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nozawa onsen for non-skier

Melbourne, Australia
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27 posts
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nozawa onsen for non-skier

My family loves to ski, but I've never learnt. Will there be much to keep me occupied for 4-5 days in Nozawa Onsen while they hit the slopes? I am usually happy to walk about taking in everyday life on my holidays, Trying local food and relaxing in hot springs sounds pretty good too! Is there any particular area that would be best to stay where I can easily walk about and they can head off for the day? We are planning to go in December

Edited: 3:01 am, April 23, 2016
Hong Kong, China
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1. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

While it is easy to walk around the onsen village, it might take just half day. In the vicnity, you may consider snow monkey, Zenkoji in Nagano city, or even head out to Kanazawa via Shinkansen for day trips. Within Nozawa onsen, pick accommodations close to the bus terminal, where most of the eateries and public onsen baths are. Besides, bus are full at the terminal during ski season.

https://en.tripadvisor.com.hk/Attraction_Rev…

Yokohama, Japan
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2. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

I love Nozawa Onsen even I don't ski at all!

We (husband, myself and some neighbor friends) visit Nozawa Onsen for a night or two every year just for relaxing in winter.

We always enjoy bathes several times a day, have some good locally brewed beer at a pub called Libushi, ride on snow tractor on a sunny day at ski park (only 500yen for the guided tour with a cup of drink!).

If you spend a week there, you can take a day trip to Nagano and visit Zenkoji temple. And there are some sake breweries near Nagano and you can do a winery tour as well.

Nagano Prefecture...
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3. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

Your family has picked the right place - of all the ski resorts in Japan, Nozawa's probably the best for a non-skier. It's a small village so it doesn't really matter where you stay. As other replies have mentioned, you could do an "onsen-meguri", trying all the free onsens in the village. Visit the Oborotsuki memorial (pretty little museum, but more to the point there's a small cafe there that's quiet with a lovely garden view) and the Japan Ski museum. The temple at the top of the village is incredibly photogenic. There are plenty of nice places to eat and hang out in the village, too. Of course you could try skiing, but also try borrowing some snow shoes and going for a walk on the snow!

There are several snow monkey tours, a bit over-rated IMHO but if you've not been, your friends back home will ask you why not! Within a short drive's radius is Iiyama, with some pretty old temples, a doll's museum, a couple of really nice restaurants and, surprisingly, a world-class patisserie (also an ugly strip with some very useful big stores); Obuse, a pretty town with renovated old buildings, a sake brewery, a Hokusei museum (he of the "wave" print) and great gourmet choices; and the St. Cousair winery with a lovely fine-dining restaurant on a hilltop.

Once you've booked your accommodation, email them and ask them to help make some reservations, and discuss transportation options, so it's all set up for when you arrive.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

Thank you all for your replies. It sounds like Nozawa Onsen is definitely the right place for me (I hope the family has fun too!) Doing "onsen-meguri", riding the snow tractor with drink in hand, and a side trip to Obuse sounds perfect. Would you know if it is possible/worthwhile to catch a gondola for a one off trip to see the view on a clear day, or do you need a lift pass?

Thanks again for your replies, they're much appreciated!

Avoca, Australia
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for Rusutsu-mura
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5. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

A one ride ticket is 450 Yen. But you may need two tickets for a return trip. There are two gondolas. One at Nagasaka base which is easily accessed on foot. The other at the Hikage area, at the top of the Yu Road (moving footpath). You could walk from there to the gondola with waterproof snowboots, gloves, beanie/hat . There are a couple of shops (Mos burger, restaurant, rentals) up at the Hikage base. See the resort map:

http://www.nozawaski.com/winter/en/slope.php

Nagano Prefecture...
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6. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

update to #Blutek: the return ride is free on both gondolas. Nagasaka gondola is longer and gets you higher, and at the top station there's a cafe with fresh-baked bread, and a big cafeteria with a slightly wider range of food than most of the mountain restaurants... so that would be my pick!

Yokohama, Japan
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7. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

Update: Snow tractor tour normally starts from the end of December. We didn't have so much snow during 2015-2016 season so it started from the mid of Jan.

Not sure when it will start for the next season but you can ask. Here's a detail (sorry in Japanese! Hope you google translate it.)

http://www.nozawaski.com/winter/activity/

They leave from the summit station of Hikage Gondola so if tour is available, you will need to take gondola at least once.

Even if there's no tour during the time you visit Nozawa, I'd recommend you to take a gondola to see some view on a clear day! (I did it too.) It was fantastic and I quite liked it.

Nagano Prefecture...
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8. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

update (again!) - the gondola ride is Nagasaka JPY1,700, and Hikage JPY1,300 (for 2015/16 - may change for the upcoming season and #bluetek, I think you were looking at the price for a single-use lift ticket, not the gondolas).

One suggestion for a nice day out: take the Nagasaka gondola up, have lunch and take some photos, then snowshoe (easy walk, will take you 20-30 minutes down a gentle gradient) to Hikage top station and take the Hikage gondola down. Then from Hikage base station, take the (free) snowmobile shuttle to Nagasaka base station, where you started. Pick a nice sunny day, and rent snowshoes (very cheap) from any of the rental shops around the Nagasaka base station. If you've never snowshoed, it'll take you all of, ooh, maybe 60 seconds to learn the technique!

NYC Metro
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9. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

Be sure to visit the snow monkeys, they are most definitely not overrated. Maybe the tours are, but it's easy and much cheaper to get their on your own. There is the Shiga Kogen sake brewery nearby that has great Sake and really good beer. Great way to end your day after enjoying the monkeys.

Melbourne, Australia
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27 posts
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10. Re: nozawa onsen for non-skier

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies! I think i can master some snow shoes and i'm definitely keen on all the sake and beer recommendations!! So, i'm really looking forward to visiting Nozawa Onsen now. This is a really nice forum group by the way, thanks again!

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