Not to be confused with Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Resort, the Mt. Norikura Snow Resort in Matsumoto City is a medium-sized resort that offers off-piste skiing/boarding, a kid-friendly area, hot spring bathing, and more.
*BEFORE YOU GO*
Norikura Kogen tends to be a very windy area. Make sure the lifts are operating before you go!
Access via Public Transportation
You can take a bus or a combination of train and bus to the resort.
The round-trip ticket is very efficient as it covers both train and bus fare. It costs ¥3,300 and is valid for 7 days. Don’t lose it! Purchase your ticket at the Alpico ticket office across the street from Matsumoto Station’s Castle (Oshiro) Exit.
Only one bus runs directly to the resort, and it leaves in the afternoon. Otherwise, take the Matsumoto Electric Railway from track 7, which is next to track 6. You will not see the track listed on the panels near the ticket gates, but head through to the ticket gates and to your right.
Once you arrive at Shin-Shimashima Station, you should have at least 10 minutes to transfer to the bus out front. The transfer is fairly smooth. You can purchase bus tickets there as well. If you do not purchase your tickets in advance, you will need to pay (cash only) when you board the bus.
Get off at stop N31 Ski Resort (also announced « ski-jo mae »). You should see a large dark grey building directly in front of you.
The last bus bound for Shin-Shimashima Station leaves the resort at 6:22 p.m.
Trails & Facilities
Gear and wear rentals are available at a number of shops.
If you are not driving up or staying at one of the hotels, coins lockers are available in places such as the rental shop located in the dark grey building near the ticket vendor. Other lockers are available in the restaurant nearby, but the restaurant closes at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays, so you will need to get your belongings out before then.
Many of the beginner trails are wide and slope gently. Beginner snow boarders should note that sections of beginner areas, such as trail 19 and 13/11 will flatten out considerably. There is also a kids’ area near the bottom of trail 9 that can be accessed on your way down the trail or from the nearby parking lot.
The more advanced can enjoy tree runs, the terrain park, and off-piste skiing/boarding. Mt. Norikura backcountry tours take you from the top of the highest lift into an expanse of mountain peaks and fields of snow.
Overall the trails were not crowded, and the snow was not packed.
There a few restaurants along the trails and one at the base of the resort. Be careful though! Many dishes are sold out as early as 1:30 p.m.
Wind down with a dip in the milky white waters of the local hot springs. Hot springs such as Yukemurikan and Kyukamura Onsen are close to the base of the resort. Yukemurikan is about a 9 minute walk, and you can board the return bus to Matsumoto from the Tourist Center (Kanko Center Mae) bus stop out front.