Trying to find the perfect place for a skiing holiday to share with friends or family is no simple task, given how many incredible resorts there are around the world, to choose from. Which is why, we’re going to make your life that little bit easier by sharing 10 reasons to ski in Madarao, Japan.
We’ll begin by setting the scene and sharing some background information about Madarao ski resort—then we shall list off the amazing features and amenities that make it the ideal location for your next vacation.
Madarao Kogen is located 38km northeast of the city of Nagano, stands at a whopping 1,382 meters tall, and is arguably one of the most aesthetically stunning ski resorts in the world. Over 60% of its 31 courses are ungroomed, which means that many of the routes will offer deep and fluffy powder for you to carve up.
This gorgeous resort is so popular, that is was the first location to host Japan’s freestyle skiing competition, hence the many unique courses for the more experienced powder-hounds.
So, why should you choose Madarao for your skiing holiday? Let’s find out!
1 – There are many English-speaking schools
A common concern for people choosing Japan for their skiing holiday is the language barrier. It’s no secret that Japan can be overwhelming for foreign visitors due to their complicated language and lack of English speakers. For those without a guide or a basic grasp of the language, getting by can be rather difficult.
Fortunately, at Madarao, there are many English-speaking schools, that offer skiing and snowboarding lessons for beginners and intermediates. In addition to that, much of the accommodation will have English speaking customer service representatives, so you’ll never have any trouble finding your way.
Madarao has seemed to find the perfect balance between catering for English speaking tourists, without compromising its unique Japanese culture and becoming too “Westernised”. So, if you’re looking for an authentic location with the comfort of English speakers to guide you, Madarao is the place for you!
2 – Warming hospitality
Again, there are certain areas of Japan where the fast-pace and lack of English speakers that can be frightening for those visiting Japan for the first time. However, Madarao has a reputation for having some of the warmest hospitality in the region. There is a very ‘chilled-out’ (pun intended) and hospitable community that welcomes people from all walks of life and of all levels of proficiency when it comes to the slopes.
So, if you’ve never touched a set of skis or uttered a word of Japanese before, don’t panic; you’ll be made to feel welcome and at home from the moment you set foot on the mountain!
3 – All skill levels are welcome
Madarao has groomed courses, ungroomed courses, some Tree Run courses, a Free Ride Park, a children’s area, and plenty of wave courses. Thus, this stunning location can be enjoyed by first-timers, advanced skiers, and families with small children too. The resorts ski and snowboard trail statistics are: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced, offering a healthy balance for all.
4 – A quiet night life
Of course, you don’t go on a skiing holiday for a bustling night life, however it certainly helps to have something to do of an evening. Whilst the village in Madarao is still relatively small, it is growing by the year as the resort becomes increasingly popular with Western tourists. You will be able to find a generous selection of restaurants and bars, with plenty of home-brewed craft beer to quench your thirst after a long day on the slopes.
Sure, you won’t be able to party until the early hours of the morning, however you’ll be grateful of that fact when you are able to rise with the sun and drink in the boundless horizon absent a crippling hangover.
5 – Getting around is easy
There are 16 lifts in Madarao, so getting around the mountain is relatively painless, especially given how many courses there are. In fact, if you wanted to, you could see most of the mountain in a day, but of course, what’s the rush? Skiing is to be enjoyed, so soak up the scenery and breathe in the crisp mountain air.
There is a charge for the lifts which is commonplace in most ski resorts around the world, however they are free for children under 12.
6 – Plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets
Whilst Japan is typically considered to be rather expensive when compared to other Asian countries, Madarao boasts some great value for money. In fact, there is a wide selection of Madarao Kogen ski resort hotels for you to choose from, especially if you are travelling on a budget.
The main accommodation is the Madarao Kogen hotel, which offers ski rentals, childcare, and many other handy facilities. In any case, there certainly isn’t a shortage of accommodation to choose from.
7 – The views are breath-taking
Certainly, trudging through the snow where the air is rarefied, one could argue that having your breath taken away wouldn’t be all that difficult. However, there really is something to be said about the scenery in Madarao. On a fine day (of which there are many), you can witness some spectacular views of the neighbouring Mt Myoko.
8 – There’s plenty to see and do nearby
If you fancy a break from all of the skiing in Madarao, there are plenty of other things for you to see and do nearby. For example: there’s a quaint town named Iiyama, which offers a gentle respite where you can explore temples, eat dinner with friends and family, and enjoy the genuine of beauty of Japanese culture.
In addition to that, Madarao Kogen is conveniently close to other Nagano ski resorts, resting between Nozawa Onsen & Myoko Kogen. So, you can either hire a car or take one of the many shuttle transfers and explore some of the other ski spots as well.
Here are some restaurants, café’s and bars of note for you to explore:
- Imai Dokoro (a vegan & vegetarian friendly restaurant that is conveniently located a 5-minute walk from the Madarao base lifts)
- JP Snowsports Lounge (a balanced and attractive menu that unites food from all over, whilst remaining true to the Japanese shun—a seasonal culinary notion that is deeply routed in their culture).
- Aki’s Pub & Café (the best spot for pizza for those looking for a slice of home)
- Piemonte, Madarao Kogen Hotel (a family friendly, buffet style restaurant that serves mountains of delicious food)
- Donguri Tei (a sizzling Koren BBQ to ‘warm the cockles’ of an evening)
These are just a handful of the wonderful establishments in Madarao. One thing is for certain: you’ll be spoiled for choice and can eat somewhere different every evening if you’d like!
9 – The most amazing snow
For beginners or anyone who is unfamiliar with skiing, “the most amazing snow”, isn’t likely to get you all that excited. However, for those who have been skiing before, Madarao’s reputation for offering some incredible powder might pique your interest. The snow is so good in fact, that its affectionately referred to as ‘Madapow!’
10 – It’s especially child friendly
Many people worry that going on a skiing holiday might not be appropriate with young children, when in fact, it can be an awful lot of fun. Fortunately, Madarao is renowned for being exceptionally child friendly, with plenty of kids’ facilities! Your children can learn beginners skiing & snowboarding in a very safe environment, with friendly and attentive carers. In addition to that, there is sledding, snow tubes, and even a Japanese style igloo.
Many of the hotels offer childcare as well, so if you’d like to enjoy a little bit of guilt-free time to yourself or with your partner, then they can be left in a safe and fun environment with plenty of other children to play and make friends with!
All in all, Madarao is a balanced resort that offers something for everyone. It’s popular amongst experienced skiers and newbies alike. So, if you’d like to come to a stunning, affordable, and family friendly resort that has plenty to see and do, then you can’t go wrong with Madarao Kogen!