When To Visit

Best Time to Visit Nozawa Onsen

The different parts of the Nozawa Onsen ski season have their pros and cons. In deciding when to ski at Nozawa Japan, the best time for skiing and snowboarding is dependent on your priorities and whether you want to chase the best powder, want fresh tracks, avoid the crowds, enjoy fine weather, or benefit from a cheaper holiday.

Nozawa Onsen Ski Season

The typical Nozawa ski season is late November through to early May. Of course, the actual Nozawa Onsen ski season opening and closing times is dependent on snow conditions.

When to Ski at Nozawa Japan

Ski Nozawa Onsen Pre-Xmas
The Nozawa ski season is generally well underway. The Honshu ski resorts tend to not score the same volumes of snow as in Hokkaido at this time of year, so visiting in early to mid December may be marginal considering that Nozawa Japan doesn’t have snowmaking, and not all areas may be open. If you want to go off-piste there may be inadequate snow to cover the sasa grass and shrubbery, but the upside is that there is very little competition for the fresh powder.

There is generally enough snow on-piste for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders (but there is never any guarantee).

Lift tickets at Nozawa Japan are discounted prior to mid December and accommodation deals can often be found. Note that some ancillary and transport services may not commence until just before Xmas.

Nozawa Skiing Christmas to New Years
Well you can’t help it if this is the only time you can take a holiday or vacation. Otherwise, are you crazy??!!! This is the most popular time for the Japanese to go skiing or snowboarding, and then there are all the international holiday-makers as well. Availability for Nozawa Onsen accommodation sells out fast and you generally have to pay a massive premium for being there at the absolute peak time. Prices for flights are also hiked up.

Good luck trying to get into a restaurant for dinner! You might want to consider having dinner at your hotel for some of your stay.

It’s still early season and there’s the risk that some off-piste areas may not have adequate cover.

Nozawa Ski Resort in January
January is a great month to visit in some respects because plenty of snow falls, and temps are generally very cold so the powder snow quality is at its best. However fresh tracks are somewhat hard to come by because it’s so busy.

Australian school holidays go for all of January, and many Australians without kids also take holidays at this time. Early January is particularly hectic. If you want to head out for dinner at one of the many Nozawa Onsen restaurants, you’ll need to make a booking because most restaurants are packed out.

The fire festival period at Nozawa Onsen (15th January) is super busy and Nozawa Onsen accommodation sells out way in advance. And if this coincides with the long weekend in mid January, then it’s particularly busy with Japanese visitors.

Nozawa Onsen Skiing for Chinese New Years
If you’re thinking of a trip to Nozawa Onsen in late January to mid February, it’s best to check the timing of Chinese New Year (the first day of the Chinese New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February). Lots of folks from China and Singapore descend on Japan over the Chinese New Year period (which can extend a long way either side of the actual new year). Accommodation availability can be scarce, and accommodation prices can be higher. Chinese skiers have more of a tendency to remain on-piste – it’s the ex-pats you’ll have to compete with for off-piste fresh powder.

Nozawa Onsen in February
In early February the weather patterns tend to be similar to that of January and it’s a great time for powder. The powder in late February is generally excellent too. With the exception of Chinese New Year’s, early February is less busy than January because many of the Australians have gone back to work and school, and in late February the crowds dissipate even further.

Nozawa Onsen in March
Early March can be a particularly good time for powder hounds to visit Nozawa Japan because there is still plenty of powder, and very few punters to share it with. There are still powder days but these are intermingled with some warmer temps, so snow quality can be completely variable.

March brings more fine weather days so it’s ideal for fair weather piste skiers and those that want to explore the backcountry.

Accommodation discounts often apply during March.

Ski Nozawa April
The Nozawa skiing season is mostly nearing an end. Some of the lower elevation and more south facing slopes start to close but there’s usually enough snow for beginners and low-end intermediates. Decent off-piste skiing is a rarity.

April is the best time to visit if you want low costs, no crowds, and plenty of fine weather.

Spring skiing lift ticket discounts apply from the start of April and accommodation is also much cheaper.

Be mindful that some of the services such as equipment rental shops, shuttle buses, and restaurants may have shut up shop for the season.