Myoko Kogen has gained traction in recent years as one of the best places in Japan for skiers and snowboarders wanting a still old school village with easy access to more than just one mountain (helloooo Suginohara, Akakura, Seki, Arai and friends).

The village and ski area has captured the business intrigue of Singaporean dollars with big future plans ahead. Translated? Get in now before the world does.

We asked long time Aussie local, Jenn Johnson from Refre Hotel Myoko to give us her inside tips on what to do, where to go, what to eat.

“We might be a small village, but we have plenty of locals that will share stories and introduce you to our village life,” says Jenni.

“From a Wine and Whiskey Bar, Grape and Grain that is like steping back into the 70’s with is red velvet walls and small nook seating, to a Craft Beer Bar that challenges you to a Ninja star throwing contest at Thunderbird Guides Hut, Skate Bar with an inside ramp, and the best Okonomiyaki experience at Sennin Restaurant.

“Or maybe learning how to make Sushi in house with a local chef is more your style at Koko Myoko. Plus easy access to temples, snow monkeys, sacred forests, snow shoeing walks, igloo making, fire festivals and mountain onsens.”

Best breakfast

Joeys Café for a “quick I need to get to first lifts” breakfast and Calico for “I don’t want to stop for lunch” breakfast.

Best coffee

Powder Recon, because all of our lodge guests say so.

Best lunch

Panorama Café and Sessions on the Mountain for the view and of course the good food.

Best après

Full Circle for mulled wine.

Best cocktails

Panorama for their espresso martinis and Full Circle for Margaritas.

Best burgers

No Name for awesome Wagyu Burgers (so delicious) and they do take out plus Silverhorn for Burger Night.

Most authentic Japanese dining

Akakura Kanko Hotel. Exceptional service. Delicious and beautifully presented dining experience.

Udon No Fu. Quirky Japanese experience. Dining in the chefs home (and you must have the squid ink).

One foodie's dining guide to Akakura Onsen in Myoko Kogen

Best on mountain grub

Bear Restaurant on the home trail, onsen side, has the best hot chocolate going and the food is also good. Then the Kabab hut on Kanko side. Delicious just make sure you grab a napkin.

Best dinner

A.I.R Restaurant. Unique in every way – paired wines and sake eight course degustation, using local produce based on a Kaiseki plant-based menu. A must do but book early.

Also try Asagao Izakaya / great Japanese atmosphere, young vibe and delicious food.

Must buy

Kanzuri Paste. Famous chilli paste fermented right here in Myoko. If you’re fortunate to be in town at the right time you can watch them spread the chillies in the snow at Ikenotaira.

Secret tips

In Resort but don’t need a lesson get a Resort Guide you will get to know the resort quickly and hit the lesser known spots and check out the other resorts close by, Suginohara, Arai, Seki Onsen.

On a powder day

I head to Akakura Kanko because it’s on my doorstep, but most die-hard powder hunters head to Seki Onsen (definitely for the more experienced riders).

Lotte Arai if it’s a blue bird day after a night of powder those open faces are magical in the deep pow and Suginohara for the big wide runs, good if your just getting used to the pow.

Best places to stay

Refre Myoko.

Can’t go past Refre Myoko as we have one of the best onsens in town and reserved privately for guests only. We’re also close to everything.

Ikagai Lodge for a young vibe, friendly and newly renovated. Families love Silverhorn opposite the Gondola and a fabulous restaurant onsite.

A.I.R – unique, luxury, quiet lodge, ski in and out.

Akakura Kanko Hotel – luxury Japanese experience right on the ski run.

There are too many to name but here’s a few unique smaller lodges – Sugi House and Mountain Hut, Forest Lodge, Myoko House, Phoenix Lodge, Japow House and Vista Lodge

Backcountry options

You will find plenty of backcountry in and around Myoko, local mountain guides are a must, along with good insurance. Try Myoko Mountain Guides, for English speaking, highly trained and local knowledge and Japan Snowsports based in Madarao but excellent local guides that know the wider area.

And for something unique hit up Thunderbirds Cat Tours for both day and overnight tours.

We asked a local for an ultimate powder, sleep, eat, repeat guide to Madarao Japan