Nozawa Onsen is one of the classic ski resorts in Japan that combines natural hot springs and a ski resort together. Because of its long history dating back to 1912, Nozawa is also known as being the resort that started skiing in Japan. Nozawa Onsen is also famously known for hosting the Fire Festival, an event held every year to celebrate the firstborn child, expel evil spirits, and ask for happy marriages.
Located on Honshu Island in the Nagano Prefecture, Nozawa Onsen experiences fantastic snow conditions that you would expect for this area of Japan. Each season on average the resort will get over 10 meters of snow!
Nozawa Onsen ranks amongst the best ski resorts in Japan, with an excellent course layout and a great selection of runs. Nozawa is a fantastic resort for beginner skiers and snowboarders right through to the most advanced riders.
Where to stay in Nozawa Onsen
Because of its deep history, Nozawa Onsen offers mostly traditional-style accommodation options. If you are Looking for a traditional Japanese experience, then we would recommend staying in a ryokan style property. This is a property or Inn that will typically feature Futons on the ground rather than sleeping off the ground in a bed. In some cases, there will be communal baths and onsens instead of private ensuites.
For those wanting more of a Western experience, there is a great range of apartments, family suites, lodges and hotel rooms suitable for most travelers.
Skiing & Snowboarding Nozawa Onsen
Nozawa Onsen is listed among the top 10 largest ski resorts in Japan. Across the 297 hectares of terrain you will find mogul runs, beautifully kept groomers, a range of tree skiing, and a terrain park featuring an 80 metre pipe that will have you testing your limits. Something that is not seen much throughout Japan is the resorts having side country and backcountry terrain, in Nozawa Onsen this type of terrain can be utilized by those who hold lift passes for the resort.
How to get to Nozawa Onsen
Flights from Australia to Tokyo run frequently from all major airports, and with most major airlines. Once arriving to Tokyo, travelers will take the journey to Nagano Station on Japan’s famous Bullet Train. This journey takes approximately 2.5hrs to Nagano, and will have travelers viewing Japan’s quaint countryside. From Nagano Station, a bus transfer will be required to the Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort.
Getting around Nozawa Onsen
The town of Nozawa Onsen is smaller than what you might expect unlike Hakuba or Niseko, which makes it easy to get around on foot. There is also a shuttle bus that loops around the village and can take skiers and snowboarders to Nagasaka gondola if needed. However, there is plenty of accommodation options close to the lifts, with ski-to options available.
Top things to do in Nozawa in Winter
Filled will traditional Japanese architecture and culture, Nozawa Onsen is a destination that will have you experiencing Japan at its core.
In addition to the great skiing and snowboarding at your fingertips, Nozawa Onsen also offers snowshoe tours, bathhouses which include indoor and outdoor onsens, you could even take a short trip to the Snow Monkeys in Jigkudani Monkey Park.
Families will also enjoy Nozawa Onsen as they offer daycare at the Naski Room. Here kids will enjoy an inflatable bouncer, sled rides and a tubing course.
If you are planning to travel to Nozawa Onsen during the second or third week of January, then you must make time to attend the Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival. Taking place every year, this festival celebrates the firstborn child and dispels evil spirits. Because this is the biggest festival and event that the village of Nozawa experiences all year, we recommend booking your stay in Nozawa Onsen far in advance, as this is a very popular event that people from all over the world attend.
Dining & Apres in Nozawa Onsen
If you are looking for traditional Japanese cuisine, then you will love Nozawa Onsen! Having a farming history, the town produces delicious local food that can be experienced in its charming restaurants and cafes scattered around the town of Nozawa Onsen. In town, there are around 40 restaurants and another 20 cafes and restaurants on mountain. Along with the delicious and authentic Japanese cuisines you will also be presented with Swiss bakeries, pizza shops, Korean barbeque, and Italian restaurants.
Compared to other resorts in Japan, Nozawa Onsen somewhat caters to those who are looking for nightlife. There are a handful of bars that offer après, karaoke, and even a craft beer pub.