Skiing, Snowboarding, Japanese Culture and Snow

The beautiful pristine charm of Mount Madarao

Experience Winter Bliss - Discover Why Skiing and Snowboarding in Madarao is Unforgettable

Majestic mountains, abundant snowfall, and perfect slopes converge to create a winter wonderland like no other. Welcome to Madarao, a hidden gem in Japan that offers an exceptional skiing and snowboarding experience. Madarao is virtually unknown but stands out among the world's top winter destinations it promises an unforgettable adventure for people who love the snow.

Snowball Chalet, Yukimi, Snowman Apartments and Mister Daruma logos

Snowball Chalet is expanding

We are so lucky at Snowball Chalet. It has been a mad few years and we are so pleased everything is slowly going back to normal with the Japanese border opening and travel returning.

We haven't been sitting idle though. At the very start of the Corona lockdowns we started a few hopeful projects that incredibly landed...

We commenced designing the Snowman Apartment development for the land right next door to Snowball Chalet. It went through a few iterations and after a team...

Stunning Japanese style interior of Snowball Studio at Madarao Mountain Resort. A gorgeous re-imagined apartment in the heart of the village.

Snowball Studios

We are so excited to share our newly finished lovely project. The first of Snowball Studios...

We had a fabulous idea to reimagine some of the existing buildings in Madarao. Once upon a time in Madarao (back in the 80's and 90's) Madarao was absolutely heaving. The ski bubble in Japan was in full swing and there were people everywhere. There was a load of accommodation, much of which is now gone but a few of the best buildings have survived.

We decided to do a test in on...

Snowball Chalet is a lovely cozy comfy haven in Madarao Mountain Resort

Holiday give away for season 2021/22 terms and conditions...

Snowball Chalet is giving away a free stay

One lucky winner will win a free stay at Snowball Chalet for their whole booking.

All deposited Semi-Flexible and fully paid Non-Refundable bookings for season 2021/22 paid between the 1st of January 2021 and the 30th of April 2021 will go into the draw to win a full refund for the booking. That means a free stay at Snowball for one booking. It doesn't matter if the booking is for two people for two days or a family of 5 for tw...

Inspiration for the design of Snowball Apartments

Designing Snowball Apartments has started...

We are so excited to let you know about our next adventure… Snowball Apartments. 

Some of you already know that we have a second block of land right next door to Snowball Chalet. We have decided to develop nine fabulous luxury apartments each with a traditional Japanese bath on the deck looking out over gorgeous Mount Madarao and surrounds.

There are 2 x thre...

Blue bird Snow days

Snowball Chalet at Madarao the perfect family accommodation

We often get asked lots of questions by families who want to come to Japan to experience the fabulous snow, culture, food and wildlife of Japan. We thought we would answer some of the most common questions here so people can feel confident they are coming to the right place. Families totally love staying with us and we love being a part of their holiday.

Snow Monkey in the soaking in the onsen

Madarao Tours - Snow Monkeys Shibu Onsen and Shiga Sake Brewery

The Snow Monkey Tour starts right from the door of Snowball Chalet and takes you to the incredible Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani Monkey Park. We stroll through the Jigokudani forest and end up at the hot springs where the monkeys bathe and socialize. It is such an amazing experience to stop, watch and photograph these wonderful creatures. The monkeys are very used to the presence of humans but don't look them in the eye...

After the Monkey Park we stop by Shiga Brewery where we do a sake (...

A still in a snow wilderness from the Gutsy Girls Film Tour

Gutsy Girls Adventure Film Tour

The Film Tour

Snowball Chalet is lucky to be the major sponsor for the Gutsy Girls Adventure Film Tour 2018.

The Film Tour is a celebration of inspirational women who aren't afraid to get dirty, explore the world, push and break down boundaries and pursue adventure to the ends of the earth.

Gutsy Girls Adventure Film Tour screens 2 hours of the most inspirational, heartwarming and entertaining films celebrating women in adventure from independent filmmakers around the glob...

The New York Bar in Tokyo brings back memories of Lost in Translation

Tokyo Accommodation

You'd think accommodation in a megalopolis like Tokyo would be easy to come by but I find I'm either:

1. overwhelmed by choice or

2. can't find anything decent and affordable or

3. can't find anything in the best 'burbs or

4. can't find a room that fits more than 2 tiny, skinny people

So hopefully this list will help!

Tokyo Station

The Tokyo Station area is simply unbeatable for convenience if you have a relatively short stay in the big city. Its di...

Bullet trains are the best trains ever made.

All Access Madarao

While the accommodation at Snowball Chalet is a relatively easy 2 hour trip from Tokyo, there are various travel options. Which happens when you have 40 million people in the closest city metropolis and one of the best transport systems in the world. The best thing of all is that the Shinkansen is just 101 minutes from Tokyo to Iiyama - the town at the bottom of Mount Madarao (a 10-30 minute drive away, depending on the vehicle and amount of...

Coffee in cafe in Japan

Legit Great Coffee in Japan

There’s pretty much only one complaint I hear from Aussies and other visitors to Japan… bad coffee.

So I made it my personal mission to solve this problem. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from all my time in Japan – if you think it doesn’t exist you just haven’t looked hard enough.

And the Japanese don’t like to disappoint.

And they are hipster gods.

So of course there’s great coffee in Japan – they call it Third Wave coffee.

You can now spend days googl...

Riding powder stashes at Madarao Mountain in the trees. Japow is epic.

Top 25 things about Madarao

We were going to write about the Top 10 best things about Madarao Mountain Ski Resort but it’s just TOO GOOD so we’ve whittled it down to the Top 25…

1. It has average snowfalls of 10-13 metres a season (of dry fluffy powder)

With such high snowfall most visitors see massive falls. It's not unusual to wake up to a 40cm dump ready for you to go out and play.

2. Its just 2 hours (via bullet train) from Tokyo Station to the ski lifts


Massive face shot while skiing deep powder snow in Madarao

Japanese Powder Snow

Japow Japan is known for its amazing snow. People literally cross the planet for it. Japan gets meters of deep fluffy white powder snow every year making it one of the best ski destinations in the world and Madarao is no exception when it comes to receiving bucketloads of white gold. Japan gets so much snow, the snow has a name… Japow! (Sort of like the Chuck Norris of the snow world).

Ever since Back To The Future 2 pretty much everybody has wanted to hoverboard. The f...