How to Get to Nozawa Onsen – Nagano Ski Resorts Info
The resort of Nozawa Onsen is approximately 50KM (<1 hour drive) to the northeast of Nagano City and within easy reach of Tokyo – 260KM (<4 hours drive) – or around 2 hours using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is well-established as a favorite destination for international visitors given its excellent terrain, relatively compact size, and lively village. On this page you will find the following information:
Offering 35 courses spread over 300 ha of terrain, Nozawa Onsen is a great option regardless of ability with many runs suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. The resorts setup is particularly good for snowboarders, with the lively village appealing to a young crowd.
For international visitors, Nozawa Onsen is most easily reached via Iiyama Station using the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Shuttle buses operate to and from the station, making the journey to Nozawa 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 shuttle bus, local bus or taxi onto the resort.
WHERE IS NOZAWA ONSEN?
Located around 50KM (<1 hour drive) to the northeast of Nagano City and within easy reach of Tokyo – 260KM (<4 hours drive), Nozawa Onsen is a historic hot spring town better known in recent years as one of Japan’s most popular ski resorts. The town lies around 20 to 25-minutes drive from Iiyama Station. As a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano, Iiyama Station is a convenient hub from where to reach Nozawa by shuttle bus or taxi – a total journey time of around 2 hours from Tokyo. Nozawa’s history as a hot spring town stretches back more than 1000 years but for international visitors, it is best-known for its fantastic ski resort and lively village offering some of Japan’s best apres ski. Outside of winter, Nozawa Onsen is much quieter but developing as an all-year-round destination with some excellent accommodation, dining, outdoor activities, hot springs and a couple of very good breweries enticing you to visit.
HOW TO GET TO NOZAWA
In this section you will find information on how to reach Nozawa Onsen 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
A couple of bus lines run to Nozawa Onsen from Iiyama Station. The Nozawa Onsen Liner runs directly from Iiyama Station to the resort, ending at the Chuo Bus Terminal in the middle of Nozawa. It takes 25 minutes and costs JPY600 per adult / JPY300 per child – paid directly to the driver:
From Nozawa to Iiyama Station, the following schedule operates in winter:
Alternatively, the Nagaden Nozawa Line also connects the station to the resort via Kijima – near Kijimadaira Ski Resort – taking just over 40 minutes to reach Nozawa and costing JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child one-way:
The following schedule operates from Nozawa Grand Hotel:
Further information about using local buses is available on our ‘Nagaden Local Bus’ page.
FROM NAGANO CITY
Nagano City is the nearest major city to Nozawa Onsen and the central hub from where to visit most of the region’s most popular ski resorts. Many visitors heading to and from Nozawa, will do so via Nagano Station, enroute to Iiyama. The Hokuriku Shinkansen runs from Tokyo via 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. A second option is therefore 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 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.
FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK
For visitors heading to Nozawa from the Jigokudani Monkey Park, there is a winter-only direct bus via Iiyama Station. This is the most convenient way to reach Nozawa fromt eh park however there is only one service a day and only during winter. Departing from the park at 14:20, the bus arrives at Iiyama Station at 14:55 before reaching Nozawa at 15:25. There is also an earlier service at 12:21 however it only goes as far as Iiyama Station. The bus costs JPY1600 one-way. For more information, see our ‘From Nozawa: How To Get To The Snow Monkey Park’ page.
For most visitors, the service above is not an option meaning that the journey to Nozawa 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.
Chances are that if you’re headed to Nozawa for the snow, you’re likely to be coming from Tokyo or its airports. Iiyama Station can be reached directly from Tokyo Station using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. 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 onto Nozawa.
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. Regular sales on return fares can also provide good savings. 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.
Winter-only bus service from Narita to Nozawa Onsen
In winter, from mid-December until mid-March, a direct bus service connects Narita to Nozawa Onsen. Operating from outside Terminal 2, there are up to 4 services each day, taking approx. 5.5 hours and costs JPY10,600.
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 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 can 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 Airport 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.
Winter-only bus service from Haneda to Nozawa Onsen
Operating from Haneda’s International Terminal, an express bus connects the airport with Nozawa Onsen through winter, from mid-December until mid-March. There are 2 services each day, taking approx. 5¼ hours and costs JPY10,600.
Madarao Mountain Resort lies across the valley from Nozawa, a 40 to 50-minute drive depending on weather and road conditions. Most people making the journey from Madarao to Nozawa will need to do so via Iiyama Station. Nagaden operates services from Madarao 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 Nozawa. Often referred to as the ‘NoToMa Express Line’, the service from Madaro to Nozawa 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 SHIGA KOGEN
The easiest option to reach Nozawa Onsen from Shiga Kogen is to take the Shiga Kogen Express Bus to Nagano Station and from there, follow the directions above onto Nozawa Onsen. 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.
FROM MYOKO KOGEN
The easiest option to reach Nozawa 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 Nozawa. Depending on the timing of the train and shuttle bus to Nozawa from Iiyama Station, the journey should take under an hour.
The easiest option to reach Nozawa 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 Nozawa.
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 Nozawa.
NOZAWA ONSEN SKI RESORT: THE STATS & FACTS
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 which is easy to move around given a good setup of gondolas and lifts. Ideally-suited to snowboarders who love its powder and youthful atmosphere, Nozawa continues to grow in popularity year-on-year. For all the stats, facts and highlights, see our ‘Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’ main page.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND NOZAWA & WHERE TO STAY
Long before Nozawa Onsen was a snow resort, it was famous for the healing powers of its thermal water and as a place of refuge. With a history stretching back more than 1000 years, Nozawa is one of Japan’s most famous ‘onsen’ (natural hot spring) towns, a legacy that lives on today in its free public hot springs, quaint streets and rural backbone. Our ’25 Things To Do Around Nozawa & Where To Stay’ page has some great information about what’s on offer all-year-round including accommodation listings.
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 2022 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 and Central Japan.
Got a question about visiting Nozawa Onsen? Contact us and let’s get planning together!