Snow Paradise NAGANO

Steady snowfall and an abundance of ski resorts

Nagano Prefecture is located in central Japan and is surrounded by high mountains known as the Japanese Alps. There are many locations in the prefecture that are perfect for ski resorts and so there are about eighty ski resorts here due to its having some of the largest amounts of snowfall in Japan. One of the reasons why it was chosen as the site for the Nagano Olympics in 1998 includes its various ski resorts with their fine snow, stable snowfall, broadness in area, and landscape.

Children playing on sleds at a kids’ park at a ski resort in Nagano Prefecture.

If you go to an actual ski resort, you will find various courses with the perfect level of difficulty for you ranging from gentle wide slopes for families to courses with steep slopes for experts, medium-distance courses that let you ski for a long time, and kids’ parks where children can enjoy riding on sleds. A feature of many ski resorts in Nagano Prefecture is that the courses set up at the wide bases of mountains where there is plenty of space.

And of course, there are plenty of courses for experts as well as skiing classes. There are even many ski resorts with kickers, boxes, and rails for performing air tricks on skis and snowboards. Statuses on deposited snow and snowfall as well as warnings may easily change so please be sure to check weather conditions ahead of time, check for information on the websites of where you are visiting, and constantly be up to day with the latest news even after you arrive.

With great snow and courses! The representative snowy resorts of Japan.

The snowy resorts of Shiga Kogen area and Hakuba area are becoming very popular in Nagano Prefecture. Each have over ten unique ski areas, let you go to the ski resort of your choosing from the town you stay in, and offer common tickets.

Shiga Kogen Ski Resort (with 19 large and small ski areas)

Ski resort map
Kasagatake and the Northern Alps as seen from the top of Mount Yokote (2,305 meters / 7,562 feet above sea level) at the Shiga Kogen Ski Resort
Kasagatake and the mountain range straight ahead as seen from the top of Mount Yokote (2,305 meters / 7,562 feet above sea level)

Featuring Japan’s largest ski area spreading 425 acres out with 19 large and small ski resorts and 52 chair-lifts. You can enjoy all of the ski resorts throughout the mountains with one common lift ticket that also lets you board shuttle busses that take you to ski resorts and hotels for free.

The central zone has easy access to locations such as the family-oriented Ichinose area, the unique Shiga Kogen Giant Ski Resort where the giant slalom was performed during the Ski World Cup, and the Nishitateyama Ski Resort. The Okushiga area is for those who would like to spend a time of rest and relaxation. It is known for its quiet and luxurious environment and great snow due to its low temperatures. The Mount Yakebitai zone and Mount Yokote zone offer pleasant views. The view from the top of Mount Yokote 2,305 meters (about 7,562 feet) above sea level is particularly wide and exhilarating.

Hakuba Valley

Powder riding on fresh snow can be enjoyed at the upper parts of Hakuba Happo-one Ski Resort.
Powder riding on fresh snow can be enjoyed at the upper parts of Hakuba Happo-one Ski Resort.

Hakuba Valley has 11 ski resorts at the base of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) above sea level – class mountains. A common ticket can be purchased to board all lifts and gondolas. They can let you enjoy skiing and snowboarding at a ski resort with the perfect level of difficulty for you.

Places such as Hakuba Sanosaka Ski Resort and Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort are good for beginners and families with small children as they have gentle slopes. In contrast, places like Hakuba Happo-one Ski Resort and Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort offer skiing on fresh snow while taking in beautiful scenery. You can also enjoy the feeling of the fresh snow depending on its condition. The extremely popular HAKUBA47 Winter Sports Park has features such as a full-scale halfpipe and kicker where you can practice doing snowboard tricks.

Enjoying skiing and snowboarding in beautiful scenery.

There are activities that you can enjoy precisely because you have on skis or a snowboard. One of them is taking in beautiful scenery from a snowy mountain.

Ryuoo Ski Park

A beautiful view from the top of the Ryuoo Ropeway at 1,930 meters (6,332 feet) above sea level
A beautiful view from the top of the Ryuoo Ropeway at 1,930 meters (6,332 feet) above sea level

Towards the top of the Ryuoo Ropeway at 1,770 meters (5,807 feet) above sea level is the “SORA terrace”, which lets commands a beautiful view from up in the sky and is known as a scenic spot that can be enjoyed all throughout the year. You can even go higher up to 1,930 meters (6,332 feet) above sea level on a chair-lift in the winter. You can feel as if you are sliding into a sea of clouds from the peak of Mount Ryuoo because the sky is often clear even on days with bad weather since you are above the clouds. A huge panoramic view that spreads about 20 kilometers (12 miles) out awaits you on clear days. A long course that runs up to 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) due to differences in elevation is also appealing.

Sugadaira Ski Resort

A beautiful view on a Tour of Mount Neko by SNOW CAT
A beautiful view on a Tour of Mount Neko by SNOW CAT

A snowy resort consisting of 12 ski resorts on mainly three mountains. The scenery that reminds previous visitors of the Swiss resort town of Davos located at the base of mountains is appealing.

There is also a special experience you can enjoy where you a take tour up to near the peak of Mount Neko by a snowmobile known as the ” Tour of Mount by SNOW CAT”. The scenery from an altitude of 2,207 meters (724 feet) is magnificent. The surrounding area is dotted with trees with soft rime, and this beautiful scenery can be seen all the way to the mountain range of the Northern Alps with their cluster of summits that runs through Nagano Prefecture. And of course, you can ski or snowboard on your way back down and enjoy the powdery snow to your heart’s content!

A snowy resort with plenty of attractions besides ski resorts

In addition to fully enjoying skiing and snowboarding, there are plenty of other things to experience! Here is a snowy resort for those who would like to do so.

Karuizawa Prince Snow Resorts

A grand winter paradise with outlets, a hotel, and a ski resort
A grand winter paradise with outlets, a hotel, and a ski resort

Just 1 hour by Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station. Karuizawa Prince Snow Resorts, which is located right by JR Karuizawa Station, is a snowy resort where you can enjoy everything from a hotel to hot springs, shopping, and a post station along a former highway. It is also open every year from early November even if there is no snowfall because there are 195 snow-falling machines that spray compressed air and water into the air so as to freeze them and 8 snow-making machines that scrape ice into fine particles. It is known not only in Nagano Prefecture but also throughout the island of Honshu as a ski resort that opens early in the winter.

The hotel offers hot spring baths with high-quality water so you can slowly relax after your trip or long day of playing in the snow. Spreading out in front of the hotel is an outlet mall that is easily accessible. Visitors can freely enjoy their shopping without having to worry about their baggage.

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort

The Ogama hot spring - a natural monument at Nozawa Onsen
The Ogama hot spring – a natural monument at Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is recommended for those who want to experience Japanese culture more when they are not skiing or snowboarding. It has long been famous for its hot springs and the hot springs town has developed over a period of hundreds of years. One of the attractions is the 13 public bathhouses known as “sotoyu”, which are managed by the local residents outside the hotel. They can all be enjoyed at low fees and visiting various sotoyu bathhouses is a popular activity as they offer different kinds of water at different temperatures.

It has become a hot springs town where tradition and modern times have come together as young people have been opening up bars and izakayas so people of all ages can enjoy their time here in their own ways.

Nagano Prefecture has many snowy resorts with fine snow and various kinds of courses. Please be sure to enjoy skiing or showboarding in Nagano Prefecture if you plan on visiting Japan in winter.