Explore the Heart of Japan is small family business based in Myoko Kogen, with a branch office in Nozawa Onsen, working with local businesses. It is part of the 蔵インターナショナル (Kura International) Group, a Japan registered business.
We are proud members of the Myoko Kogen shoko kai (Business Association) and Myoko kanko kyokai (Tourism Board).
About Us: Overview
The Heart of Japan website brings you the most up to date Myoko Kogen ski area information, the number one guide for places to stay in the Myoko-Nagano area, maps, on the ground snow reports from Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen and Hakuba, a ski forum, weather forecasts, live cams for checking out snow conditions, road cams (for checking on road and weather conditions), ski and local videos plus lots of other information on local attractions, festivals, onsen and golf courses. We can even arrange delivery of snow reports straight to your inbox. We also provide the largest number of accommodation choices on the web for both Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen.
About Us: History
Our first site was first launched in 2003 as a simple one page of links, hints and pictures in an effort to consolidate the multitude of English information on the Myoko Kogen area and make it more readily accessible. At that time there was very little information available in English but that had changed by 2006 with Myoko’s expanding international profile - partly due to our efforts we believe.
After the site grew to a number of pages with expanded coverage, it’s popularity increased, links were made from other sites and we were even mentioned in a number of newspaper, magazine and web articles. Since then the Explore The Heart of Japan sites have also been linked or recognized as the authoritative guide by a variety of websites and travel companies including MSN Travel, HIS, JNTO France, Sydney Morning Herald, Lonely Planet, The News Corporation Travel Section and Qantas Travel Insider. So in due course Myoko: Explore the Heart of Japan further established itself as the most popular and informative one-stop English portal for the Myoko-Nojiriko-Togakushi-Madarao-Snow Monkeys-Nagano area.
Around the end of 2007 we became aware that there was a growing body of international skiers and snowboarders coming to Myoko Kogen. After visiting Myoko many skiers and snowboarders, both local and foreign, despaired of the accolades poured out on Hakuba, Nozawa, Shiga-kogen, etc., whilst Myoko Kogen, with snow every bit as good, went seemingly unnoticed. This was in part due again to a lack of regularly updated and substantive ski information on the area.
Hence in 2008 we added the Myoko Kogen: Ski the Heart of Japan site as well as the Myoko-Nagano Ski and Snowboard Community forum site to serve these needs. Myoko Kogen: Ski the Heart of Japan quickly established itself as the authoritative site for ski information in and around Myoko Kogen and we strive to continue adding features.
Our hotel and accommodation pages were also expanded in late 2008, as demand increased, to include not only Myoko Kogen but also Togakushi, Madarao, Lake Nojiri, Joetsu, Nagano City, Hakuba, the Snow Monkeys and Nozawa Onsen as well as stopover options in Tokyo, Narita Airport, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. Group bookings are available too. Additionally, there was the provision of improved support from our major accommodation providers, as well as an increase in the number of establishments able to be booked in English. In response to many inquiries over 2008-2009 our real estate pages were initiated and now provide a great number of options for foreign buyers including sales by both private treaty and public auction.
In 2010 and 2011 we expanded our popular Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen sub-sites into their own stand-alone guides. We also (by request from local partners) started up two onsen focused sites - Onsen Town (featuring Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen in Nagano) and The Japan Onsen Guide. Finally, for the 2013/14 season we have resurrected the formerly Hokkaido-based Daily Flake in a new format which now provides daily Nagano snow reports, videos and info. These additions now provide the Explore the Heart of Japan group the most substantive web presence for visitors to Japan’s ‘White Triangle’ area covering Niigata and Nagano.
About Us: Our Websites
About Us: Staff
The information on this site was first put into place by Nic Klar (author of ‘My Mother is a Tractor’) in 2003. Nicholas spent two years living in Omi-machi in Niigata (1995-97) and met his wife on a snowboarding trip to Myoko. After travelling regularly to the area each year they are now established full time in the area with offices in Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen. Other people contribute on a part-time basis.
About Us: Contributions and Recommendations
Please recommend this site to your friends and let your hosts know you found their information via this site. Feel free to contact us if you know of other useful contacts/links, have experiences to share (good or bad), know of other events or have found the information on this page useful
Many thanks to the numerous websites who linked to our information and made this site so successful. Webmasters please advise us of any links you make to this page and we will endeavor to provide a reciprocal link if appropriate. Please take note of our copyright provisions and do not assume it is okay to simply copy swathes of information from the site! See our FAQ for further information
We hope you’ll join with us in spreading the word and building an Explore The Heart of Japan community. Why not help out by joining our forums and being a contributor?
Getting it on at Seki Onsen (March 2008)