Magical Myoko – Why This Could Be Your Next Snow Sports Destination
Beautiful Myoko Kogen is located in southern Niigata prefecture. Let me share with you why this place makes for a great snow sports holiday for all, and more! The huge resort area actually takes in four major parks and three smaller areas, with over 60 courses ranging from 900 m to 8,500 m: something for boarders, skiers, and snow-scooters of all levels and ages!
Stay in beautiful onsite, ski-in/ski-out villages nestled in the mountains above Myoko City. And did I mention these places are actually onsen (hot spring) hamlets? To top it off, Myoko is famous for excellent snow! Add to this the handy location to Niigata and Nagano, plus many other attractions– what are you waiting for?!
Myoko is the name of a city, a mountain and a ski resort area! The Myoko ski area actually takes in ten mountains, including Myoko, Madarao, Tangram, Seki Onsen and APA resort. In this article I am focusing on what can be found at Mt. Myoko, just near Myoko City. It is in a region often referred to as the heart of the snow country, with a climate and geography that is perfect for great snow, and so there are many resorts!
Mt. Myoko is actually one of the oldest ski resorts of Japan, but it is made up of nine separate parks. It’s famous for powder snow, its rich history, culture and onsens. It is great as a holiday destination all year round, but let’s start with winter and snow!
Because of its wide area and different parts, Mt. Myoko really does offer something for everyone of all ages and abilities. It welcomes families, children, skiers, snowboarders and snow scooters. The main, and very large ski areas of Mt. Myoko are Akakan, Akakura Onsen, Itenotaira Onsen and Myoko Suginohara. Akakan and Akakura Onsen ski areas are actually connected with lifts, while the others are separated.
Akakan on the east of the mountain offers ten courses with the longest being 4,500m, and adjacent Akakura Onsen has three zones, seventeen courses, with one run of 3,000, so together there is a lot of ground to cover. Akakura Onsen Village is the main location for local accommodation, though all resort areas have ski-out places to stay. Itenotaira Onsen is also on the east slope, with ten runs of up to 4,000m, and is about 15 minutes by shuttle bus from Akakan. A further 5 minutes by bus is Myoko Suginohara, boasting one of Japan’s longest runs, of 8,500m! It is on the southern slope of Mt. Myoko and has two main zones connected near the base and around the mid-section.
Lift and gondola tickets are available for each park, or you can buy an all mountain ticket valid at any of these, plus options such as two day passes and more. As the resorts are so large, a whole day (if not more) can easily be spent at one site alone, and still leave more places unexplored (see links to official websites following this article).
The three smaller resorts of Kyukamura Myoko RunRun, Myoko Ski Park and Seki Onsen tickets are valid at each park only. The areas are smaller and courses are up to 1,500m length, making them suitable for beginners, families, and children.
The mountain has a long season, usually December to April. Many facilities are available including rentals, ski schools – offered in English, and also for backcountry visitors, night ski, food, accommodation and onsens are available. Childcare is also available. As mentioned, there are shuttle buses, which not only link the main parks, but Myoko City and other tourist destinations – if you want to take a break from the hills, there are many other famous options for day trips (see Myoko official link below).
Other possibilities are a variety of tour and packages, also linking with other resort areas, and can be booked on English websites (see following).
There are a number of other famous ski areas in the vicinity including Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen. Check the following link for location details of other parks in Niigata and Nagano.
There are many reasons apart from snow to visit this area, and as I said, in any season:
- Various events and festivals
- Snow monkey park
- Zenkoji Temple
- Lake Nojiri
To name a few! (check the Myoko official site below)
There are over 200 places to stay in the area – inns, ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns) hotels; even the largest campsite in Japan! The villages provide a lovely, traditional atmosphere – to experience Japanese village life, ski areas, and onsen; plus, the added convenience of slope access.
Myoko can be reached by car, train and bus. Please visit the official websites linked below. Also, for travel times and pricing for public transport please check with Hyperdia.
Have a wonderful trip!