Madarao Ski Resort

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Madarao Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Madarao

Madarao3.5/511
Madarao3.5 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
  • Recommend
    91%
  • Would Revisit
    91%

Madarao Ski Resort

Powder hounds that are skiing in Japan should check out the Madarao Ski Resort. Madarao Kogen Ski Resort has excellent ingredients as a powder skiing destination. The area is renowned for average snowfalls in the realm of 10 to 13 metres per season, there is some very good tree skiing and reasonably steep bowls, and off-piste skiing is permitted. Madapow disease is very contagious so it’s no surprise that Madarao is no longer an undiscovered treasure and is gaining a little in popularity.

Madarao Mountain Resort (formerly Madarao Kogen ie Madarao Highlands) is located between Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen, so it’s easy to ski at Madarao as a day trip from either of these ski resorts. Alternatively visit Madarao Mountain Resort as a destination resort for a few days.

Pros and Cons of Madarao Japan

Pros
  • Powder, minimal crowds and great tree skiing where you can revel without ski patrol chasing you – what more could a powder hound ask for?
  • Madarao Ski Resort have gladed many of the trees and cleared out some of the shrubbery.
  • Madarao is very family friendly particularly if you stay at the Madarao Kogen Hotel, and lift tickets for children under 12 are really cheap.
  • The Madarao Kogen Hotel is conveniently ski-in ski-out, and has good facilities.
  • The Madarao hotels provide great value for money and there are good accommodation options for those travelling on a shoestring budget.
  • Madarao finds a great balance between catering for English speaking guests without being westernised.
  • On fine days there are impressive views of Mt Myoko and surrounds.
  • The cute town of Iiyama is close by, where you can explore little temples, go for dinner, and generally enjoy some non-touristy Japanese culture.
  • Madarao is close to various other Nagano ski resorts and Myoko, so if you have a car, Madarao makes a great base to chase plenty of powder.
Potential Cons
  • The village is reasonably small and the après scene is rather limited. Restaurant and bar choices are slowly growing (with the influx of westerners buying up property), so at least there are a few options for quiet nightlife.
  • Madarao ski lessons in English are mostly offered in a private format which cost more than group lessons. There are some opportunities for group lessons, but you have to pre-book in advance.
  • Like most Japanese ski resorts, the Madarao ski area is not very large (even when considering the Madarao Tangram combination).

Madarao Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Relative to other Japan ski resorts, Madarao would be considered mid-sized. The Madarao Ski Resort is below the treeline and has 31 piste, 13 official tree courses, 15 lifts, and a vertical drop of 440 metres (910 – 1,350m).

The top of the Madarao ski resort is interconnected with Tangram Ski Circus (only in Japan would they call a ski resort a circus!) which you can access with a combined lift pass. Tangram adds another 15 courses, 2 official tree courses (plus some “naughty trees”), and 5 lifts to the Madarao Tangram line-up.

For Madarao itself, the trail statistics are 30% beginner, 40% intermediate and 30% advanced. The Madarao ski resort is well suited to beginner skiers and snowboarders and is OK for intermediates. There are also some ungroomed black runs that commonly provide egg-carton shaped moguls, and a small terrain park.

Advanced riders can also play in the trees, some of which are very widely spaced due to glading. The terrain in combination with a liberal approach to off-piste riding is leading to its good reputation amongst powder hounds. These off-piste pitches are reasonably steep, but there’s nothing over 40 degrees or gnarly slopes that will scare the pants off experts. Madarao Kogen also has some good sidecountry and backcountry terrain.

Madarao Snow

Madarao Ski Resort has a reputation for offering some really good powder (known as Madapow!), and its northerly aspect is an obvious advantage for the quality of the snow. The top elevation is lower than some of the other Nagano ski resorts, but the modest vertical is a bonus for the quality of the snow at the base area.

Where is Madarao Kogen?

Madarao Kogen is located 38km northeast of the city of Nagano in the north eastern part of the Nagano Prefecture, close to the Niigata Prefecture. Madarao is situated 11km west of the town of Iiyama. Madarao is close to the Myoko Kogen ski resorts, Nozawa Onsen and various other Nagano ski resorts.

To get to Madarao from the Tokyo Narita airport, you’ll first need to catch two trains to Iiyama. From the Iiyama train station, there are buses or taxis to Madarao Kogen. Or from Haneda or Narita Airports you can get a bus to Madarao Kogen with Nagano Snow Shuttle. See our Madarao travel page for more transport information.

Madarao Kogen Hotel and Accommodation

The main Madarao accommodation is the Madarao Kogen Hotel, a ski-in ski-out hotel that sits perched up on one of the main beginner slopes. The Madarao Kogen Hotel has western and Japanese style rooms, and the hotel has various facilities including cafes and restaurants, child care, ski rentals and hot springs (indoor and outdoor onsens).

Other Madarao Kogen accommodation options in the village include various hotels, lots of inexpensive pensions, lodges and a few apartments/houses.

You can search for Madarao accommodation here and book on-line.

Ski Resort Facilities & Activities

Madarao Kogen has various ski resort facilities including daytime cafeterias, a ski shop, equipment rentals, and a couple of small ski schools with instructors that speak English. Kids are very well catered for with a snow park with tubing and sledding, inexpensive child care, a kids room in one of the cafeterias, and other kids’ activities.

Otherwise a wander around nearby Iiyama can be interesting to look at the Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

There are a limited number of Madarao restaurants and a few bars, and as is common with most Japanese ski resorts, any nightlife is very subdued. It’s worth heading down to Iiyama at least one night to gain additional restaurant choices.
Tours That Include Madarao

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Alps to Coast Tour
HAKUBA & MYOKO BC TOUR
8 Nights | 7 Day Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This backcountry tour includes the HAKUBA region with its steep alpine terrain and the MYOKO area which receives big snow falls. Choose from either a side country tour (lift accessed backcountry) or ski touring/skinning backcountry. Option to include a day of cat skiing & option for deluxe accommodation.
Price p/p From price based on 8-nights twin share room for group of 5 (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,231
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Pow Pow Japan Tour
HOSTED (UNGUIDED) PRIVATE GROUP TOUR
Cultural Ski & Snowboard Adventure
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Ski Japan's famous powder in conjunction with a rich cultural experience on this hosted tour. The tour is hosted by a local Japanese person who speaks fluent English; whilst the focus of the tours is primarily snow sports, you will experience the culture, food & festivities beyond the normal ski/snowboard adventure.
Price p/p From price based on 8-day sample itinerary, twin-share room (group of 6).
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,503
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Madarao here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Madarao Ski & Snowboard Clinics
SKI & SNOWBOARD PROGRESSION CLINICS
3 or 5 days | Madarao ski resort
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
This package is ideal for skiers & boarders looking to take their POWDER skiing & riding skills to new heights. Whether it be a quick 3-day brush up clinic or a 5-day powder blaster clinic or something in between, Action Snow Sports will ensure you meet your goals. Also includes instructional days at other resorts.
Price p/p From price based on 3-day clinic; per person.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 945
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Myoko Powder Tour
HOSTED & GUIDED TOURS
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 1,599
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Guided Powder Tours
SHIGA KOGEN & SURROUNDING RESORTS
Single & Multi-Day Tours
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Explore the massive ski area of Shiga Kogen or another nearby ski area including Nozawa Onsen, Madarao & Kijimadaira. Ride Shiga offer backcountry, sidecountry & touring options. Get away from the crowds & find your secret powder stash.
Price p/p *based on per person in a private group of 3 for a full day tour.
base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
Displayed rates might vary to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 143
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Madarao here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Hakuba Guided Day Tours
GUIDED DAY TOURS from HAKUBA
For PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY 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 GROUPS ONLY of up to 5 guests.
Price p/p From price based on PRIVATE group tour with 5 guests (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 131
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Madarao here
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