Kijimadaira Ski Resort Nagano
Is this slope calling to you?
The slopes are lined with little pensions and restaurants
Kijimadaira Ski Resort Japan
A main beginner run down to the base
Kita Shinshū Kijimadaira Ski Area
One of the Mt Kosha ski resorts
Kijimadaira is great to visit on a multi-resort tour
Kijimadaira is not a particularly large ski resort
The Chuo area
Kijimadaira Ski Area Japan
Kijimadaira is 43km NE of Nagano City


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Kijimadaira Ski Resort

The Kijimadaira Ski Resort (with the full name of Kita Shinshū Kijimadaira Ski Area) is the one that you might have salivated over on the way to Nozawa Onsen. It’s got a gloriously steep face at the top of the hill, and when I first looked at it from afar I wondered if the trees had been cleared due to an avalanche path, but when I put my glasses on I realised that it was a ski resort – this top piste is one of the steepest in Japan and it was calling to me!!

Kijimadaira is also renowned for being the first Japanese resort to allow snowboarders, so it’s considered by some to be the birthplace of snowboarding.

Kijimadaira Ski Resort in the Nagano Prefecture is a small ski area, but it’s worth visiting for a day trip from Nozawa Onsen or for a short multi-day trip with overnight stays if you want to get away from the gaijin hordes at some of the bigger resorts.

Pros and Cons of Kita Shinshū Kijimadaira

  • Kijimadaira is close to many other resorts, so it’s easy to include Kijimadaira on a multi-resort trip.
  • The ski area is generally very uncrowded relative to nearby high profile ski resorts.
  • Whilst the resort isn’t particularly big, it’s interconnected with other ski areas to add to the terrain variety.
  • Steep terrain is somewhat of a rarity in Japan, yet Kijimadaira is blessed with some sweet pitches.
  • In case the snow conditions aren’t to your liking, you can go paragliding!
  • Kijimadaira has simple amenities with minimal frills, so if you’re looking for fast lifts, glamorous ski shops, ski lessons in English, or the latest rental equipment, you’ve picked the wrong spot.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • If you stay at Kijimadaira (or the surrounding towns), it offers a quiet Japanese experience away from the hubbub of the big high profile resorts.
  • Oh joy if the top lift is open! The top lift is generally only open on weekends, but the plus is that the powder builds up on weekdays and is ready for you to savour on a Saturday.

Mt Kosha Ski Resorts

Kijimadaira is one of the four interconnected Mt Kosha ski resorts along with Yomase Onsen, Yamabiko no Oka, and X-Jam Takaifuji. Makinoiri Snowpark also used to be part of the group, but operations at the ski area have ceased. For a handful of additional yen you can purchase a joint ticket for all four ski areas.

Yomase Onsen is nothing that exciting in its own right, X-Jam TakaiFuji is renowned for its terrain parks, whilst Yamabiko is just a tiny link ski area, but as a collection they provide decent terrain size and the 4-area pass enhances the sidecountry opportunities. The Mt Kosha resorts combined have 18 lifts and 39 courses.

Kijimadaira Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Kijimadaira ski area is the largest of the Mt Kosha resorts, although in isolation it is reasonably small with only 7 lifts and 10 courses (ie piste). With 796 metres of vertical (475 – 1,271m), it’s a long and skinny ski area except for a slight flaring in the middle.

Official trail stats are 40% beginner, 40% intermediate and 20% advanced. The terrain is ideal for beginners and OK for intermediates with a small number of groomed red runs. Kijimadaira has a couple of black piste, one of which is the famous top slope that has a maximum gradient of 45 degrees. For those not used to such pitch, it’s enough to get the pits very sweaty, although of course when it’s covered in 2 feet of fresh snow, it doesn’t feel steep at all! The top lift is only open on weekends and holidays (or when they feel like opening it - probably best to ring before you go).

The upper lift also services some epic off-piste and sidecountry terrain for those with avalanche safety gear, including some gnarly lines that drop into Yomase.

Kijimadaira Snow

Like many Japanese ski resorts, no one bothers to keep snowfall statistics at Kijimadaira but the snow volumes are thought to be a little lower than nearby resorts such as Nozwa Onsen and Shiga Kogen. The top elevation isn’t particularly high relative to its neighbours, but it has a north facing aspect so the Kijimadaira snow often stays in great condition.

Where is Kijimadaira Ski Resort?

One of the Mt Kosha ski resorts, Kita Shinshu Kijimadaira Ski Resort is located in the Nagano Prefecture. The resort sits above Kijimadaira Village, which is 9km southeast of the town of Iiyama and about 10km from the Iiyama Shinkansen station.

Kijimadaira Accommodation

Kijimadaira-mura is a tiny village at the base of the resort that has various pensions, a few of which provide ski-in convenience.

Kijimadaira Accommodation Listings

Otherwise you could stay in the small towns of Yamanouchi, Nakano, Yudanaka or Shibu Onsen, all of which provide a quiet and culturally rich experience. These towns have ryokans (Japanese inns) and onsens that add to the Japanese flavour.
Tours That May Include Kijimadaira

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Nagano Powder Chaser
3, 4, 5 & 6 Nights | 2, 3, 4 & 5 Days Skiing/Boarding
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Don't let a lack of time, budget or resort knowledge hold you back from a ski/snowboard trip in Nagano this winter. Experience many of Nagano's best ski areas with guides who have an intimate knowledge; based in the culturally rich town of Yudanaka. Tours can be CUSTOMISED for 3 nights or more. Share
Price p/p From price based on 3-night stay at Lodge Aibiya (2 days skiing/boarding) in a twin share room with shared bathroom.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 921
View Details
 Early bird special: 5% off listed prices if you book before 31 July 2020
Myoko Powder Tour
7 Nights | 6 Days Lifts | 5 Days Morning Guiding
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Get the best out of Myoko Kogen and nearby ski resorts and chase the powder with a Myoko Kogen Powder Tour. This tour includes quality accommodation in a great location, transport to nearby ski areas & morning guide. Tours runs Saturday to Saturday.
Price p/p Sample price based on twin/double-share option at the Lodge with shared bathroom, 7 nights for the 20/21 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,511
View Details
Lotte Arai
Private Groups Only | 1, 2 or 3 days
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are heading to Madarao for a ski or snowboarding holiday with your family or group and you want to explore other ski areas nearby this could be a great option for you. Resorts include Nozawa Onsen, Kijimadaira, Kurohime, Lotte Arai & Myoko ski areas.
Price p/p From price based on 1-day tour (group of 6) i.e. full price is JPY 58,000.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 90
View Details
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Kijimadaira here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Hakuba Guided Day Tours
For PRIVATE & MIXED (early season only) GROUPS of up to 5 people
Ability: Strong 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.
Price p/p 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.
USD 177
View Details
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Kijimadaira here