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Great Access From Tokyo! Top 5 Ski Resorts in Nagano

Nagano Prefecture – the venue of the Winter Olympic Games in 1998 – is a place with various types of ski resorts that range from ski areas for advanced skiers to spots for families. Below are five ski resorts in Nagano that are highly recommended. These are also attractive for their easy access from Tokyo.

1. Sugadaira Kogen Snow Resort

The first spot on this list is a ski resort that boasts a massive trail area measuring at 175ha. It is located at Sugadaira Kogen in Ueda City, which is about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Tokyo. Here, the snow is silky and powdery. The appeal of this resort is that even if the average annual snowfall level is only around 120cm, you can still enjoy winter sports here because a large chunk of the slopes is covered in grass. For experts, the Omatsu area is recommended, while for families and couples, the Taro and Davos areas are perfect.

Opening schedule: Usually opens in early December (may change depending on the weather)

1. Sugadaira Kogen Snow Resort

1223-1751 Sugadairakogen, Ueda-shi, Nagano

2. Iizuna Resort Ski Area

The next spot on this list is a ski resort that is within two hours from Tokyo via the Nagano Shinkansen (bullet train). The secret to Iizuna Resort Ski Area’s fame is the wide variety of trails and courses available despite the resort’s compact size, so everybody (from novices to advanced skiers) can have a lot of fun. Some of the courses at this ski resort include the 2,500m long trail, the natural snow powder trail, the flat slope with an average width of 100m, and the sledding slope that is popular with children. It also operates at night. Aside from skis, snowboards can also navigate the entire slope.

Opening schedule: Usually opens in late December (may change depending on the weather)

2. Iizuna Resort Ski Area

2755-209 Kawakami, Iizuna-machi, Kamiminochi-gun, Nagano

3. Togakushi Ski Area

Next up is Togakushi Ski Area, a ski resort where you can ski while enjoying a stunning view of the Togakushi mountain range. It is known for its dry snow that is so light, it is called “maho no konayuki” (magical powder snow). Here, there are 19 types of trails available, including the Champion Course, which is the leading single compact snow slope in Japan, and the long trail that spans 1,500m. From Tokyo, you can get to this place in around 2.5 hours if you take the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

Opening schedule: Usually opens in mid-December (may change depending on the weather)

3. Togakushi Ski Area

3682 Togakushi, Nagano-shi, Nagano

4. Mt. Norikura Snow Resort

Next on the list is Mt. Norikura Snow Resort, a ski area sprawled at the foot of Mt. Norikura of the Northern Alps that traverses between Nagano Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture. It is famous for having more than 20 ski courses, as well as for having a natural hot spring nearby. Here, there are many kinds of trails that will satisfy all levels of skiers (from beginners up to experts), including the Paradise Trail that you can easily enjoy with just a short lift ride, the Downhill Trail that is best for high-speed long turns because of its flat slope, and the Kamoshika Trail that has a maximum inclination of 35 degrees. If you take a limited express train or bullet train from Tokyo, you will arrive at this resort in about 2.5 hours.

Opening schedule: Usually opens from early to mid-December (may change depending on the weather)

4. Mt. Norikura Snow Resort

4294-3 Azumi, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano

5. Kirigamine Ski Area

The last spot on this list is Kirigamine Ski Area, a ski resort that is particularly famous among novice skiers and families thanks to its wide array of gentle trails. It also appeals to skiers for its beautiful view of Mt. Fuji and the Japanese Alps. There is also a slope dedicated to sleds, so kids will definitely be happy! By express train, you will get to this resort in about 2.5 to 3 hours if you’re coming from Tokyo.

Opening schedule: Usually opens in late December (may change depending on the weather)

5. Kirigamine Ski Area

Kowashimizu, Kirigamine, Suwa-shi, Nagano

Nagano is a place that is filled with famous sightseeing spots that you can enjoy while skiing. Try to visit Nagano this winter!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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