Things to do in Madarao Kogen
Back Country Tours
Madarao Mountain Resort offers daily back-country tours from late December until Late March.
There are full day and half day options, both start at 09:30, with the half days running until 12:30 and the full day to 15:30.
Tours are limited to those over 13 years of age and those under twenty will need to have a parent or guardian on the tour with them.
Participants need to have a fairly good level of ability and be able to ski / board in a variety of conditions.
Half day tours cost 9,500yen per person, while the full day tour is 13,500yen person person. Avalanche beacons are included in this price. A 1,000yen insurance charge is also required.
Snow Shoe Tours
Madarao Mountain Resort offers daily snow shoe tours from late December until Late March. There are a couple of excellent walks through he forests in the area
Participants need to have a fairly good level of fitness and good stamina.
Tours cost 2,500 – 4,000yen per person depending on the course length and number of guests. Rental equipment is also available for 1,000yen
Iiyama Snow Festival
Held every year in early February, the Iiyama Snow Festival is one of the most popular in Nagano.
The festival is known for it’s large ice/snow sculptures and and Kamakura (Igloo) Village.
As with many winter festivals in the region, fire plays a large part in the festivities.
On the first night a local ritual called Narasawa Daitengu is preformed. This involves swinging a large fiery torch around in front of the crowd.
There is plenty of local cuisine on hand, mostly made to heat you up from the inside.
The igloo village is not actually part of the festival, but can be a great place to visit at the same time.
This festival is a great way to see who the Japanese maintain their traditions and show such warm hospitality.
If in Nozawa Onsen during this time, it is well worth grabbing a ride down to Iiyama, and taking part.