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 one of the buildings to see if the apartments could be re-imagined into something wonderful.

The best of the buildings has the most spectacular views over the valley of Kijima looking across to Nozawa Onsen and the stunning Shiga Mountain Range.

We have created a haven of Japanese style perfection. Everything is new but we have paid homage to the architectural and design mastery of the Japanese. Our Japanese artisan builders who are building Snowman Apartments collaborated with us to realise our mad little dream.

We are offering the apartment for sale and secretly hoping it doesn't sell so we can move in ourselves.

If you are interested in finding out more give Dan a call on +81 90 4595 1999 (from Japan) or +61 402 526 052 (from Australia) or flick him an email at

The view from the lounge and balcony

The views from Snowball Studios are simply stunning. Look towards the lovely Shiga Mountain Range, Nozawa Onsen and the famous Snow Monkeys of Japan

With stunning views the apartment is light and bright and it's hard not to feel inspired

The apartment looks down into the Kijima valley to the Shiga range of mountains. At one end is Nozawa Onsen and at the other end the home of Japan's famous Snow Monkeys.

The Valley is famous for its "Unkai", sea of clouds which you will be able to see often. It makes the apartment feel like it is floating in the clouds. During the day the clouds burn off to reveal the valley below. Rising up out of the middle of the valley is the ski resort of Kijimadaira on Mount Kosha. The peak of Kosha is just over 1300 meters above sea level and the ski resort of Kijimadaira has the steepest lifted ski run in Japan.

Madarao is surrounded by ski resorts, both famous and barely known. It is right in the middle of Myoko on one side and Nozawa Onsen on the other. Within an hours drive are the resorts of Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira, Suginohara, Seki Onsen, Lotte Arai, Kijimadaira, Ryuoo, X Jam, Togari Onsen, Shiga and more. It is literally a snow lovers paradise. Funnily enough almost none of our guests do day trips because Madarao is just too good. It has some of the best terrain in the area and gets more snow than most of the other resorts. In short... it is perfect!

Every detail is carefully considered

With gorgeous paper in the shoji screens and fusuma and hand crafted paper dolls from local artists it is hard not to fall in love with the haven that Snowball Studios has become

At Snowball Chalet we think of every detail and Snowball Studios is no exception. With a gorgeous mix of Japanese culture and Western comfort we have made sure that the whole apartment feels like an exploration of the Japan of old.

If you would like us to do the interior decoration we would love to make the magic of Japan come alive in your apartment. We will fill it up with fascinations from the ancient Japan that was, making sure all the modern comforts like comfortable squishy couches and soft cozy beds are a feature of the apartment. It won't just look beautiful. It will also be crazy cozy and comfortable. A haven in Madarao.

Japanese art from Japan's most famous artist

The art of Japan is often inspired by the snow. It is no wonder because the Japanese Alps is covered in the white gold for the winter months. It is inspiring to us as well. Here is famous Hokusai's wood block of Fuji in the snow.

You have probably seen the famous Hokusai wave wood block print. That print is from a study by the artist of the wonderful Mount Fuji. The fusuma panel (traditional Japanese cabinet door) at Snowball Studio has been covered in another of the famous artists prints from the Fuji series "Tea House at Koishikawa" a view of Fuji in the snow.

Along with the fusuma, Snowball Studio has hand crafted shoji screens on the windows with a beautiful textured Japanese paper. The design of the shoji allows them to be retracted framing the view. The Japanese are very clever at creating spaces that take advantage of the external natural elements. There is an idea in Japan that life is better if you can make the outside feel like the inside. That is why traditional Japanese homes have internal courtyards and viewing platforms. They will go so far as to create a viewing area for a rock or a plant they have carefully placed in a perfect location. At Snowball Studio it is an entire mountain range.

Comfortable compact living in the Japanese Alps

Comfortable living in Snowball Studios

With clever layout and hydronic heating the apartment couldn't be more comfortable.

Even though the apartment is small it has a clever lay out with a bedroom that can be closed off, a lovely lounge area, and open plan dining. The kitchen is galley style and a full size fridge is cleverly located in the hall cupboard. There is a separate toilet room and the bathroom has a lovely ofuro (Japanese style bath) made from hinoki, the famous wood of Japan's onsens.

The apartment is perfect for a couple but can be set up with a sofa bed as well for small families or a group of friends. Summer time breakfasts on the large balcony looking out over the view will be a special treat and because of Snowball Studio's excellent location you are just a hop skip and a jump from the ski runs in the winter and the excellent mountain bike trails of the summer. Madarao is a little known year round destination. Tokyoites and Japanese from other cities come to the mountains to escape the humidity and heat of summer. Madarao and it's surrounds celebrate their area with various festivals and the events like the Jazz Festival in August and Grinduro Mountain Bike Festival in September.

Come and be a part of our adventurous community loving life in the mountains

Posted on Sat 06 August 2022