Nozawa Onsen is the perfect mix On and off Piste vacationing. With masses of trails and places to duck off, there is fresh snow for everyone. Yamabiko rewards the adventurous with beautiful natural gullies where you can ski and board for over a kilometer in natural half pipes. A mix of groomed, ungroomed and off piste makes it a destination for everyone seeking that perfect snow. The lack of crowds mid week make it feel like you have the place to yourself.
After a hard mornings skiing there are many fine eateries up on the slopes to re nourish the stomach and sip a jug of beer. Buna is our favorite, on the Paradise ski slope, and the curries and Beers satisfy everyone. Another great choice for a quick stop is the bakery at the top of Nagasaka gondola for some deep fried curry buns and blueberry and cream cheese strudel. The choices are plentiful wherever you are and all good value.
Back down in the village there are 13 free onsens and a few paid ones to soak the tired bones and put a red glow over the bodies. They are all unique and worth a visit. For westerners they range from extremely hot to positively scalding but all are worth the sensations they develop. The Sparena has a mixed onsen where you can wear swimming bathers if that is your thing too. The temperatures there are mild and it is outdoors too. There are even a few foot onsens to soak the weary feet in some hot water before proceeding on to your favorite bar or restaurant.
The village is famous for its thermal springs and that extends to cooking also. Dumplings in the main street are to die for and always save space after dinner for an apple dumpling or a red bean dumpling. The onsen eggs are also worth a try, especially on your main meal as they are cooked at 70 degrees which hardens the yolk but barely hardens the white, so you get an amazing texture. There are so many great restaurants, sample a new one every night. It is best to book ahead as most are small and fill up. Our favorite is Sakai, seated on the tatami mats, and the range of food is impressive as is the flavours. The major streets are snow free due to the under-road heating system using the thermal hot springs, definitely a great idea after a few hot sakes!
The Village vibe is authentic and makes Nozawa such a special place. Snow this year is exceptional and leads the world for snow depth. The bullet train will soon stop nearby making Nozawa that much more accessible for everyone next ski season.
Definitely my favorite all-rounder resort.
From 01 February, 2015 To 08 February, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
Bluebird days and Powder snow nights
Things I liked:
Town vibe, onsens, powder
Things I didn't like:
Runs dont always link up well. Snow park should be on Paradise slope, for a good view for diners and a steeper faster slope with more range of jumps and rails etc.