One week skiing in Myoko Kogen, Japan

By Kate H · Feb 5, 2017

Sydney, Australia
Myoko Kogen, Japan
Main mode of transport
Aeroplane (JetStar) booked with points!
Cost per person
Mid range
Akakura Central Hotel, Myoko Kogen Japan - a traditional Japanese hotel owned and run by the same family for over half a century, in a perfect location on the edge of the slopes We had one night in Tokyo on the way home so stayed at Remm Hibiya in Ginza.

Best Bits

The snow! It had already bucketed down before we arrived, and we were lucky to have a few powder days when we were there (even delaying our return to Tokyo by a half day to get a few extra runs in!). Amazingly we never had to wait for a chair lift in spite of these great conditions. It turns out Myoko Kogen is a bit of a well kept secret, and is still mostly visited by Japanese travellers or families (due to the lack of crazy nightlife).

Kate in Japan

Worst Bits

Lack of ATMs - thankfully we had read in advance that there was only one ATM in town (in the Post Office on the main street) so we had bought plenty of cash with us. Most places are cash only, so it’s important to make sure you have plenty of cash, or that your card will work. We used Travelex online currency purchasing before we left which seemed to have the best exchange rate, and had no issues using a NAB traveller card when we were there.

Trip Dates and Comments on Timing

We decided to take a last minute one week vacation to catch the ski season in Japan before my partner started in a new job - the objective was to find somewhere which didn’t require too much travel, wasn’t too busy, and still had great snow - Myoko Kogen was the perfect solution! We went at the end of January over the Chinese New Year festival and were expecting it to be quite busy, however the tourist numbers were still as per usual.

Kate in Japan

Arrival Logistics

Landed at Narita in the morning, exchanged our pre-purchased JR East pass for tickets & reserved our seats (important: there is often a queue), then caught the Narita Express to Tokyo, the Shinkansen to Nagano, and local train to Myoko Kogen (total 3.5 hrs)

Kate in Japan

Main Activities

Skiing, Dining, Shopping, Onsens, Temples

Food and Drink Highlights

  • Number one highlight was the banquet dinner at the Akakura Central Hotel. We had no idea what to expect when we booked in, and were amazed to be greeted with a huge banquet of tempura, sukiyaki, sushi, sashimi, grilled fish etc., all for only 2000 yen per person. The meal was a true highlight and absolutely delicious. It takes the chef a whole day to prepare, so make sure you book in a day in advance.

Kate in Japan

  • We visited a little house called Sennin for okonomiyaki twice it was so good! It’s a little hard to find (it’s an unmarked house with a red lantern outside, next to Avaya restaurant), but once you find it - make sure to reserve a spot (it’s tiny!) and watch the owner of the home (who works as a ski instructor in winter and maintaining the Onsen during the summer) cook you up okonomiyaki.
  • Other restaurant tips are the Kebab 501 van on the main strip (I know - what were we doing eating kebabs in Japan - but they were amazing and cooked with a Japanese twist), Udon No Fu (for udon), Asagao (for yakitori) and Shokudouen (for yakiniku - BBQ). There are also a few crepe stores along the main strip which are a town specialty.

Essential Packing for this Trip

Good thermal layer! We typically wore one layer of good quality thermals plus ski gear and were very comfortable (although we tend to feel the heat!). Make sure to pack a face mask for the snow days if you don’t fancy being ice blasted on your way down the mountain, and mittens didn’t go astray on the extra cold days.

Kate in Japan

Kate’s Experience…

Ski ski ski! Our top tips for a successful week are:

  • Staying at Akakura Central Hotel. This hotel was built in the late 50s, so suspend modern accommodation expectations and just go with the flow! The location is second to none, right on the slopes but also crucially walking distance to the shops. You can choose from a Western room, Japanese room (Tatami mats - our choice and would recommend) or a combo. Please note that showering is in the traditional Japanese style - most rooms have a toilet only, and showers are taken in one of the 2 hotel onsens (single sex) which are fed with water directly from the volcano, so suspend your inner prude and go for it! They’re also heaven after a long day of skiing. We were treated to two Taiko performances during our stay, had lots of fun drinking in their bar area complete with log fire, and truly felt like one of the family after the end of the week thanks to the kindness of Mr and Mrs Kitamura and the fantastic English speaking staff.

Kate in Japan

  • I hired skis, boots and poles from Aoyama Sports, who were extremely helpful and well priced. Their service included free pickup from the hotel on my last day, as well as the ability to easily swap for powder skis during the week (which I did!). You can also hire older equipment at a cheaper price.

  • The area has four separate ski resorts, including Suginohara (home to Japan’s longest ski slope). We started our first day by buying a ticket to both the Kanko and Onsen ski areas so we could get a feel for the mountain (about AUD$50 per person per day), however ultimately ended up buying for just the Kanko side on a few days (about $35 per person per day). You can also buy a pass that gives you access to all 4 areas each day, but this didn’t feel like great value.

Kate in Japan

  • We had one day of rain during the week, so took the opportunity to hop on the train back to Nagano and do some exploring. We visited the Zenkoji temple whilst we were there, an extremely sacred and important site for Japanese buddhists, and enjoyed walking through the pitch black underground passage underneath the temple searching for they “key to salvation”. Other guests in the hotel used the rain day to see the Snow Monkeys an hour from Nagano, which they all enjoyed.

  • We had one night in Tokyo on the way home so stayed at Remm Hibiya in Ginza. The hotel was great quality, really well priced and in a really good location for our priorities (easy access to Tokyo station and the circle line, plus shopping!).

Kate in Japan

About The Traveller

Gender & Age Range
Female, 30 - 35

I’m from


My favourite trip as of late
A two week last minute vacation around Europe.

Travelling Style
Book the important stuff, but leave some flexibility in the schedule.

I like to go on the following types of trips
Beaches, boat trips, culture, food, wine, historical, city breaks, relaxing.

It’s a dealbreaker when
Accommodation is advertised as ‘central’ but is miles away from anywhere!

Continent I know the best

First Last Name

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

I’m from Perth, Western Australia

My favourite trip as of late is New Zealand, solo travel in lots of nature for a soul-refresher.

My travelling style is to Book the first night, then wing it from there!

It’s a dealbreaker when I’m stuck around large groups of package tourists.

Continent I know best is Asia.

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