Nozawa Onsen - Reviews

Best Snow In Asia

Fergus Barnes
16/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
Tree at the Peak Street in the Village Boarders at the peak
My family took a trip to Nozawa Onsen and there is no other explanation than amazing. The snow was incredible and there was so much we couldn't believe that it existed. The value that you get from the trip is worth it. I have been dying to go back. To maximise the whole experience, rent a lodge on the mountain that way you don't need to get a shuttle back to the village.

Its Popularity Continues to Increase

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
05/06/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
The foot bath outside Sakaya Ryokan Despite its increasing popularity there are still freshies to be found More freshies Gorgeous views One cool town
We’ve seen Nozawa Onsen change a bit over the years, and on this visit the further increase in the number of western visitors was apparent. The apres-ski culture has increased (and the difficulty associated with getting into a restaurant without a booking has increased), and whilst it has become much more friendly for English speaking guests, thankfully it’s hasn’t become Niseko-ised. A large degree of the vibe and Japanese culture of the town has still been retained.

Whilst in years gone by it was easy to score off-piste fresh tracks, it was not surprising that the easily accessed off-piste areas were tracked out. However we still managed to very easily find freshies in the sidecountry. It seems that Nozawa mostly attracts families and resort skiers and snowboarders, not hard core backcountry types, which is an advantage for keen powder hounds.

The Nozawa Onsen ski resort overview page outlines our thoughts on the pros and cons of Nozawa, and you can also see the Japan ski resort ratings to see how it compares. We continue to rate Nozawa as one of the best overall ski resorts in Japan.

Powder and Tradition

Denabroad
05/05/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    January
We skied Nozawa in January 2015. The town was just what we wanted, a true Japanese village, lost of great places to eat once you worked out where to find them. Not much in the way of night life beyond that. We stayed at Address Nagasaka apartments which are right on the ski field just a minute to the Nagasaka gondola. great place with a bar and coffee shop below. Only problem was the long walk up the hill from the town and distance to any of the onsens. The ski filed on piste is short on interest for the advanced/expert skier but lost of great areas for beginners. There are some good runs at the top and bottom of the mountain but a lot of flat in the middle. Off piste means jumping the rope and ignoring the frequent announcements that you are not allowed out of bounds. This doesn't seem to be enforced and the powder and runs in the tress are great. To get the best out of Nozawa you need to be adventurous to find the good pitches.

Friendly but short.

Phil White
05/03/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
We travelled to Nozawa as a group of 7. The village is great all the people we encountered were fantastic. Nagano Lodge was super easy and the staff could not do enough for us. The food at the Lodge and the village was excellent.
There is a bit of a slog getting too and from the lifts and the Lodge(200m in boots). The mountain has lots of lifts (no T-bars).However there is a lot of uphill shuffles getting to lifts and runs. The piste trails are little short. We would recommend Nozawa and Lodge Nagano to anyone who is not looking for 5 star.

Nozawaonsen

Timothy Berlet
26/01/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Superb all around

great village- great vibe

Darren C
13/05/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
This little secret is very quickly becoming a favourite amongst Aussies and other powder seekers. What a mountain, what a traditional village. If only the drunken yobbos could leave this alone forever and not make it another Niseko.

One advantage is much of money that goes into Nozawa goes back to the locals themselves.

For a real taste of Japan (minus the tourists) this place is a great bet....but please: shhhh.

Still Fantastic

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
04/07/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Our thoughts on the pros and cons of Nozawa Onsen are outlined on the overview page. Nozawa has a lot of pros!

It had been a few years since we’d visited Nozawa Onsen and it had changed only a little. There were more westerners there, but the charm of the village still shone through. More restaurants have popped up around town to cater for the westerners (considering that most Japanese have dinner at their hotel) as well as a few bars.

Overall Nozawa Onsen is still a fantastic village and ski resort, with lots on offer for everyone.

We had some fun in the sidecountry where the snow quality up top was delightful. There are a myriad of sidecountry lines to choose from including some steeps, but unfortunately the terrain fans into a valley where the egress goes on and on and on. Oh well – a small price to pay for powder!

True Japan Ski Experience

Max Downie
11/08/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
We had been to a few different resorts in Japan but Nozawa Onsen really had everything we had been looking for in a Japan ski holiday. Traditional feel, terrific food, friendly people and amazing snow.

Also another major plus was the Onsens or hot springs. There are 13 free ones scattered around the village in traditional bath houses and perfect after a cold day on the slopes. We stayed at Villa Nozawa which was awesome, friendly and knowledgeable hosts and helped with everything we needed.

We stayed for 10 days and the mountain had plenty to keep us interested and some amazing stashes, tree runs and long groomers. The beauty of Nozawa is it is not just about the skiing it is the overall experience..

Nozawa experience

Sally platt
27/04/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    51-70
I have now skied 5 different resorts in Japan and Nozawa Onsen is my favourite so far. It offers wonderful snow conditions and the cultural experience of a traditional Japanese village.

Our accommodation was the ryokan Jonnobi which offered a comfortable room with bathroom, a good restaurant and breakfast each morning plus a choice of private or shared onsen. It also has a lovely bar area with fabulous and friendly staff.

There are plenty of places to eat dinner each night in the village and also a good range of lunch venues while on the mountain during the day.

Our stay was late january and it snowed constantly but we were still able to ski each day, often with powder conditions as the biggest challenge! There is a short walk to the lift/ gondola each day but there is a moving walkway to help access this area and our equipment was able to be stored at the hire shop nearby.

Nozawa Onsen is not far from the snow monkey park which is well worth a visit, you only need half a day from the slopes to make the excursion to see the monkeys.

Nozawa for my family offered everything for a true Japanese snow experience and easy to access from Tokyo via the bullet train to Nagano and then a bus trip to the Nozawa.

Nozawa Onsen

John
27/04/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Nozawa Onsen is a gem! Not just the skiing, but the whole japanese village experience. Its a pretty big mountain, serviced by 2 big gondolas and numerous chairlifts. There is a good mix of on and off piste skiing, so something for everyone. Pretty easy to find the off-piste tree areas - just go to the very top of the mountain in the Yamabiko area. This is off piste that the whole family can enjoy, as there's no hiking and you can remain in-area.

We skied knee deep powder through the trees day after day and just loved it. Can get a bit skied out by late morning, but if it's snowing just come back late afternoon, and the people have all gone and there are fresh tracks to be found again.

Gets busy in weekends when the locals and Tokyo crowd get their only days off.

Don't expect to be able to rent powder skis - we found only one shop that had fat skis for rent for our daughter. The Japanese still love their skinny carving skis. The piste is so good that fat skis work there too, so bring your own.

There are only a handful of ski-in ski-out accommodations. Most places you either have to walk up the hill to the gondola (steep) or get the accommodation shuttles if they offer them. There is a long travelator (covered escalator) up to one of the gondolas, but still have to walk to the start of it.

Cash is still king in Nozawa, but we found many places that would take credit cards.

Other highlights.
1. Banquet dinner at a local Ryokan - food highlight of the trip.
2. The onsen are scattered all through the village, most are free, but all are pretty basic. And pretty hot - but it's OK to add some cold water. By the way, the white floaty things in the onsen are not peeled off skin, but calcium deposits from the natural mineral water!!
3. Steamed local dumplings in the village shopping area after skiing.
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