hound. A place of ancient splendor, Nozawa Onsen is one of the oldest ski resorts in Japan, home to 734 ac of spectacular ski terrain, bundles of breathtaking backcountry, and an abundance of soothing hot spring onsens. Add to this the village’s truly authentic Japanese atmosphere and you’ve got yourself a ski trip quite unlike any other.
December and January
Narita International Airport
Nozawa Onsen (6 hours)
Base of Hikage (Walk)
- Closest to ski area with the most lifts and trails
- Furthest from village center, 20-30 minutes walk
- Has a few true ski-in/ski-out lodgings
Base of Nagasaka (Walk)
- Closest to the center of town, 10 minute walk
- Most convenient for those who want to be near the slopes and the village
- Home to The Craft Room, our pick for straight off the slopes après ski
Base of Karasawa (Walk)
- Quieter area on the outskirts of the village
- 10 minute walk from the main street
- Some accommodation close to lifts
Nozawa Onsen Village (0.50-1 mi)
- Dining and entertainment hub
- Cheaper accommodation than bases
- Range of lodging and AirBnb rentals
Beginners will be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to ski with suitable mellow terrain across the resort! The Hikage ski area is a good place to start as there are tons of easy rolling greens including Rinkan, a wide open 3 mi trail which happens to be the longest run in the resort!
Yamabiko is the ultimate ski area for intermediates with red (blue equivalent) only runs here! Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy some of the best mountaintop views while shredding the slopes up here, including one of our favorites Yamabiko A which has some pretty steep sections and moguls!
Nozawa Onsen lacks any form of expert terrain but advanced skiers and snowboarders won't be disappointed here. On-piste, the Challenge 39° Kabe (an ungroomed trail with a 39-degree pitch) and the Skyline Course are some of the best steep stuff here. The real action, however, is in the off-piste tree terrain in the Yamabiko area as well as the backcountry terrain which serves up all the face shots!
Besides the endless exceptional powder in the backcountry terrain on the backside of the mountain, fresh snow can also be found between the off-piste tree terrain in the Yamabiko area, between the trees and in the side-country off the Skyline course.
Ditch the crowds
The Hikage Gondola and Nagasaka Gondola has the worst of the worst lift queues in the morning so hop aboard other chairlifts until the lines die down. During peak season you'll want to avoid Nagasaka Gondola, Paradise Four and the Yamabiko Four chairlift.
With almost thirty hot springs to choose from non-skiers can soak it all up in Nozawa Onsen and embrace the traditional Japanese culture that still oozes around this authentic village. Or take a day trip to the must-see Jigokudani Monkey Park!
The mellow terrain at the Hikage ski area is the best place for families to ski and snowboard together. The Kid's Park at the Hikage base area is also perfect for families with little ones featuring fun inflatable obstacles and a tubing area!
|Nozawa Onsen||Akakura Kanko|
|beginner||40 %||40 %|
|intermediate||30 %||30 %|
|advanced||30 %||30 %|
|child lift ticket||¥2,200 JPY ($20 USD)||¥3,000 JPY ($27 USD)|
|adult lift ticket||¥4,800 JPY ($43 USD)||¥4,300 JPY ($38 USD)|
|value for money|
|average total snowfall||280″||-|