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Nozawa Onson is one of Japan's oldest, largest and least spoilt resorts, with lifts going out in all directions from the village. Legendary Austrian Hannes Schneider from Arlberg came here nearly a century ago to teach skiing.

nozawa onsen

Nozawa is generally regarded as one of Japan's best ski areas with 27 lifts, 25 of them chairs and two of them gondolas.  There are trails for all standards from wonderful beginner skiing to exceptionally steep expert terrain - the latter especially rare in Japan.  The hourly uplift of around 45,000 skiers rivals North America's biggest ski areas like aspen sands Vail.  In common with the Japanese norm however along with the state of the art quads, gondolas and an escalator for skiers enclosed within a glass corridor of which the resort is particularly proud, there are some antiquated single and double chairs still operating.  



Beginners have plenty of wide flat terrain, especially the 3km long Silver Karasawa run.  Intermediates also have a big choice, although the resort's most famous trail, the 5km long Skyline, that runs from top to bottom with great views, can be over crowded.  For experts there are tough runs from the Mukobayashi chair which accesses the tough 'Jumping' mogul field and the steep narrow Grand Prix route.  

You can ski off piste beyond the ski area boundary over the back of the mountain, but try to find a guide to take you.  There are several other powder fields between the trails for those who wish to ignore the 'Do Not enter unless you're A good skier' signs.   Talking of 'signs' they're generally better than the Japanese norm and are quite often in English.  

Apart from downhill there is night skiing and a small amount of cross-country.



Nozawa is one of the more family friendly resorts in Japan, with facilities including the Aqua Dome with childrens pool and tobogganing by the ski slopes.  

There are discounts of thirty per-cent on lift tickets for children.


Eating out

There are about 25 restaurants in Nozawa and many more eateries.  All are of traditional Japanese style.  An exception is the Heidi café by the Nagasaka gondola base which serves European style food.


Apres ski

In a country which is generally regarded as having little or no après ski scene except possibly for karaoke bars, Nozawa  has a wide range of bars, restaurants and indeed karaoke joints - all very Japanese with little Western influence or atmosphere, ideal for those looking for cultural immersion.   

Most short-term visitors will likely  want to initially spend time wandering a long the narrow streets and visiting either the spectacular Aqua Dome swimming complex or one of the public hot springs baths.  You might even take a wander over to the boiling hot Ogama spring where villagers still communally cook vegetables and boil eggs.  If you happen to be in Nozawa in mid-January the Dosojin Fire Festival is a spectacular event to participate in and is staged annually.

Vertical drop
Ski area
Resort height
Train station
Togari Nozawa Onsen