Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun
Hikare ski station

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip – Where to stay, eat and have fun

Nozawa Onsen is one of our top family ski locations. Easy to access from Tokyo, great skiing and above average Japanese apre ski food and activities. Our family of six are all ski lovers and have traveled all over Japan, North America and EU enjoying powder. Skiing in Japan is awesome and Nozawa Onsen ski resort a top destination. Here is our quick reference guide to help with your planning.

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip – Where to stay, eat and have fun

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun

Top 5 Planning Tips

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun
  1. Book your lodging at least 4-6 months in advance for best options. (Our top picks are below)
  2. Book ski lessons as soon as season opens in November.
  3. Book all your dinner reservations early. Best places book quickly. Our top picks are below.
  4. Bring some of your own snacks for skiing.
  5. Take a non-ski day to visit the Snow Monkeys or a day trip to Kanazawa.

How to Get to Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort – Nozawa Onsen is a two hour ride on the Shinkansen and about a 15-25 min bus ride from Iiyama Station. You can find the Shinkansen train schedule here (from Tokyo to Iiyama / from Iiyama to Tokyo). There are also direct buses from Haneda and Narita airports a few times a day. Check out our fun Shinkansen Trivia!

Where to stay in Nozawa Onsen? – Here are out top 10 picks for families. They all offer family units and rooms and are rated highly by families with kids!

  1. Hotel Elizabeth – Great family run Hotel in the center town close to restaurants. 
  2. Nozawa Ridge Apartments – If you want a beautiful apartment, we highly recommend the Nozawa Ridge accommodations. Great for families who want to be able to cook at home sometime.
  3. Berg Marukaneya – Cozy family ryokan which is in town and a two min walk to a ski base. 
  4. Oyado Tamayura – Family run guest house with share bathrooms. Very clean and good value.
  5. The Schneider Hotel Ski in /Ski out locate on the mountain side near the Hikage gondola. Great bar which is good because the it is hard to get to town and back after 5:30pm when the moving pathway shuts down.
  6. Sumiyosiya Ryokan – Four star ryokan located on the high end Ryokan road. Three min walk from the Yu-road (moving pathway to the Hikare area).
  7. Tanuki Nozawa – Amazing location and all rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Tanuki rooms are located in the same building as the Tanuki restaurant and bar so super convienent and great food. On the main street and walkable to the moving pathway to the ski base.
  8. Nozawa Grand Hotel – Higher end with all the perks of a hotel. You can request western or tatami rooms. Location and service excellent. 
  9. Lodge Nakajima – Located across from the Gondola. Rooms are homey tatami mats with very comfortable bedding. The breakfast is super popular for only 1,000 yen extra. 
  10. Marunaka Lodge – Cute lodge run by a lovely family. Walkable to all the ski fields. Breakfast is super popular.

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip – Where to stay, eat and have fun

Best Restaurants in Nozawa Onsen? – I highly recommend you make reservations as soon as you arrive. Also take cash since not all of these restaurant accept credit cards.

1. Banri (Korean BBQ) – Fun for the family to grill their own meat at the table. About 2,000-3,000 yen per person.

Hamacho sushi nozawa2. Hamacho Sushi – Family friendly sushi and sashimi restaurant. Small place and does not take reservations so go early.

3. Jisaku Izakaya (Japanese pub) – Cute little family run Izakaya. We loved the ambience. cost is about 2,000 – 4,000 yen per person. Order the mushrooms and yakitori!

4. Sakai Izakaya – Our kids love Izakya (Japanese pubs) because the menues offer something for all. You can’t go wrong here.

5. Tanuki Cafe & Dining – Offers Japan Asian fusion meals for lunch and dinner. They also have breakfast from 7:00 including waffles, oatmeal and eggs.

6. Soba-dokoro Daimon The most popular soba place in Nozawa. Full meals for less than 1,500 yen per person.

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun

7. Wakagiri – Japanese tonkatsu, various bowls and sushi. The food is good value for the money. The English menu is very helpful for people looking for a quick eat and ease.

8. Wagyu – Tei – Shabu Shabu and Sukiyakai joint which is super popular. Get a reseravation! Price can range from 2,000 – 5,000 per person.

9. Himatsuri – High end, with beautiful ambiance. This a great place for a slightly more formal evening (but you don’t need to dress up). Located right across the street from O-yu bathhouse.

10. Craft Room – Great place for a quick lunch or apre ski. Great selection of draft beer and munchis. Located at the base of the slopes.

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun


Best Breakfast and Coffee in Nozawa Onsen? – Up early and your accommodations’ breakfast options not up to your needs. Head over to one of these early opening locations.

1. Haus St. Antons – Opens at 8:30. Great coffee, homemade muffins and breads and awesome Oyagi (steamed buns). They also make and sell the most amazing jellies. 

3. Akari Swiss Bakery – Opens at 8:00. Amazing savory and sweet breads. Also calzones if you are looking for something filled to take to the slopes. Great coffee to boot. 

4. Tanuki Cafe & Dining – Opens at 7:00 for breakfast.  They also have breakfast from 7:00 including waffles, oatmeal and eggs.

5. Cafe Bell – Opens at 7:30. Best deal in town -less than 1,000 yen for a full breakfast including coffee. 

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun

How much does skiing cost in Nozawa Onsen? 

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip – Where to stay, eat and have fun.

Where to rent gear in Nozawa Onsen? We recommend the following two shops if you are renting skis, poles, boots and ski wear.

  1. Nozawa Sports Thanx – great selection, easy location and good prices (avg. 3,000-4,000 JPY per day). Rent for three days for best deal – pricing here.. You need to reserve three days in advance through their online reservation system.
  2. St. Anton – not only do they own the best coffee house in town but they offer great rentals for premium and standard skis. Reserve online at least two day is advance. Reservations.

Ski School in Nozawa Onsen – English ski lessons in Nozawa are very expensive vs. other locations. But if you need I recommend Nozawa ski school. Info here.

Child Care in Nozawa Onsen? – If you have little ones that need care while you ski contact the following service. Yumin Day Care Centre is located at the base of the Hikage Bowl ski area on the slopes Nozawa Onsen (run by the Ski resort). Very convenient drop off and pick-up.

Ages: Children 1 to 6 years old (max 20 kids)

Hours: 9:00am – 12:00pm / 1:00pm – 4:00pm (you must com back between 12:00 – 1:00 to feed and care for your child) Open Days: Around Dec 20 – March 29

Cost: Full Day: ¥4,000 / Half Day: ¥2,500 – Morning and afternoon refreshments are provided. (¥3,000 from the second day on for those who continue to use the service for multiple days)

Call the centre direct on +81 269 85 2133 (Japanese and English speaking staff). You can also ask. Please contact Ms Tozawa in Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort to make a booking. English is ok.


Other fun things to do in Nozawa Onsen?

1. Visit a few of the free town onsens (Japanese baths). There are 13 located all throughout the village. Take a small bath towel and   a bar of soap to wash before entering. To enter is free, but please make a donation in the coin box. Each onsen is maintained by the neighborhood committee. Many people try to visit all 13 doing a Onsen crawl – You can buy a stamp book at the Nozawa Tourism office and carry around with you. Each of the 13 onsens are slightly different in size, temperature of water and also reputed medical benefits. 

If you are a little more shy you can visit the Nozawa Spareana which allows bathing suits to be worn in the outside onsen. Although not free (500 yen per adult) you can also visit the newly constructed Furusato no yu onsen in town which is very clean and modern inside.  It offers an inside and outside bating option, and dressing area with hair dryers and lockers with keys.

2. Take a free night walking tour! We joined the lovely night tour from 7:30-8:30 and learned a lot about the history of the town. The tour is free but tips are graciously expected. Taka is a great guide. Details here. 

If you don’t have time for a tour, spend a few hours walking around town. Check out the cooking onsens (90+ degrees celcius), the onsen boiled eggs, steamed buns and pickles.

3. Visit the snow monkeys. Details here. It 

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip - Where to stay, eat and have fun

Nozawa Onsen Family Trip – Where to stay, eat and have fun.

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