Nozawa Onsen: not your average ski resort town – 10 Reasons You Have to Visit
Nozawa Onsen – Powder Heaven
Nozawa Onsen is located in a powder sweet spot, close enough to the sea of Japan to collect the massive dumps that winter low systems bring through. Low systems can sit in place for days at a time, sucking cold air through from Siberia which then picks up moisture off the sea of Japan. A light evenings snow on one of these days will mean shin to knee deep just over night! 50cm+ powder heaven is not a rare occurrence at Nozawa Onsen.
Nozawa Onsen – Japans biggest single ski resort
Nozawa Onsen is the biggest single ski resort in Japan. There are 2 gondolas, over a dozen lifts, and a whole lot of terrain. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an expert, Nozawa has something for you to enjoy. A few highlights are Uenotaira for the beginners, a 2km long trail which is the perfect place to find your feet, Yamabiko for powder and trees, and skyline – a long and exhilarating ridgeline run.
Nozawa Onsen Village
Nozawa Onsen sits clear at the top of the list of ski towns in Japan. Nozawa Onsen is a year round hot spring resort and farming village with a permanent population of around 5000. In summer it is a sleepy little place, but in winter the population swells with tourists and seasonal workers and with metres of snow piling up around the village it becomes a magical winter wonderland. Everywhere is within walking distance, and the standard evening procedure of popping out for an onsen and dinner at one of the many restaurants in town becomes ritual-like as you slip into the slow paced Nozawa life.
Simply put, onsens are a joy. The onsen in Nozawa are said to date back over 1000 years and were discovered by a hunter. Legend has it he was chasing down a bear with his bow and arrow and partially wounded him. The bear ducked into the bushes to escape and the hunter followed, only to find the bear soothing his injured hand in the therapeutic onsen waters. No-one knows what happened next but it could be assumed that the bear ended up as a rug and the hunter told all his friends about the awesome onsen he found. The onsen in Nozawa are said to be some of the finest in Japan and therapeutic for all kinds of ailments.
B-kyu Gourmet is a Japanese phenomenon – it means cheap and delicious eats. Nozawa Onsen is full of restaurants that fit the bill, you could stay for a month and eat at a different restaurant every night. From light and tasty soba noodles, to sushi, sashimi, izakaya pubs and ramen shops, you will be able to find something to please any palate. If you get a craving for something western, there are even 2 outstanding italian restaurants. Eating out is kind on the wallet too. A humble bowl of noodles costs about ¥700, expect to pay around ¥1000 – ¥1500 for a substantial main dish.