Nagano Japan – Areas / Resorts

Nagano Japan is home to a huge number of incredible ski resorts and should be on everyone’s list of places to ski! Find all you need to know about Nagano and it’s resort/ski areas including Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen.

While our focus is on resorts in Nagano Japan has so many amazing skifields – a lot of them within easy reach. These include Myoko Kogen (in Niigata, near the Nagano border) and Tenjin Daira (in Gunma, a short drive from adventure capital Minakami).

Also included is a quick guide to Tokyo for those enjoying a stopover in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

About Nagano Japan

nagano japan - nagano prefectureNagano Prefecture

This mountainous region in the center of Japan’s Honshu Island hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics with events at several ski fields including Hakuba’s Happo-one, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen. The snowiest areas receive 10m+ of snow each winter, with some storms bringing easily more than a meter overnight.

nagano japan - zenkoji templeNagano City

A convenient access hub for all the ski areas. Nagano City is also the home of Zenkoji Temple, one of the most-important and most-visited temples in Japan. It takes only 1 1/2 hours on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo or around 4 hours by bus/car from Narita Airport. Trains and buses depart regularly for the nearby resorts.

Ski Areas in Nagano Japan

nagano japan - hakuba bird's eye viewHakuba

A truly stunning alpine backdrop, record snowfall, more than 10 resorts spanning the valley, extensive accommodation options, great ski schools and backcountry, and fantastic infrastructure. Hakuba is a true mecca for snow enthusiasts with so many options all within such a short distance.

nozawa onsen - bird's eye viewNozawa Onsen

The “dream” Japanese ski holiday. Nozawa is a compact village with many ryokan, onsen throughout the town, and a huge ski resort with 50km+ of trails including awesome tree skiing. Nozawa has a long ski history and was the first area in Japan to install ski lifts. Nozawa is also the home of the famous Dosojin Fire Festival.

nagano japan - shiga kogen bird's eye viewShiga Kogen

The largest ski area in Honshu, possibly in all of Japan. Made up of 21 different ski resorts the area is largely linked by a comprehensive one-pass lift system and the slopes themselves. Just to ski all the runs would take several days. The ability to explore the many villages on skis or a snowboard likens it to a European resort on a smaller scale.

Ski Areas Near Nagano Japan

myoko kyogen ski area section Myoko Kogen

Myoko develops a solid base topped up by incredible snowfalls. The trees are managed and fair game. Incredible skiing, authentic towns, funky small bars and restaurants, and a range of places to stay. Great groomers, powder in abundance, off-piste, backcountry options…many have called it the one of best places to ski in Japan.


Tenjin is not a place to spend a week with your family. But if you want a different experience not far from Gunma’s Minakami, this could be the trip you hoped for. Access to the resort is via a ropeway; provided good conditions and that you have strong avalanche safety skills, tools and friends with the same, the side-country here is incredible.

Quick Guide to Tokyo

tokyo - shibuya scramble crossingTokyo

Tokyo isn’t a mandatory stop on a ski trip to Japan so a lot of people miss it. Anyone who visits Japan should experience modernity mashed with history in the most populated metropolis in the world. A huge range of sites, bars, restaurants and shops await, not to mention a kaleidoscope of people. Love it or loathe it, you’ll never forget it.

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