Family Friendly Ski Resorts Around Nagano (2023)

Every winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to Nagano from all over Japan and around the world for its fabulous resorts, scenic mountains and hot springs baths. Nagano has the most ski resorts of any prefecture in Japan, so there’s a ski resort out there for just about anyone, whether they’re a skier, snowboarder, kid or adult.

Everyone’s needs are different, and families in particular have a lot of bases to cover. Where are the best places to take a family skiing in Nagano?

We looked at many of Nagano’s best ski resorts, checking for beginner-friendly courses, ski school programs, childcare and other kid-friendly activities. Here are our family-friendly ski resort picks to check out on your next winter vacation to Nagano.

Family Friendly Ski Resorts around Nagano

  • Tsugaike Mountain Resort
  • Tangram Ski Circus
  • Hakuba Happo One
  • The Prince Hotel Snow Resort Karuizawa
  • Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort
  • Honorable Mention: Kijimadaira Ski Resort

Tsugaike Mountain Resort

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Tsugaike Mountain Resort is one of the must-visit areas in the Hakuba Valley. With 18 lifts, 900 meters of elevation change and a longest run of 5 kilometers, it will definitely keep the whole family entertained. Another great thing for families is the wide-open beginner runs at the bottom of the mountain. A full 50% of the runs are for beginners (30% intermediate, 20% advanced) so if your family is new to skiing or not that confident, Tsugaike Mountain Resort is a great option.

If anyone in the family is a hardcore powder hound, they can check out Tsuga Pow DBD. This area requires participants to watch a safety video, sign a waiver and wear an armband as precautionary measures. Once inside though, it is a powder paradise.

Ski Schools

Evergreen International Ski School offers lessons here in both English and Chinese. There are kids/teens group lessons, adult group lessons and private lessons from beginner to advanced so make sure to check those out. Snowboarding lessons are also available.

Other Activities

Other activities include Snow WOW, a kid’s adventure area where they can spend the whole day having fun in the snow! Activities include a ropes course, sledding, fat tire bikes, snow skates, toboggans and much more. For adults, check out a guided snowshoe nature walk from the top gondola.

While in Hakuba, make sure to check out Hakuba Lion Adventure as well for snowmobile and snow rafting tours.

Tangram Ski Circus

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Tangram Ski Circus is a small resort on the Shinano Town side of Mt. Madarao. On its own, it offers 14 runs, but when combined with its next-door neighbor Madarao Mountain Resort, it has access to over 40! Beginners will enjoy Tangram’s wide-open and gentle courses at its base, and more experienced skiers can tackle intermediate runs covered in fresh powder.

One of Tangram’s strengths is its hotel. Hotel Tangram, part of Tokyu Hotel and Resorts, is a modern, ski-in ski-out accommodation with everything you need for your ski holiday, including several restaurants, outdoor hot springs, an outdoor pool and more.

(Video) Japan's Largest Ski Resort | Shiga Kogen

Ski Schools

There is a ski school at Tangram Ski Circus and English or Chinese lessons are available upon request. Private and group lessons are available.

Other Activities

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Snow rafting for the whole family

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Taking a break from winter in Tangram's indoor swimming pool

Try outdoor activities like snowmobiling and snow rafting. For cold snowy days or after hitting the slopes, try bouldering, the indoor swimming pool or a tent sauna.

Family-friendly Facilities

Daycare services are available at the Tangram Madarao Tokyu Hotel & Resort.

Hakuba Happo One

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Another must-visit site in the Hakuba Valley, Hakuba Happo One(pronounced Oh-Nay) was one of the locations of the 1998 Nagano Olympics. With 760 meters of elevation, 22 lifts and a longest run of 8 kilometers, Happo One is huge.

Even at an Olympic level resort like this, only 20% of the courses are advanced, while 50% are intermediate and 30% beginner. Everyone in the family can definitely find a place to ski.

The view of the Northern Alps and surrounding mountains from the highest lift at 1,831 meters is absolutely breathtaking.

Ski School

Evergreen International Ski School also offers lessons at Hakuba Happo One in both English and Chinese. There are kids/teens group lessons, adult group lessons and private lessons from beginner to advanced so make sure to check those out. Snowboarding lessons are also available.

Other Activities

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Riding up the magic carpet

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Sliding down the hill on scooters and sleds

Nakiyama Snowland is a kid’s park with various activities, a beginner’s ski slope with magic carpet, playground equipment, open space with food trucks, and an indoor kids space/family rest area with vending machines, nursery and changing room. In addition, Adventure Park Sakka offers activities such as sledding, a trampoline, and a snow merry-go-round. During the non-peak season, there is one more kid’s area at Usagidaira offering sledding, tobogganing and a snow play area.

Family-friendly Facilities

Daycare services at Hakuba Happo One are available through Evergreen International Ski School.

The Prince Hotel Snow Resort Karuizawa

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This ski resort is smaller than many others on this list, but it makes up for that with unparalleled convenience. The resort is just a short distance from Karuizawa Station, one of the stations of the Hokuriku bullet train and just an hour away from Tokyo. With the Karuizawa Prince Hotel and the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Center at the foot of the resort, it’s easy to keep everyone entertained both on and off the slopes.

The ski resort has 16 courses, over half of which cater to beginners. The longest course extends for 1.5 kilometers down the mountain—plenty long for first timers and families. There are a few intermediate and advanced courses for the more adventurous skiers as well.

See Prince Hotel Snow Resort Karuizawa's official English website for more information.

Ski School

RITMO Snow Academy provides English-language private and group lessons for both kids and adults. Kids must be 4 years or older. 6 and under must have adult supervision.

Other Activities

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The Snowman kid’s park offers sledding and other activities for kids. There are also some indoor activities during the winter season at Activity Park Karuizawa no Mori (Japanese site).

Other activities in the Karuizawa area for the whole family include hot springs, shopping at the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Mall, bowling, cycling, visiting Shiraito Falls and Kumoba Pond.

Where to Stay

The Prince Villa Karuizawa, The Prince Karuizawa, Karuizawa Prince Hotel East and Karuizawa Prince Hotel West all provide easy access to the ski resort. See the ski resort's recommended accommodations.

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort

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Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort sits above the small hot spring town of Nozawa Onsen and is a favorite destination among many skiers and snowboarders. Its wealth of courses and beautiful scenery alone make it worth the visit, not to mention its many hot springs baths and pedestrian-friendly, charming town center.

The resort has a good balance of courses for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, and the courses at the base of the mountain are great for those just getting started.

Ski School

Nozawa Onsen’s ski school offers English-language ski lessons, both private and group, through Canyons.

Other Activities

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The resort’s Hikage area has a kid’s park that includes a sledding hill, bouncy castles, slides and more. Thrill-seekers can enjoy an ariel view of the slopes from the Nozawa’s Zip Sky Ride zipline, and snowshoe tours are also available for kids ages 10 and above.

Family-friendly Facilities

The resort has a day care center called 'Yumin' which operates out of the 2nd floor of the Hikage information center for kids ages one to six. The resort even offers a shuttle service between the central Nagasaka Gondola station and the day care center.

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Honorable Mention: Kijimadaira

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For a budget-friendly family vacation, there is almost nowhere better than Kijimadaira Ski Resort. Regular ticket prices are 3,900 yen for adults and 1,500 yen for kids for a full day lift pass, while there are other seasonal discounts and coupons. With 5 lifts and no advanced skiing terrain, Kijimadaira is not a huge resort, but the bottom area is nice and easy for kids. It is also easily accessible from Iiyama Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen or from the Joshinetsudo Freeway.

Learn more on Kijimadaira Ski Resort's official website (Japanese) or Powderhound's review of Kijimadaira in English.

Ski Schools

There is a junior ski school for kids group lessons as well as group or private lessons available for adults.

Other Activities

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There is a kid's park at Kijimadaira Ski Resort with a penguin air dome and various areas to play.

Where to Stay

Pensions in Kijimadaira Village or anywhere in Nozawa Onsen, Yudanaka or Shibu Onsen Area.


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