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MYOKO

Located in the central Japanese alps, Myoko sits snug at the base Myoko Kogen, one of Japan’s most beautiful mountains. Myoko is a real mountain ski town that is often regarded as providing a similar experience to Zermatt in Switzerland, but with a Japanese twist. It is here amongst the quiet mountaintops and small towns that you will find a profound serenity that comes with the consistent heavy snowfall. There are endless ways to enjoy skiing here, with powder snow, long scenic slopes, mogul courses for skiers to conquer and the assurance coming from the billowing steam of the local onsen (hot springs) that promises to warm the mind, body and soul.

 

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The Resorts

Myoko Kogen has a proud history of providing guests with an excellent winter holiday, stretching all the way back to the mid 1930’s. Myoko became Japan’s first international winter playground during this period, and for skiers and snow enthusiasts, it has only gotten better! All of Myoko’s history is underpinned by the fact that it receives some of the best powder in all of Japan, boasting a annual dumping in excess of 14 meters which makes it a haven those who desire shredding a fresh top coat almost every day.

Myoko Kogen offers you a diverse range of runs, terrain, off piste, freestyle and tree skiing through its four major resorts, Akakura, Suginohara, Seki Onsen and Ikenotaira Onsen. On top of these four major resorts, there are two smaller resorts, Kyukamura and Myoko Ski Park, that are designed to entertain the whole family. Myoko Kogen has a modest spread of difficulties across the ski resorts, with the bulk favoring beginners and intermediate skiers, that's not to say that there aren’t plenty of challenging runs for the hardened veteran looking for a thrill.

Resort Facts

  • Start Season: Mid December
  • Season End: Mid Apr
  • Night Skiing: Yes, until 9pm
  • Max Elevation (m): 1,855
  • Vertical Rise (m): 1,124
  • Difficulty (beg/int/adv): 45% / 35% / 20%
  • Longest Course (m): 8,500
  • No. of Courses/Runs: 54
  • No. of Lifts & Gondolas: 34
  • Max Gradient: 38 degrees

Getting there

Myoko is situated in the central Japanese alps which sit to the west of Tokyo and gives you a fantastic range of options for getting to and from Myoko. As ski has become such an important part of Japanese tourism, for both local and international guests, transport in Japan has been battle tested and continues to provide travelers with efficient means of getting from A to B, in Myoko’s case this includes options such as shuttle bus, train and car. The most popular method is a shuttle bus from Narita or Haneda Airport that takes roughly 5 hours. Another preference of travelers is the us of the JR east pass, which gives you access to the train network. However, this train system will only take you as far as Nagano station, where you will need to catch a local shuttle bus. This journey on the train and bus takes around 4 hours and requires a few changes.

There are many other options for getting to Myoko from all major cities. JTB Japan Ski are well versed in getting travelers from A to B with seamless connectivity. For more information, please contact us.


The Snow

Uncompacted and freshly fallen with a water content of typically 4-7%. This is a loose definition of powder snow and it holds a perfect association with what you can expect from the snow in Myoko Kogen. Japan boasts hundreds of ski resorts and Myoko Kogen is the one of the tallest and closest to Japan’s western peninsula. You may be asking yourself, why does this matters? Japan’s prestigious snowfall is thanks to the eastern siberian air mass that crosses the sea of Japan during winter, as this moisture rich air mass hits the massive mountains, it is forced to dump everything it has picked up on its voyage. Guess who is first in line for a fresh dumping of powder? You guessed it, Myoko Kogen. This is what makes Myoko Kogen one of the best resorts for skiing and snowboarding in Japan, and for some, the world.

Another huge benefit of Myoko Kogen is its relaxed stance on off piste and backcountry skiing. Unfortunately, all over Japan, the ski resorts are cracking down of the willing veteran looking to sample some of the backcountry delicacies that their mountains have conjured up. Fortunately, the combined ski resorts of Myoko Kogen do not make this list. This enables you to enjoy a long, well groomed freshie in the morning and then turn on adventure mode in the afternoon and shred the loose powder between the massive trees!   


The Nightlife

The four major ski resorts of Myoko Kogen are quaint towns that offer a truly Japanese experience. However, given its traditional nature, it is reasonably well set up with many western facilities available for travelers. The bulk of these facilities are located in Akakura Onsen ski resort, which is not so coincidentally, the largest of Myoko’s ski resorts. There are many small bars, izakayas and restaurants in Akakura that you can get amongst the locals and tourists and enjoy your afternoon après. This being said, Myoko is not blessed with an overly flourishing nightlife, it has given focus to quality over quantity.

Given Myoko’s history of accommodating international guests, it is no wonder that the service and hospitality of the locals is second to none. Another adaptation of this service and hospitality is the significant increase in English speaking facilities that Myoko has to offer, in particular their English speaking child care and group lessons. Whilst these services are available at other ski resorts, many of these resorts are overly Westernised. Myoko has a fantastic balance of traditional and modern.

Narita/Haneda Airport to Myoko Shuttle - From $139 per adult one way
Narita/Haneda Airport, Tokyo to Nagano Train - $228 per adult (5 day flexi JR East pass)

 

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