How To Get To Madarao – Nagano Ski Resorts Info
The resort of Madarao lies to the northeast of Nagano City, approximately 40KM (1-hour drive) and within easy reach to the northwest of Tokyo, approximately 275KM (3.5-hour drive) or around 2 hours using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Best known for its ski resort, Madarao is emerging as an all-year-round destination thanks a local push to develop its green season activities including mountain-biking and hiking. On this page you will find the following information:
Known for its powder bowls and tree runs, Madarao Mountain Resort is an increasingly popular resort for international visitors. Offering around 30 courses spread over 75 ha of terrain, Madarao is small. But what it lacks in size is made-up for with the fun and freedom of plenty of tree runs and heavy snow, best enjoyed in the resorts snow bowls.
For international visitors, Madarao is most easily reached via Iiyama Station using the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Shuttle buses operate to and from the station, making the journey to Madarao in 20 to 25-minutes, placing it within easy reach of Nagano City, Tokyo and beyond. As such, the directions below take you as far as Iiyama from where you can take the local bus or taxi onto the resort.
WHERE IS MADARAO?
Located around 40KM or a 1-hour drive to the northeast of Nagano City and 275KM northwest of Tokyo (a 3.5-hour drive), Madarao Mountain Resort is within easy reach thanks to its proximity to Iiyama Station. Iiyama is a stop on the Hokuriku Shikansen line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano, making it a convenient way to move to and from Madarao via the station. Local buses and taxis operate from Iiyama Station to Madarao in around 30-minutes, running more frequently in winter given the extra demand by visitors heading to the ski resort. Most famous for its deep snow in winter allowing for some of Nagano’s best off-piste skiing and snowboarding, Madarao is developing into an all-year-round destination as an increasing number of outdoor activities, accommodation and restaurants are popping-up each green season.
HOW TO GET TO MADARAO
In this section you will find information on how to reach Madarao from the following starting points:
We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and in recognition that most international visitors will be using the train network to move around Japan, most directions are for using the trains. If there is alternative option i.e. express or local bus, that is notably faster or economical, we also include that information.
FROM IIYAMA STATION
Nagaden operates the following buses from Iiyama Station to the resort, with a couple of services each day also connecting to Nozawa Onsen and Tangaram – a resort which connects to Madarao. A one-way journey from Iiyama Station to Madarao takes approximately 30 minutes and costs JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child:
The following services return from Madarao to Iiyama Station:
Please note, that two services a day connect Madarao and Nozawa Onsen in winter. Often referred to as the ‘NoToMa Express Line’, the service from Madaro to Nozawa – or in the opposite direction – will costs JPY1200 per adult / JPY600 per child.
Outside of winter, the Nagaden Madarao Bus only operates during Golden Week (May 2 to 6) and the summer holiday (July 23 to August 31) at the same cost of JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child:
Three buses return to Iiyama Station each time at the following times:
If you want to visit Madarao outside of those dates, taxis are available at Iiyama Station. All bus services and taxis operate outside the station’s Chikumagawa/Main Exit – it is a small station, so you really can’t miss it. For further information about using Nagaden’s local buses, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus’ page.
FROM NAGANO CITY
Nagano City is the nearest major city to Madarao and many visitors heading to and from Madarao, will do so via Nagano Station, enroute to Iiyama. The Hokuriku Shinkansen runs from Nagano to Iiyama Station, taking only 11 minutes and costing JPY1390. There are numerous trains per day. Once at Iiyama, follow the directions above.
Iiyama Station is also serviced by the local Iiyama Line. The line connects to Nagano Station – via Toyono Station – and then runs the 19.2km route to Iiyama. From Iiyama, the line continues north all the way to Echigo-Kawaguchi Station in Niigata. Enroute, it also stops at Togari-Nozawaonsen Station, the nearest station Togari Onsen Ski Resort.
A second option is taking the local Iiyama Line from Nagano to Iiyama, taking approximately 45 minutes and costing JPY550. Once at Iiyama Station, follow the directions above.
FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK
For visitors heading to Madarao from the Jigokudani Monkey Park, there is a winter-only direct bus to Iiyama Station, from where you can take a bus or taxi onto Madarao. This is the most convenient way to reach Madarao from the park however there are only two services a day and only during winter. Departing from the park at 12:21 and 14:20, the bus takes around 35-minuest to reach Iiyama. Once there, follow the directions above onto Madarao The bus costs JPY1600 one-way. For more information, see our ‘From Madarao: How to Get to the Snow Monkey Park’ page.
For most visitors, the service above is not an option meaning that the journey to Madarao needs to be made via Nagano Station. To reach Nagano Station, you have two options: 1. an express bus from the park to Nagano Station or 2. a local bus to Yudanaka Station followed by Nagano Dentetsu train to Nagano.
Bus: the Nagaden Express Bus takes approximately 55 minutes and costs JPY1500 to reach Nagano Station from the park, departing from the stop nearby the Shiga Kogen Roman Museum (at the bottom of Kanbayashi Onsen). Full details can be found at our ‘Nagaden Express Bus’ page.
Train: to access Nagano Station by train, visitors must first head to Yudanaka Station from the monkey park using one of two local bus services. Taking around 15 mins / JPY310 buses depart the park, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus Timetable’ page for the schedule. Once at Yudanaka Station, take the Nagano Dentetsu Line to Nagano. We recommend using the limited service – 45 min / JPY1290. For further details, please refer to our’ Nagano Dentetsu Line‘ and ‘Nagano Dentetsu Line Timetable‘ page. Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions above.
A stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, take the shinkansen from Karuizawa Station to Nagano Station – 25 min / JPY3210 – and follow the directions above.
There’s a good chance that if you’re coming to Japan for the snow, you’ll be starting your trip from Tokyo. Iiyama Station can be reached directly from Tokyo Station using the Hokuriku Shinkansen, putting Madarao with easy reach of the capital. There are four different services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – the Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama and Tsurugi. It is important to note that the Hakutaka is the only service that stops at Iiyama Station. If Iiyama is your intended destination, you must therefore us the Hakutaka. From Tokyo Station, the Hakutaka takes between 100 to 110 minutes to reach Iiyama (depending on the specific train use choose) and costs JPY8250 one-way. It takes approximately 75 minutes / JPY6710 to reach Iiyama from Kanazawa Station. Once at Iiyama, follow the directions above.
FROM NARITA AIRPORT
The Hokuriku Shinkansen can be boarded at both Tokyo Station and Ueno Station – both of which have express train services to Narita Airport. Making stops at Narita Terminal 1 and a joint stop for Terminal 2 & 3, the Narita Express (NEX) takes approximately 55 minutes to travel from Tokyo Station to the airport (depending on the specific service and which terminal you are using).
The NEX also services Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shingawa and Yokohama Stations. A one-way journey costs JPY3070 per adult. Departing every 30 to 60 minutes, there are numerous services throughout the day. The earliest train from Narita departs at 07:45 with the final service departing at 21:45.
Alternatively, the Keisei Skyliner runs from Narita to Keisei-Ueno Station (adjoining Ueno Station). It takes approximately 40 minutes to reach Ueno Station and costs JPY2520 for adults. The Keisei Skyliner also runs through Nippori Station. Services operate approximately every 50 minutes, with earliest departures from Narita at 08:22 (weekdays) and 08:30 (weekends), and the latest departure at 23:20 (all days). Heading the other direction, the least service departs Keisei-Ueno Station at 05:40 (all days) and latest at 19:00 (all days). Services are more frequent heading to the airport, operating every 20 minutes early in the morning before running every 40 minutes through the day. Once at Tokyo or Ueno, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinakansen bound for Kanazawa, via Iiyama.
FROM HANEDA AIRPORT
Servicing Haneda Airport, the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 30 minutes. Overall, Haneda is the busier of the two airports though it handles fewer international flights than Narita. Most international services from Haneda arrive and depart at Terminal 3.
Unlike the NEX – which is primarily used by passengers travelling to and from the Narita Airport – the Tokyo Monorail is used by many people going about their daily lives. It is designed for general commuters and not as comfortable or spacious as the NEX. Navigating your way on and off with luggage at peak hour ca be a little challenging. Nevertheless, the monorail makes the journey to and from Haneda Airport quick and relatively smooth. From Tokyo Station, take the JR Yamanote Line bound for Osaki or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid bound for Ofuna and disembark at Hamamatsucho Station (5 min/JPY160). At Hamamatsucho, transfer to the Tokyo Monorail bound for Haneda Airport (20 min/JPY500) – a journey of around 30 minutes, costing a total of JPY660 one-way.
Alternatively, visitors can also use the Keikyu Line to reach the airport. To do so, take the JR Yamanote or JR Keihin-Tohoku Lines from Tokyo Station to Shinagawa Station (10 min/JPY170) and then transfer to the Keikyu Airport Line Bound for Haneda (20 min/JPY300). These are conventional train lines. Advanced bookings are not possible. Once at Tokyo Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinakansen bound for Kanazawa, via Iiyama.
FROM NOZAWA ONSEN
Nozawa Onsen lies across the valley from Madarao, a 40 to 50-minute drive depending on weather and road conditions. Most people making the journey from Nozawa to Madarao will need to do so via Iiyama Station. Nagaden operates services from Nozawa to Iiyama Station – approximately 30 minutes and costs JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child – with a couple of services each day in winter going onto Madarao. Often referred to asthe ‘NoToMa Express Line’, the service from Nozawa to Madarao will cost JPY1200 per adult / JPY600 per child. If these options don’t work for you, consider booking a taxi to transfer between resorts.
FROM MYOKO KOGEN
The easiest option to reach Madarao from Myoko Kogen is to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Joetsu-Myoko Station to Iiyama Station – 12 minutes / JPY1390 – at once there, follow the directions above to reach Madarao. Depending on the timing of the train and buses to Madarao from Iiyama Station, the total total journey should take under an hour.
FROM SHIGA KOGEN
The easiest option to reach Madarao from Shiga Kogen is to take the Shiga Kogen Express Bus to Nagano Station and from there, follow the directions above onto Madarao. The journey from Shiga Kogen to Nagano takes between 70 to 100-minutes / JPY1800 to JPY2500 depending on which part of Shiga you are coming from.
The easiest option to reach Madarao from Hakuba is to take the Hakuba Express Bus service to Nagano Station. In winter, there are multiple services each day taking around 75-minutes to make the journey from the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal to Nagano Station – JPY2000 per adult (12+), JPY1000 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge (as long as they don’t require their own seat). Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions above onto Madarao.
As the terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, Kanazawa Station is an easy point from where to reach Iiyama. Services depart frequently throughout the day, taking around 75-minutes / JPY6710 to make the journey from Kanazawa to Iiyama. Once at Iiyama, follow the directions above onto Madarao.
MADARAO MOUNTAIN RESORT: THE STATS & FACTS
adarao is a small resort but one that wins lots of devotees. Blessed with lots of powder and a natural bowl topography, Madarao makes use of both with some fantastic tree runs and fun terrain. Visitors can enjoy the resort by itself or choose to buy an all-mountain pass that also covers the adjoining Tangram Ski Circus. So though small, Madarao Mountain Resort is a lot of fun and when the snow is good, it’s hard to beat. For all the stats, facts and highlights, see our ‘Madarao Mountain Resort’ main page.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND MADARAO & WHERE TO STAY
Located within easy reach of Nagano City and nearby Nozawa Onsen, Madarao is another of the region’s best ski resort. Madarano Mountain Resort is small but has a legion of fans who flock there each winter to enjoy its powder bowls, tree zones and backcountry. Outside of winter, efforts by local residents are transforming Madarao into an attractive all-year-round destination offering an escape from the city, especially in summer when it enjoys a notably cooler climate than Tokyo. For tips and suggestions of what’s on offer, including accommodation listings, see our ’25 Things To Do In Madarao & Where To Stay’ page.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No.1 tour and charter operator. We have the local knowledge of where and when to go, to help you discover and enjoy the region’s many ski resorts and other fantastic destinations and activities.
For guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination including from/to Nagano Station and any resort in the region. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule.
All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
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 – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.
Got a question about visiting Madarao? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!