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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
- Go! Nagano: Official Travel Guide of Nagano Japan
- Wikipedia: Nagano Prefecture
- Trip Advisor: “42 Things to Do in Nagano Japan”
- Lonely Planet: “Introducing Nagano Prefecture”