Ski Nagano

Ski Nagano

Follow in the tracks of Olympians at the home of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano, and nearby Niigata, as you carve down spectacular ski slopes and kick back in comforting resorts, just a train and bus ride away from Tokyo.

Looking for a snow season holiday that won’t take you far from Japan’s major capital? Nagano and Niigata are the twin sister-cities of snowy fun on Honshu island, both very close to Tokyo.

Nagano has been known around the world as a must-ski, must-snowboard destination since it hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. From the rolling slopes perfect for families to the challenging runs ideal for snow-venturers, Nagano is well equipped to provide world-class holidays for any visitor.

Of course, an essential element of any snow holiday is the relaxing after an athletic day on the slopes. The diversity of Nagano’s 85+ ski resorts means that every taste is catered for, be it hot springs or onsen, an array of dining options, or fun nightlife. Naturally, no trip to Nagano is complete without a visit to the beloved Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, another popular tourist activity where you can see Japanese macaques frolic about in hot springs.

They say the original is the best, which means Niigata has a claim at being the number one snow destination in Japan. The charming prefecture is the birthplace of skiing in Japan, where Austrian soldiers taught locals the art in 1911. Since then, Niigata has been a mecca for recreational skiers and later, snowboarders as well, seeking incredible snow and stunning scenery. With over 50 ski resorts to choose from only 70 minutes from Tokyo, there’s no reason not to visit Niigata on your snow season holiday to Japan.

With such snow-centric activities in Niigata, you can also expect a variety of cultural events every season. Niigata holds the annual Tokamachi Snow Festival which features a spectacular fireworks show that lights up snowy mountains and sculptures, as well as the infamous ‘Son-in-law Throwing’ event based on traditional Japanese customs (don’t get any ideas, visiting Fathers-in-law!).

Hakuba

Home to ten ski resorts, more than 200 runs and ten metres of seasonal snowfall, Hakuba is a skier’s heaven.

Season: Late November to early May
Number of courses: 200 (35% Beginner, 40% Intermediate, 25% Advanced)
Number of lifts: 107
Longest course: 8km
Other info: Ski Park, Halfpipe, Night Skiing, Ski School, Gear Rental, Kids Facilities

Visit the official site

Access from Narita Airport

By train

  1. JR Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (60 minutes, 2,820 yen).
  2. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Nagano (80 – 110 minutes, 8,000 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Nagano -> Hakuba bus route operated by Alpico Bus to resorts in Hakuba (approx 75 mins, 1,800-2,000 yen) View timetable and fares

Note: There is a Hakuba Station, but it is 20 minutes from the resorts. The resort connections from Nagano are more frequent so it is the popular option.

By bus

Direct bus from Narita Airport to Hakuba operated by Alpico Bus (approx. 6 hours, 9,500 yen). 1 round trip per day. View timetable and book

Access from Haneda Airport

By train

  1. Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station. (15 minutes, 490 yen)
  2. JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho to Tokyo Station (4 mins)
  3. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet-train) from Tokyo Station to Nagano (80 – 110 minutes, 8,000 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Nagano -> Hakuba bus route operated by Alpico Bus to resorts in Hakuba (approx 75 mins, 1,800-2,000 yen) View timetable and fares

By bus

Direct bus from Haneda Airport to Hakuba operated by Alpico Bus (approx. 6 hours, 9,000 yen). 2 round trips per day. View timetable and book

Nozawa Onsen

Founded in 1930, Nozawa Onsen Snow resort is the oldest in Japan. Stand in the middle of the village and you can see hot steam rising all around you. After a day on the slopes, take a dip in one of the 30 natural hot springs and soak up the traditional atmosphere.

Season: Late November to early May
Number of courses: 36 (40% Beginner, 30% Intermediate, 30% Advanced)
Number of lifts: 21
Longest course: 10km
Other info: Ski Park, Halfpipe, Night Skiing, Ski School, Gear Rental, Kids Facilities

Visit the official site

Access from Narita Airport

By train

  1. JR Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (60 minutes, 2,820 yen).
  2. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Iiyama (105 minutes, 8,430 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Nozawa Onsen Liner, an express bus from Iiyama Station to the resort  (25 minutes, 600 yen) View timetable

Access from Haneda Airport

By train

  1. Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station. (15 minutes, 490 yen)
  2. JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho to Tokyo Station (4 mins)
  3. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Iiyama (105 minutes, 8,430 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Nozawa Onsen Liner, an express bus from Iiyama Station to the resort  (25 minutes, 600 yen) View timetable

Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen is located in Joshin-etsu National Park and is blessed with high quality powder snow, similar to that of Hokkaido. The largest single resort in Japan with 19 interlinked ski areas, it caters for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.

Season: Late November to early May
Number of courses: 84
Number of lifts: 70
Longest course: 3.5km
Other info: Ski Park, Night Skiing, Ski School, Gear Rental, Kids Facilities

Access from Narita Airport

By train

  1. JR Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (60 minutes, 2,820 yen).
  2. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet-train) from Tokyo Station to Nagano (80 – 110 minutes, 8,000 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Nagaden Express Bus from Nagano Station East Exit to Shiga Kogen  (80 minutes, 2000 yen) View timetable

Access from Haneda Airport

By train

  1. Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station. (15 minutes, 490 yen)
  2. JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho to Tokyo Station (4 mins)
  3. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet-train) from Tokyo Station to Nagano (80 – 110 minutes, 8,000 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Nagaden Express Bus from Nagano Station East Exit to Shiga Kogen  (80 minutes, 2000 yen) View timetable

Visit the Official Site

Myoko

Myoko  is located just an hour north of Nagano city and boasts more than 19 metres of snow annually across 9 mountains. Myoko offers something for all skiers.

Season: Mid December to late March
Number of courses: 95 (25% Beginner, 53% Intermediate, 22% Advanced)
Number of lifts: 41
Longest course: 8.5km
Other info: Ski Park, Halfpipe, Night Skiing, Ski School, Gear Rental, Kids Facilities

Visit the Official Site

Access from Narita Airport

By train

  1. JR Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (60 minutes, 2,820 yen).
  2. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Joetsumyoko Station (120 minutes, 9,080 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Myoko Kogen Liner shuttle bus service from Joetsumyoko Station East Exit to Myoko Kogen resorts (approx 60 mins, 1,100-1,200 yen) View timetable and fares

Access from Haneda Airport

By train

  1. Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station. (15 minutes, 490 yen)
  2. JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho to Tokyo Station (4 mins)
  3. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Joetsumyoko Station (120 minutes, 9,080 yen).

Take the Myoko Kogen Liner shuttle bus service from Joetsumyoko Station East Exit to Myoko Kogen resorts (approx 60 mins, 1,100-1,200 yen) View timetable and fares

Naeba

Mt. Naeba is home to some incredible scenery and the world’s longest gondola, travelling 5.5km in 15 minutes, Mt Naeba is guaranteed to deliver an unforgettable experience.

Season: Early December to mid April
Number of courses: 51 (37% Beginner, 38% Intermediate, 25% Advanced)
Number of lifts: 54
Longest course: 6km
Other info: Ski Park, Night Skiing, Ski School, Gear Rental, Kids facilities

Visit the Official Site

Access from Narita Airport

By train

  1. JR Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (60 minutes, 2,820 yen).
  2. JR Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa Station (80 minutes, 6,470 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take the Naeba Bus from Echigo-Yuzawa Station to Naeba ski resort (approx 40 mins, 660 yen) View timetable and fares

Access from Haneda Airport

By train

  1. Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station. (15 minutes, 490 yen)
  2. JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho to Tokyo Station (4 mins)
  3. JR Joetsu Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa Station (80 minutes, 6,470 yen).

Take the Naeba Bus from Echigo-Yuzawa Station to Naeba ski resort (approx 40 mins, 660 yen) View timetable and fares

Madarao

Madarao is located in northern Nagano prefecture, between Nozawa Onsen and Myoko. 60% of the courses are un-groomed, so visitors can ski fluffy, deep powder.

Season: Mid December to late March
Number of courses: 30 (40% Beginner, 40% Intermediate, 20% Advanced)
Number of lifts: 15
Longest course: 2.5km
Other info: Wave Runs, Tree Runs, Free Ride Park, Kids Park

Visit the official site

Access from Narita Airport

By train

  1. JR Narita Express (N’EX) from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station (60 minutes, 2,820 yen).
  2. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Iiyama (105 minutes, 8,430 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take either the Community Bus Madarao Line, Express Iiyama Station – Madarao Kogen – Tangram Line or the Express NOTOMA  from Iiyama Station to Madarao Kogen (30 minutes, 500-700 yen) View timetable

Access from Haneda Airport

By train

  1. Tokyo Monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station. (15 minutes, 490 yen)
  2. JR Yamanote Line from Hamamatsucho to Tokyo Station (4 mins)
  3. JR Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Iiyama (105 minutes, 8,430 yen).

The above route is fully covered by both the JR Pass and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area).

Take either the Community Bus Madarao Line, Express Iiyama Station – Madarao Kogen – Tangram Line or the Express NOTOMA  from Iiyama Station to Madarao Kogen (30 minutes, 500-700 yen) View timetable


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