If you go Where to stay
Morino Lodge Myoko, 585-23 Akakura, Myoko. 011-81-261-859098, morinolodge.com/lodgeschalets/morino-lodge-myoko This bright, three-story hotel features a ski-snowboard room, separate gear-drying room and spa-like onsen. It is a five-minute walk from the Akakura Onsen ski area and village center. The lodge has a small bar, includes a full Westernstyle breakfast with stays and, at least once a week, serves dinner on-site. Staffers are often available to shuttle guests to nearby resorts. Double rooms from around $155. Kougakuro, 115 Akakura, Myoko. 011-81-255-87-2036, myoko-kougakuro.jp/english A delightful, Japanese-style hotel with Englishspeaking staff, spacious rooms, indoor-outdoor onsen, buffet breakfast and small bar. A threeminute walk to the slopes of Akakura Onsen. Rooms from $88.
721-1 Sekikawa, Myoko. 011-81-255-86-3052 A small, family-run restaurant in a residential neighborhood, featuring the best sushi we found in the area and a warm, accommodating staff. Full sushi meals, with a range of fish, from around $20. Syokudo Shibata, 549-83 Akakura, Myoko. 011-81-255-87-2936 Specializing in Japanese barbecue, this welcoming restaurant also offers excellent ramen and lighter fare in a fun atmosphere. Entrees from $8. Cash only.
585-83 Akakura, Myoko. 011-81-255-87-2088 Famous for udon noodles in black squid ink, this small place also has toptier tempura. Entrees from $8. Cash only. Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko rise right from the village, and Suginohara and Ikenotaira are short bus or shuttle rides away. Seki Onsen, for example, is a 25-minute drive from Akakura village.
Of these, Suginohara offers the greatest vertical drop — 3,600 feet — and the longest run in Japan, a five-mile serpentine descent. It also has the most interesting onmountain dining, a row of small wooden and houselike restaurants serving ramen, seafood, meats, and fresh salads.
A one-day lift ticket to access both Akakura Onsen and Kanko costs $44, and single-day tickets to the other resorts are similarly priced. Free shuttle buses run between Akakura Onsen/Kanko, Ikenotaira and Suginohara. For more information, visit myoko-nagano.com/access/myoko_transport. Iiyama, Nagano. 011-81-269-643214, madarao.jp/ski/_en A fairsized mountain with 15 lifts, 30 marked runs and a vertical drop of 1,443 feet. Limited on-mountain dining and après-ski options. Lift tickets cost $44. Hakuba. 011-81-261-72-5150, evergreen-hakuba.com/en Quality outfitters providing English-speaking guides for all manner of mountain adventures, especially backcountry ski tours. Backcountry tours from around $150 per person per day, with group discounts available. Gear rental is extra.