The Definitive Guide To Japan: Nozawa Onsen

Snowsurf’s up

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If it’s pow-loaded earth-surfing you crave, look no further than the stacked, wave shaped gullies that make their way down Nozawa Onsen. While Nozawa may only consist of one resort, its notable vertical drop opens up 300 hectares of terrain. The village is amongst the most beautiful of any Japanese ski resort as well.

Onsen Cooking / Photo Juha Laine

Introducing the Experts

Andrew Fawcett

Amongst the history pages of snowboarding magazines, few riders have had their name featured as frequently as ‘Freddy’ Fawcett – as both a former-pro snowboarder and professional photographer, Freddy’s go-to destination has always been Japan. He knows how to mix business with pleasure.

What attracted you to ride this part of Japan?
It’s a short trip from Tokyo, but best of all are the sweeping gullies and fun inbounds tree riding. Andrew Fawcett

Top places to ride in the region when the snow is on?
Anywhere really, since the gondola takes you straight up the summit and from there you just pick where you want to shred and point it. 
Andrew Fawcett

Top things to do when it’s not?
Sparena is the big onsen complex, which permits the use of bathers – which means it’s multi sex. Also hit up Junto’s Mexican for taco Tuesday’s and get half price taco’s. Andrew Fawcett

Ben Fawcett and Richie Carrol / Photo Andrew Fawcett

What type of conditions do you need for an epic day on the mountain here?
On a pow day, drop off the side of Skyline into the side country and ride the trees from the top to bottom. It’ll be one of the most epic experiences you’ll have. – Andrew Fawcett

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone heading to ride here?
Get a guide and they will show you all the epic spots. Andrew Fawcett

What’s your travel hack tip to getting here?
Nozawa is close to Hakuba, Myoko and Shiga, with daily transfers between the resorts. So, it’s easy to tie in a few resorts on one trip. Also, catch the bullet train from Tokyo to close by Liyama Station. Andrew Fawcett

Jye Kearney / Photo Keats

Best place to stay for a weary snowboarder?
It depends on how deep the weary traveller’s pockets are? Seisenso is a great budget option as it’s centrally located and has an in-house Onsen. If your taste lies more on the luxury side, Jon Nobi is unbelievable. Andrew Fawcett

Any last local secrets you care to share?
Genki Burgers, Stay Bar, Tanuki’s, Junto’s Mexican and Craft room. Andrew Fawcett

Onsen Cooking / Photo Johnny McCormack

Hit List

If I earned my turns I’d go here …
Head for the back bowls Freddy

If I had a briefcase full of cash I’d make sure I’d …
Stay at Sakaya Ryokan Freddy

I couldn’t leave my kids at home so I took them riding at …
Hikage Gondola – Freddy

Sometimes I feel like cutting a few park laps so I head to …
Uenotaira Snow Park – Freddy

I’ve got the need for speed, where’s those long groomers at …
Top to bottom of Nagasaka Gondola Freddy

According to the stats

Annual Average Snowfall: 10m
Number of Resorts: 1
Terrain Parks: 2
Longest Run: 6km
Ability Terrain Mix:
Beginner:  40%
Intermediate: 30%
Advanced: 30%
Season Start: End November
Season End: Early May

Nick Gregory

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