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  • Lyndell Daniel

Nozawa Onsen in Winter

Nozawa Onsen is a hot spring and ski resort village near Nagano.

We have spent many winters, and even a summer in Nozawa Onsen 野沢温泉 over the years. This is one of our favourite places to visit; spending hours chatting with the locals, consuming an array of delicious dishes of locally grown and prepared foods, wandering the streets around the village, sampling a sake or two, and of course, spending many hours snowboarding our way around the snow clad mountains of Nozawa.

The only problem with writing this blog and sharing my photos, is that I have always enjoyed too many of the pleasures that are on offer in Nozawa Onsen, which means I have not spent time photographing this special place.

Next trip - a must - spend some time photographing the picturesque town of Nozawa Onsen.

Nozawa Onsen is a very easy destination to get to from Tokyo or Osaka, or from any of the places in-between. There are several means of travel - car, bus or Shinkansen. You will find a copious amount of information on the net, to make it easy to choose your desired method.

Early morning captures on the local bus from Nozawa Onsen. When not snowing, there are some spectacular sunrises and eerie hazes in the valleys, which for me, are a must to rise early for and go exploring.

The majority of our stays in Nozawa Onsen have necessitated (and I use the word necessitated, because I love watching the snow monkeys, so it's a must trip) visiting the Jigokudani Snow Monkeys. We hire a car from Iiyama Station and take a leisurely drive to the Monkey Park, passing and stopping at some of the towns on the way. There are of course, organised trips from Nozawa to the Snow Monkey Park.

On the way home (well we now call Nozawa Onsen home), we love to stop at what we call the Shinkansen Sushi Train, which is located in Iiyama. Real Name, so you can find it, Kappa Sushi Shiniiyama.

After days of heavy snowfalls, Nozawa finally gets a bluebird day - and what spectacular views from the Paradise run. A fantastic long and gentle beginners slope, which our grandchildren had so much fun on.

There is a sense of calm and serenity as you glide past the snow clad trees, unless of course you are shredding some of the upper slopes of the resort. It's certainly worth stopping though on some of those more tranquil runs to take in the atmosphere and experience the quiet around you. Nozawa has a great selection of trees runs throughout the resort for all levels of boarders and skiers.

Nozawa offers different levels of accomodation including traditional Ryokan, Pensions, Western and Japanese run lodges, hotel options and self contained apartments. Sleeping on tatami mats with futons is very common.

When the family go to the snow.....

.....the snow ball fights begin and .......

don't usually end without having to shake the snow off, from inside and outside of your clothing.

The kids become happily buried in the snow as they step directly outside our accomodation, whilst Mum panics about the cold and wet feet they are getting.

Walk across the road and they are ready to play in the soft and fluffy snow that will lead them down to their first runs.

Our grandchildren loved their visit to Nozawa. I'm not sure about the snow angels but they loved burying themselves in the snow.

Every family snow holiday entails making a snowman, even if Dad has to trudge through the soft snow to look for snowman arms.

And whist this may not be the best snowman you've ever seen - just look at our Granddaughter's face - a smirk that says it all !!

The fun times continue.........

......until the mountains in the background lure us all back to the slopes.

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