Myoko Kogen - Reviews

More Foreigners Now But Still Great

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
14/04/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
Akakura on dusk Akakura Still plenty of powder on offer Finding freshies We stayed at Kougakuro which offers a nice Japanese experience
This is the third time we’ve visited Myoko Kogen in the past 5 years and we’ve seen it change significantly. Five years ago there were only a handful of foreigners visiting Myoko, 2 years ago the increased numbers of gaijin were only apparent in the restaurants at night, whilst in 2016 there were lots of westerners. This is no great surprise considering what Myoko has on offer including pros such as group ski lessons in English (a rarity at Japanese ski resorts) and small villages.

Myoko is still a great pick for most looking for a ski holiday and it snows a mighty lot, but it’s lost some of its appeal for powder hounds, in part due to the increased numbers hitting the powder (oh well, onto new places!!). At Akakura ski area the patrollers had become distinctively anal about off-piste riding and were pulling tickets (although it was still possible to find freshies), whilst Seki Onsen was over-run with powder rodents and there were lift lines. Whilst freshies disappear quickly now in the obvious areas at the main ski resorts, Myoko still has plenty of fresh powder opportunities in the sidecountry and backcountry. Also Myoko makes a great base to explore various nearby resorts where fresh powder is a little more plentiful.

With the influx of gaijin, Myoko has lost a little of its Japanese feel (but there's still plenty of it) and the restaurants are more expensive now (but still very reasonable), but the upside is that it’s become much easier for English speak travellers now. Another huge advantage of the many western travellers is that Myoko is looking more financially viable now. A few years ago, the situation looked pretty dire with some lifts closing and some hotels boarded up and things generally looking bleak.
See the Myoko overview page for more of our thoughts on the pros and cons of Myoko Kogen.

Enjoyed this place

Thuy
10/04/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    April
First time here was in early April. This was a bad year for the snow apparently, but it was still pretty good imo. Loved the people of this place, sweet and caring. Also loved the Japanese vibe.

JaPOW - japan's off piste powder at its best

John Kay
24/10/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
Myoko is an authentic Japanese town, with insane amounts of snow. No worries here about not getting snow. This place just dumps and dumps. The piste isn't extensive but perfectly adequate for two weeks.

Many of the hotels and lodges here have their own onsens as their hot springs about the place. Onsens are just amazing to get those tried legs nice and relaxed after some powder shredding.

The place offers plenty of opportunity for backcountry or sidecountry boarders. This place was still reasonably quite last year, with no queues for life ever, and only a couple of bars in the town meant it was easy to chat up with mates.

This isn't a place for trying to get wasted every night, which you don't need to come to a ski resort to do. This is for shredding and shredding hard.

Myoko Kogen

Joey
22/10/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    12-17
  • Month Visited:
    January
Myoko Kogen is seen by some as a more mellow, beginners valley; However, this is not entirely the case. The valley has several different resorts all with something unique to offer. Back country and tree skiing/boarding is easily accessible at each individual resort and you can pull over at any hill and find amazing powder. There are several little towns/villages and you can see snow monkeys all around the place, you just have to look. It is a frequent area for the Japanese Air Force Fighter Jets to fly by, which is great to see and hear. The area caters for beginners, intermediate, advanced and expert.

Some areas are very flat, but other areas are very steep. The groomed runs can be both thin and wide, steep and mellow and anywhere in between. There are very new gondolas and lifts; however, the old ones are still there too. The crowds are not a problem, except in the morning rush where everyone wants to get the same lift to the top and get the powder.

Great experience

Hal G
20/03/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
Stayed in Akakura, nice cozy village.

Very good terrain and lots of good spots for lift based off-piste skiing. A lot more people then we thought were skiing off-piste, so it was difficult to find fresh lines, at least after lunch.

There were a lot more people at the Akakura resort compared to the other Myoko Kogen resorts. It would be a good option to check out these for days with less snowfall, could be easier to find freshies.

Would also recommend to have a guide. We had lots of fresh lines at places we would never find without one.

Wow to the Pow and the food

Nicki Gallagher
24/02/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Cute little village with the best food yet that I have had at any Japanese resort. Every night was a culinary delight.

We were fortunate to have 2 large POW dumps whilst there so experienced some amazing off piste skiing both alone and with Powder Recon package.

Limited internet was the only negative for this trip but it is a holiday after all!!!

Our time in Myoko Kogen

sam
31/05/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35

Why Swiss skiers would go to Japan

Rene
15/03/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
We never had a better ski holidays than this in Myoko Kogen. Powder , nice slopes, no hurry, no seen accident and friendly relaxed people. This where really relaxing ski holidays and we are considering to come back.

We havent checked nightlife as full day skiing and one hour relaxing in the Onsen. It leaves only time to go out in one of those nice and marveluous restaurants to get a dinner.

Myoko!

Andrew Henderson
27/04/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    N/A
  • Rider Age
    36-50
I skied here with my 10 year old son and a few days on my own. We were with Powder Recon so the trip also involved several days at other nearby fields outside the Myoko Kogen four. We stayed at Akakura Onsen and skied Akakura Kanko and Suginohara. This is a great place to have a ski holiday. Close to Tokyo and easy to get to. The snow was plentiful. Perhaps Hokkaido fields get more, but there were lots of days of fresh knee to waist deep snow. The powder here seems a little heavier than Hokkaido snow, but it is still very dry and easy to ski. You can get too much snow here, more than mid thigh, it can be hard sometimes to find the pitch to do more than ski a straight line.

Suginohara was a good destination with the boy, open piste and some easy tree skiing. The best powder hound skiing is off the top lift, but this is not always open and unlike many other fields, the status of the lifts can be hard to find out before you get there. Without the top lift, Suginohara is less exciting. There are some sneaky short runs in the trees off piste, but not endorsed by the ski patrol. Akakura Kanko has some great skiing off the top lift. Hike or traverse to skier's left of the main piste and there is a lot of great terrain to ski out of bounds. This is unpatrolled and not completely benign territory though, so you need a buddy.

These fields are not like Niseko. There is no alpine to ski and there are less steep(ish) sections to ski, but there is still great tree skiing, great tracks to be had all day and very few other skiers to share it with, even in the busy times of year. Akakura Onsen village is small and although the main street is lined with amusingly similar tourist shops aimed at Japanese visitors, "unspoiled." There are some great places to eat and drink and the onsens are good. There is not a big selection of ski shops and renting powder skis (which you will need), is not easy, so bring your own if you can. There are ski schools, one of which is Australian owned, but it is worth checking out the prices and availability from home.

Akaura Onsen and Akakura Kanko are linked, but two seperate areas, requiring two different passes (or the "Big Four" pass). Getting to Suginohara or Ikenotaira is a short trip by bus. Seki Onsen I didn't get to ski. Next time! From the village at Akakura Onsen you can access the lifts to both Akakura Onsen and Kanko and if you ski on a Kanko pass you can ski out through Onsen, to the village, without needing to ride an "Onsen lift."

I will be back to Myoko, with the boy. I get the feeling it will remain a quieter destination and that is a good thing.

Variety

Crunky
09/02/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Not far away from it's better known cousins is Myoko essentially 4 locations in one Suginohara, Ikenotaira, Akakura (two sections) and Seki Onsen.

Suginohara- for powderhounds it's all off the top lift, Highspeed hooded quad that is a little tight, but plus marks for being high speed at the top of the hill! If that lift isn't running Powderhounds should turn around and go to another area. The longest run in Japan is also serviced by the slowest double chair in Japan. The top trees were great, complex with lots of lines and easy for someone new to the resort to figure out. Our favourite place.

Ikenotaira- Supposedly a great terrain park (actually amazing to check out) which is good because this place is FLAT. Not flat enough to unclip mid piste but not steep enough to get it going. I guess it's a great place for begineers to sus out trees although the exit from the out of bounds trees on the skiers left wasn't straight forward. The place to miss unless you are a mad keen terrain park grom or really new to getting into the trees (Suginohara also has mellow trees next to the terrain park). Probably the most boring terrain I've come across in Japan and lacks any steeps anywhere. I guess they know their limitations as the Happy Park is an intro terrain park with heap of really easy table tops and jumps and was a bit of fun and something to check out if you want to try some slides and get a sore arse/wrist.

Akakura- Probably the most complex terrain and I'm sure the longer you are here the more you would sniff out. Akakura. Top is serviced by a high speed quad and has heaps of trees- strangely signed off bust smashed by riders after a dump. Some really dumb flat spots getting off the Gondola and across to the top chair. 10 minutes in summer with a dozer would sort it out. Next high speed quad chair down accesses some great terrain but once you drop over into Akakura Onsen the terrain gets pretty mellow pretty quick (so you might think about only buying one of the tickets and saving some yen).

Seki Onsen- Not on the "Big 4" pass, you will probably have to book a spot on the bus to get there. Renowned powder destination after a dump this place is wild by Japanese standards. Don't expect any bamboo across any hazards, the whole hill is a bloody hazard. A truly terrifying place to go on your first day with limited vis, if you have any beginners in your group don't take them here. This is a hard mountain with fantastic snow and lots of backcountry options. What's more it's run by pretty hardcore riders as well so expect the locals to shred it better than you. Steep pitches, hardcore locals, single lift to the top and backcountry tracks marked out on trees??? This hill doesn't feel like skiing in Japan which I guess is a compliment.

With the exception of Seki onsen never found any "Go to the top, get out of bounds and drop the gully all the way to the bottom chair without unclicking from your snowboard" places. The slackcountry was good, but it wasn't long like you can find in Nozawa or Niseko. But the powder stashes were serviced by one high speed quad chair at both Suginohara and Akakura allowing you to lap quickly rather than catching 3 or 4 lifts to get back there again (looking at you Nozawa!). If you knew what you were doing and had a guide hiking out above the ski hill you would have your choice of pristine bowls to drop, but you need gear (check the POW shop on this site). A good place, never got hassled by Ski patrol despite doing whatever we wanted (we were sensible about it though). Worth checking out.
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