Resort Spotlight: Nozawa Onsen (Nagano)

Nozawa Onsen
Nozawa Onsen Village
Nagano Prefecture

23rd November 2019 until 6th May 2020

Official Website:

SnowJapan Resort info: here

Nozawa Now! Daily Report:here

Nozawa Onsen, located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture, is a hot spring and ski resort village of 5000 inhabitants.  Renowned for it's onsen since the Edo period, the village also played a significant role in the history of skiing in Japan.  For more information on this and more, see below...

The village is located at the foot of Kenashiyama (literally Mt 'No-hair'), alt 1650 meters, in beautiful natural surroundings - lush green in spring and summer, coloured leaves in autumn and of course spectacular snow covered surroundings in winter. 

Nozawa Onsen is becoming increasingly popular with international visitors but strives to maintain a traditional atmosphere. 

Out of the winter season the village is quiet, but as the snow arrives so do skiers and snowboarders and the energy levels suddenly increase as people come to enjoy the mountain.

Skiing was introduced to Japan in 1911 by Austrian Major Theodor von Lerch and came to Nozawa the following year, although the ski hill was not established until 1924.  It was in 1930 that one of the founders of alpine skiing, Hannes Schneider from Austria, taught the techniques of Arlberg skiing in Nozawa Onsen. 


This brought about a sudden rise in the enthusiasm of skiing in Nozawa Onsen.  Since then, Nozawa Onsen has always been at the top of the Japanese skiing scene, and more recently snowboarding. 

It was the first place in the country to install ski lifts and also holds numerous major skiing and snowboarding tournaments.  It was also the host for the Biathalon competitions at the Nagano Olympics.

No visit to Nozawa Onsen would be complete without taking a hot spring bath.  After all, the Onsen in Nozawa Onsen is the Japanese word for hot springs.  Many traditional ryokan and a few minshuku accommodations in the village have their own hot spring bathing facilities. 

Anyone can enjoy, free of charge, any of the thirteen public hot spring baths known as sotoyu.  They all have a different source with distinct characteristics that provide for a variety of different mineral baths.  

Want to learn to ski? 

The Nozawa Onsen Ski School is located on the slopes of the resort and welcomes skiers of all ages and abilities.  For more information on Nozawa Onsen Ski School, click here.


Nozawa Onsen Dosojin Festival - an important intangible folk cultural property

One of the three greatest fire festivals in Japan, the Nozawa Onsen Dosojin Festival is nationally designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. Taking place on January 15 every year, the festival is staged by men aged 42 and 25 (so-called “unlucky ages”) to celebrate the birth of a family's first child, to dispel evil spirits, and pray for happy marriage. The highlight is a “fire-setting battle” which ends up with the setting fire to a huge wooden structure with blazing torches by the offensive team and the offering of torches to the deity, making the festival truly spectacular and exciting.

Lift Tickets 2019/2020 Adult Child
(under 12)
(over 60)
1 lift 500 yen 300 yen --
4 hours 4,400 yen 2,500 yen 3,500 yen
1 day 5,200 yen 2,900 yen 4,200 yen
2 days 9,600 yen 5,400 yen 7,700 yen
3 days 14,000 yen 7,900 yen 11,200 yen
Season ticket 67,500 yen 37,500 yen 54,500 yen
After March season 36,500 yen 20,500 yen 29,500 yen
Nagasaka Gondola 2,000 yen 1,200 yen --
Higake Gondola 1,500 yen 900 yen --
Nighta 1,900 yen 1,050 yen --

Half day tickets are valid from opening time until 1:00pm or from 12:00pm until closing of daytime hours. 

Night operations (Nagasaka quad lift) on the following dates:

- Every Saturday from 14th December 2019 until 28th March 2020
- Every day between 29th December 2019 and 4th January 2020
- 12th January 2020
- 23rd February 2020
- 20th March 2020


Ski & Snowboard Lessons at Nozawa Onsen

For more information on skiing and snowboarding lessons at Nozawa Onsen, please go here.


Kids Room & Children's Attractions

Higake Information Centre 2F

Opening dates 14th December 2019 until Sunday 29th March 2020
Opening times 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-4:00pm
Charges 1 day 4,000 yen (3,000 yen for those who continue to use the service for multiple days)
Half day 2,500 yen
1 hour 1,000 yen
Children ages 1 - 6 year olds
Capacity Limit of 20 people

Adults can make use of the Kids Room facilities at the resort in the knowledge that their children are being looked after and having fun while they go out and enjoy the slopes.

There is also a free-of-charge "Kids Park" available to visitors with small children to allow the parents to enjoy skiing without worrying about their little ones.

How to Get to Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen has no train station, but is connected by bus to Iiyama and Nagano Dentetsu lines.  From Nagano Station you can take the Iiyama line to Togari Nozawa Onsen Station (a 60 minute journey).  There are trains almost every hour and most trains have a direct bus connection.  The bus ride takes about 20 minutes. 

There are also direct buses to the resort from the main Nagano city train station and this is a popular choice.

By car, get off the Joshinetsu Expressway at Toyama Iiyama IC and take Route 117 to Nozawa.