Madarao - Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to Ski Madarao?

The resort typically opens mid-December and closes by the end of March or early April (subject to conditions). Snow conditions vary but this region of Japan is renowned for heavy snowfalls due to its proximity to the coast and weather patterns coming from Siberia across the Sea of Japan.

On average the resort receives 12-13m of snowfall throughout winter. It is possible to be riding powder as early as mid-December and definitely by mid-January. First snow comes in November making December perfect for an early ski and white Xmas! If you are looking for the now famous 'Madapow' aim for late January and powder hounds should have plenty of waist-deep days throughout February. If you're looking for more sun then March offers Spring Skiing with amazing side and backcountry spring conditions.

How close is Aya Lodge to Madarao Mountain Resort?

Aya Lodge is located in Madarao Mountain Village ( or Madarao Highlands as its sometimes referred ). It is an easy gentle 300m walk out to the children/beginner ski slopes and ski home in the right conditions. The distinctly unique thing about Madarao is that the small network of roads, Hotels, Pensions, Restaurants, and Shops that make up the Village are located on top of the hill so you are staying "in the snow" and looking across to the mountain you'll be skiing.

Madarao Kogen Hotel defines the central point of the village and is also the meeting place for Ski Tickets, Ski Lessons and most Ski Hire etc. From this central location, you ski down the beginner slopes into a valley and then ride up the ski lift network to the opposing mountain that looks across to the village where you access the more advanced Ski runs. The mountain is North facing so the snow conditions remain cold and dry.

Can I get picked up in Madarao and taken to Aya Lodge?

There are a number of convenient ways you can transfer from Iiyama Station to Madarao Mountain Village ( if your travelling via Shinkansen this will be your closest station to Madarao ( not Nagano ).

Review our Getting There page for more specific transfer instructions.

If you’re coming by train, go to Iiyama station and take a local bus transfer (see Getting There page for timetable) or taxi directly to Aya Lodge Madarao ( approx. AUD $55 and a 20 minute drive up the mountain road from IIyama ) or the Madarao shuttle bus (approx. JPY500) to Madarao Kogen Hotel (approx. 450m walk from Aya Lodge Madarao).

The easiest way to get to Aya Lodge Madarao is to take a Taxi from IIyama station and get dropped off directly at the front door. Check-In time is after 3pm so in the event you arrive earlier you can leave your bag in reception and go riding.

Are there Shops & Supermarkets in Madarao?

There is a basic level of convenience store shopping ( and vending machines which are commonplace in Japan ) in Madarao village however if you are looking for a larger supermarket then you need to do that in Iiyama which is only 11 km away ( about a 30 minute bus ride up and down the all-weather mountain road ).

Please note, Aya Lodge has a restaurant and bar so you won't be able to bring outside food or alcohol into the dining or lounge room ( as we are licensed ). There is also strictly no cooking of food in the guest rooms or any naked flames inside the building.

Directly opposite IIyama Station and across from the Bus drop off and pick up area is a large carpark and building with a yellow roof facade and green signage labelled TSURUYA it's a Japanese version of Coles / Woolworths. Click Here for the link to the local IIyama store. View the image to the right so you don't get lost. 

Click Here for a larger map on Google

What are the Restaurants & Nightlife like In Madarao?

Madarao Mountain Ski Resort has over 30 Dining options on the mountain with new western owned and operated Bars and Restaurants being developed each year. We have everything from cheap eats to the equivalent of a fine dining food experience in a relaxed atmosphere.

There is a  Good Food Guide to Madarao that will be published closer to the 2018/19 season and available from the Aya Lodge reception on your arrival. 

It’s also worth heading into IIyama at least one night during your stay for a local IIyama dining experience. There is a new restaurant for 2019 right at the intersection of the mountain road and the turnoff to IIyama Station that serves without question, the best Japanese food I have tasted. It's definitely worth the trip.

Powderhounds website has a general overview of Madarao Village and the Nightlife options available. Like all mid-sized predominantly Japanese ski resorts Apres Ski is limited as it hasn't tended to be part of the Japanese culture. With the last 20 lodges being sold to Australian owned and operated syndicates that is changing rapidly. Madarao's bar and dining options are really stepping up.

Here's a few favorites to kick you off ...

The Shaggy Yak

Same favourite, a new location for 2018/19 Season located on the main road into Madarao Village before the Madarao Kogen Hotel.

Restaurant Tyrol

When you are at Madarao Mountain the best restaurant on the slopes by far is Restaurant Tyrol. Home to Madarao's famous Big Burger. It's kind of, well, BIG. A good place to go if you start to get over rice and noodles. Tyrol is also the venue of Madarao's summer jazz festival.


Madarao's go-to Italian restaurant. Great Pizza and Pasta.


Need a fun place for a drink, a meal and to listen to some jazz music at night. Try Jazzy. Great shot bar and drinks, however, you'll want to book and or get there early!

Active Life Madarao 

Good old fashioned crowd favourite - they'll be operating a BBQ this year where you do it yourself whilst sipping on a beer from the Micro-Brewery ( on tap of course ).

Is there an Onsen at Aya Lodge Madarao?

Not in Aya Lodge Madarao, however, there are a few options for Onsen in Madarao. Firstly, the Madarao Kogen Hotel is about 450m away from Aya Lodge and it has the best Onsen in the Village some would argue. It's the perfect location to Onsen on the way home from skiing at the end of a big Madapow day or we can drop you up there in the late afternoon / early evening.

Madarao Kogen Hotel Onsen near Kaizen Lodge Madarao

Check out the IIyama / Nagano Onsen Guide Here!

Many hotels in the area have an onsen (hot springs) plus there are several fine public Onsen. These include;

  • Yutaki Onsen on Route 117, Hokuryu Onsen in Iiyama City (with fabulous views from the outdoor hot spring (rotemburo) of the five peaks of the Hokushin region and the Sekita mountain range).
  • Togari Onsen with two well-known rotenburo (outside pools) and
  • Madarao Kogen Onsen where one can enjoy a relaxing mountain Onsen located more than 1000 meters above sea level.
  • Toyoda-mura Onsen Koen Momiji-so is situated between Kijimadaira and Madarao is open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Wednesdays). Adults are ¥500 and children ¥350.

Local town Onsen is also available and quite inexpensive but usually consist of only one smallish bath. Look for the Onsen symbol on maps and signs when seeking Onsen.

No trip to this area of Japan would be complete without a visit to Nozawa Onsen ( not just for the skiing ) for a traditional village Onsen experience.

Is there an ATM or way to get money in Madarao?

There are ATM’s that accept foreign bank cards in the neighbouring town of Iiyama which is approx. 30 minutes bus ride away. There are no ATM’s currently in Madarao Mountain Village. We recommend you arrive at Aya Lodge Madarao with enough local currency to cover your spending whilst in Madarao. The Japanese banking system is surprisingly behind the times so it's a good idea to check with your bank at home so that you can use your Visa / Mastercard to access funds whilst traveling in Japan.

Many smaller family run Inns, Pensions and Restaurants may not accept credit card payments - these establishments are still very much a cash-only economy.

Are there Medical facilities nearby to Madarao?

Yes. There is a medical facility adjacent to the IIyama Shinkansen Station so if you need a pharmacy ( next door ) or medical assistance it is only 15 - 30 minutes away down the hill from Madarao Mountain Village. IIyama is also one station stop from the larger city of Nagano ( approximately 35 minutes via road ). Nagano is the biggest little city in this area of Japan and is the larger gateway to skiing and adventure activity so has full medical facilities.

Can I Rent a Car in Iiyama / Madarao?

Yes, however, be sure to get your International Drivers Licence (from the NRMA if coming from Australia) before you leave home. In most countries, it’s quite easy and cheap to get one! Below are a couple links to some of the bigger car rental agencies in Japan with some service in English.

Nissan Rent-a-Car IIyama - Click Here for English Page

276-11 Iiyama, Nagano Prefecture 389-2253, Japan ( located directly opposite the Train Station ).

Phone | +81 269-81-4123

Note, there is a ZERO Alcohol driving standard in Japan that is taken very seriously. If you are the designated driver it is offensive (and against the law) to drink in a Restaurant and then get in your car in the Carpark ( the person serving you also becomes liable so I am told ).

Can we use the kitchen at Aya Lodge?

Aya Lodge Madarao has a full commercial kitchen that is used by the staff only, for the breakfast and various dinner services we offer from time to time. It is not possible for guests to use the kitchen for the storing of, or preparation of food.

It is also not permitted to bring outside food or alcohol into the dining room as we serve meals from time to time and the lodge has a full-service bar ( we are a licensed premises ).

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