Getting to know Nozawa Onsen, northern Nagano!

Nozawa Onsen is located in the Northern part of the Nagano Prefecture and is fast becoming one of the most popular hot spring ski villages in Japan!  Known for having 13 public hot springs that can be used free of charge, Nozawa Onsen has a true Japanese atmosphere and feel about it that tourists have loved for years.

Unlike many of the other Japanese ski resorts Nozawa Onsen strives to maintain a traditional atmosphere rather than keep up with the current trends that you see starting to take over a lot of the other small Japanese villages. You will find many shops on the small winding cobblestone roads selling local delicacies such as pan fried dumplings or gyoza that are as fresh as the constant dumping of snow in the region!

You will also find a variety of restaurants, bars and izakayas both in the village or on the mountain. Amazing noodle dishes, Japanese BBQ and of course sushi can be found at numerous locations around the village.

The Mountain Terrain

The mountain itself offers skiers and boarders all kinds of terrain suitable for all standards and is well known for a large part of its beginner runs starting at the top of the mountain... giving beginners the opportunity to learn with an amazing view to the base of the mountain and the valley in front of you. The resort is also well known for its lack of lift lines during the week so make sure you take advantage of this.

Nozawa features top to bottom tree runs to suit all ability levels and off-piste skiing all year round. The longest run is an incredible 10kms long.

Advanced skiers and boarders have more than 30% of the mountain to test their skills. Beginners have about 40% and the rest is for the progressive intermediates.

 Ski Season

 December to April

 Vertical drop

 1650 metres

 Average annual snow fall

 12 metres

 Longest run

 10 kms

 Groomed runs

 20

 Lifts

 22

 Terrain 

 Beginner = 40% Intermediate = 30% Advanced = 30%

 

New Onsens in Nozawa

Nozawa Onsen SPArena (next to the Ridge Nozawa Apartments and near Lodge Nagano), is a newly renovated Onsen which incorporates indoor/outdoor onsens.  The big difference between SPArena and the other 13 Onsens in Nozawa is that you can wear your togs and onsen with men/women/children together.  There is also a restaurant and massage room... it's an easy 5–10 min walk along heated roads to Nozawa Onsen village.  The entry cost for SPArena is discounted for adults to 600 yen if you bring your ski pass (100 yen off)!

Furusato no Yu is the newest onsen located right in the village.  It is 'clothes off' just like the other village onsens (except SPArena).  The entry cost is approximately 600 yen and this includes soap and shampoo.  The feature of Furusato is the indoor and outdoor baths and more modern facilities.

Village life revolves around the Onsen. Until recently many homes had no shower or bath. The local onsen was the daily bathing ritual -  and for many villages it still is today.  All the Free Public onsens in Nozawa are run by a village groups or Gumi 組  (group/club) made up of local villagers.  As a villager, you are responsible for regular maintenance and cleaning of your local onsen.  The village onsen clubs compete against each other in Summer, spring and winter sports and have been known to get quite competitive!

 

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