Northwest of Tokyo and northeast of Nagano, the Nozawa Onsen ski area has 42 courses spread over 300 hectares totaling 50km that are served by 21 lifts with a maximum vertical descent of 1,085m. While the vertical descent is large, the top elevation is actually the lowest of the Nagano area resorts. The courses are equally spread across all levels of difficulty. For the difficult runs, Nozawa Onsen has some of the steepest courses in Japan. Contrary to years past, the off-piste freeriding policy at Nozawa Onsen has been relaxing. The ski area is known for some excellent glade riding, such as off Sky Line Ridge.
When you are ready from some nightlife at Nozawa Onsen, try checking out the Stay Bar or the Foot Bar.
The Nozawa Onsen ski area is located 46km northeast of Nagano. When arriving by plane, fly into Tokyo Narita Airport and then take a train from Tokyo to Nagano. There is a bus from the Nagano train station to the Nozawa Onsen resort (75 minutes). The charming base village at Nozawa Onsen with its cobbled streets is known for its cultural heritage and for over a dozen public hot springs (onsens). Be ready from some culture shock when immeresed in old world Japanese charm.
While in the large cities, make sure to use the ATM since ATM machines can be quite hard to find at the resorts (especially ones accepting international cards) and credit cards are rarely accepted.
Overall, Nozawa Onsen is the 10th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 22 snowboarding resorts in Japan.