The Official Tourism Site of Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
The Matsumoto Welcomes You website has been renewed and is now Visit Matsumoto (! We are still working on fixing a few problems and you may notice some links do not work yet. We will fix them as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

Winter Activities

If it's winter activities that interests you and your family, then MATSUMOTO IS YOUR PLACE!

With its central location in Nagano prefecture, Matsumoto City is the perfect base for these exciting winter activities:

Downhill (Alpine) Skiing
Cross-Country OR NATURE Skiing
Winter Hiking

Go to Outdoor Activities page for green season information and outdoor sport shop.


There are two ski areas within the city limits of Matsumoto, and there are also many ski areas in the general region.


Mt. Norikura Snow Resort (formerly the Norikura Highlands Hot Spring Ski Resort)
This is the largest ski area in Matsumoto City, at an elevation of from 1,500 to 2,000 meters (6,600 ft.). There are 22 trails and 11 lifts, and with so many beginner and intermediate runs, this is an ideal place for kids and families. It is open from early or mid-December until late March or early April.

Access: Take the Matsumoto Dentetsu Line from Matsumoto to Shin-Shimashima, followed by a bus ride for Kyukamura or Shirahone Onsen and get off at Ski Resort. There is also one direct bus from the Matsumoto bus terminal. .
FREE shuttle bus service(!) operates on Sat, Sun, and National Holidays during mid-Jan - late Mar. See this blog article for 2017-2018 Season.

See also our Sightseeing page and blog articles (01/09/2018, 12/18/2008, 3/26/2010).

Another ski area in Matsumoto:

Nomugi Toge Skiing Area (Japanese: Nomugi Toge ski jo)

onsen - hot tub - hot springs

The Norikura area is also famous for its Hot Springs.


Area: Hakuba (about 1 1/2 hours by car, bus or train)

  1. Hakuba 47/Goryu Ski Area (blog article (1/28/2009))
  2. Happo One Ski Area (1998 Winter Olympics downhill race course!)
  3. Iwatake Ski Area
  4. Hakuba Norikura Ski Area
  5. Kashimayari/Sun Alpina Ski Area
  6. Yanaba Ski Area (blog article (2/20/2008))

  Alpico Bus Matsumoto - Hakuba Line (only in winter)

Other Area:

  1. Nozawa Onsen Ski Area (blog articles 2/5/2008 and 2/21/2010)


Well, strap on your snowshoes and head off to Norikura. It's within the city limits and about an hour drive from downtown Matsumoto. Rental equipment is available and plenty of snowy trails await you.
See blog articles Winter Wonderland: Snowshoeing in Kamikochi" and Snowshoeing to the Frozen Zengoro Falls in Norikura.


If cross-country skiing is more your thing, the Norikura highlands area of Matsumoto features some beautiful and accessible terrain with a variety of cross-country trails. In winter, there's a free bus to take you from the city center up into the highlands for a refreshing day of downhill or cross-country skiing.

The Hakuba area, which hosted some events in the 1998 Winter Olympics, also offers a cross-country skiing area. As mentioned above in the 'downhill skiing' area, Hakuba is less than 1-1/2 hours from Matsumoto by car, bus or train.
See blog articles Nature Skiing in Norikura’s Ichinose Area and Cross-country skiing-a different way to enjoy winter!


The snow in the mountains and chill in the air just add to the fun of hiking in winter! Enjoy many trails in Kamikochi, with access to the spectacular Chubu-Sangaku National Park. The Norikura highlands area also has many trails available for winter hiking (see 'Snowshoeing' section above). There are also many short hikes in the hills surrounding Matsumoto. Why not try the one-hour hike from the Asama Onsen area of Matsumoto up to Lake Misuzu?