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Found 5 results

  1. Spectralskier

    A trip to Hakuba and Nozawa

    We are thinking of doing 10 days in Nagano in January. We want to stay in Hakuba and Nozawa but can't quite decide on how to split it up - half/half or a bit more in one place than another. Keen to hear any thoughts on that!
  2. Resort Spotlight The Resort Spotlight for the Nozawa Onsen resort in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano Prefecture can be found here: https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts/nozawa-onsen
  3. Hi all. This is my trip report from my recent ski adventure to Nozawa. This is my fourth year in a row that I've been to Nozawa. Like the three previous trips, we would spend three days in Nozawa, two of those skiing. Let me start this off by saying that I'm pretty much a beginner. I just started skiing four years ago and have about 12 days total skiing. We stick to the beginner and intermediate trails, and always stay on the trails. Let me also thank Snowjapan for the lift tickets. Snowjapan sent them to our hotel and they were waiting for me when we arrived. It was much appreciated. We started our journey this time from Tokyo. We took the Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo station to Nagano. The trip was fast, about an hour and forty minutes and on time as usual. From Nagano there is a local train to Nozawa that takes about an hour. From there it's a bus ride to the village. This year we brought our skis. The only difficult part of the whole trip was the bus ride as there is not much room for luggage and skis. We have also gotten to Nozawa from Osaka. Shikansen from Shin Osaka to Nagoya, then from Nagoya the Shinano takes about three hours to Nagano station but the ride has some breathtaking scenery along a river. Even though from Osaka the trip is longer, I prefer it just for the views. We stayed three nights in Nozawa at a local Minshuku, Gonnimuso. It's located a short walk (uphill) near the Nagasaka Gondola. It is very local. My father-in-law has been staying at this inn for over 40 years. They don't usually have foreigners staying there and my first trip they seemed nervous to have a foreigner there. Not that they don't want foreigners, they are just worried that I would not like the food or how they would overcome the language barrier. The cost of the inn is $75 per night per person and includes breakfast and dinner. It is authentic Japanese but they have always made something at each meal that they think an American would like. They always give more than enough food. If you are in Nozawa, try the Nozawana, local pickled vegetable and also my favorite is the apple jam and fresh apple juice. The rooms are plain, with futon mats, a TV, and small table. There is a communal bath and shower. I love this place but if I wasn't with my Japanese family it might be a little difficult just because of the language barrier. The family that runs it is very nice and will help you with anything that you might need including storage for equipment. Like I said my father-in-law has been coming here forever and the owners seem like family, which is quite a nice feeling when you are overseas. We skied two days in Nozawa. The first day we had amazing snowfall the night before and most of the morning plus cold temperatures. Snow was close to the top of my knees on while skiing. The second day we had clear blue skies and warmer temperatures. Like I said before, we stick to the easier trails. Some of my favorite trails include: Uenotaira, Paradise thru Rinkan. This whole run is about 7,500 meters and all beginner. The top starts off pretty flat, just a nice cruise. The views are amazing once you get to Paradise. Rinkan is a forest trail that takes you to either of the two gondolas. Another favorite of mine is Skyline. An intermediate course. It is a fun and challenging ride that can get narrow in spots. The views are amazing. This year I made it to the top of the mountain, Yamabiko. Great views and challenging runs for me. While out on the mountain we like to stop for coffee, snacks, soft cream and to warm up at the rest house off of Paradise. At the end of the day, a nice beverage at the bottom near the Nagasaka gondola before a few last easy runs on the Nagasaka course. After skiing all day we would usually go the the Onsen. The village has 13 free Onsen to use. The closest one to our inn, I must say, is very hot. I got in, but I'm not used to that kind of heat. The locals were nice enough that they would turn on the cold water for me. Even then, I could not stay in the water for long. We also went to another Onsen that cost 500Yen, Furusato. This was a nicer bath with showers. The water temperature here was much better for me. Along the way we passed a villager using the hot spring to cook. Our last night in Nozawa there was a winter festival. They had food, free sake, a sled ride for kids, and igloos. Once again thank you so much to Snowjapan for the lift tickets. We had a great time!
  4. Went to Togari, had a great day. Actually had my best day this season. Its not huge, the snow wasnt exactly fluffy and light, there are queues, and its a bit icy towards the lifts. but the place has a really playful BIG DAY OUT experience to it. Its boarding as a recreational activity. Pure cruise friendly, side hit hilarity. But instead of posting a massive report as i always do, heres ten reasons why you should come here over Nozawa. Dont worry thesis fans! the review will happen at a later date and itll have all the words you could ever need! But i didnt even hit the sunshine area, so i cant really review it until i go back again. 10 reasons off the top of my head that you should hit up Togari over Nozawa: 1. 2500 yen lift tickets if you bring along your passport. RIDICULOUS. Nozawa is 4600yen. 2. Shuttle bus takes 5 minutes to get from the station to the resort. It also costs nothing. (In comparison, and including bus plus connections/walking, it takes around 30 minutes and costs 300 yen to get to Nozawa from the station). 3. If you can carve you are one of the top 50 riders in the resort! If you can ride the trees and don't splat on the steeps, you're top ten! 4. Beginners have great terrain to play on. Intermediates have loads of lines to explore, and advanced riders have their pick of the ungroomed pow at the sides, in the trees and under the lifts. I should also mention there aren't that many ropes. And there is absolutely NO FIGHTING FOR STASHES! Theres a really cool friendly camaraderie. Amazing. Compare nozawa where every line on yamabiko is tracked, and just about every other line (which are also tracked) involves tight trees, cliffs, and slide zones. Everyones racing for fresh lines and youre all on your own (with the exception of the chutes, where youre in on a "big super mega secret!" (thats actually tracked to shit)). 5. If you miss the last bus to the station, its a 20 minute walk. No problem. 6. Ski bunnies and ski er... twinks? and barely any of them can ride. Which makes things SUPER CUTE and happy as they continually brick it side sliding down the green runs and invariably yard sale. 7. Its pretty much an event. Unlike the bigger resorts (that do try, bless them, but have to concentrate it all in one tiny part of teh mountain because its just TOO big to carry it everywhere) theres a real feeling that youre having a classic recreational day on the slopes. It feels like a proper event. Theres so much emphasis on families and beginners that youll immediately feel happier just from being here. Its super welcoming, everyones smiling, even if youve become jaded, a weekend here in the peak will carry you back to the time when you first started out and were going off your nut with the sheer joy of sliding down a hill and smashing your face into the snow. 8. Theres a bus from Nozawa (is it a company called kyowa?) that runs on the weekends (reservation required) and the bus and lift ticket = 3000 yen. It also leaves at a reasonable fekking time. 9. Even after telling myself continually that i was going to head across the other side, i pretty much spent the entire time at pegasus. Just look at the trail map. It aint big... but there were so many untouched lines, it would have been CRIMINAL to leave them untracked. In fact i chose to miss my bus and walk down the hill because i just felt so bad leaving still so many lines unmolested. 10. A 500ml bottle of coke in the busiest restaurant on the resort costs 150 yen. Which doesnt sound amazing. Thats what they cost in every other vending machine in japan, right? Not in any decent japanese ski jo they dont. 200 yen. Tins of chuhai are TWO HUNDRED FEKKIN YEN!!! and the proper stuff, not that slat cap they have in the Nozawa machines. Bonus: 11. Theres a lot of (albeit rather short) lines if you fancy a bit of a hike. I reckon with a few days here, and a bit of an explorers mentality youll find some longer runs though. Theres just so many contours and lines. Bonus2: 12: Onsen right at the bottom of each skijo. And you have to pay. And it has showers. And its warm. and its not SWARMING with thousands of bodies in a teensy tiny bath. Plus, if youre shameless or have a bit of a nudist streak, you can stand on the platform completely bollock naked with your tackle in the wind like a boss watching the cars drive up. Definitely one for the gnarly hikers. Bonus3: Lifts are super quick. The usagi 4 gets you up to the decent bit fast enough you can happily lap it for a few hours. The main 3 seater at the base of Pegasus also flies up that hill making lapping pretty fun. Sorry for the pic quality. Ipod touch takes much nastier pics than youd think (and id hope - maybe theres a setting change i can make that i havent figured out yet). Okay, okay fascists: Ten reasons you probably shouldnt bother: 1. Traversing. OH EMM GEE. Again, look at the trail map. Some ridiculous traversing to get to the middle from either side. 2. Middle area has a load of lines to hit in every difficulty level. Like a serious load, but its super mega short and not worth the time it takes to ride the lift up. 3. Its super busy for such a small place. There wil be queueing. Thinned out after lunch on sunday, but i imagine saturday is a bit nasty. 4. Doesnt have the tree runs of madarao, nor the length and altitude of Nozawa. Its currently on a meter less than nozawa, and though its shaded in the afternoon, it still means a bit of sunshine and the pow is gonna get wet and hard going, and in the afternoon those lines are going to turn seriously bumpy. 5. And jesus does it get icy. I havent felt ice like that since the ill fated day i tried to ride through the trees on muju. 6. A bit tooooo laissez faire? Theres a massive crack in one of the runs, like seriously huge, im sure its probably safeish and its just compacted under the crack... but people are ignoring the warning ropes and riding it. No one gives a shit because ski patrol can clearly see the damn thing. Its right out of their window. 7. Maybe ski patrol are more worried about the jerkwad skiers with tunnel vision BLASTING down the beginners area and smashing into the noobs trying to leaf/garland down the hill. Seriously. I know its beautifully groomed and its got a nice quick fall line, and probably its a bit borderline green/red (though honestly id say green). but theres one lift there, beginners are taking it and theyre riding the line down it. Pay some ****ing attention. Theres a completely unused red line on skiers left that is IMMACULATE and no one touches it because you need to pop up the hill like 5 meters. 8. Last shuttle bus back to the station is 2.40? Are you out of yoru goddamned mind? If it wasnt such a short walk back, this would literally be a deal breaker. 9. Nozawa is better, its more serious, the lines are more interesting and the chutes (which you get an AWESOME view of by the way on the road down from Togari) are way beyond anything you can hit in Togari. I would honestly not pick togari over nozawa if i had limited time. But if i was here for a week or so, like madarao it makes a great change of pace. (there really should be a joint multiday pass/season ticket for these three). 10. Side hits are soft. Its a cruising resort and a great day or two out. Its not the kind of place id pick up a season pass on (well, unless it was 20,000 yen - early bird season pass though is 30,000 FYI, which, if youre Japanese is decent, but since as a gaijin you get tickets for 2500, thats like 12 days... and i doubt youd want to hit this place 12 days in a season unless youre pretty local - but for a local, great value).
  5. I can't help but notice the somewhat startling difference in snow depths reported at Nozawa and Shiga Kogen. They're not that far from each other are they? Nozawa is approaching 3m while Shiga Kogen lingers on about 60cm.

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