The Independent Madarao Kogen Guide
Destination Madarao Kogen is your independent Madarao Kogen guide. See more about us here.
Madarao Kogen & Tangram Resorts in Iiyama City and the surrounding areas are more than just an increasingly popular ski resort area. Mount Madarao is located deep within the heart of the Japan Alps at the northernmost part of Nagano Prefecture, making it an excellent retreat during any of the four seasons. Here you can experience "ancient" Japan by visiting the many remaining temples or just by viewing its traditional landscapes that are spread across the region. Iiyama City is a former castle town within the Okushinano region of Nagano with many old Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples still standing side by side. The Chikuma River (the longest river in Japan) runs through the centre of the area and becomes known as the Shinano River when it passes into Niigata Prefecture. A virgin beech forest covers 400ha of Mt. Nabekura, providing great opportunities for hiking and sightseeing. The area prides itself on 'green tourism' and is known as 'Japan's Hometown' and 'Little Kyoto'.
Why to Visit
Skiing & snowboarding in Madarao Kogen
Madarao is a great choice for your Japan ski holiday. Families are well catered for with kid's lessons and rentals in English. Skiers can slay some Madapow in both Madarao Kogen and Tangram Ski Circus ski resorts on the same day ticket. Need to check out some other lines? Nozawa Onsen and the Myoko Kogen resorts are only a short shuttle away whilst Togari Onsen and Kurohime Kogen are also a close drive away. Please refer to our ski and snowboard page for further information. You can check out current conditions at Tangram and Madarao resorts via our live web cams or Madarao weather page.
Tangram Ski Circus
Tangram Ski Circus enjoys a wonderful position overlooking Iiyama & Nozawa Onsen in one direction and, on a clear day, the spectacular mountains of Myoko Kogen and the Japan Sea in the other. Tangram is only is a small-medium sized ski resort but offers skiers and snowboarders an impressive 520 metres of vertical descent with some off-piste options. New tree runs for the powderhounds have been recently added and a joint Madarao ticket. See more…
Madarao Kogen Accommodation
Need a place to stay? There’s a wide variety of accommodation in Madarao Kogen to suit all tastes and budgets from small cosy family pensions to newly renovated lodges, backpacker/hostel type offerings plus some large resort type hotels with great facilities like indoor heated pools. You can check out all the options here or go straight to our secure Madarao booking engine for some great deals. Need some help choosing your Madarao hotel? Contact us via the form here.
Access & Maps
Getting to Madarao is super easy. Madarao, Iiyama and Tangram are located north-west of Tokyo and 30-60 minutes from Nagano City. See our comprehensive directions to Madarao here. For medium-large groups we can help organise a direct shuttle from the airport or other resorts, whilst shared shuttles are available for individuals. You can also find downloadable Madarao ski trail maps and check our comprehensive Google map of Madarao/Tangram.
We can also help arrange all of your needs for a great Madarao ski holiday – ski rental, ski school, child care and backcountry tours. Madarao ski lessons in English are mostly offered as private classes (which cost more than group classes), but here are some opportunities for group lessons.
What about lift passes? You can save 20-40% with the ski discount coupons and tickets that are available from your local hotel or pension. If choosing your own skis it's good to check these ski reviews.
Check out snow and weather conditions around the Madarao Kogen, Iiyama City, Tangram Resort, Snow Monkeys, Nozawa Onsen and Lake Nojiri areas via our Madarao webcams. These are usually updated every 30 minutes during the Madarao winter season.
Additionally these live cams display some of the local road conditions in case you are travelling in and around the area. Many Madarao webcams will operate around the year for your viewing pleasure.
Check Madarao Reviews
“My first experience of snowboarding in Japan, and I don’t know if I just got lucky, but this was by far the best snow I’ve ever experienced – based on years and years of skiing and snowboarding in Europe.” AdamZapple
“Madarao is small but well accessible. Our little one wasn’t old enough for ski school probably this year but they cater for everyone there! The snow was amazing, we even got a large amount fall on us and have actual snow days!!! Stunning.” JessPollock
“Great snow and plenty of chairlifts! Was able to snowboard to the bottom of the chairlift directly from the lodge I was staying at in the morning and then snowboard back to the lodge at night.” PaulQtown
“We fell in love with the resort. It has enough terrain for beginners, intermediates with off piste & trees for those game enough. Over all, Madarao is growing and becoming very popular, but still hardly had to queue for a lift. Our kids loved their snow holiday.” RobertgO9231ED
“Small but well-equipped resort with 16 lifts and variety of slopes for all abilities. A number of good food choices around the mountain. There is also skiing access to other resorts close by.” Jonathan G
In addition to the great Madarao powder snow there are lots of other fun things to do away from your Madarao accommodation. For those having a ski rest day from their Madarao Kogen accommodation, or for non-skiers there is a variety of activities such as tours to various sites (Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple, Lake Nojiri, Togakushi, ice fishing, shopping tours, etc.). There are also events to take in such as the NY fireworks, a small fire festival, late night NY Eve skiing and much more! See here for more info…
Eat & Drink
Madarao Kogen tends to be a bit quieter in the eating and drinking department than it's near neighbours Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen. Nonetheless after a day of getting in amongst the Madapow there are still quite a few Madarao restaurants and bars in Madarao Kogen to relax with friends and meet locals. These grow more every year. There is also a good selection of bars and restaurants down the hill in nearby Iiyama City, including everyone's favourite - a sushi train! Get more details here.
A number of Madarao hotels have onsen (hot springs) plus there are several fine public onsen to be found in the nearby vicinity, plus the novelty of an outdoor cave-like onsen at Silk Inn. Check out our Madarao Onsen info page to find the best places to soak.