Myoko Kogen

Myoko Kogen is actually a collection of 8 ski areas clustered around the town of Myoko, each with its own character. The area is also home to numerous natural hot springs - “onsen” in Japanese - and the ski areas are often named after the local onsen – Akakura Onsen Ski Resort, for example.

For mellow groomers when it hasn’t snowed, and an exquisite view of Mt. Fuji when it’s clear, check out the Suginohara Resort (Myokosuginohara on the map). Suginohara also boasts the longest ski run in Japan (5.2 miles) and has some of the best on-mountain food in the area.

When it snows in the Myoko area, which is often, snow-laden storms usually blow in from the north, and the most northerly of the local areas gets the brunt of the snowfall. This means Seki Onsen (Seki Hot Spring Ski Area on the map) is the place to be on a POW day. Seki Onsen is a small area that’s literally a “mom and pop” operation – Mom will sell you your lift ticket, Pop runs the lower lift, and Son runs the upper lift. This is also the place to go if you love tree riding, as the family’s attitude toward “off piste” travel is very accommodating – unusual in Japan.

Akakura Onsen has some of the best lift-assisted touring options in the valley – just take the lift to the top and start skinning from there. It’s a mellow 1.5 hour trip to the summit and worth it for the great tree runs.

For a unique cultural experience on a rest day, grab a bowl of hand-cut ramen for lunch and then choose one of the local onsens for a chance to soak up the soul of Japan and rejuvenate your body.