Testimonials Nozawa Onsen

Video Reviews from Happy Travellers

Emails from Happy Travellers

“Mark, thank you for helping us visit Nagano.

We had a great time. I would like to complement you on your staff. Both of them were professional, knowledgeable and went out of their way to insure our group had a nice ski holiday.

I will make sure to visit your location again because of the wonderful service and beautiful location.”


“Just a quick email from Narita airport before I head back to the US. I’ve been lucky (spoiled) enough to travel to and ski in many places.

Lodge Nagano in Nozawa Onsen is among one of the best times I have had.

You have found a wonderful welcoming and competent host in Luke. The lodge provides a great base and seems to attract a great crowd. I hope to be back.”

Tim Gallagher

“Thanks for that, I had a fun weekend up there.

You have a great place and its good to have such a foreigner friendly place up in Nozawa at last. Will certainly be trying to get back up there before the season finishes.”


“Thanks for all your help. The trip was a great one and went according to plan. Nozawa Onsen is a pretty special place.

Even though the season was not up to Nozawa’s standards it was still much better than anything I have skiied in Australia.

Once again thanks for all your help.”


“I am just passing on a special thank you to Luke and Kim in Lodge Nagano for their exceptional hospitality during my stay there recently. We had a ball from the moment we arrived thanks to them (and the great snow too!).”


“Thanks again for the trip, we had an amazing time and had some awesome snow with great blue skies after snow.

Also hats off to Luke, Kim and Kaito san, they were an amazing help and created a fun and relaxed atmosphere for the week. They are great hosts, taking us out to restaurants or referring their favorites, helping us with transfers and any other request we had. They are a great team and an asset to the lodge.

I have talked to Sarah & Mick and told them they have to get up there. Thanks again all the best and see you soon.”

Frazer East

“We spent just under two weeks skiing in Japan 2 – 14 Feb – Shigakogen & Nozawa and even tho’ the snow depth was less than anyone had seen before (some on the trip were on their 7th trip to japan in 7 years) – ie we hadn’t seen bamboo sticking through the snow before!

We still got a few cracker powder days.

There were 14 of us on the trip and many have skied the northern hemishpere most winters and have never had regular powder in North America or Europe as consistent as Japan.

Here’s a link to some video we got at Nozawa Onsen: Click here for the footage

This season in Japan is still better than a good season in Australia!

Japanese powder mmmm…”

“I wonder if you remember me- my boyfriend Rob and I (from Scotland) were staying with you in Villa Nozawa last weekend (remember you took us to the swimming pool on our first lazy day!)

Sorry it took a little while to write this message – just getting around to these things after the shock of a week’s work after returning from a fab holiday in Nozawa.

We had a really awesome time up there – greatly helped by you and staying in your awesome lodge. Thanks a million for all your hospitality and the relaxed atmosphere.

The breakfasts and comfy futons were just spot- on, and we really couldn’t have found a better place to stay. I’ll definately be recommending you guys to the other JETs I know here.”

Emma Dewar

“First of all thanks for the great hospitality this weekend – really appreciate it. The lodge was very comfortable and had a really chilled atmosphere. Nice powder today too – it was amazing to have the slopes more or less to ourselves.

Thanks too for showing us around some of the local hot spots too – great food and good laughs.

Well, I guess it’s back to reality here in my sleepy village. Hope I don’t fall asleep at my desk tomorrow.

Thanks again for a great weekend – will definitely be back when I can.”

Laura Dickson

“A long overdue email……busy times.

On behalf of the Hill family we would like to pass on our sincere thanks to the team at Villa Nozawa when we stayed there in mid-January. The great skiing, village, food, onsens and the total Japanese experience really exceeded our expectations. To top it off was the friendliness and cheerfulness of all at the Villa, nothing was ever an issue and they were very helpful at all times. So please pass this on to them as a way of thanks.

Before this trip, I have only ever skiied at Oz and NZ….tough to go back there after being in Nozawa and Hakuba. Nozawa is the favourite, a winter wonderland.”

Gary Hill Australia

“Thanks for everything

Our time in Nozawa couldn’t have been better. We will be lucky to get that sort of consistent snow again.

A big thank you to the team at Villa Nozawa for their high level of service and for being flexible with us.  Also thanks to Mark for getting the booking sorted even though I did everything I could to confuse the situation!

I read that you are in for even more snow this weekend. Lucky bastards!

Thanks again and we will be back in the future.”

Simon Tyrell

“10 of us had a wonderful time in Nozawa especially in Alpine Villa Nozawa.

I really don’t know how to express in just a few words.

Fortunately, the weather was very nice during our stay in Nozawa Onsen. Heaps of snow but no rain and no wind. The lodge was very well maintained. Breakfast was nice with varities… toilets and  bathrooms were clean… lounge room & TV  room are well equipped, dry room was organised and spacious. All of your staff were so friendly and helpful (including the 2 little one). All the recommendations for food & skiing were so valuable. The onsen behind the lodge was so good although it was a bit overcrowded during the holiday long weekend but still.. it was fun.

I am sure our ski trip to Nozawa would not be as good if we did not stay at your lodge.”


“I cannot recommend this place highly enough (but am wondering if I should because it may get too busy for my future bookings)!

Excellent staff. Facilities are fantastic, especially for families. Kiddies cubby house with a TV and plenty of movies under the stairwell and child-friendly staff. Communal facilities are well cared for and kept very clean.

The flexibility of using the kitchen to cook your own meals, go out to one of the recommended restaurants or order in if your tired is fantastic.

Breakfasts are hearty, cereal, toast etc and with a hot component that changes every day.

The free onsens are the only way to bathe in this town.

The futon bedding is a little rough on the body after a day of skiing, particularly nights 3-5 but then bearable (we stayed a month). Likewise with the stairs, but an excellent opportunity to stretch the legs after a day on the mountain.

January 2012 will be our 3rd visit to this town, in January 2010 we stayed in their sister accommodation ‘Lodge Nagano’ and also highly recommend it.”

“Staying at Villa Nozawa took all the hard work out of staying in a more traditional village.

Mark and family and the other Mark 2 and 3 were really welcoming, they made every question and query seem easy and simple to fix.

If you are looking for a comfortable place to stay in a more traditional Japanese town then this is the place for you.”

Jen and Eli from Tasmania

“To start. We stayed at another mountain first which was horrible so might influence my report but doubt it.

Start with the only drawback, beds are traditional Japanese so if you have a bad back might not be ideal. But in saying that it is exactly as it says.

Now positives. From the first second we were there everything was perfect. Mark is an incredible host and does way above he needs to. I am a mid 20’s snowboarder traveling with 5 similar people. Even though the crowd is very family oriented we were extremely relaxed here. Everything was spotless, treated like a 5 star building. Breakfast great. Mixed it up every morning with huge variety.
Mark on numerous occasions rang up local restaurants and got us delivery. Menus neatly in folders so we could make decisions.

We were feeling as if the mountain was very ski oriented and mark organised “tashi” to take us out. He is a great kid and our view of the mountain did a 180 straight away.

To summarize this. I am coming back to Japan but will simply come back to nosawa to stay here and receive this incredible service again”

“What a brilliant place to stay!

I was in a group of 11 mates who stayed at Villa Nozawa for a week and everything was spot on. A 3 minute walk to the slopes (where the skiing is unbelievable) meant the location was perfect, the staff (Mark, Mark, Julie, Tashi & Laura – thanks!) work really hard to make your stay as easy as possible.

The Villa was spotlessly clean with the rooms made up in traditional Japanese style, whilst the communal dining and lounge area was a great place to relax, chat with old and new friends and generally chill out/warm up.

The value can’t be beaten with the stay (price includes accommodation, breakfast and ski pass) being cheaper than staying in Australia and skiing (and the skiing in Nozawa is amazing with zero waiting times on lifts).

The staff know the best places to visit, the best restaurants and more – overall an amazing experience of a traditional Japanese village, incredible snow and skiing and super friendly English speaking staff to make it all as easy as possible.

If you’ve ever wanted to ski Japan, then this is the place for you.”

Brendon, Queensland

“Fantastic place to stay!. Staff are very helpful, understanding and knowledgeable. The cooked breakfast each morning was very scrumptious and very hearty! The location of the villa was unbeatable, the rooms clean and tidy, and the price was definitely unbeatable!
Our group of 11 very much enjoyed our stay, and are looking forward to returning and staying at the Villa or the Lodge or the House!
The snow in Nozawa was unbeatable and the lift ques non existent!
We almost considered writing bad reviews just so we can keep it a secret amongst the select few!”

“My stay at Villa Nozawa was nothing short of spectacular. It is simple but so familiar.

The Staff are friendly and helpful, and the rooms are well lit and comfortable. For a big group like ours, you couldn’t as for a better location. it housed everyone comfortably and there were plenty of places to hide away if you wanted some quiet time

The thing I liked best about Villa Nozawa was its proximity to the ski lifts. Walk out the main entrance and you are only 4 min away from the lifts that whisks you away up the mountain.”

“I spent approximately 10 days at Villa Nozawa and it was perfect for the trip I had planned. The lodge is comfortable and the staff knowledgeable and friendly; although rates quoted are generally for 2 or more my single occupancy was accommodated with no fuss and the value was great.

The “Feeling Like A Local” package included 10 nights stay, 9 days of lift tickets and breakfast every day. Breakfast was good, simple fare. Cereals, toast, fruit, and a hot meal selection every morning; plus hot coffee and tea available all day. Laundry facilities are on the premises as well as a spacious equipment/drying room for gear and apparel.

A trip to the monkey park was arranged at the front desk with transportation and a guide along with us – a great day off to split up a long week of riding/skiing. Easy access to the mountain and local onsen are a great feature as well.

My overall experience was fantastic and I highly recommend Villa Nozawa if you are going to Nozawa Onsen.

“Having spent a few weeks in 2010 with some mates staying at villa and skiing at Nozawa, returned this year with extended party of friends and family, and Mark and the team didnt dissapoint.

Having talked up my previous year trip was a little worried about over promising, but the great snow, onsens, great staff, the free saki tasting night and general Vibe of the village left my entire crew talking about next years trip!

The thing that was really cool was the number of guys from our previous visit who had the same idea as us and had also returned, making 2011 a 2010 reunion of sorts.

Overall if you want 5 star digs Villa may not suit, but if you are looking for that special break, with great snow and a unique japanese experience give Nozawa a blast!

Thanks Mark and the Team see you next year.”

“Great service. Nothing was too much trouble for Mark (owner). Child-minding was available (at Villa Nozawa) when we stayed, which was fantastic.

The room was comfy and traditional: futons on tatami matting on the floor. Shared bathroom on each floor was always clean. Nozawa Onsen has amazing hot springs that are free to bathe in.

The breakfast each morning was great (included in the price).”

“Myself and 4 mates stayed at the Villa Nozawa for 4 nights.

Staff were great, always willing to accommodate our requests and answer our questions.

Mark who runs the place had an answer to all our questions and was happy to recommend places to visit and dine. Was an interesting experience staying on traditional Japanese bedding (I think my back is now much straighter).

Snow Monkey trip organised by Mark is worth checking out, Anders the guide was easy going and happy to have a chat. Ski lift is only 500m from the front door. Breakfast gives you the option of a different hot breakfast each day (pancakes, waffles) or cereal and toast.

Everything was noticeably clean and tidy. I think a potato chip vending machine would be a great addition. If you’re going to stay in Nozawa this place is worth a look.

Thanks to all the staff for making our stay very enjoyable and a special thanks to Tashi San for showing us snowboarders where the real runs are.”

“Staying at Villa Nozawa is an ideal way to experience Japan.

Nozawa is a beautiful traditional town with a great deal of history that is missing from some of the larger resorts in Japan. The accommodation is great, breakfast is substantial and perfect before a day on the slopes, staff are friendly and helpful.

It is perfect for families with kids but I have also stayed at Villa Nozawa skiing with friends which was just as perfect.

I have recommended it to many friends and all have stayed and loved it and returned again.

The Onsen near by is perfect after a day of skiing and the close proximity to the lifts make it an accommodation that you just can’t beat!”

“Villa Nozawa was perfect as our intro to Japan & skiing in Japan.

While the skiing itself is probably not as promoted given that it has a much higher proportion of beginner gradient slopes, it was fabulous for my husband & I for a short week.

We managed to find plenty of off-piste skiing and once we orientated ourselves found plenty to ski in 4.5 days.

The villa itself is a great introduction to skiing in this part of the world as it’s run by English speaking people, has a few of the nice home comforts like breakfast cereals etc but gives a great insight to japanese ways.

Was really not sure how we’d go with the tatami mats/futons but they were actually surprisingly comfortable. The whole onsen thing is marvellous especially after skiing.

The staff at VN were very friendly & having equipment hire on site etc made it all so easy. A mid-week BBQ shared with guests and other foreigners around town was a nice touch too.

Would definitely go again if possible for a few days & then I’d probably head to one of the other resorts nearby if time allowed. We’d take the kids with us next time & know they’d really enjoy it there too.”

“We stayed for 4 nights for a girls skiing trip and had a great stay at the Villa.

Our large tatami room had a great view and the staff are very friendly and heaps of fun. Everything we needed was able to be hired from the ski shop onsite.

Breakfast is great, short walk to heaps of restaurants/bars, and amazing skiing.”

“From the moment we checked in everything was easy.

It was our first trip to Japan so we were a bit worried how we would go but Mark and the staff took great care of us. The rooms have a great Japanese feel with spectacular views over the Valley.

There is an Onsen or Hot Spring right behind the Lodge make sure you get into it, it is a bit different to start but after your first dip you are hooked. Tasty restaurant just over the road and quaint little bar next door.
The snow was great and the owners have been in Nozawa for about 20 years so are very knowledgeable on the mountain, village and local people and customs. We met some colorful characters in Nozawa.”

“Recommend this very friendly family ski lodge.

Excellent service from all staff, great substantial breakfasts. Loved having access to tea/coffee throughout the day. Loved the various lounges in the lodge and the Onsen gear provided.

Highly recommended.”

“My wife and I have just returned from a stay at Villa Nozawa.

We arrived for the early season snow and had a great stay here.

I took a useful refresher intermediate ski lesson from Ade. Highly recommended and we plan to return – perhaps when the yen is looking a little weaker.

Pete, Manchester UK

“Our family of four stayed seven nights at this lodge in Jan 2008 and have just re-booked a stay in Jan 2009. The price is amazing, the town and the skiing unbelievable, the staff so friendly and helpful.

We arrived at night and were welcomed and shown around the lodge by the manager and his wife. Onsen etiquette was explained and the neccessary equipment provided, free of charge.

The next morning the manager organised discount lift passes and a staff member to help us with ski- hire and give us a half day tour of the slope! We were lucky enough to be there for the Fire Festival (15th Jan) and were again much indebted to him for his organising and sound advice.

The room was tiny but adequate-tatami mats with four futons that we rolled up every morning to create space. We had a TV (watched snow report and sumo wrestling) and a little alcove with 2 chairs and a balcony.

Sliding paper screens over the balcony doors were a nice touch. Room and bedding were spotlessly clean and warm. Downstairs we had a communal room and a room for the teenagers to watch DVDs/playstation etc., a communal kitchen (which we didn’t use because eating out was so cheap). We also had access to washing and drying facilities.

There were a couple of vending machines in the foyer-beer, softdrinks, snacks, noodles etc. and a convenience store 5 minutes walk away. Breakfast was basic-rice, eggs, miso soup, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, toast, fruit, but more than adequate.

A great extra was the basement ski storage room. So easy to leave gear securely in a drying room, slip on some slippers and walk up to the communal area for a predinner drink after a long day on the slopes.

The lodge is a 5 minute walk to a chair lift, 10 minutes walk into town, 5 minutes from an indoor swimming complex. It is basic but incredible value.

Great for families and anyone on a budget.

Liked — value, helpful staff, proximity to everything
Disliked — havng to leave”

“Had done a fair amount of research before we left and decided that Nozawa Onsen was the place for us to visit for our third ski trip to Japan.

It ticked all the boxes with a traditional feel, the hot springs, easy to get around and to the slopes and of course lots of snow.

The guys at Lodge Nagano made it all pretty easy for us from booking to getting there and then provided us with an awesome stay. Very friendly and nothing was a problem. Great location near the slopes and only a short walk to the restaurants, bars and onsens. It was also the cheapest place we found during our research and was great value and a great standard of accommodation for the price.

If you are looking at skiing in Japan then can suggest this is well worth a look.

Room Tip: We had the bunk room which had amazing views for just 4000 Yen a night but seemed most of the rooms had decent views.”

“We had been skiing in Japan a few times and finally Nozawa Onsen ticked all the boxes for what we were looking for in a Japanese Ski Holiday. Traditional feel, great food and the onsens were awesome. Oh and did I mention some of the deepest powder we have ever experienced.

Lodge Nagano was the perfect base for us to explore it all. The guys have been living there for a long time and know the area and everyone in it very well. It was a handy location just 100m to the slopes and nearest Onsen and about 300m to all the restaurants. Rooms were clean and bright with some great views.”

“Great value for money. The accommodation is ‘Backpacker Style’, 5***** Backpacker Style, and suitable for people & families of all ages. There is a great atmosphere between young & old and we met some interesting people.

Location: Perfect, close to ski lifts, shops & restaurants. When there is enough snow down to village level, which was around the last week in December, you can ski to the nearest lift and can almost ski back to the front door.

Rooms: Small but very cosy & clean. In one of our rooms the heater was very close to the futons and there was no way to change that though.

Facilities: The bathroom is in the basement, but there is no need to use it, as you can just use the free Onsens, which is just awesome. Shampoo etc. is all supplied by the lodge and the nearest onsen is only a couple of minutes away. There is a great common room with Wi fi and a TV room with 100s of movies. In House Ski Hire is available, but there was not much choice when we arrived, which was at the beginning of the season. We would recommend to use the ski hire near the Gondola Station, especially when there is not much snow down below, as you can leave your hire gear up there and don’t have to carry it up & down from the lodge.

Lessons: You can book them at the lodge and the instructors were amazing.

Food: Hot Breakfast cooked by the staff, as well as toast & cereal. A different Hot Breakfast is offered every morning and you are greeted with a smile. The breakfast/common room is really nice, big windows where you can see the snow falling down.

Service: Excellent!! The service offered by Luke is really what makes this place. Nothing is ever too much trouble, he goes out of his way to make your stay enjoyable, he makes sure that everyone feels like they are the most important guests in the world 🙂

Staying at Lodge Nagano was a great family holiday for us and our teenage kids.”

“Lodge Nagano was awesome, best staff, ski lessons from the staff, in house ski hire, alcohol vending machine in house. Right in the middle of town and the slopes.”

“I’m not typically a review-writer, but my experience at Lodge Nagano was awesome enough to warrant the effort.

I went to Nozawa Onsen with four friends to snowboard for a day and sleep that night. As everyone has commented, the staff were very friendly, welcoming and helpful. Restaurant recommendations were spot on.

The lodge is conveniently located close to many onsen, restaurants, souvenir shops and bars and is also close to the ski lift. The lodge had enough rental equipment for the five of us, including goggles, mitts and hats for some of my less-equipped friends.

I stayed in one of the dormitory rooms with three strangers. The bed was comfortable and I had no trouble sleeping.

The general atmosphere of the lodge was homey and definitely not Japanese. For me, this was what made the trip. The staff and many of the guests were chatty which helped me pass the time while my comrades were at the bar apres ski. After having lived in Japan for quite some time, I appreciated a Western-style breakfast and some good English-language banter.

If you’re looking for a traditional, private ryokan stay this is probably not the place for you.

But if you’re out to relax and have some fun at Nozawa Onsen then I would definitely recommend Lodge Nagano. I wish I had time to go back and stay for a week!”

I stayed here with my fiance for 4 nights. The staff are great, will always go out of their way to help you out with anything.

I have food allergies and found the little note I had written in japanese to help me when dining out wasn’t working so asked Luke to have a look at it and he sorted it all out for me, no more problems with getting food I could not eat. They also allow guests to use the kitchen for dinner if they are not needing to use it and will point you in the direction of the local supermarket.

We got a package with lift passes included and had a lesson with Corbin which was great, except I needed a little more help!! Also went on the snow monkey trip with Will which we would recommend.

This is a great place to stay with friendly accommodating staff and reasonable rates. I can’t believe the things that people complain, as above comments. This is a lodge not a 5 star resort and as such the bathrooms are shared, but very clean. The showers are hot and clean but with a button to push to keep it going every 30 seconds or so. The futons are a little hard after a day on the slopes especially if you are a learner and spend a great deal of time wiping out! But hey the rooms were a good size, warm with a heater and plenty of blankets on the beds.

As far as the comments regarding walking to the Onsens, get a life! that is half the fun walking in the cold to get slightly cooked and then walking back nice and toasty, its what all the locals do – when in rome and all people!!

All and all this is a great place for all. It is like a big family house and has the pros and cons that goes with this.

The breakfasts were good with cereal and toast and then a cooked option that changed each day, from fried eggs, scrambled eggs, porridge, japanese breakfast of rice onsen egg and miso and luke always altered it slightly if needed for my allergies.

So if you want a laid back relax place to stay with great staff this is the place for you.”

  “The staff was extremely helpful and will go out of their way to help. An example was my wife and I wanted to try our hand at making soba noodles. Luke at the lodge convinced a local restaurant owner to convince her friend in another village to try teaching us the art of making the noodles. We had a wonderful time both making and eating our own noodles that day.The location was easy to find and well located within the village.

Although the lodge does not have its own in-house onsen, it is within easy walking distance from a number of onsens (public & free to use).

Short distance from the restaurants within the village.

English speaking staff and instructors. Private lessons at very reasonable costs.

Wi-Fi available for a flat rate of 500 Yen per stay.

Easy walk up to the ski lifts.

The lodge is perfect as a base for visiting Nozawa Onsen. It is a fully English speaking environment and lacks the traditional Japanese touch, which can be a plus or minus depending on what one is looking for.

For a 1st time visitor to Nozawa Onsen my wife and I found the arrangement perfect.”

“Stayed at the Lodge for a night in December – really friendly and knowledgable staff, comfy room, clean, nice breakfast (try the onsen eggs, they were tasty!).

Unfortunately i broke my leg whilst skiing, and the staff at the lodge were fantastic, they came to the hospital and translated for me, which was invaluable as i speak no Japanese.

We were due to leave Nozawa that day but obviously now needed to stay for longer – the lodge were full but were able to ring round and arrange alternative accommodation for us and gave us a lift to our new accommodation.

I would definitely recommend the Lodge to anyone going to Nozawa, and will definitely be going back. The village itself is great, the onsens are amazing.

The staff at the Lodge were so good, knowledgeable and welcoming during our stay, and very helpful when i injured myself.”

“Well run Aussie owned ski lodge in a beautiful mountain village. Rooms large by japanese standards. Shared shower rooms and toilets but very clean.

Anyway – who needs a showerroom when the village has a dozen free onsen – excellent for aching ski legs!

Luke the manager is a great guy for showing you round the town and keeping you right on where to eat and drink and what the onsen etiquette is. 10 minutes walk to the gondola but you can ski back to the door.

Lodge has its own rental ski gear including clothing so no need to bring it all from home.”

“We stayed here for three nights as part of a longer break in Japan for our honeymoon. It was such good value for money. For anyone used to being ripped off in the snow resorts of France you will find it such a welcome change.

The Lodge itself was fairly large and you could have a room with a private bathroom or use the shared ones (as we did and that was fine) we had an incredible view from our room. The breakfast was included. You could hire all equipment directly from the Lodge so you don’t need to worry about lugging all your stuff around or trying to hire it from a non-English speaking hire shop.

They even have all the clothing to hire if you need it. They sorted out our lift passes and everything, all we needed to do was turn up.

The village has lots of natural Onsen hot spring baths which were just great to relax your muscles in after a day on the slopes. Getting there is fairly easy, you get a train from Tokyo to Nagano and then hop on a local train.

The snow there was just incredible, the slopes were quiet, there were no queues for lifts, it was just such a great experience and the highlight of our trip.