Winter Activities to Enjoy in Madarao, Japan

Snow activities in Madarao

Madarao is located within the northern part of the Nagano prefecture and is home to Mt Madarao and its 31 separate courses for snowboarding and skiers.

Mt Madarao

The Madarao Mountain Resort is the closest and main snow resort in Madarao. 

Standing at 1,382 metres tall with 13 lifts and 31 separate courses, Madarao Mountain Resort has courses suitable for all skill levels. With 60% of the courses being ungroomed, there is a good chance you’ll be able to enjoy fluffy, deeper powder snow that Japan snow resorts are famous for. 

On top of ungroomed courses, there tree runs, free-style park areas, kid friendly zones and wave courses. For those that are new to skiing and snowboarding, there are even English speaking teachers to help you get started.

Backcountry Ski Tours

For those looking for a challenge, or needing to quench their exploration spirit, Madarao offers sidecountry and backcountry regions for the adventurous. 

Take a tour with Nagano Outdoor Sports to help you explore what the Madarao region has to offer.

 The guides know the area incredible well, but beyond route finding they provide valuable input to cover the safety aspects of entering the backcountry. And don’t worry if you don’t have any backcountry experience; the guide will be only too happy to show you what to do. The tour season typically starts in early to mid January, depending on snow cover.

ice fishing

If you’re looking to relax and take things easy, then some local ice fishing at Lake Nojiri might be right up your alley. During the winter period, visitors can engage in the uniquely Japanese sport of fishing for smelt (wakasagi), using red-dyed ant-eggs as bait. Wakasagi is a tiny silvery freshwater fish about the size of an anchovy. During winter, when the lake freezes over, specially designed boats are available for hire to carve out your own fishing spot. Alternatively, you can sit in a cabin warmed by a kerosene heater, and sip local warm shochu (similar to sake) while you fish.