Where to ride in Nozawa Onsen - MountainWatch Travel

Japan | Snowboard | Ski | Nozawa Onsen

Where to ride in Nozawa Onsen

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The Hikage area is the best place to start as it has a dedicated kid’s area and learning slope. This is also where most lessons start from. Once you’ve got the hang of the basics the Nagasaka and Karasawa areas offer wide and gentle Green slopes for beginners to intermediate riders. If you’re keen to head up higher then you can take the Nagasaka gondola up to enjoy cruisy Uenotaira Trail, then the Paradise run and the 5km Forest Trail all the way to the bottom. This is Nozawa’s longest individual run and its prettiest, as it gently winds back and forth through the forest. Nozawa Onsen is great for families and beginners because most of the lower slopes are chilled out Green runs so you’re unlikely to get lost and end up on something scary. Plus, with all that powder you’ll have a soft landing if you fall!


Light, dry Japanese powder is one of the world’s greatest joys for skiers and snowboarders. Nozawa has one of the highest annual snowfalls in the world so chances are that you’ll have a few pow days during your trip. If you’re an intermediate or advanced rider you’ll want to head right to the top of the mountain. This is the Yamabiko area that provides some brilliant tree riding and deep powder pockets – most of which you can spot from the lift. However this also means that it gets tracked out quickly so if you’re a true powder hound catch the Nagasaka gondola up at 8:30am and then get out of there before 11:00am. Note that if you head to the highest lift on a clear day you’ll be treated to stunning views all the way to the Japan Sea. Sky Line is another great run with lots of options for intermediate and advanced riders. It’s one of Nozawa’s longest runs, following the mountain’s ridgeline for 3.5km, and has some fantastic views of the village below. There are multiple different Red and Black runs that branch off from Sky Line, most of which are left ungroomed so you can get into the deep stuff. Sky Line is also a great place to access untracked sidecountry, but bringing your avalanche gear (and knowing how to use it) is a must.


Nozawa Onsen is an absolute haven for backcountry riders. There’s endless powder behind the resort, as well as lift-assisted side country. However, you must remember that with all that powder snow the avalanche risk can be high. If you’re new to the resort it’s best to take a guided tour (in English) to safely find the best lines. You’ll get a professional mountain guide to show you all the hidden gems for the full day, plus your beacon, shovel and probe is provided.  


While Nozawa is more of a powder paradise it still has a park and small half pipe. You’ll find these on the Uenotaira Trail, often with boxes at the top of the run, a jump line a little further down on the right and the pipe on the left of the trail.

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