For centuries Nozawa Onsen has been quietly being tucked away on the mountainside surrounded and sustained by natural thermal springs. Traditionally and still to a large degree agriculturally based, its popularity as a ski destination has continued to increase since the 1998 Nagano Olympics. The consistent snowfall provides great conditions for the beginner to the advanced skier. It's the perfect ski destination, particularly for Australians suffering under a long hot summer. Another pleasant surprise is the minimal waiting time to get onto lifts, a pleasant change if you're used to queuing for ages to get up the mountain.
Immersing yourself in Japanese culture adds to the experience. Despite the different culture, travelling and holidaying in Japan and Nozawa Onsen is simple and easy. As well, the locals are incredibly helpful and welcoming. For those a bit challenged by new experiences its very easy to manage and alternatively there is lots of Western style eating and accommodation options in the village.
One of the best reasons to visit Nozawa Onsen is to soak away sore limbs from a hard days skiing in one of the numerous and amazing thermal spring baths (onsens). There are thirteen public onsens, each supposedly with their own therapeutic benefit, as well many of the hotels have their own. Communal bathing is a new concept for most foreigners but you quickly get into the swing of it and become completely hooked by the benefits.