Rice harvest has started here in Nozawa Onsen!

The rice harvest (Inakari) has just started here in Nozawa Onsen. Some of you may already know – rice farming here in the valley has a history that far outreaches the snow sports industry! In fact you could almost say it is the main way of life for most villagers here in town. Nagano and Niigata prefectures are said to produce the best quality rice – with all of that fresh water flowing down the mountain through our fields and the clean country air we have here – you can see why!

Traditionally, rice was planted and harvested by hand. It is then hung to dry and mature for a few weeks, before being removed from the grass and milled – turning it into the delicious white rice we still produce here in town.

Modern innovation has seen the rise of the combine harvester and planting techniques that no longer require this hands on approach. However some families here in town still do it the traditional way – it is said the taste and texture of the rice is more desirable having matured naturally outside. The verdict? You will have to come and try for yourself!

inakari2 inakari3

Cool thoughts for a White Christmas in Nozawa

White Christmas Nozawa

Nothing beats a White Christmas and Nozawa is a great place to enjoy one!

As the mercury starts to rise down south and many are beginning their school holidays you may be already thinking how can we escape this heat!
This photo was taken at Ogama the cooking onsens in Nozawa a few Christmas’s ago.

Give the sweltering Christmas a swerve this year and consider a snowy White Christmas in Nozawa this coming December. Still have good availability at many of the lodges and can do a package starting for as little as $965 for Adults and Kids $615

White Christmas Week in Nozawa
7 Nights Stay based on Japanese Style Tatami Room with Share Bathroom
Healthy Breakfast Included Daily
5 Days Lift Passes
Use of all the Village Hot springs
All just 70,500 yen per person Adults
(Approximately $AUD 965 at current rates)
Children aged to 15 just 45,000 Yen per person
(Approximately $AUD 615 at current rates)
Subject to availability

Still lots of great Ski Lodges in town with good availability up until about December 29th when Japan national holidays begin
Can check some here and drop us a mail
Nozawa Onsen Accommodation

The kids will love you for it!

Christmas in Nozawa is not officially a public holiday as most Japanese are Buddhists so do not celebrate the religious day of Christmas so all the shops, restaurants and ski lifts in Nozawa are open! In Japan in general it is more of a romantic day for couples to get together and also has an increasing commercial side with big shopping centres putting you lights and Christmas trees around the cities. If they get some snow it can be pretty special if not even the fact it is cold makes it pretty unique.

In Nozawa at Nozawa Holidays we like to celebrate Christmas by getting all the guests together and having a celebration drink and doing Secret Santa for anyone interested just check with the staff when checking in around that date. Dont forget to load up on the carrots to make a snow man and feed the hungry Reindeers when they visit!

Christmas Nozawa Deep

Santa always delivers in Nozawa with deep pockets of powder!

Onsen Time Nozawa Style

Onsen Nozawa Style Daily

The Onsen in Nozawa is a way of life and all ages are down there daily to soak in the thermal goodness

 

As the weather starts to cool in Nozawa there is no better place to be than in an Onsen ( Hot spring)

We have 13 free ones around the village and it is a daily ritual for the locals to meet and bathe in the geothermal hot waters.

All housed in traditional bath houses they are a very relaxing way to start the day or soothe the aches and pains at the end of the day. Even more special in the snowy months, as you get a warm buzz to the core of your body that lasts for a few hours.

If you are not familiar with the Onsen etiquette and just want a few little pointers on how to take an Onsen bath here is a great little video we put together a few years back. Check it out and will have something else to look forward to as well as the snow when you next visit Nozawa!

It is said that each Onsen has different healing powers. The Kuma no Te Arai for example was said to have been discovered by a bear and that he bathed in it to heal his wounds. It is a bit milkier than some of the others and as is lower in the village away from the source not so hot. Some of the hot ones are Oyu, Jyuhodo and Shinyu as they are the source of the onsen and can get pretty spicy! Over 45 degrees on a good day! It will warm you up pretty quickly and a great way to relax after a big day on the slopes in Nozawa

Here is some more information on the Onsens and lots of great things to do in Nozawa

Things To Do On Your Nozawa Holiday

 

Change is in the air in Nozawa

Change cold nozawa fog views

Views across the mountains from Villa Nozawa always pretty to see the fog sitting in the valley

Change winter Nozawa view Villa Nozawa

Exact same view from the room at Villa Nozawa in winter. Wont be long now…

You can feel the change starting to roll over the mountains in Nozawa. Have had a few foggy days about town and always pretty to see the clouds sitting in the Valley.

This photo is taken from Villa Nozawa and won’t be long now until the scenery takes on a snowy change!

Quite a lot of rain in Nozawa at the moment too which has cooled things down and find you need a long sleeve in the nights now, which is kind of nice.

Most locals are talking about good snowfall this year. Mainly because last year was a bit light on and was a 1 in 50 year like situation so this year Nozawa should be back to its very snowy self.

We also have an insect, which lives in the trees around the village called Kamakiri, and the locals say that when they build their nests for winter higher in the trees it means a big snow season ahead, as they want to be higher than the snow line. This year they are 1 meter higher than normal but will have to wait and see!

If want to check out what conditions you can maybe expect for each of the winter months in Nozawa can have a look at this link Snow Conditions Nozawa Onsen

Every month is winter in Nozawa is a good month and they all have a little different feel about them.

  • December is the time of anticipation with the change in the village as the snow starts to fall an the excitement builds. We generally have decent skiing by mid December sometimes earlier
  • January is when we get the highest snow fall generally and it feels like it is not going to stop sometimes. It is also the most popular month for overseas guests by far. With the Fire Festival and school holidays
  • February just continues on from January and the snow just keeps piling up, more hard core skiers and boarders in town and less families. Conditions can be deep
  • March is my personal favourite, we have all the base, usually more than 400cm, some nice days, very few people and still get some nice dumps of snow.
  • April is officially spring skiing, with a definite change the lift pass prices drop and some of the lower lifts close, there is still some fun conditions to be had for sure and great ski touring conditions
  • May only goes for the first week to coincide with the Golden Week holiday. It is T shirt weather but lots of fun in the village. Hope this helps and to see you up in Nozawa soon

 

Jetstar Sale on to Japan from Melbourne

Sale Japan Nozawa Jetstar

Looks like Melbourne is getting the deal with a Sale to Japan

Konnichiwa looks like a few deals available for our friends from Melbourne
Some of you may have been waiting for this, so looks like time to Jump in. At a quick glance some sales on offer appear to be;
• Melbourne to Osaka from 6th of Feb to 23rd of March from $466 Return
• Melbourne to Narita from 21st of March to 27th of March from $436 Return
Sale ends 21st of September
So looks like into Osaka is for good dates for the season. Osaka to Nozawa is a little further but you get the chance to visit the old capital Kyoto which is an amazing part of any trip. Osaka is also an exciting city with delicious food and some of the most entertaining people in Japan. It is also one of Japans largest cities just behind Tokyo and Yokohama.
Anyway have a look and hope you can grab a bargain!
Japan from Melbourne
Drop us a mail or message if can help with anything else for a great snow holiday in Nozawa
We can help with everything else for a great snow holiday to Nozawa Onsen
• Accommodation
• Lift Passes
• Airport Transfers
• Lessons
• Rentals
• Tours and more
Nozawa Ski Holiday

Sale Jetstar Free Return

Ran the sums and came up with a good deal from Melbourne

New ATM machine in Nozawa Onsen

ATM Nozawa Kura Tourist Info

The new ATM in Nozawa housed in a traditional Kura next to the Nozawa Tourist Info office.

In most towns that would probably not be so news worthy, but in our little country town it is a pretty big thing. The last ATM was installed about 20 Years ago at the Post Office and is still the only other one for international cards in the village!

The new machine is set up right next door to the Nozawa Tourist Info Office on the main road into the Village. It is in the new Kura café and art gallery building. Kura is a traditional Japanese storage house that originally probably stored rice or grain. It has been renovated to perfection and looks amazing! There are probably not too many Cash Machines in the world set up in stylish traditional house like this one!

It is open longer hours than the Post Office ATM too being from 8am to 8pm daily. It accepts most overseas cards too with Plus or Cirrus on the back as well as Visa and MasterCard. It is operated by the 82 Bank the other big local bank in the area besides JA Bank.

So can drop into Kura and grab a coffee and some of their delicious breads and focaccias when you are getting your cash out in Nozawa. Then can wander next door for any Tourist info you need. Nozawa is still very much a cash society and only a handful of restaurants in the village accept credit cards so good to know that cash is readily available in the Village.

The new ATM in Nozawa is pretty stylish and convenient

The new ATM in Nozawa is pretty stylish and convenient

 

ATM Nozawa 82 Bank

The Hours and Cards that can be used at the Nozawa ATM

Cafe Nozawa ATM Girls

Inside Kura the new Cafe in Nozawa Onsen drop in and see Reiko and the girls

Here is some info on the other ATM in Nozawa at the Post office Nozawa ATM Cash Machine

 

Making the cut in Nozawa Onsen

Ski Slope Nozawa

Big job to cut all the grass and shrubs in this slope in Nozawa

As preparations for the season continue this poor fella has the hard job of cutting down all the grass and shrubs that have grown on Hachiman Slope over the summer. I know form tackling the jungle that grows just around my house this is not an easy job, made even harder with the steep slope.

But we will be thanking him this winter when gliding down there in knee-deep powder! It is a beautiful run…

Winter Nozawa Knee Deep

The hard work pays off in Winter in Nozawa on the Hachiman Slope

 

Autumn Training in off season Nozawa Onsen

Autumn Off Season training Nozawa

Great way to get in shape before the season with some sliding of a different kind on the trails of Nozawa in Autumn. Photo by Yuto san

If want to do some Autumn training and get your snowboarding legs back ready for the season do what the locals do and hit the hills for some downhill skateboarding! Imagine the forest trail without snow! It runs 10km from top to bottom and has a nice gentle slope on a bitumen road most of the way. It is a smooth and very scenic ride down thru the trees.

With the air temp starting to cool in Nozawa it gets your mind thinking of the snow and is much more comfortable to start training for the winter too.
Nozawa is a great place to get in shape to ski or board in Nozawa or anywhere else for that matter.

The mountains are right at our doorstep so can jump on a mountain bike or grab some running shoes and do some climbing. The gym is open at the Olympic park and is a nice peaceful setting in the forest to do some training. After all that there are the onsens to soothe any aching muscles.

The farmers are very busy in the fields too and there is lots of fresh produce to enjoy and fuel your body to be in good shape. Can also rest the mind with some relaxing Yoga or a massage.

Come up and enjoy Autumn in Nozawa Onsen
Thanks for the photos Yuto san and Naoto san

Autumn Nozawa Ski Season soon

Amazing views from the top in Nozawa especially in Autumn

Wont be long before the leaves begin to change colour and we have what the locals call “Koyo” which means the autumn colours which we experience here. It can be spectacular with orange,red, yellow and green contrasts covering the landscape.

The temperatures will start to drop pretty quickly too and in the evenings I am already reaching for a jumper and an extra blanket! Winter will be here before we know it but for now lets enjoy Autumn in Nozawa.

Summertime In Nozawa – The Green Season

 

A truly Festival time to be in Nozawa

Festival Nozawa Village Life

The whole village comes out to celebrate in this Summer time Festival in Nozawa

Today and tomorrow the 8th and 9th of September see one of the biggest and best festivals on in the village of Nozawa. It is the Autumn Lantern Festival and sees all the village out on the streets to celebrate in style.

It is not the famous Nozawa Fire Festival we have on the 15th of January but there will be fire! Along with music, dancing, pantomime like shows, parades and lots of Sake! So if you are nearby stongly suggest coming to check it out and soak in the amazing atmosphere of our historic little town.

Festivities get under way tonight from 18:00pm and go all the way until midnight ending up on the top of the stairs at the Shrine for those that have the stamina! It is a long night but lots of fun and really impressive. Wear your Yukata or summer Kimono down if want to blend in with the Nozawa Locals!

Tomorrow the loud bangs from the fireworks will wake you up nice and early to do it all again! The villagers will drag the shrine thru the streets from 9:30am and also end the day up at the shrine with a massive lift of the heavy shrine up the steep stairs at around 17:30pm. Pretty spectacular to see so hope you can make it up to Nozawa.

The other big one is of course the Nozawa Fire Festival in 15th of January every year. It is one of the most famous festivals in Japan and people from all over the country and the world for that matter come to Nozawa to witness the spectacular festival. Just dont get too close to the flames!

Here is some info on that Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival

Festival Nozawa Summer

The Summer Festivals are much more low key than the Fire Festival in Nozawa Onsen but just as amazing

Big snow season ahead for Nozawa with La Nina?

La Nina Nozawa Season Ski Japan

Not last season but the one before Nozawa was listed as the snowiest resort on the planet a few times!

La Nina weather system for Japan this Winter?

All this talk of El Nino and La Nina you may want to learn Spanish instead of Japanese if travelling to ski in Japan this season.

El Nino means “ The Boy” and La Nina means you guessed it “ The Girl” they are counterparts and Ocean Atmospheric phenomenon. El Nino is the pattern we experienced last winter and the temperature of the Pacific Ocean is generally higher than normal, which resulted in warmer land temps for Japan and less snow than normal.

La Nina is the opposite and temps in the Pacific Ocean can drop by around 3-5 degrees Celsius below normal, which should hopefully mean colder temps in Japan and more snow! The JMA (Japan Meterological Agency) is saying there is a 70% chance we will experience La Nina this Autumn in Japan.

Like any long-term weather forecast it is very hard to predict this with any certainty but it is a step in the right direction! I am more inclined to listen to my elderly neighbours that are all farmers and keeping an eye on weather is their livelihood, has been for over 50 years. They said we had a weird Summer last year it never got real hot and we had very little rain. This year it is more like a typical hot and rainy summer which for Nozawa usually means more snow.

If it comes true should mean a colder and longer winter ahead and lots of powder for the hungry hounds!

La Nina Season Snow Powder Japan Nozawa

This is what mother nature can deliver in a La Nina season in Japan!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see 2011/12 was a massive season in Nozawa. There was so much snow the locals were begging it would stop we had days on end with 50cm dumps and the skiing was unbelievable

Here is a link to some reports over that time

Nozawa Onsen Snow Report