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Gorgeous vistas only 100% all natural snow can provide! Here’s why skiers from all over the world are singing the praises of Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort

# Ski & snowboard
December 23, 2019
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort, located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, covers 293 hectares of land and boasts huge ski slopes that allow for a maximum of 10 kilometers of skiing per run, making it one of the premier ski resorts in the whole country. Since opening for business in 1924, the resort has enjoyed large numbers of skiers, both from Japan and abroad, all entranced by the amazing slopes that only the rich natural beauty of Nagano can provide. The resort has hosted a large number of skiing competitions in the past as well - and upon visiting one might see why it has become such a trustworthy choice when it comes to skiing. By now, the resort’s reputation and popularity are firmly rooted, and recently the resort has enjoyed extremely high praise from skiers hailing from outside of Japan. So, let’s take an in-depth look at just what makes Nozawa Onsen such an attractive place to visit.

Renown among skiers looking for the best quality snow

Skiers enjoying the top-quality snow

“100% All Natural Snow” is no exaggeration; Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’s reputation for excellent skiing conditions is firmly established: it’s even secured a fan base of skiers who make a point of coming year-after-year to get a taste of that delicious Nozawa powder snow!

With a heavy amount of snowfall over the course of the season, another point in Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’s favor is that its season is quite long. Though skiers can enjoy skiing up into May, for those looking to experience the best possible conditions, we recommend hitting the slopes during the peak season between December and February.

Ski to your heart’s content on huge courses

The Nozawa plateau’s enormous ski slopes

Nozawa Onsen’s slopes feature an abundance of courses. With a total of 36 courses on offer, everyone from beginners to experts can find something to suit their skill level. Featuring a large amount of gradually sloping open areas, it’s a perfect place for getting in some practice. The Uenotaira and Hikage slopes feature a large amount of flat areas, making them easily accessible. These slopes are perfect for novice skiers.

Though popular courses can become congested at certain times of day, with a resort as enormous as this, you’ll never be at a loss when looking for somewhere to ski. We especially recommend the Mizunashi and Yunomine courses. Countless online commenters say that, “Even during peak hours, it was still pretty empty,” and, “Not crowded at all, I could ski to my heart’s content.”

A family enjoying their skiing at Nozawa Onsen

With plenty of other courses, all brimming with their own individual charms, be sure to explore them all and find runs that suit you. For those who don’t like going all over the mountain or don’t want to get caught up in gondola lines, we recommend plans that let you practice over-and-over on thinly populated runs.

Plenty of difficult courses on offer for advanced skiers

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’s expert courses

One of Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’s most famous spots is the Skyline Course, a set of steep incline courses that overlook the vast expanse of snowy mountains. Many praise the gorgeous view from the start of the course near the peak as spectacular, and one run down this course will definitely have you hooked.

However, these courses are rather narrow with steep inclines that stretch on for long distances, so for those of you who don’t like lots of turning, we would recommend staying away from this course. In terms of difficulty, you’d have to be at least around intermediate level to take it on. For those confident in their skills, we definitely recommend checking this course out.

Enjoy the local flavor of the town, filled with plenty of Japanese-style lodges and guest houses

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’s lodging areas

While there are no hotels located conveniently around the base of the mountain, Nozawa Onsen offers plenty of accommodation options, with long-standing lodges and guest houses a plenty. The atmosphere here is much different than a typical hotel built at a touristy spot: here it’s much more “at home” and “relaxed.” Visitors can enjoy not just hitting the slopes, but wandering around the mountain town and getting to know the locals.

Nozawa Onsen is one of the most prominent onsen towns in Japan, but many of the lodging facilities only offer normal baths for guests to enjoy. For this reason, once checked in, many people opt to first wander around and check out all the different onsen on offer to relax after their journey to the ski resort. After you’ve warmed your bones in a relaxing onsen bath, you might be ready to get back out there and see what else the town has to offer!

With plenty of Japanese-style lodges and guest houses on offer, Nozawa Onsen offers a much more cozy lodging experience than your typical hotels would. Visitors can enjoy not just hitting the slopes, but wandering around the mountain town and getting to know the locals as well. Though there are many lodges that do not offer onsen services, typical plans offer the chance to drop your bags off and then wander around and enjoy the other onsen open to the public.

Be careful of the distance to the slopes when making accommodation reservations!

We recommend checking the distance from the lodge to the slopes when planning your accommodations. If you accidently pick a lodge that is far from the slopes, then you’ll have to hoof it with your skis up to the mountain.

For those who want to avoid the hassle of lugging their gear around, we recommend either making reservations at a lodge close to the Nagasaka Gondola or close to Yu-road, a handy moving walkway that takes you and your gear right up to the Hikage ski slopes.

Slope-side dining offers plenty of options

Restaurants a-plenty on the slopes

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort offers a plethora of slope-side dining options, with over 30 places to eat and drink. Take your pick of cuisine, from traditional Japanese to authentic Italian! With so many options on offer, you may find yourself having a hard time deciding what to eat.

Especially popular is Utopia’s ramen noodles and Panorama House Buna’s curry and Hutte Popeye lunch sets. With restaurants spread all throughout the courses, even at peak skiing hours, there’s never too much of a crowd. The fact that you don’t need to wait in long lines or fight for seats is one point that puts Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort above the rest.

Come experience the best snow mainland Japan has to offer!

Skiers speeding down the slopes

Aside from the peaks of Hokkaido to the north, Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort could be said to be the best that mainland Japan has to offer in terms of high-quality slopes. If there is anything negative to say about the area, it might be the lack of clear skies: whether or not skiers get absolutely peak conditions is dependent on the weather. This is one point that visitors need to keep in mind if they are thinking about hitting the slopes in Nozawa Onsen.

Regardless, this is one place where those really looking to ski all day long and give the slopes their all can really enjoy themselves.

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort continues to hone its reputation for sinking its hooks into skiers and snowboarders, making them want to come back year-after-year. Come and enjoy the best snow that Nagano Prefecture has to offer!

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

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