Winter has ended but that doesn’t mean that the fun stops.
In summer, Nozawa Onsen is a mecca for mountain biking, with many of the local residents being keen bikers, and the Nagasaka gondola is open for some of the summer months to take bikers and their kit to the top of the mountain, to enjoy the ride down on the trails. Nozawa Onsen is also increasingly welcoming road cyclists. Its access to alpine-style roads, with little traffic, make it ideal as a training base for sport cyclists who believe in the mantra that “the hills are your friend”. With the main road up from the village offering 12km of category 1 climb, you’d better believe it!
As you would expect, there is good hiking in the region. None of the local terrain is much above 2,000m so the trails are hikes not climbs, and do not need extreme equipment, although Japanese ridge hiking can involve some fairly steep scrambles. As always in mountains, take weather and safety gear on every excursion. Peak autumn colours are typically mid-late October through to mid-November and Japanese will tell you that’s the best hiking season, although we like hiking pretty much any time of year, with the shade of the wooded trails in the mountains, making summer hiking idyllic.
An interesting variation is to take a local guide along for a few hours, to show you the best spots to pick wild fruits, mushrooms, vegetables and point out tracks of bears, deer and more.
In 2017, the resort began operating an all-year zipline as well as summer skiing, for the hardcore enthusiasts.