Wagner Custome Skis
Our Terrain Ratings
 Beginner
 Intermediate
 Adv. on-piste
 Off-piste
 Slackcountry
 Expert
 Extreme
 Tree skiing
 Snow
 Freshies
 Uncrowded
 Lifts
 Terrain park
 Powderhound
powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Lifts & Terrain

Myoko Ski Areas

The Myoko ski areas include Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko (Akakan), Seki Onsen, Suginohara and various other resorts that offer something for most ability levels: mellow areas for beginners with opportunities for night skiing; long groomed runs for intermediates; and tree skiing for advanced riders. Myoko skiing doesn’t offer many runs that will make experts quake with trepidation, but experts will largely be kept happy amongst the powder or out in the backcountry. 

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Off-piste skiing is permitted (or tolerated) at some of the Myoko Kogen ski resorts, as is backcountry skiing. The Myoko ski areas receive an abundance of snowfall and can be characterised as being uncrowded (except on weekends). The Myoko skiing and snowboarding sounds like a great recipe for a powder hounds’ destination!

Myoko Akakura

Myoko Akakura” refers to the two interconnected areas of Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko. These are the most popular ski resorts because they are both sizeable and are located near most of the accommodation and restaurants.

Akakura Onsen
Akakura Onsen is largely mellow and is really well suited to families and less experienced riders. Beginners will love the many green runs and Akakura Onsen has several wide runs for intermediates such as Utopia or Panorama, the night skiing area. The ski resort really only has one black run, although this area provides some good steep tree skiing.

The quality of the Akakura Onsen lifts are somewhat mixed, and the resort has a tiny terrain park and good facilities for kids.

Akakura Kanko Ski Resort (aka Akakan or Shin-Akakura)
Akakura Kanko has lots of beginner runs and some red runs, although it doesn’t cater particularly well for intermediates, and there are only a couple of black runs.

For advanced and expert riders there is some off-piste merriment, although snowboarders may find that on deep days the pitch is not quite adequate (whilst the skiers will be yahooing!). The former lift serviced area above lift no. 17 provides lots of fun for those willing to hike, and the area under lift 17 has some really gnarly terrain for experts including some opportunities for hucking. This terrain requires lots of snow cover; otherwise major powder fossicking may be required. The most popular tree skiing area is left and right of the top lift (no. 22), but it feels as though the lift doesn’t go high enough (only 1,500 metres, 355 metres lower than Suginohara).

The tree skiing above the top lift is superb, and Akakan is also a great gateway to other backcountry riding for those prepared to earn their turns.

At Akakura, the ski patrollers are becoming stricter regarding off-piste riding, particularly if it involves crossing under a lift line. They are generally OK if you go into the sidecountry or backcountry though.

Akakura Kanko ski resort has good lift infrastructure. Of the 8 lifts, one is a gondola and all others are quad chairs, some with hoods. The ski resort has a kids’ park, a small terrain park, and good supporting facilities and services.

Seki Onsen

Powder hounds with their own transport should head to Seki Onsen. It’s a no frills ski resort with limited infrastructure and negligible grooming, but Seki is freeride heaven amongst lots of steep-ish trees. Seki Onsen is reputed to receive 16 metres of snow annually so it’s popular with powder hounds, and because it’s pretty small (2 lifts, 6 runs, and 310 metres of vertical) it doesn’t take much for it to get hit hard with powder rodents. Seki is a locals’ favourite, especially on the weekends, and chances are they’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, so good luck! 

With a small amount of hiking it’s possible to ski over to Seki from Akakan (with a guide), but it’s not possible to ski back so you’ll need to find a taxi or hitch a ride.

Suginohara

Suginohara is a largish resort that is proud because they think they have the longest run in Japan (Zao Onsen actually has the longest run but it’s a rubbish beginners traverse!). Suginohara is great for cruising with the emphasis on terrain for beginners and intermediates. The new terrain park is also increasing its popularity with freestylers. Snowboarding is incredibly trendy, with skiers being a bit of a rarity at Suginohara.

The general lack of westerners is probably advantageous if you want to head off-piste. The best off-piste riding is off the top lift. There is some decent gradient in places, and it’s still below the tree line yet has an elevation of 1,855 metres, so the snow quality is often superb. The trees are reasonably tight in places if there’s not much cover. Better terrain for tree skiing virgins can be found next to the Columbia terrain park, where there are perfectly gladed pines on a mellow pitch.

Suginohara has fantastic sidecountry and if you’re willing to earn your turns, some great backcountry. Both are steep and rather avalanche prone so take the usual precautions.

Suginohara has impressive lift infrastructure with a fast modern gondola and two hooded detachable quad chair lifts. On the contrary, the lowest double lift might get the award for the slowest chair lift in all of Japan. It services night skiing so you’d be at risk of freezing your bits off sitting on that chair!

Ikenotaira

Ikenotaira Onsen is great for beginner and intermediate riders, as well as families considering the large children’s play area. There is only a little black terrain and some tree skiing, and Ikenotaira Onsen is probably most well liked for its terrain park and half pipe. This is the ultimate place to go if you want to make the most of your ski insurance!

Ikenotaira is also very good for intermediate powder riders. Most people are there to ride the terrain parks so the top half is rather deserted and there’s plenty of room to play.

Other Myoko Kogen Ski Resorts

Family friendly slopes can be found at Kyukamura and Myoko Ski Park, both very small ski resorts. APA Resort Pine Valley is currently closed for financial reasons. Some folks also categorise nearby Tangram and Madarao ski resorts as part of Myoko, and these can be easily accessed as part of a Myoko Powder Package or other multi-resort tour.

See the table to compare the Myoko Kogen ski resorts on statistics such as elevation, size, spread of terrain for different abilities, and number of lifts.

   Vertical
(m)
Elevation
(m)
 Size
(ha)
 Longest
run (km)
 %
Beginners
%
Inter
 %
Advanced
 Runs  Lifts
 Akakura Kanko
 760  1,500 *
 4.5 40
30
 30 10
8
 Seki Onsen
 310 1,210
*
 1.5 20
50 30
6
 2
 Suginohara 1,124
 1,855 90
8.5
 40 40
20
 17  5
 Ikenotaira 700
 1,500  60  4.5  40 45  15 10
 8
 Myoko Ski Park
 135  860  * 1.2
 60 40
0
2
 1
 APA Pine Valley
 365 945
46
2.1
30
60  10  7 5
 Madarao Kogen
 428 1,350
*
 2.5 30
45  25  16 19
 Tangram Circus
 520 1,320
 50 2.5
 30 40
30
 14 6
Kyukamura
90
850
 *  0.9  80 20
0
1
1

* info not available or unreliable

Lift TicketsWe'd recommend not pre-purchasing lift tickets if you think you'll want to explore various resorts in the area, or undertake some other activities. You can purchase a lift pass at the ticket window of each of the resorts (cash only) or your accommodation or ski school may also sell lift tickets.

For Akakura, you can purchase a ticket for just one of the resorts, or for a little bit more get a combined Akakura Onsen/Kanko combined pass.

A Big 4 Pass is available via the Myoko tourism centre by emailing them (stay@myoko.tv) and pre-purchasing before arriving in Japan. This pass gives access to Akakura Kanko and Onsen, Suginohara, and Ikenotaira. It's only available for guests staying at some accommodation and the pass actually costs more than individual tickets at the resorts. It's only financially advantageous if you want to purchase a season pass.

Myoko Snow ConditionsCommonly the off-piste areas at Myoko Kogen have bottomless powder. Myoko receives some great snow falls with the large volumes due to the proximity of Myoko to the Japan Sea (only 25km from the coast). Mt Myoko provides plenty of orographic lift, condensing the moisture into snow. The average snowfall is higher than other ski resorts near Nagano such as Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen. Seki Onsen reputably gets 16 metres per season, but it’s hard to know if this is just part of the hype associated with Seki or whether it’s the source of the hype!

To get the big powder dumps, storms from the north to north west are ideal. Seki gets big snow from north winds, Akakan gets bigger snowfalls from NNW storms, whilst Suginohara does the best out of NW winds.

The quality of the powder is pretty good; not the super light dry powder that Hokkaido is renowned for, but still reasonably dry. Of course the quality of the snow is somewhat dependent on elevation. The top of Suginohara (with a top elevation of 1,855 metres) typically has great snow quality. This area is higher than the top elevations of Hakuba (1,670m) and Nozawa Onsen (1,650), whilst Akakura Kanko’s top elevation is only at 1,500 metres.

Myoko Kogen Backcountry If you’re willing to earn your turns, the real joy of Myoko Kogen is the backcountry. Venturing into the backcountry or even off-piste needs to be undertaken at the risk of the rider, and as such you should be adequately equipped with backcountry know-how, avalanche safety gear, and snow shoes or skins. The tunnel run out the lookers’ right of Akakura is particularly risky.

Myoko Kogen Packages
Ski lodging & accommodations
Hosted Ski Tours & Multi-Resort Safaris


  • Vertical (m)
    731 – 1,855 (1,124)
  • Average Snow Fall
    13  metres
  • Lifts (70)
    2 gondolas
  • Ski Hours
    8:30am - 5:00pm
    early Dec - early May
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 95
    Longest run – 8.5 km
    Advanced - 22%
    Intermediate - 53%
    Beginner - 25%
  • Lift Prices (Day 15/16)
    Adult - 5,000 yen
    varies between resorts