Water Activities

The sound of water is ever present in Nozawa Onsen–as it cascades down from the mountain along the streets in Nozawa Onsen, bursts out of freshwater springs for drinking, bubbles out of the ground for the many hot springs and flows into lakes, rivers and finally into the Japan Sea. Refresh on the water with stand-up paddle boarding, boating, canoeing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, river rafting or fishing—or in the water swimming in local lakes and swimming pools in Nozawa Onsen in summer.

Water Sports Nozawa Onsen

SUP & Canoe

Hokuryu-ko (Lake Hokuryu) is less than a 10 minute drive from Nozawa Onsen Village, you can also rent bikes or e-bikes and cycle there easily. Greenfield Nozawa has stand-up paddleboards and canoes available to rent and there are also paddle boats and the ubiquitous swan pedal boats available to rent as well. Greenfield also operates out of the Sutaka-ko, the lake up near the top of the ski resort (a much longer – and steeper – bicycle ride up but still doable if you are up for the challenge). Nojiriko (Lake Nojiri) is about 40-50 minutes from Nozawa Onsen and is a great lake to explore by Canadian canoe or stand-up paddle board as well or bring your own inflatable.

Swimming Near Nozawa Onsen

Swimming

Nothing beats the heat of summer than swimming in some cool, refreshing water. Each summer Sparena–the village run hot spring facility– opens its outdoor pool. It is a great place to enjoy some water time with the family as well as indoor and outdoor hot springs (swimsuits are worn in the outdoor hot spring and pool) and the second floor outdoor deck and restaurant is a fun place for lunch or sunset drinks and dinner after a big day. The Grand Hotel, also has an outdoor pool and beer garden in summer super convenient for people staying at Yoji Nozawa. Check open and close dates for both each summer but the outdoor pools usually close August 31. Pools are great, but jumping off dock into a clean swimming lake can’t be beat. Lake Nojiri is just 45 minutes away from Nozawa Onsen where you can swim and enjoy various water sports.

yoji-nozawa-onsen-sparenna-swimming-pool
River & Adventure in Nozawa Onsen

River Rafting

Nozawa Onsen Village is located between the peak of Mt. Kenashi (1,650 meters) and the Chikuma River that runs west all the way to the Japan Sea. There is a very mellow stretch of river that is great for family rafting with young kids that runs from Yutaki Onsen (riverside hot spring just below the village) down river. It’s about one hour and a half ride down and you can enjoy a nice indoor or outdoor hot spring and lunch afterwards at Yutaki before heading back to Nozawa Onsen.

Water Adventures in Nozawa Onsen

Wakeboarding / Water Skiing / Lake Surfing / Windsurfing / Sailing

While the lakes closest to Nozawa Onsen are great for stand-up paddleboarding, especially for families and beginners as there are not motor boats, Nojiri-ko (Lake Nojiri) is one of the best (and cleanest) lakes in Japan to enjoy a variety of water sports. On windy days you’ll see windsurfers and sailboats tacking and jibbing across the lake. On glassier days the lake is perfect for wakeboarding, water skiing and lake surfing and there are a number of companies on the lake that offer towing and rental services. Stand-up paddle boards, canoes and other rental boats are available to paddle out to the island in the middle of the lake or explore coves. There are a number of restaurants and cafes around the lake as well.

Fishing in Nozawa Onsen

Fishing

Get the kids out fishing at one of the lakes nearby. Bass fishing is very popular on Lake Nojiri and you can also fish in Hokuryu-ko and Nozomi-ko (Lake Nozomi) near Madarao. More serious trout fisherman can explore the rivers in the Shiga Kogen area and we can introduce guides to guests as well.

Surf With The Locals

surfing

Nozawa Onsen is a mountain village but there is small dedicated crew that head to the Japan Sea on early mornings for dawn patrol (or earlier). You need to keep an eye on the tides for the best time to catch waves but the beach is only an hour away from Nozawa Onsen making it an easy day trip to go surfing, visit the aquarium in Joetsu or just play in the sounds for an afternoon.

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