Nagano Niigata Area
With 60% of the courses at Madarao ungroomed, there’s a good chance that you’ll catch and ride on some of the best fluffy and deep powder; and there’s lots to go around. Madarao sits on Mt. Madarao, which stands at 1382m with 28 courses and 15 lifts. Despite its relatively small size, the resort offers powder, powder and more powder and will keep the powder hounds happy for sure. On top of that, Madarao gives its guests some of the greatest freedom of any Japanese resort, so run wild.
Naeba and Kagura are two connected ski areas which together form Japan’s 3rd largest Ski Resort. The two combine to form the wider Mt. Naeba area, with travel made possible by Japan’s longest (and previously the World’s longest) ‘Dragondola’ Gondola, which stretches an amazing 5481m between the resorts.
Karuizawa holds one of the biggest outlet malls in Japan and has been a consistently popular tourist destination. Its proximity to Tokyo and abundant stores make it an attractive destination all year round, with many Japanese flocking to experience the buzz. The area is famous for holiday homes but mostly for its amazing shopping. Most notable is the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza, a giant outlet mall with over 250 stores including international brands such as Burberry and Nike, local brands, gift shops and restaurants. Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza is also popular; Karuizawa’s main street lined with souvenir stores, boutiques, restaurants and cafés.
Arai Mountain Ski Resort & Spa was opened in 1993 as very luxurious Ski Resort.
They started developing hotels, swimming pools and a brewery around the resort, however the bubble burst and they had to cease operations in 2006.
NASPA Ski Garden is the ski hill located right by the side of NASPA New Otani hotel. Hotel guests and non-staying visitors are all welcome to ski at NASPA Ski Garden. Please note that NASPA Ski Garden is a skiers-only resort. Information on how to get to NASPA Ski Garden can be found here. While snowboarding is not allowed on the slopes of NASPA Ski Garden, snowboarders are very welcome to stay at NASPA New Otani hotel (and snowboarding is allowed at most of the other easily-accessible resorts in Yuzawa).