Madarao3.5 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
  • Recommend
    91%
  • Would Revisit
    91%

Madarao Ski Resort Nagano
Madarao Ski Resort Nagano
Madarao Ski Resort
Madarao Ski Resort
Madapow!
Madapow!
Madarao Kogen Hotel is slopeside
Madarao Kogen Hotel is slopeside
One of the gladed areas
One of the gladed areas
Madarao Kogen is very family friendly
Madarao Kogen is very family friendly
Kids' ski lessons in English are available
Kids' ski lessons in English are available
Off-piste skiing is permitted
Off-piste skiing is permitted
Madarao only has a small village
Madarao only has a small village
Some of the food at the Madarao Kogen Hotel is exquisite
Some of the food at the Madarao Kogen Hotel is exquisite
A tubing and sledding area is right in front of the Madarao Kogen Hotel
A tubing and sledding area is right in front of the Madarao Kogen Hotel
Madarao Japan
Madarao Japan
Revelling in the powder
Revelling in the powder
Madarao has a little night skiing
Madarao has a little night skiing
Lots of fresh powder lines
Lots of fresh powder lines
Madarao Ski Resort
Madarao Ski Resort
The resort has 2 quad chair lifts
The resort has 2 quad chair lifts
Aki going deep in the side country
Aki going deep in the side country
You can head out on a backcountry tour
You can head out on a backcountry tour
Madarao Mountain Resort is below the treeline
Madarao Mountain Resort is below the treeline

Madarao

Madarao Ski Resort

Powder hounds that are skiing in Japan should check out the Madarao Ski Resort. Madarao Kogen Ski Resort has excellent ingredients as a powder skiing destination. The area is renowned for average snowfalls in the realm of 10 to 13 metres per season, there is some very good tree skiing and reasonably steep bowls, and off-piste skiing is permitted. Madapow disease is very contagious so it’s no surprise that Madarao is no longer an undiscovered treasure and is gaining a little in popularity.

Madarao Mountain Resort (formerly Madarao Kogen ie Madarao Highlands) is located between Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen, so it’s easy to ski at Madarao as a day trip from either of these ski resorts. Alternatively visit Madarao Mountain Resort as a destination resort for a few days.

Summary of Pros and Cons of Madarao Japan

Pros
  • Powder, minimal crowds and great tree skiing where you can revel without ski patrol chasing you – what more could a powder hound ask for?
  • Madarao Ski Resort have gladed many of the trees and cleared out some of the shrubbery.
  • Madarao is very family friendly particularly if you stay at the Madarao Kogen Hotel, and lift tickets for children under 12 are really cheap.
  • The Madarao Kogen Hotel is conveniently ski-in ski-out, and has good facilities.
  • The Madarao hotels provide great value for money and there are good accommodation options for those travelling on a shoestring budget.
  • Madarao finds a great balance between catering for English speaking guests without being westernised.
  • On fine days there are impressive views of Mt Myoko and surrounds.
  • The cute town of Iiyama is close by, where you can explore little temples, go for dinner, and generally enjoy some non-touristy Japanese culture.
  • Madarao is close to various other Nagano ski resorts and Myoko, so if you have a car, Madarao makes a great base to chase plenty of powder.
Potential Cons
  • The village is reasonably small and the après scene is rather limited. Restaurant and bar choices are slowly growing (with the influx of westerners buying up property), so at least there are a few options for quiet nightlife.
  • Madarao ski lessons in English are mostly offered in a private format which cost more than group lessons. There are some opportunities for group lessons, but you have to pre-book in advance.
  • Like most Japanese ski resorts, the Madarao ski area is not very large (even when considering the Madarao Tangram combination).
Madarao Ski and Snowboard TerrainRelative to other Japan ski resorts, Madarao would be considered mid-sized. The Madarao Ski Resort is below the treeline and has 31 piste, 13 official tree courses, 15 lifts, and a vertical drop of 440 metres (910 – 1,350m).

The top of the Madarao ski resort is interconnected with Tangram Ski Circus (only in Japan would they call a ski resort a circus!) which you can access with a combined lift pass. Tangram adds another 15 courses, 2 official tree courses (plus some “naughty trees”), and 5 lifts to the Madarao Tangram line-up.

For Madarao itself, the trail statistics are 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced. The Madarao ski resort is well suited to beginner skiers and snowboarders and is OK for intermediates. There are also some ungroomed black runs that commonly provide egg-carton shaped moguls, and a small terrain park.

Advanced riders can also play in the trees, some of which are very widely spaced due to glading. The terrain in combination with a liberal approach to off-piste riding is leading to its good reputation amongst powder hounds. These off-piste pitches are reasonably steep, but there’s nothing over 40 degrees or gnarly slopes that will scare the pants off experts. Madarao Kogen also has some good sidecountry and backcountry terrain.

.

Click here for more information
Click to visit website

Madarao Snow

Madarao Ski Resort has a reputation for offering some really good powder (known as Madapow!), and its northerly aspect is an obvious advantage for the quality of the snow. The top elevation is lower than some of the other Nagano ski resorts, but the modest vertical is a bonus for the quality of the snow at the base area.

Where is Madarao Kogen?

Madarao Kogen is located 38km northeast of the city of Nagano in the north eastern part of the Nagano Prefecture, close to the Niigata Prefecture. Madarao is situated 11km west of the town of Iiyama. Madarao is close to the Myoko Kogen ski resorts, Nozawa Onsen and various other Nagano ski resorts.

To get to Madarao from the Tokyo Narita airport, you’ll first need to catch two trains to Iiyama. From the Iiyama train station, there are buses or taxis to Madarao Kogen. Or from Haneda or Narita Airports you can get a bus to Madarao Kogen with Nagano Snow Shuttle. See our Madarao travel page for more transport information.

Madarao Kogen Hotel and Accommodation

The main Madarao accommodation is the Madarao Kogen Hotel, a ski-in ski-out hotel that sits perched up on one of the main beginner slopes. The Madarao Kogen Hotel has western and Japanese style rooms, and the hotel has various facilities including cafes and restaurants, child care, ski rentals and hot springs (indoor and outdoor onsens).

Other Madarao Kogen accommodation options in the village include various hotels, lots of inexpensive pensions, lodges and a few apartments/houses.

You can search for Madarao accommodation here and book on-line. Alternatively you can book the Madarao Kogen Hotel or the inexpensive pensions as part of a Madarao ski package.

Madarao Kogen Hotel Madarao Kogen Hotel
 $$-$$$
Ski-in/ski-out hotel with western and Japanese/Western style rooms for up to 4 guests. Indoor and outdoor hot springs, restaurant, communal bar area with open fire, free wifi, ski rentals, kids games arcade & parking plus more..
Pension Shiana Snowball Chalet
 $-$$
Located just 1 minute walk to the ski area. Deluxe western rooms with new ensuites, warm cosy beautiful lounge with fireplace, soft comfy couches, a Japanese Ofuro (bath) and games room...

Ski Resort Facilities & Activities
Madarao Kogen has various ski resort facilities including daytime cafeterias, a ski shop, equipment rentals, and a couple of small ski schools with instructors that speak English. Kids are very well catered for with a snow park with tubing and sledding, inexpensive child care, a kids room in one of the cafeterias, and other kids’ activities.

Otherwise a wander around nearby Iiyama can be interesting to look at the Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

There are a limited number of Madarao restaurants and a few bars, and as is common with most Japanese ski resorts, any nightlife is very subdued. It’s worth heading down to Iiyama at least one night to gain additional restaurant choices.

Tours That May Include Madarao

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Alps to Coast Tour DETAILS
HAKUBA & MYOKO BC TOUR
9 Nights | Option of 1 Day Cat Skiing | Deluxe Option
From price based on a twin share room for group tour (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,772
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This backcountry tour includes the HAKUBA region with its steep alpine terrain and the MYOKO area which receives big snow falls. Choose from either a side country tour (lift accessed backcountry) or ski touring/skinning backcountry. Option to include a day of cat skiing & option for deluxe accommodation.
More
Pow Pow Japan Tour DETAILS
HOSTED (UNGUIDED) PRIVATE GROUP TOUR
Cultural Ski & Snowboard Adventure
From price based on 8-day sample itinerary, twin-share room (group of 6).
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,454
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Ski Japan's famous powder in conjunction with a rich cultural experience on this hosted tour. The tour is hosted by a local Japanese person who speaks fluent English; whilst the focus of the tours is primarily snow sports, you will experience the culture, food & festivities beyond the normal ski/snowboard adventure.
More
The Legendary Roadie DETAILS
HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
11 Days | 10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing
From price based on twin-share, standard package.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,719
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Experience Japan powder like no other on this legendary road trip where you will visit up to 8 resorts in 3 prefectures; Nagano, Gunma & Niigata! Join a tour as a solo traveler, couple or small group. Max 6 spots per tour so get in quickly!
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Madarao here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Nagano Ski Buffet DETAILS
GUIDED SKI ADVENTURE (SKIERS ONLY)
10 Days | 9 Nights | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on quad-share room at Hostel Aibiya with shared bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,279
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Combine deep untracked powder skiing where few foreigners go, with a rich Japanese cultural experience, traditional Japanese accommodation and authentic Japanese food, and you have the perfect Japanese ski adventure!
More
Nagano Ski/Board Progression DETAILS
SKI / SNOWBOARD GUIDED INSTRUCTION
10 Days | 9 Nights | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on quad-share dorm room with shared bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,279 USD 2,279
Book & pay deposit by June 30 & get 5% off advertised prices
Early Bird Discount – book before 31st October 2018 & receive 5% off the advertised prices
Ability: Intermediate to Strong Intermediate
Learn to ski and ride deep powder with more confidence or improve your on-piste technique whilst checking out some of Nagano's fabulous ski areas away from the masses of foreigners. In addition to the skiing and snowboarding, experience an area rich in culture and history.
More
Nagano Snowboarders Buffet DETAILS
GUIDED SNOWBOARD ADVENTURE
10 Days | 9 Nights | 8 Riding | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on quad-share dorm room with shared bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,279
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Combine deep untracked powder riding where few foreigners go, with a rich Japanese cultural experience, a traditional hotel and food, & you have the perfect Japanese snowboarding adventure!
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Madarao here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Myoko Deep Tour DETAILS
MYOKO BC ADVENTURE
9 Nights | 8 Days Guided Skiing / Riding
From price based on a twin share room for fixed date group tour (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,772
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
The MYOKO KOGEN area receives some of the highest snow falls in Japan. On this Myoko tour you can head deep into the backcountry or just score the powder in the sidecountry (lift accessed) terrain of Myoko and surrounding ski areas.
More
Hakuba Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from HAKUBA
For PRIVATE & MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on a group touring (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 158
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are in the HAKUBA area you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry or sidecountry. Tours are for PRIVATE or MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 guests. So get a group together or join a group as a solo traveler, couple or small group.
More
Myoko Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from MYOKO
For PRIVATE & MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on group tour per person.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 158
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are in the MYOKO area, you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding. The area (& also other nearby resorts) is huge & some of the best skiing is outside of the resort boundaries which should only be accessed with a guide. Bring your own group (of up to 5) or join a group as a solo/small group
More
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Madarao here