Facilities & Services
Each of the main ski resorts of Myoko Kogen
– Akakura Onsen, Akakan, Ikenotaira and Suginohara – have well developed services and facilities, some of which are run by private operators. The other Myoko Kogen ski resorts have more of a no frills approach to facilities.
Myoko Kogen Ski Rental
There are various Myoko ski hire shops if you don’t have your own ski or snowboard gear, or don’t want to take your equipment to Japan because you’re likely to max out on your airline baggage limit.
Myoko Snowsports is the most popular ski rental shop with westerners, in part because the staff speak English. They are the best option if you’re after fat skis, and they also have standard and performance ski and snowboard sets for adults and kids, and clothing. Rental rates are towards the high end for Japan, but the hire equipment is of good quality, and if you also need ski lessons, the package deals will significantly discount the rental costs. They also accept credit card for all products. The Myoko Snowsports rental store is located on the main street of Akakura Onsen near the post office.
Two other Myoko ski rental options are Spicy and Yodel.
Many of the hotels also rent out ski and snowboard equipment, but the quality may be dodgy and you may end up with rear entry boots!
At Suginohara Ski Resort there is the Okamoto Sports shop as well as various other rental outlets. Seki Onsen has Seki Onsen Ski Rental, whilst there are also ski and snowboard rentals at Ikenotaira.
Myoko Ski School
Each of the major Myoko ski resorts has a ski and snowboard school, and the Akakura area has several, but the instruction in English can be somewhat limited. The Yodel Ski School at Akakura Onsen Ski Resort offers private lessons in English (high quality technical tuition), whilst the only ski school to offer some group lessons in English is Myoko Snowsports at Akakan Ski Resort.
Myoko Snowsports offer group lessons for little kids aged 3-6 (Mini Mountaineers) in the morning or for the full day. They have two dedicated kids’ ski areas as well as an indoor kids’ centre, and thankfully they offer complimentary storage for kids’ equipment, so there’s no need to lug their equipment up to the ski area. Myoko Snowsports also provide group lessons for children aged 7-14 (Alpine Explorers) for the full day including lunch, so adults can fully go and rip up the powder by themselves! Prices are a bit cheaper than Australian ski schools and considerably less expensive than upmarket USA resorts, and the rates for Myoko Snowsports kids lessons are significantly cheaper per day for 4 days or more. These kids’ lessons should be pre-booked.
For adults, Myoko Snowsports only offer ski lessons in a private format. They have 3 or 5 day private camps that aim to accelerate learning, or offer standard private lessons for 2.5 to 6 hours. These private lessons are suited to beginners or more experienced riders, or those who want to learn to ski or board powder. There are options to also have lessons over at Madarao/Tangram or Seki Onsen.
Otherwise lessons are included as part of Myoko Progression Tours
; a package that also incorporates lodging, lift passes, and inter-resort transfers.
Myoko Kogen Child Care
Myoko Snowsports also offer day care for toddlers from 6 months old, with staff that speak English.
Child care is also available up at the Yodel area of Akakura Onsen ski area, but if your child isn’t on skis it may be a little bit of a challenge to get them up there. This area also has a good kids’ play park.
Various hotels can organise babysitting, although there is no guarantee of the sitters being able to speak English.
Eating On Mountain
All of the ski resorts have on-mountain eateries for lunch.
You won’t go hungry at Suginohara Ski Resort. The base area has a large cafeteria and there are lots of restaurants across all areas of the resort.
The base areas of Akakura Onsen Ski Resort have lots of privately owned ski-in ski-out restaurants and izakayas, many of which are very cute. The largest restaurant is up at Yodel. One advantage of Yodel is that you can sit outside on nice weather days, but a major downside is the hideous yodelling music! If the noise of the music isn’t enough to kill you, the din from the bingo type games may tip you over the edge. Nearby is the BBQ buffet where you can completely pig out!
At Akakura Kanko, the Maple Restaurant is a popular place for lunch considering its proximity to the top lift. Or for a much more refined lunch, stop in at the Akakura Kanko Hotel terrace café. They have pastries, sandwiches and beverages, and even though you may have to pay astronomical prices for crap coffee, the views from the terrace are to die for, and it’s nice to see how the well heeled Japanese people live.
Cash is king in Japan and this applies to Myoko Kogen too. Many of the restaurants and shops don’t accept credit cards, but thankfully it’s possible to access the all important yen in Myoko Kogen. The post office in the lower part of the Akakura Onsen main street has an ATM that accepts Maestro/Cirrus cards. The post office is open Monday to Saturday (Sat only in the morning), but not on public holidays. There is another ATM at the 7-Eleven in the town of Myoko near the station.