Tangram3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    75%
Myoko Kogen Powder Packages

Tangram is very good for adventurous powder hounds
Tangram is very good for adventurous powder hounds
Tangram Ski Circus Japan
Tangram Ski Circus Japan
Powder skiing Tangram Japan
Powder skiing Tangram Japan
Fun in the trees at Tangram Ski Circus
Fun in the trees at Tangram Ski Circus
Amazing views on fine days
Amazing views on fine days
Tangram Ski Circus
Tangram Ski Circus
One of the beginner runs down to the hotel
One of the beginner runs down to the hotel
Tangram is reasonably small
Tangram is reasonably small
Tangram snowboarding
Tangram snowboarding
Tangram Hotel
Tangram Hotel
Tangram Ski Circus
Tangram Ski Circus
A sneaky tree run
A sneaky tree run
The base area of Tangram Ski Circus
The base area of Tangram Ski Circus
Tangram ski resort is good for intermediate riders
Tangram ski resort is good for intermediate riders
Tangram Japan
Tangram Japan
Wide open slopes near the base
Wide open slopes near the base
Many of the slopes are north facing
Many of the slopes are north facing
Tangram Japan
Tangram Japan
Tangram day lodge
Tangram day lodge
Off-piste skiing Tangram
Off-piste skiing Tangram

Tangram

Tangram Ski Circus is a ski resort that is very “Japanese”, not just because it’s located in Japan or that it’s strangely called a “circus”, but because it is somewhat typical of Japanese ski resorts that are not highly frequented by westerners. In a country that is overly zealous with its safety considerations and risk aversion (even though lots of Japan ski resort chair lifts have no safety bars!), Tangram ski resort has a strict policy that bans off-piste skiing and riding (outside of a dedicated gladed area). The patrollers will pull your pass in a heartbeat if they catch you.

This uptight approach to off-piste skiing is in stark contrast to the inter-connected and liberal Madarao ski resort, which is a mecca for powder skiing fiends.

Tangram Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The ski resort sits on the northwestern flank of Mt Madarao which is not a particularly high mountain, so there’s no big top (nor are there any clowns!) at the Tangram Ski Circus. It’s a fairly small ski resort with 520 vertical metres (800 – 1,320 metres), only 15 trails, and 5 lifts (2 quad chairs, 3 double chairs).

Tangram is inter-connected with the Madarao Kogen Ski Resort towards the top of the mountain, and a handful of extra yen will score you a dual resort lift pass.

Tangram Ski Circus has various trails for confident beginners (that are closer to intermediate trails). There are a few short red (intermediate) courses, and a handful of short black runs that won’t entertain advanced riders for very long.

Off-Piste Skiing Tangram

Thanks to some gentle encouragement from Madarao, Tangram has opened up a special tree skiing zone that’s either side of the black run on the lookers’ left of the ski area. The trees have been gladed and off-piste skiing is permitted in this area.

Elsewhere around the resort, despite the scarcity of roped off terrain and “do not enter” signs, the ban on off-piste riding definitely exists. Tangram has some very tasty looking off-piste terrain including some widely spaced trees with rocks to launch off, and these treats are there to taunt you because it’s a little difficult to hide in these areas. However there are other areas with tighter trees, and those with the technical skills who can be very very quiet will be rewarded with untracked north-facing powder.

Where is Tangram Japan?

The Tangram Ski Resort is located on the border of the Nagano and Niigata Prefectures, 14km southeast of Akakura Onsen (the main village of the Myoko Kogen ski resorts). Whilst it is possible to travel to Tangram via train and bus, or there are a couple of schedules per day for a shuttle bus between Narita Airport and Tangram with Nagano Snow Shuttle.

Or it's to get there if you have a rental car or are on a tour with a guide to drive you.

Of course it’s also easy to get to Tangram via Madarao. Whilst inter-connected with Madarao via the upper slopes, the two base areas are about 5.5km away via road.

Tangram Accommodation

There is no village at Tangram, with the base area primarily consisting of the large ski-in ski-out Hotel Tangram. The hotel provides western style hotel rooms, restaurants, an indoor swimming pool, and open air onsen.

Other options are to stay in Myoko Kogen accommodation or “next door” at one of the Madarao hotels or pensions. The towns of Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen near the snow monkeys could also be used as a base to visit Tangram.

Ski Resort Facilities

The base area has a large cafeteria, a lounge, ski and snowboard rentals, a small ski shop selling accessories, and a large souvenir store.

Tangram is very family friendly (for Japanese speaking children) with a kids’ park, child care facilities, and ski school with Japanese speaking instructors only. Tangram also offers snowmobiling for both little kids and big kids.

Summary of Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Tangram is a great adjunct to Madarao Kogen and the two ski resorts combined are a decent size (by Japanese standards).
  • The terrain is well suited to low end to mid level intermediate riders.
  • The ski resort is not crowded and it doesn’t get hit hard on a powder day because it’s mostly frequented by beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.
  • Even though it’s not a high elevation ski resort, the snow quality is generally fantastic thanks to its northerly aspect.
  • The ski area affords great views of Mt Myoko and Lake Noriji on fine days.
Cons
  • As a stand-alone ski resort, the terrain is rather small.
  • Whilst very family friendly, the ski resort doesn’t cater particularly well to English speaking families.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • The patrollers (aka pow police) are super strict and anal about off-piste riding, except in the new gladed tree zone. In the other tree areas, for those who can appear invisible, there are fresh tracks galore.

Tours That May Include Tangram

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 2,961
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.
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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 2,905 USD 2,905
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
EARLY BIRD – book before the 30th June 2018 & get 5% off advertised prices
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!
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Tangram 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 2,435 USD 2,435
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
EARLY BIRD – book before the 30th June 2018 & get 5% off advertised prices
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!
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Nagano Ski & Snowboard 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 2,435 USD 2,435
Book & pay deposit by June 30 & get 5% off advertised prices
EARLY BIRD – book before the 30th June 2018 & get 5% off 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.
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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.
Price p/p
USD 2,435 USD 2,435
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
EARLY BIRD – book before the 30th June 2018 & get 5% off advertised prices
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 Tangram 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 2,961
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.
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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 169
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.
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Nagano-Niigata Local Secrets Tour DETAILS
GUIDED POWDER ADVENTURE
5 Nights | 5 Days Riding / Skiing | Nagano Niigata
From price based on twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,632
Book & pay full amount of tour by Aug 31, 2016 and receive a 10% discount on the advertised price.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Ski/ride with local guides who have grown up in the Nagano Niigata region & experience the "Local Secret Stashes" (at up to 3 ski areas) that the average tourists don't know about. This 5N tour based in Madarao includes accommodation, breakfast, most dinners, guiding, lift tickets & transport to other ski areas.
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Tangram here