Madarao3.5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Epic Nagano 3 Qs

Madarao Mountain Resort
Madarao Mountain Resort
Madarao Ski Resort
Madarao Ski Resort
Madarao Kogen
Madarao Kogen
Skiing in Japan; Madarao
Skiing in Japan; Madarao
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 in a private format
Kids' ski lessons in English are in a private format
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
Top Dog revelling in the powder
Top Dog 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 Kogen Ski Resort. Madarao Mountain 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. Madarao is still somewhat of an undiscovered treasure but it’s quickly gaining in popularity. You might catch Mad Pow disease!

Madarao Mountain Resort (formerly Madarao Kogen ie Madarao Highlands) is located between Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen, so it’s easy to ski Madarao as a day trip from either of these ski resorts. Alternatively visit Madarao Mountain Resort as a destination resort for a few days. Madarao is largely frequented by the Japanese folk, so it offers something more unique than neighbouring ski resorts as it’s more untouched by westerners.

Madarao Ski and Snowboard TerrainThe Madarao Kogen ski resort is below the treeline and has 30 courses (ie runs), 15 lifts, and a vertical drop of 440 metres. Relative to other Japan ski resorts, Madarao would be considered mid-sized.

The terrain statistics for the Madarao piste are 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced. The ski resort is well suited to beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. 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 Madarao motto is “burn the trees” but they’ve chopped them down instead!). 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.

Madarao Mountain Resort Snow Season from wood house studio on Vimeo.

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The top of the Madarao ski area is interconnected with Tangram Ski Circus (only in Japan would they call a ski resort a circus!). Tangram predominantly consists of mellow slopes and is reasonably small with only 15 courses and 5 lifts. For just a few more yen than a standard Madarao lift ticket, you can buy a combined lift ticket to access both ski resorts. Powder hounds will probably want to purchase the dual ticket because one of the Tangram lifts is required to easily access some of the best tree skiing on the Madarao side.

Madarao Snow

Madarao Mountain 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 considered a Nagano ski resort as it’s 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.

Sometimes Madarao is also described as one of the Myoko Kogen resorts, as it’s close by (or at least close to the inter-connected Tangram by road). Nozawa Onsen is another nearby ski resort which is 23km to the northeast. If you want to travel between Madarao Mountain Resort and Nozawa Onsen, you can catch the No-to-Mar bus that takes about one hour.

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. 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 accommodation options in the Madarao village include other hotels such as the Monaile Hotel, apartments and various inexpensive pensions.

If you just need accommodation, you can search for Madarao Kogen hotels and pensions 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..

Ski Resort Facilities & Activities
Madarao Kogen has various ski resort facilities including daytime cafeterias, a ski shop, equipment rentals, and ski and snowboard instructors that speak English (for private lessons). 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.

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?
  • It’s a huge advantage that the resort have gladed 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.
  • Madarao finds a great balance between catering for English speaking guests without being westernised. There are signs in English and various staff at the resort and the Madarao Kogen Hotel speak English, yet there are very few westerners compared to some of the other Nagano ski resorts.
  • On fine days there are impressive views from the top 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.
  • For those staying at Nozawa Onsen, Madarao is easily accessible for a day trip via a cheap bus. Alternatively the bus system makes it easy to stay at Madarao for multiple days and then head to Nozawa Onsen for a few days.
Potential Cons
  • The village is very small and has no après scene, a limited choice of dining options, and negligible nightlife (as is common with most Japanese ski resorts). It’s worth heading down to Iiyama at least one night to gain additional restaurant choices.
  • Ski and snowboard lessons in English are only offered in a private format, which costs more than group lessons (although the few Japanese resorts that do offer group lessons tend to be very westernised).

Tours That May Include Madarao

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Chicks Japan Progression Tour DETAILS
Chick's Snow Boarding Powder Progression Tour
8 Nights - 7 Days Coaching/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,899
Ability: Beginner, Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Take your snowboarding to the next level and learn to ride powder whilst meeting some great new female snowboarding buddies! Experience Myoko's rich cultural ambiance and deep dry powder.
More
Nagano Niigata Explorer DETAILS
HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing/Riding | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,797
Book & page deposit by 31st Oct and take AU$200 off the advertised price.
Ability: Advanced, Expert
Based in Myoko Kogen, enjoy Honshu's rich culture and visit up to 8 ski areas including Myoko (5 ski areas), Nozawa Onsen, Kurohime, Shiga Kogen (18 inter-connected ski areas), Madarao, Tangram & a few other secret spots
More
Nagano Snow Tow DETAILS
HOSTED & SELF-GUIDED ADVENTURE
7 Days | 6 Nights | Up to 6 Ski Areas
From price based on dorm-style rooms (2-4 per room).
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen not including consumption tax 8%.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,496
Book and pay deposit prior to C.O.B. November 30, 2016 and get 14.7% off the advertised price.
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
Take the hassle out of organising your powder adventure to Nagano & Niigata (Honshu Japan) next season by joining one of these great unguided tours. You still have the freedom to do your own thing at the ski areas but all of the logistics are taken care of.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Madarao here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Epic Honshu Buffet (Skiers Only) DETAILS
GUIDED SKI ADVENTURE
10 Days | 9 Night | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,631
Book before Sept 30 and get free avi gear rental & 5% off displayed price
Ability: Advanced, Expert
Combine deep untracked powder skiing where few foreigners go, with a rich Japanese cultural experience, a traditional ryokan (Japanese hotel) and food, and you have the perfect Japanese ski adventure!
More
Epic Honshu Ski & Snowboard Progression DETAILS
SKI & SNOWBOARD GUIDED INSTRUCTION
10 Days | 9 Night | 8 Skiing | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,631
EARLY BIRD: Book before Sept 30 and get 5% off displayed price
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Learn to ski and ride deep powder with more confidence whilst checking out some of Honshu's ski areas away from the masses of foreigners. Outside the skiing and snowboarding, experience an area rich in culture and history.
More
Epic Honshu Buffet (Snowboarders Only) DETAILS
GUIDED SNOWBOARDING ADVENTURE
10 Days | 9 Night | 8 Riding | Up to 8 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,631
Book before Sept 30 and get free avi gear rental & 5% off displayed price
Ability: Advanced, Expert
Combine deep untracked powder riding where few foreigners go, with a rich Japanese cultural experience, a traditional hotel and food, and you have the perfect Japanese snowboarding adventure!
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Madarao here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Alps to Coast Package DETAILS
HAKUBA & MYOKO BC ADVENTURE
10 Nights | 8 Days Guided Skiing / Riding
From price based on a twin/triple-share room (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 2,948
Ability: Advanced, Expert
The HAKUBA ALPS are the ultimate when it comes to steep alpine terrain in Japan and the MYOKO KOGEN area receives some of the highest snow falls in Japan. This tour takes in the steep & deep alpine backcountry terrain of the Hakuba Valley and the deep POW around Myoko.
More
Hakuba Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from HAKUBA
For PRIVATE GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on Hakuba day tour, group of 5 (price displayed is per person however full tour price is 5 X that price).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 607 USD 607
10% discount for tours Feb 12-18 & during March
10% off tours Feb 12-18 and during March
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are in the HAKUBA area, you can't go past a day or more of a guided ski or snowboarding adventure. The area (and also other nearby resorts) is huge and the best skiing is actually outside of the resort boundaries which should only be accesses with a guide. Tours are for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 5 guests.
More
Myoko Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from MYOKO
For PRIVATE GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on a Myoko day tour, group of 5 (price displayed is per person however full tour price is 5 X that price).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 121
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are in the MYOKO area, you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding. The area (and 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. Tours are for PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 5 guests.
More
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Madarao here