DESTINATIONS
14. MYOKO KOGEN
Myoko Kogen Ski Resorts

Myoko Kogen Ski Resorts

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Sitting at the southern end of Niigata Prefecture, Myoko Kogen is not actually within Nagano however given its closer proximity to many Nagano ski resorts – rather than the other resorts of Niigata to the east – Myoko is often incorporated to into many visitors winter getaway to Nagano.

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Myoko Kogen itself doesn’t actually exist but is instead a number of different resorts that are generally referred to using that name. Different people include different resorts under the name of Myoko Kogen but generally it refers to the following: – Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira, Suginohara, and Seki Onsen.

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Myoko 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!

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Resorts in the area are typically small than many others in Nagano and Niigata, with most in need to an update. If you’re heading to Myoko don’t expect the lively nightlife and range of restaurants, bars and accommodation on offer in Hakuba Valley and Nozawa Onsen. Myoko is typically quiet at night with a limited number of accommodation options outside of the Akakura Onsen village. The trade-off is lots of powder and a liberal approach to side and backcountry! Whereas many if not most Japanese resorts heavily restrict or ban going off-piste, the resorts of Myoko take a more relaxed approach. But remember, snow is deep and your personal safety should always be your first priority. Backcountry should only be attempted by suitably experienced and prepared skiers and snowboarders.

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Let’s look at each resort starting with the joint resorts of Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko. These are two separate resorts but connected by the upper ski runs. Serviced by Akakura Onsen village below, most people consider this one resort and main hub of Myoko Kogen.

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You will certainly find the greatest concentration of accommodation and restaurants in the area, and making use of the all-mountain pass covering both resorts, you can also enjoy the largest expanse of connected ski fields in Myoko Kogen. But to keep things simple, let’s consider each resort in turn:

AKAKURA ONSEN SKI AREA


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Akakuara Onsen is the oldest and considered by many visitors to be the main resort of Myoko Kogen. Serviced by the village of Akakura and connected to Akakura Kanko Resort via the upper ski runs, the joint resorts offer the greatest amount of connected terrain in Myoko along with the largest number of guesthouses, restaurants and bars. Having said that, don’t expect the variety of accommodation and nightlife on offer in resorts such as Nozawa Onsen or Hakuba Valley. The real attraction of the Akakura Onsen, much like any of the resorts of Myoko Kogen, is the snow. The areas receives a huge amount of snowfall and Akakura Onsen has some excellent ski runs for beginners, making it a great option for visitors wanting to enjoy some of Japan’s best snow on some nice terrain.

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Operating Dates & Times

In general, Myoko Kogen receives a huge amount of snow allowing for a long season. Akakura Onsen Ski Area is typically open from mid-December to early-April with most lifts operating from 08:30 to 16:30. Night-skiing is available in the Kumado area of the resort every day from 17:00 to 22:00, between mid-December and mid-March.

Ski Runs

The resort has 17 courses serviced by 14 lifts. Courses breakdown as: beginner 50% / intermediate 30% / advanced 20%. Situated between 650 to 1200 metres, Akakura Onsen only offers 550 metres of vertical. The longest ski run is 3km.

Highlights

Akakura Onsen has three base areas – Yodel, Kumado and Ginrei from where visitors can access the resorts and chairlifts. Yodel offers some nice and wide beginner courses with decent tree-lined course coursing into Kumado. Ski runs in Kumado also offer night-skiing from 17:00 to 22:00 – the only resort in Myoko to offer night-skiing. Intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders might not stay engaged with Akakura Onsen for long, with little challenging terrain on offer and backcountry prohibited. Purchasing a joint ticket with access to both Akakura Onsen and Kanko is a good option for intermediate and advanced skiers/boarders well, as there is some better-suited terrain on that side of the mountain.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Akakura Onsen-only cost: adults (18+) JPY4900 / children (6-12) JPY1000 / Students (13-17) JPY3800 / seniors (60+) JPY3800. Joint, all-mountain passes for Akakura Onsen/Kanko cost: adults JPY6000 / children, students & seniors JPY4500.

Rental & Ski School

There are a number of rental shops at the resort, mostly located around the base areas and chairlifts making it pretty easy to arrange your gear when you arrive and then head straight onto the mountain. The joint resorts of Akakura have a couple of ski/snowboard schools with English instruction typically available. Both group and private lessons can be arranged while backcountry guides can also be arranged.

Kids & Families

A Kids Snowpark is located in the Yodel ski area – to the very left of the resort – including slides and see-saws for free use, and sleds for rent. A day-care service is available at Myoko Snow Sports Champion Shop at the base of the Champion #1 chairlift – to the left to the Kids Snow Park. Open from 08:00 to 17:00, bookings are required. It’s worth noting the Myoko Snow Sport Champion is actually located in the adjoining Akakura Kanko ski fields however it makes no practical difference as its easily accessed on foot. Kids play areas and change rooms are also available at various locations through the resort including the Yodel Information Center – at the base of the resort – and Yodel Lodge – midway up the resort.

Accommodation & Village Info

Servicing the resorts of Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko, and as the main concentration of accommodation and resorts in Myoko Kogen, Akakura Onsen Village is a good place to based yourself when heading to the nearby resorts. There’s no escaping the fact that the village is run-down and could do with some investment. Guesthouses and some restaurants and bars – don’t expect a lot – are dotted through the village, making it a convenient base while in Myoko.

For listings in Myoko, see our ‘Myoko Area Kogen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Akakura Onsen Ski Area

Distance to Myoko-Kogen Station: 5km / <10 min drive.

The base of Akakura Onsen is less than a 10-minute drive from Myoko Kogen Station. For directions to the Myoko Kogen area, see our ‘How to Get to Myoko Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page.

AKAKURA KANKO SKI RESORT


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Connected to Akakura Onsen Ski Area, Akakura Kanko Ski Resort is a smaller but newer resort with more terrain for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The resort is sometimes also called ‘Akakan’ for short or ‘Shin-Akakura’, just to confuse things. Advanced skiers and snowboarders will find a bit more of interest in this resort than the adjoining Akakura Onsen, but still not enough to keep them interested for long. Kanko does however provide gated access to side and backcountry, which you’re permitted to enter as long as you are deemed to be properly kitted out with avalanche safety gear and necessary expertise.

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Operating Dates & Times

Akakura Kanko is typically open from early-December to early-May with most lifts operating from 08:30 to 16:30.

Ski Runs

The resort has only 10 courses serviced by 7 lifts. Courses breakdown as: beginner 40% / intermediate 30% / advanced 30%. Situated between 740 to 1500 metres, Akakura Kanko offers a decent 760 metres of vertical. The longest ski run is 4.5km.

Highlights

While Akakura Kanko is smaller than Akakura Onsen, it has higher elevation, more vertical and newer infrastructure. Beginners and newbies will find some nice green runs in the lower ski fields while intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders should head straight-up to the upper areas, where a decent amount of red and black runs are on offer.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Akakura Kanko-only cost: adults JPY4800 / children (6-12) JPY3500 / Students (13-17) JPY4000 / seniors (60+) JPY4000. Joint, all-mountain passes for Akakura Onsen/Kanko cost: adults JPY6000 / children, students & seniors JPY4500.

Rental & Ski School

There are a number of rental shops at the resort, mostly located around the base areas and chairlifts making it pretty easy to arrange your gear when you arrive and then head straight onto the mountain. The joint resorts of Akakura have a couple of ski/snowboard schools with English instruction typically available. Both group and private lessons can be arranged while backcountry guides can also be arranged.

Kids & Families

The ‘Chibbiko Hiroba’ kids play area is located on the left-hand side of the resort, at the base of the Hotel #1 Chairlift. It can be used free of charge. A second Kids Snowpark is located in the Yodel ski area of Akakura Onsen – to the right of Akakura Kanko – including slides and see-saws for free use, and sleds for rent. While it is technically outside of Akakura Onsen it can still be used and is easily accessible on foot. A day-care service is available at Myoko Snow Sports Champion Shop at the base of the Champion #1 chairlift. Open from 08:00 to 17:00, bookings are required.

Accommodation & Village Info

Servicing the resorts of Akakura Kanko and Akakura Onsen, and as the main concentration of accommodation and resorts in Myoko Kogen, Akakura Onsen Village is a good place to based yourself when heading to the nearby resorts. There’s no escaping the fact that the village is run-down and could do with some investment. Guesthouses and some restaurants and bars – don’t expect a lot – are dotted through the village, making it a convenient base while in Myoko.

For listings in Myoko, see our ‘Myoko Area Kogen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Akakura Kanko Ski Resort

Distance to Myoko-Kogen Station: 4.5km / <10 min drive.

The base of Akakura Kanko is less than 10-minutes drive from Myoko Kogen Station. For directions to the Myoko Kogen area, see our ‘How to Get to Myoko Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page.

IKENOTAIRA SKI RESORT


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Located between the joint resorts of Akakura Onsen/Kanko and Myoko Suginohara, Ikenotaira receives heavy snowfall while having fairly gentle terrain making it an ideal resort for skiers and snowboarders still finding their confidence in powder. While the resort is quite small, there are good tree runs and some nice wide areas for beginners and newbies. The resort is long, allowing for easy cruising. The only drawback is when the snow is heavy, the gentle gradient will slow you down so make sure to wax-up to avoid getting stuck!

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Operating Dates & Times

Ikenotaira is typically open from the first half of December until the end of March with lifts operating from 08:30 to 16:30.

Ski Runs

The resort is small with only 10 courses serviced by 6 lifts. Courses breakdown as: beginner 35% / intermediate 45% / advanced 20%. Situated between 760 to 1500 metres, Ikenotaira offers a decent 740 metres of vertical. The longest run is 4km.

Highlights

Ikenotaira is a long and narrow resorts divided into two sides – the Kayaba Gelande and Alpen-blick Gelande. Beginners and newbies will find plenty of space in the Kayaba area, with some very wide green runs allowing for lots of practice with more in the lower areas of Alpen-blick. Intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to head-up to the upper areas where there’s a decent amount of red and some black to enjoy. In general, the Aplen-blick Gelande is much quieter than the other side of the resort with lots of fun in the powder and trail runs.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Ikenotaira cost: adults JPY4000 / children JPY2400 seniors JPY3200. Morning (08:30-13:00) and afternoon (12:00 to 16:30) are also available for: adults JPY3000 / children JPY1800 / seniors JPY2400.

Rental & Ski School

Rental is available at a couple of outlets at the resort with some decent gear available. An international ski school also provides lessons in English – located next to the main ticket office

Kids & Families

A large kids play area is located next to the main ticket office. Day-care facilities are not available at Ikenotaira. Families in need to these services will be better-suited heading to Akakura Onsen/Kanko.

Accommodation & Village Info

Ikenotaira does not have a village to speak of but rather, a collection of ski lodges and pensions and little happening at night. For that reason, most people staying in the area will arrange dinner and breakfast at their guesthouse. Some lodges have in-house hot springs making for an enjoyable stay. English is likely to be limited and while some are within walking distance of the resort, some require a car to reach so make sure to check the distance to the ski fields prior to booking.

For listings in Myoko, see our ‘Myoko Area Kogen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Ikenotaira Ski Resort

Distance to Myoko-Kogen Station: 4.5km / <10 min drive.

The base of Ikenotaira is under 10-minutes drive from Myoko Kogen Station. For directions to the Myoko Kogen area, see our ‘How to Get to Myoko Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page.

MYOKO SUGINOHARA SKI RESORT


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Often referred to simply as ‘Sugi’, Suginohara is one of the most popular resorts in Myoko Kogen, winning lots of fans for its long, long tree-lined runs through gentle terrain. Indeed, Suginohara claims to have Japan’s longest run at 8.5km however that’s contentious to say the least as resorts including Nozawa Onsen and Yamabiko Wild Snow Park – both in Nagano – and Zao Onsen in Yamagaata all lay claim to longer courses. But that’s all trivial! Suginohara does indeed have some lovely long runs, Myoko’s highest elevation and an impressive amount of vertical. Children under the age of 12 have free access to the resort, including the gondola and lifts, making it an economical option for families.

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Operating Dates & Times

The resort is typically open from the first half of December to the end of March with lifts operating from 08:00 to 16:30 on weekends and 08:30 to 16:30 on weekdays.

Ski Runs

Suginohara has 16 courses serviced by 1 gondola and 4 lifts. Courses breakdown as: beginner 40% / intermediate 40% / advanced 20%. Situated between 731 to 1855 metres, Suginohara has the highest elevation of any resort in Myoko and offers an impressive 1124 metres of vertical. The longest ski run is 8.5km.

Highlights

The resort is long and skinny, with really enjoyable ski runs best-suited to intermediate skiers and snowboarders. From the resorts central area, take the gondola to the Mitahara ski area and the final Mithara Chairlift #3 to the very top of the resort. On days of fresh snowfall you’ll find fantastic powder here, and from the top you can descend back into the resort including riding the entire 8.5km course to the bottom. Looking down the mountain, the Sugi Terrain Park – one of two parks in the resort – is on your right, accessible via either the Shakunage Trail or Panorama Connection Trail. While the runs are very gentle and won’t challenge intermediate or advanced skiers/boarders, the tree-lined runs toward the base are picturesque with some decent side-country on offer. The resort has a fairly relaxed approach to backcountry with some excellent terrain on offer.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Sugihonara cost: adults (18+) JPY4800* / children (under 12) FREE / Students (13-17) JPY4200 / seniors (60+) JPY4200*. A 4-hour pass (valid for 4-hours from time of purchase) cost: adults JPY3900 / children FREE / students & seniors JPY3400.

*Over the New Year period a JPY200 surcharge applies to all tickets.

Rental & Ski School

Both rental and ski/snowboard lesson are available at Suginohara however lessons are not available in languages other than Japanese, and while rental services states that their gear includes the latest models, don’t count on this. If you are after rental and/or lessons, the resorts of Akakura Onsen/Kanko are better-suited, with some outlets offering to cover private lessons in Suginohara.

Kids & Families

The ‘Chibbiko’ course in the resort’s central area is for use by kids and their families. There are no day-care facilities. If you require these, Akakura Onsen/Kanko will be better-suited.

Accommodation & Village Info

Suginohara does not have a village as such and is very quiet at night. A number of small lodges are dotted around the resort with only a couple of restaurants. Most people staying in the area arrange dinner and breakfast at their guesthouses.

For listings in Myoko, see our ‘Myoko Area Kogen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort

Distance to Myoko-Kogen Station: 7km / 10 to 15-min drive.

The base of Suginohara is between 10 to 15-minutes drive from Myoko Kogen Station. For directions to the Myoko Kogen area, see our ‘How to Get to Myoko Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page.

SEKI ONSEN SKI AREA


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Describing Seki Onsen as a ‘resort’ is probably a bit too generous. In truth it’s a small ski field run by a family. Infrastructure is old and the runs are short. So why go there? That’s easy – the snow, massive amounts of snow! Receiving an annual snowfall of around 15 to 16 metres, Seki Onsen is blessed with some of Japan’s deepest and best powder. Combine this with a liberal approach to backcountry, trees runs and some steep terrain, and suddenly you understand why some people love it. While it’s not for everyone, when the snow is deep – which is often – intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders will enjoy spending a day there.

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Operating Dates & Times

The resort is typically open from the first half of December until early-May with lifts operating from 09:00 to 17:00.

Ski Runs

Seki Onsen is a very small resort with only 4 courses serviced by 2 lifts. Courses breakdown as: beginner 20% / intermediate 50% / advanced 30%. Situated between 900 to 1210 metres, the resort has 310 metres of vertical. The longest run is 1.5km.

Highlights

Seki Onsen is best-suited to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders wanting to dive into some of Japan’s deepest powder. Beginners won’t have much fun at Seki so best to look elsewhere. The resort is very small and the fun is off-piste. With a liberal approach to backcountry and very deep powder, Seki Onsen has lots of fans but the secret is well and truly out, so on days of big snow expect to be sharing it and snow can track-out quickly. So forget the resort stats and just think deep snow. If that’s what you’re after and the chance to get amongst the trees, Seki might be for you. But keep an eye on the forecast, get there early and enjoy a day in deep powder. That’s all you need to know.

Tickets & Passes

Day-passes for Seki cost: adults (13+) JPY3500 / children (0-12) JPY2800. A half-day pass (12:00 until close) is also available: adults JPY2800 / JPY2000.

Rental & Ski School

Seki Onsen has a rental outlet but equipment is old and don’t expect much English. Basically, if you need rental arrange it elsewhere. The resort does not have a ski school.

Kids & Families

There are no facilities for young children or families at Seki. The resort caters to intermediate and advanced skiers/snowboarders and is not therefore suited to young ones. Best to avoid it when heading to Myoko with young children.

Accommodation & Village Info

Seki Onsen is a small village with some ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses). Expect Japanese-style comforts including on-floor ‘futon’ bedding and to have meals at your guesthouse. There are hot springs in the area giving the village a certain appeal. But in reality, few international visitors choose to stay in Seki and opt for accommodation in Akakura Onsen village.

For listings in Myoko, see our ‘Myoko Area Kogen Area’ hotel page.

Getting to Seki Onsen Ski Area

Distance to Myoko-Kogen Station: 12km / 15 to 20-min drive.

Seki Onsen is between 15 to 20–minutes drive from Myoko Kogen Station. For directions to the Myoko Kogen area, see our ‘How to Get to Myoko Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page.

GETTING TO & AROUND MYOKO KOGEN IN WINTER


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Our ‘How to Get to Myoko Kogen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info’ page provides information on how to reach Myoko from locations including Nagano Station, Tokyo and the airports. For many if not most visitors, accessing the ski fields of Myoko via Myoko-Kogen Station will be the most convenient option.

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Running from Nagano Station, local services on the Kita-Shinano Line take 45-minutes / JPY850 (one-way) to reach Myoko Kogen Station. As a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Nagano Station is only 80 to 110 minutes from Tokyo – depending on which service you choose – putting the resorts of Myoko within easy reach of the capital and its airports.

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It is also worth noting that some services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line stop at Joetsu-Myoko Station. Joetsu-Myoko Station and Myoko Kogen Station are not connected nor serviced by the same trains. For most visitors – particularly those headed to the resorts discussed above – heading to Myoko Kogen Station will be your most convenient option. If coming from Tokyo on the shinkansen, this will require you to get-off at Nagano Station and switch to a local service on the Kita-Shinano line to reach Myoko Kogen Station.

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Once at the station, a local bus or taxis are available to run you into Akakura Onsen village – only a 10 to 15-minute drive – or onto your chosen resort/accommodation. For skiers and snowboarders wanting to enjoy more than one resort while in Myoko, the Myoko Kogen Shuttle Bus operates from late-December until early-March.

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Ultimately, most visitors are looking for convenience and comfort in getting to and from Myoko, making a private charter or tour a great option. Based in Nagano, we can provide both private chartres and tours including pickup and drop-off at any resort in Myoko Kogen.

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Our vehicles and drivers are fully certified, with the capacity to arrange transport for individual and couples, families and friends, and large tour groups including multiple vehicles and transport of ski and snowboard gear. Operating all year round we are ready to help you plan and package you trip, so you can time and money and focus on the fun stuff – see below for details!

PACKAGE & SAVE: BOOK YOUR NEXT TRIP TO MYOKO!


Locally-based and operating all year round, 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 including any destination in Myoko Kogen.

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As a registered travel agent participating in the national ‘Go To Travel’ campaign, we can package your next trip to Myoko Kogen – or any other ski resort in Nagano – including transport, accommodation, lift-passes and more!

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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. 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 interests and schedule.

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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.

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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 Myoko Kogen this winter? Feel free to contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com and let’s get planning together!