Unearth the home of Madapow
Madarao Kogen is an all-season alpine resort in the far north of Nagano Prefecture, with magnificent views to the Sea of Japan from its highest peak, the 1,382-metre Mt Madarao. Its fluffy powder is known as Madapow, is definitely making a name for itself:
snow depth at this naturally bowl-shaped resort reaches three to four metres during winter, and with 60 per cent of its terrain left ungroomed, it delivers the goods for powder skiers and snowboarders.
The courses at Madarao Kogen are shared between Madarao Mountain Resort, and neighbouring Tangram Ski Circus, which offer a common lift pass. Spread over north and west-facing slopes, which keep the powder freshest, their courses incorporate plenty of interesting natural jumps, bowls and other terrain – the recently opened Sawa Course course, for example, is a powdery natural half-pipe. Some other great features for all riders to check out are the tree runs, freeride park, kids’ park, and wave courses.
Snowshoe treks also head out from Madarao Kogen, crossing a nearby frozen laze, discovering animal tracks and exploring forest normally inaccessible during summer.
Madarao Kogen is connected to the other northern Nagano powder giants of Togari Onsen and Nozawa Onsen by a Nagaden winter shuttle bus, making it easy to experience these amazing resorts on the same holiday. On the way, it stops at the bullet train-accessible Iiyama Station, which is just under 2 hours from Tokyo.
Madarao Kogen is home to a wide variety of boutique hotel and lodge-style accommodation, and the ski-in, ski-out Madarao Kogen Hotel has a refreshing natural hot spring bath open to both guests and visitors; high in sodium and calcium, its waters are revitalising after a day in the snow, warming the body to the core.
How close is Madarao Kogen to?
Tokyo: 2 hrs 20 min (train and bus) Iiyama: 30 min (bus)