Book with Us! Accommodation, Ski Packages & Recommended Nagano Resorts
Based in Nagano, we are a registered travel agent, tour and charter operator offering a full-suite of winter services including ski/snowboard packages, accommodation, lift passes, private charters and a range of tours including both group and private options. On this page you will find the following:
— Accommodation & Ski Packages in Nagano
— Inclusive Ski Packages: What’s Included?
— Transport & Tours to/from the Resorts
— Choosing Where to Go: Recommended Nagano Ski Resorts
Operating all year round, we’re always here to help your start planning, book early and get the best possible deal starting with our:
ACCOMMODATION & SKI PACKAGES IN NAGANO
We can arrange accommodation in your resort/s of choice – including the option of lift passes and meals – or package your entire trip including accommodation, lift passes, transport, rental, lessons and more – whatever suits you best! We are happy to offer accommodation and ski packages in the following resorts:
SHIGA KOGEN ACCOMMODATION & SKI PACKAGES
As Japan’s largest and highest ski resort, Shiga Kogen is blessed with Nagano’s longest season and most reliable snow. Accommodation is dotted across the resort’s expansive 600ha of terrain with the nearby hot spring villages of Kanbayashi Onsen, Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen offering a great alternative for visitors wanting to enjoy Japan’s legendary ‘onsen’ culture – PLAN & BOOK IN SHIGA NOW!
HAKUBA ACCOMMODATION & SKI PACKAGES
The multiple resorts of Hakuba Valley are among Nagano’s most popular, offering a plenty of terrain and the region’s best backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Hakuba boasts the most services for English-speaking visitors and huge range of accommodation including plenty of mid to high-end options, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Always popular, it pays to book early – PLAN & BOOK IN HAKUBA NOW!
NOZAWA ONSEN ACCOMMODATION & SKI PACKAGES
Nozawa offers skiers and snowboarders around 300 hectares of terrain accessible via 36 trails and courses. By Japanese standards this makes Nozawa Onsen a medium-sized resort, ideally-suited to snowboarders and skiers who love its powder and lively village which offers plenty of dining and fun at night. Accommodation ranges from high-end to mid-range ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses), Western-style hotels, budget ski lodges and an increasing number of luxury options including self-contained chalets – PLAN & BOOK IN NOZAWA NOW!
INCLUSIVE SKI PACKAGES: WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Based in Nagano, Snow Monkey Resorts is proud to partner with hotels located in the region’s best resorts to offer packages including:
— Accommodation (inc. breakfasts) at your choice of hotel
— All-mountain ski passes (for your preferred resort/s & no. of days)
In addition, the following can be arranged to fit your needs:
— Dinner/s at your accommodation
— Ski and/or snowboard rental
— Ski and/or snowboard lessons
— Private transfer to/from your accommodation
— Day tours inc, to the Jigokudani Monkey Park & other attractions/activities
To enquire about an inclusive ski package in Nagano, click on your choice of resort above and send us a request for a quote. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours!
TRANSPORT & TOURS TO/FROM THE RESORTS
Based in Nagano, we are a registered charter operator with the local know-how to help you get the most out of your time here. All of our drivers and vehicles are fully-accredited and certified while we are also Nagano’s No.1-rated tour operator offering a range of group tours each winter along with option of a private tour directly to and from your accommodation or chosen locations.
CHOOSING WHERE TO GO: RECOMMENDED NAGANO SKI RESORTS
Nagano is home to more than eighty ski resorts so needless to say, visitors are spoiled for choice when visiting each winter. For international visitors, the resorts of Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Madarao, Hakuba Valley and Myoko Kogen are the most popular. While the lesser-known resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen and Togakushi are also being discovered. Each resort is detailed below including summaries of their biggest selling points and who they suit best:
Simply put, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort is Japan’s largest resort. Not just the largest, it is the highest resort in Japan and boasts Nagano’s longest season. Comprised of 18 ski areas all covered by an all-mountain pass, Shiga Kogen offers visitors more than 600ha of terrain / 80kms of trails to explore and challenge themselves on with terrain suited to all levels but best-suited to beginner and intermediate skiers/boarders. One of the host venues for the 1998 Winter Olympics, Shiga Kogen has Olympic pedigree with the courses still clearly marked for you to test yourself on including downhill and Super-G courses in the Higashidateyama area of the resort.
The majority of Shiga Kogen’s ski fields are connected, providing visitors with Japan’s largest area of skiable terrain. Situated between 1340 and 2307 metres, Shiga offers around 1000 metres of vertical and the highest chairlifts in Japan. Indeed several of the resorts peaks and upper areas are over or close to 2000 metres – including Okushiga at 2009m, Yakebitai at 2000, Ichinose Family at 1940m, Terakoya at 2060m, Kumanoyu at 1950m and Yokoteyama at 2307m. In comparison, the highest (chair-lifted) point of any resort in Hakuba is 1831 metres at Happo One.
Shiga’s inland location and topography mean that the snow is drier than resorts closer to the coast and once on the ground, the snow stays in better condition for longer. As a result, it boasts the longest season in Nagano, with areas including Yokoteyama and Kumanoyu typically opening in late-November and the full resort opening in mid-December and remaining open well into April, and in a good season, as late as May. The only frustration with Shiga Kogen is the backcountry is not permitted without a guide and sidecountry is limited. This is likely to frustrate advanced skiers and boarders however if you’re a beginner or intermediate, Shiga Kogen is a great option.
Reasons to visit Shiga Kogen?
There is something for everyone at Shiga! Those visiting snowfields for the first time will be thrilled by views and quality of snow that make your first days on skis and a snowboard enjoyable and fun, including family activity parks. For intermediate skiers and snowboarders, you are spoiled for choice, with varying terrain to challenge yourself on including Japan’s highest chair-lifted ski runs. Advanced skiers and boarders will also enjoy Shiga – especially the black and Olympic runs in Okushiga, Yakebitayama and Higashidateyama – however might be frustrated by an overall lack of steep terrain and the resort’s ban on backcountry.
The real attraction of Shiga is its size. Away from the central areas, you are likely to experience open runs with few other people (particularly on weekdays). The surroundings are beautiful, typified by the vistas from the higher runs and ‘snow giants’, snow-wrapped trees found at the highest peaks including Okushiga, Terakoya and Yokoteyama. Given Shiga Kogen’s size, we recommend a multi-day visit over which time you can explore its numerous trails and varying terrain.
While Shiga Kogen’s popularity with international visitor is rising it remains most popular with Japanese and retains an authentic, if not somewhat retro feel. The introduction of the new ‘Pulse Gondola’ – Shiga’s fifth gondola (no other Nagano resort has more than two) – and other hints of development suggest that things might be about to change, but for the time being, Shiga Kogen remains much quieter than nearby Nozawa Onsen or the resorts of the Hakuba Valley with little to no meaningful nightlife. So if apres ski is important to you, best to head somewhere else however for those who want to focus on hitting the slopes with a huge variety of trails, we highly recommend it!
The best-known and most international of Nagano’s resorts, chances are that you’ve already heard of Hakuba or some of the resorts making-up the ‘Hakuba Valley’. Often advertised as Japan’s largest ski resort, the 10 resorts that make-up Hakuba Valley do indeed offer the largest collective amount of terrain in the country however it is important to note that only a couple of the resorts in Hakuba are connected, meaning that in terms of connected terrain, both Shiga Kogen and Nozawa Onsen offer larger connected ski fields – with Shiga offering notably more than any other.
It’s important clarification when planning your trip to avoid being disappointed however it shouldn’t put you off. Hakuba is fantastic. Of the resorts making-up Hakuba Valley, Hakuba Happo One Snow Resort is the most popular, central and largest – offering around 220ha of terrain and access to backcountry above the treeline. Having hosted several events during the 1998 Winter Olympics and subsequent FIS World Cup Events, Happo One’s pedigree is well-known and draws visitors from all over the world. With the Olympic Ski Jumping Arena nearby, the spirit of 1998 is alive and well in the heart of Hakuba.
Within 10-minutes drive of Happo One and xperiencing between 11 to 13 metres of snowfall each year, visitors are spoilt for choice with the joint resorts of Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort and Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park combining to rival the popularity of Happo One. Boasting oneo of Nagano’s best terrain parks, Hakuba 47 in particular will appeal while both 47 and Goryu provide access to some fantastic backcountry. Under 10-minuets drive to the north of Happo One, Iwatake Snow Field is one of the most picturesque resorts in Nagano and well-suited to families, while a little further on, Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort is a large, stand-alone resort with a good-sized village – well-suited to beginners. Finally, the most northern resorts of Hakuba, Cortina Snow Resort and Norikura Onsen Snow Resort, are connected and win lots of fans for their steep terrain, backcountry and great powder. In total there are ten resorts making-up the Hakuba Valley, all of which are covered by the Hakuba Valley Ticket and EPIC Pass.
Reasons to visit Hakuba Valley?
The resorts of Hakuba are popular for many reasons. Easy to reach from Nagano Station, the resorts attract crowds of visitors each winter especially over the Christmas and New Year periods and every weekend through from opening until close. Hakuba offers the greatest range of accommodation of any area in Nagano – especially high-end and luxury options – along with the best dining and nightlife, especially around Hakuba village and Echoland.
Hakuba Valley also boasts the most services for international visitors, including English and other foreign language facilities and staff in many hotels, outlets and restaurants. Indeed, in many hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and rental outlets in Hakuba Valley, you can expect to be served in English. While this will really appeal to some visitors, it turns others off. Plenty of visitors find Hakuba is too crowded and attracts the wrong type i.e. too many young Australians acting-up, and despite the fantastic skiing and snowboarding, can be disappointed with their overall experience.
Visitors looking for a more local, ‘Japanese’ atmosphere might want to consider a different ski area and should you want to avoid crowds, steer away from Hakuba between Christmas and New Year, and weekends after that, as the resorts can be crowded at times. If you fall in that category, definitely do not stay in Echoland and consider avoiding the main village as both are known to get rowdy. Best to choose private accommodation in the Wadano area or consider staying away from Hakuba Happo One – the further you get from Happo, the quieter it usually becomes. But overall, Hakuba is fantastic and offers great skiing and snowboarding including Nagano’s best backcountry, best range of accommodation and nightlife, along with the best setup for English and other foreign-language services and families including English-speaking childcare services.
Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort is a fantastic all-round resort that has achieved huge popularity in recent years. Situated between 565 to 1560 meters, Nozawa offers 1000 metres of vertical and typically awesome powder. Easily accessible from nearby Iiyama Station – a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line – the resort is popular with both skiers and snowboarders due to its excellent diversity of terrain with a lively village.
Offering around 300ha of terrain, Nozawa Onsen is notably smaller than Shiga Kogen but larger than any area of connected ski fields in Hakuba Valley. The opening on the new ‘Nagasaka Gondola’ for the 2020/21 ski season only increased the resort’s popularity, with the new gondola dramatically cutting the time taken to reach the upper areas of the resort (not to mention the fantastic views it also offers!). Nozawa Onsen offers skiers and snowboarders a range of ski areas – accessed from 3 different entrances – with courses suitable for all levels, comprising 45-50kms of trails serviced by 18 lifts and 2 gondolas.
The mountain base area provides gentle slopes for first timers with 40% of the resort comprised of beginner trails. Intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders can cut their teeth on an array of more challenging trails – intermediate 30% and advanced 30% of the resort – powder areas, snow fun park, and half-pipe– including one of Japan’s longest ski runs at an impressive 10km in length. It should be noted that despite the terrific powder conditions at Nozawa going off-piste is officially banned. Something that might frustrate advanced skiers and boarders.
Reasons to visit Nozawa Onsen?
While the powder and diversity of terrain at Nozawa will keep you smiling during the day, it’s the village that entertains you at night! Located at the base of the ski runs, Nozawa Onsen village retains much of its traditional charm while being well-catered for international visitors. There is an abundance of accommodation options – from hostels and hotels, traditional guesthouses, and private chalets – with numerous restaurants and bars to keep well fed and in good spirits. The village is lively but retains a family friendly atmosphere with touches of the traditional in the form of public ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs) that are nothing but magic to soak in at the end of day on the mountain. Ski/snowboard rental is readily available along with backcountry tours. English-speaking ski/snowboard schools and even childcare and babysitting options are all available at Nozawa.
Nozawa Onsen is a great destination for those looking for great snow conditions and a range of terrain and trails to explore in a relatively compact resort and village that caters well for families and non-Japanese speakers. But be prepared. Its established popularity with international visitors means that the more traditional aspects of resort are increasingly diluted – to the point that you might at times forget that you are in Japan – and it is likely to be busy any day of the week. Plan ahead, as the better accommodation options can be fully booked well in advance of winter. But do so knowing that Nozawa Onsen is a resort that guarantees great snow, a fun atmosphere, and is well-catered for international visitors!
MADARAO MOUNTAIN RESORT (& TANGRAM SKI CIRCUS)
Known locally as ‘Madapow!’, there’s no surprises when guessing what Madarao Mountain Resort is known for – powder! Situated between 940 to 1382 metres, Madarao is a low and small resort offering 22 courses serviced by 16 lifts. But don’t let that fool you. With up to 10 to 12 meters of snow each winter and 60% of slopes left ungroomed, this resort comes into its own with its deep powder and liberal approach to off-piste skiing and snowboarding. Unlike Nozawa, Madarao permits and even encourages off-piste and backcountry with gladed forested areas that open up beautiful tree runs.
Given Madarao’s low elevation it tends to have a shorter season than other Nagano resorts however the entire resort will generally open and close at the same time (unlike some other resorts that lengthen their seasons with partial openings) and when the snow is good, it’s great meaning that it has lots of fans. The natural bowl shape of the resort means that the powder piles up and when you combine that with some truly excellent tree zones and backcountry, Madarao has plenty to offer. The resort connects to Tangram Ski Circus via the upper ‘Adventure Aisle’ course, combining to offer a good-sized area of terrain covered by an all-mountain pass.
Just like Nozawa, Madarao is readily accessible from Iiyama Station with shuttle buses running from the station to the resort multiple times a day. Weekends and holidays can get busy with university students who buy package deals at Madarao, but outside of those days, it’s usually not too busy and offers a nice contrast to the development and crowds of nearby Nozawa Onsen.
Reasons to visit Madarao Mountain Resort?
While relatively small, Madarao Mountain Resort is a great option for those seeking the thrill of world class powder in a resort that actually wants you to dive right in! Visitors have the option of lift passes covering just Madarao or an all-mountain pass which permits access to the smaller (and distinctively named) Tangaram Ski Circus resort on the other side of the mountain. While even smaller than Madarao – Tangaram offers 15 trails serviced by 5 lifts – in combination with Madarao visitors can enjoy the estimated total of 35kms of trails at Madarao across 37 runs serviced by 21 lifts. Tangaram itself is unlikely to keep anyone but absolute beginners entertained for long, however we strongly encourage using the all-mountain pass as it will open-up even more off-piste adventure for you!
Madarao Mountain Resort offers a range of accommodation options including guesthouses and private chalets, across a small but spaced-out village with limited but enjoyable dining and nightlife options. Given its proximity to Iiyama Station – serviced by the Hokuriku Shinkansen line – and its world class powder, Madarao’s profile and popularity with international visitors is quickly rising. Yet it remains most popular with Japanese and being less developed than Nozawa Onsen, Madarao continues to retain its local and distinctly Japanese atmosphere. We regard Madarao Mountain Resort as a great option for intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders who want to get off-piste and into the trees, while still catering for beginners and families.
Sitting at the southern end of Niigata Prefecture, the resorts of Myoko Kogen actually lie outside of Nagano but given their proximity to resorts including Madarao and Nozawa, are best considered part of Nagano as they can easily combined in a multi-resort visit. It’s also worth nothing that ‘Myoko Kogen’ is in itself not a resort but a group of resorts grouped under that name. Different people include different resorts under the name Myoko Kogen but generally speaking it refers to the following: Akakura Onsen/Kanko, Ikenotaira, Suginohara, and Seki Onsen. The recenlty openned resort of Lotte Arai is also located in Myoko, although technically not part of Myoko Kogen.
The joint resort of Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko is the largest in the area which when considered as one resort, offers 27 runs with plenty of green for beginners and newbies along with lots of red and black for intermediate and advanced riders. The big appeal of Akakura – along with all of the resorts of Myoko – is the amount of snow and ability to get off-piste. Myoko Kogen experiences a ridiculous amount of snowfall – 14 meters or more per year! – making it a powder paradise best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers/boarders with a taste for deep powder!
Unlike many resorts in Japan that prohibit it, the resorts of Myoko Kogena allow backcountry which when you consider the huge amount powder that typicall falls in the area, combines to create some of Japan’s best advaced skiing and snowboarding. For intermediate skiers and snowboarders, Suginohara and Ikenotaira will also really appeal given their long runs with trees running the length of each – perfect terrain in which to find your confidence among the trees!
Reasons to visit Myoko Kogen?
The ski resorts making-up Myoko Kogen are smaller and less developed than those in Nagano. Most are in need to investment and don’t offer much in the way of nightlife or high-end accommodation. So why do people go there? That’s easy! Because of the snow – massive amounts of snow! Myoko’s location nearby the coast means it receives earlier and bigger dumps of snow than other areas in Central Japan and for that reason, it appeals to many visitors – especially intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders looking to get off-piste and dive into the deep stuff.
While the resorts are in need investment and are showing their age, this appeals to some visitors who appreciate Myoko’s more local and ‘Japanese’ atmosphere, opposed to the now hugely popular resorts of Hakuba Valley and Nozawa Onsen. When heading to Myoko, staying in and around the central village of Akakura Onsen is the best option, from where you can head to a different resort each day or at least, mix-up the terrain from day-to-day. In terms of accommodation, there are plenty of ski lodges and guesthouses to choose from. Most are family-run and offer warm and welcoming atmospheres. For families, the central resorts of Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko are best-suited, with some nice wide areas to practice on, a couple of kids parks, and day-care facilities. Outside of these two resorts, families requiring dedicated kids facilities including day-care won’t find much. But if you’re looking to go local, go off-piste and dive into some of the deepest powder in Japan, the resorts of Myoko Kogen are calling.
Located around an hour from Nagano Station and in the shadow the much larger Shiga Kogen Ski Resort, the resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen are some of the nearest and most accessible ski areas from Nagano City. Almost unknown to international visitors and most certainly overlooked, the four resorts in the area – Ryuoo Ski Park, X-Jam Takaifuji, Yomase Onsen Ski Resort and Kita-Shiga Komaryama Ski Resort – attract few foreign visitors but remain very popular with locals, who come each winter to enjoy great snow conditions.
For international visitors, only Ryuoo and X-Jam Takaifuji stand-out as appealing. Ryuoo is the largest of the four, a long resort serviced by a ropeway capable of carrying up to 166 passengers. The resort sits between 850 to 1930 metres, offering an excellent 1080 metres of vertical. A total of 17 ski runs are serviced by 9 chairlifts and the ropeway – totaling around 100ha of terrain. Popular with local snowboarders and university students, the upper areas of the resort can have some fantastic powder and sidecountry. Add to that a couple of terrain parks, Ryuoo has enough to offer but avoid weekends and holidays when university students take advantage of package deals and tend to sit all over the runs, to the frustration of anyone other than newbies.
Across from Ryuoo, the connected resorts of X-Jam Takaifuji and Yomase Onsen combine to also offer around 100ha of terrain. Don’t expect too much however X-Jam has one of Nagano’s best parks including two half-pipes and decent-sized jumps, winning it a loyal following with local boarders who just want to ride.
Reasons to visit Kita-Shiga Kogen?
The resorts for Kita-Shiga Kogen are distinctly local and offer an alternative to the more popular destinations included on this list. They are not however setup for international visitors and offer few good accommodation options and little nightlife. The snow is not as reliable as other areas however when the snow is good, they have enough going for them – especially during the week when they are likely to be very quiet – to justify heading-over to enjoy a different resort for the day.
In that regard, the resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen can be easily combined with time in the much bigger Shiga Kogen when staying in the hot spring villages of Yudanaka Onsen and Shibu Onsen. Boasting numerous ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses), many of which have their own in-house hot springs, along restaurants and a handful of bars, basing yourself in Yudanaka or Shibu is ideal for then heading to different resorts each day based on your interests and snow conditions while experiencing a Japanese onsen town. Yudanaka is super easy to reach from Nagano Station using the limited express services on the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) line. Taking only 45-minutes, there are many services throughout the day making it a convenient option for international visitors.
Sitting quietly just outside of Nagano City, the picturesque resort to Togakushi is the nearest ski resort to Nagano Station. Popular with locals but largely unknown to international visotrs and almost deserted outside of holidays and weekends, Togakushi is very much Nagano’s hidden gem.
Togakushi is a small resort offering around 58ha of terrain, spread across 19 ski runs and serviced by 7 chairlifts. Actually located on the slopes of Mount Iizuna, the resort looks directly at Mount Togakushi and across to the North Alps and Hakuba – which on clear days are some of the best alpine views of any resort in Nagano. The ski runs are generally short with a good mix of green, red and black. Newbies and beginners will appreciate the resorts wide green runs and offer the perfect terrain on which to find your confidence, while intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarder will enjoy multiple black runs on which to test themselves. The black runs on the back side of the resort are steep and left ungroomed. Most people don’t venture down them on days of heavy snow meaning that you can find some truly awesome powder there on days of heavy snow.
Reasons to visit Togakushi?
Togakushi is a great option for visitors wanting to enjoy a distinctly Japanese resort in combination with some of the area’s important cultural attractions. The forests of Togakushi are home to some of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines and as such, also many traditional ‘ryokan’ (guesthouses) and ‘shukubo’ (temple lodgings) associated with the shrines. International visitors seeking a truly memorable winter experience in Japan should consider heading to Togaksuhi for a couple of nights as the resorts offers more than enough to keep you entertained for two days while also offering a unique experience off the slopes.
Little known to most international visitors, you’ll be one of the few foreigner faces at the resort and receive a warm welcome. Most popular with skiers, Togakushi is also a good option for visitors wanting to avoid the snowboarders drawn to Nozawa Onsen, Madarao and the resorts of Hakuba. Local buses run directly to the resort and surrounding accommodation areas from Nagano Station – taking around 70-minutes to reach the resort – while private taxi can also run you up there in around 50-minutes depending on weather and road conditions. In short, Togakushi is a great option for a couple of days and in combination with other Nagano resorts on a longer, multi-resort visit.