Host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano is home to more than 70 independent and blessed with some of the best powder in the world. Whether you are visiting Nagano for the first time or are a seasoned veteran on Japan’s winters, you’ll probably already know (or now just discovering) that when it comes to fantastic ski resorts, this region has many – and we mean, many!
Here are just a couple of our favorite resorts in Nagano:
Located nearby the Snow Monkey Park and around 70 minutes from JR Nagano Station, Shiga Kogen is not just Nagano’s but also Japan’s largest ski resort. Boasting 79 ski runs interconnected by 51 chairlifts and gondolas, Shiga also lays claim to being Japan’s highest ski resort including the highest chair-lifted ski run rising to 2307 meters at Yokoteyama.
Shiga Kogen’s expansive terrain which includes 5 mountain peaks and intervening valleys, is reminiscent of European resorts and although it is big, it remains less well-known with international visitors, allowing the resort to retain a distinctively Japanese character. Located high about the valley below, Shiga is blessed with the longest season of any Nagano resort and has a serious claim to having the best powder.
Shiga is a Snow Monkey Resorts favorite and always our recommendation when looking for the best resort in Nagano!
Also located around 70 minutes from JR Nagano Station and 50 minutes from the Snow Monkey Park, Nozawa Onsen is now well-established as a favorite resort for many international visitors. Notably smaller than Shiga Kogen, Nozawa’s 35 ski runs and 20 chairlifts and gondolas still provide plenty of entertainment, with the terrain and lift setup particularly appealing to snowboarders.
But it’s Nozawa’s village, found just below the main ski runs and gondolas, which is a big part of the resorts appeal. With lots of bars and restaurants, Nozawa is always lively and popular with a younger crowd. If you want to experience Nozawa at its most rowdy make sure to be there on January 15th, when the town celebrates it yearly Fire Festival – a sight to behold.
Just over the valley from Nozawa Onsen – and within 60 minutes of JR Nagano Station and 50 minutes of the Snow Monkey Park – Madarao is a small resort known for one thing – powder. Although small, with only 30 ski runs, Madarao is all about the powder and unlike many other Japanese resorts which restrict or prohibit backcountry, Madarao actively promotes it with plenty of tree runs and powder bowls making Madarao increasingly popular.
Madarao backs on to the smaller Tangram Ski Circus, making the overall skiable area a decent size and well setup for families. Although Madarao won’t keep you entertained for days on end it’s definitely worth discovering and tasting a little of what the locals call, Japow!
Compromised of several resorts – the main five including Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Myoko Suginohara, Ikenotaira Onsen and Seki Onsen – the area collectively known as Myoko Kogen is located approximately 60 minutes from JR Nagano Station and 50 minutes from the Snow Monkey Park. Long considered a well-kept secret amongst seasoned veterans, Myoko has now burst onto the scene and home to the newest “must-do” ski fields in Nagano.
Myoko receives a massive amount of snow, with some resorts claiming up to 18 meters each season in what can only be described as powder heaven. Less developed than other resorts and with a much more liberal approach to backcountry, Myoko is massively popular with advanced skiers and snowboarders willing to go the extra distance for those ultimate powder days. But Myoko won’t stay like this for long with recent opening of the luxurious Lotte Arai resort heralding a new dawn for Myoko, as lots of new businesses and development promise to really open-up the region.
Located approximately 1 hour from JR Nagano Station and just under 2 hours from the Snow Monkey Park, the resorts of Hakuba are without doubt the best known and most international in Nagano. With resorts including Hakuba Happo-one, Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47, Iwatake, and Cortina, the valley is a destination to itself and set against the stunning backdrop of the Northern Alps.
The resorts a well setup for international visitors with a wealth of accommodation options and English-language services; and much like Nozawa Onsen, Hakuba has a reputation built on the quality of its après, as much as the quality of its snow. In short, both are excellent and the reason the crowds – and we mean crowds – have been coming to Hakuba for years.
Why choose just one when you can choose them all!?
Choosing which resort to visit while in Nagano can be tricky. Each has its own appeal and all offer excellent reasons to visit! With many operating shuttle buses from major transport hubs in Nagano and further afield, getting to each is pretty straightforward. But once there, moving between the resorts can prove a little harder without the ease of a shinkansen line or express bus between them.
A charter with us is the easiest way to create your own multi-resort tour itinerary – one that allows you to get the absolute out of your time in Nagano this winter!
Locally-based and operating all year round, Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No1. Tour and charter operator. With a fleet of vehicles suitable from small groups – from a single traveler, couples, group of friends or family – to large expeditions – of up to 44 passengers – we are here to get you to and from the resorts of your choice with minimal hassle, maximum comfort, and timely service.
All of our vehicles and drivers are properly registered and accredited, and being locally-based we offer the most reliable service based on local know-how. Charters are fully customizable to your needs are can be arranged to include pick-up and drop-off directly at your accommodation or ski resorts of choice, luggage transportation, and other activities as you move from one point to the next.
Most popularly, we can coordinate your charter to include a stop at the world-famous Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park (including entry tickets and lunch if preferred) or any other nearby attraction, allowing you to take in some of Nagano’s highlights while on the road and maximizing your time on the mountain!
With more than 70 resorts to choose from, we’ve only scratched the surface by naming some of our favorites! With a Snow Monkey Resort charter, no resort is too far or inconvenient – we’ve got them all covered. So get booking and let us help you get the most out of your winter adventure in Nagano!
For our pricing table for charters between the Nagano resorts, please see our CHARTER PAGE including estimated pricing table.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org with some answers and a quote!
Why choose us?
Recently awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No.1 tour and charter operator.
Locally-based and operating all year round, we offer the local knowledge, support, and service you need to get the most out of your time in Japan – with tours and charters designed to highlight the very best of Nagano in winter!
We want all of our guests have the best possible time in Nagano, so good, that we hope you’ll come back again! We love our home region and want you to love it to… we’d love to see you here in Nagano this winter!
Got a question for us? Don’t hesitate to get in touch! Please contact us at: email@example.com.