In our recent blog article ‘Clean Green & Healthy – Get Outdoors & Get Back to Nature!’, we promoted Central Japan’s outdoor destinations as great options when planning your future travel to Japan. Blessed with abundant nature and pristine landscapes, Nagano and Central Japan offer an escape from the crowds and congestion of the city.
A place of four seasons – each offering their own reasons to visit – when visiting Central Japan in winter you can expect one thing – lots and lots of snow.
As host of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, Nagano’s winter credentials are well-established. During the Games, events were spread across different resorts across the region and at several venues in Nagano City – most of which can still be enjoyed today!
Nagano is home to around 80 resorts however only a few were lucky enough to host events including Hakuba Happo One. Several events took place in and around Happo One, establishing Hakuba’s global profile. To this day, the resorts of Hakuba can lay claim to being Nagano’s most international and popular. Plenty to keep you entertained on your winter adventure!
The Nagano Winter Olympics were the first to include snowboarding as a medaled sport, with all snowboarding events taking place in Shiga Kogen – Japan’s largest and highest ski resort. Boasting Nagano’s longest season and most reliable snow conditions – given its higher altitude and prevailing weather conditions – Shiga is another resort quickly coming to the attention of international visitors.
Offering over 600 hectares of interconnected terrain, Shiga Kogen is likely to become much more poplar over the coming years so get there now while it’s still relatively quiet.
Less than an hours drive from Shiga, Nozawa Onsen is one of Nagano’s most popular resorts – offering skiers and boarders around 300 hectares of train between 565 and 1650 metres.
Also known for its great powder and setup for snowboarders, Nozawa is a lively resort serviced by a large village full of accommodation, restaurants and bars and ‘onsen’ (hot springs), Nozawa’s reputation is as much based on what happens off the mountain including its famous ‘Dosojin Matsuri’ (Fire Festival) held every January.
While in Nozawa, nearby Madarao is another great option. Though Madarao didn’t host events during the 1998 Games, it is a small resort known for its epic powder and great tree runs. Well-worth checking-out when heading to Nozawa!
Similarly, the resorts of Myoko Kogen are also emerging from the shadows of their more famous neighbours. Like Madarao, Myoko didn’t host events in 1998 but the region’s massive annual snowfall and reliable powder mean that Myoko Kogen is quickly becoming a must-visit winter destination.
The resorts making-up Myoko Kogen are less developed and more spread-out than many others in the region, so enjoying everything it has to offer takes a little planning. Here’s our tips and suggestions for ’25 Things to Do in & Around Myoko Kogen’.
Should you have any questions about visiting Central Japan including wanting to arrange transport to and between any resort, feel free to contact us.