Japan is like a lolly shop for sugar addicts, walk through the door and watch your eyes grow bigger than your head. Where to start? In one corner near the powder sherbets and work your way round to the sweet salted caramels or settle in with the peanut brittle secure in what you know?
If you want a Japan powder degustation where you get to try all the lollies with a taster here and a taster there, led by those who have already done all the tasting so you know they’ll take you to the best, then join a multi resort tour.
Then you can ski and snowboard the best in resort, side country and back country across Hokkaido and Honshu. You may find somewhere you loved so much you want to return for longer the following year or you may be a commitaphobe and addicted to the nomadic snow life.
Most tours are hosted and led by a backcountry guide who will take you to the powder stashes by day and the coolest izikayas by night in remote Japanese villages filled with soul. You’ll get to travel with like minded souls and discover a Japan far from the madding crowds.
Whiteroom Tours – Aizu to Zao early bird deal for SnowsBest readers
The crew at Whiteroom have put together a 10 day powder tour from Aizu to Zao for advanced powder skiers and boarders. Only two hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo, but a world away, the Aizu region sits under the majestic Bandai-san, a towering volcano that is surrounded by 12 ski resorts caked in powder.
The group is based at the lush Urabandai Lake Resort, the perfect base to explore in-bounds and backcountry terrain of Minowa, Grand Deco, Alts Bandai, Nekoma and Inawashiro ski resorts.
The itinerary is flexible depending on snow conditions on each day and you’ll get 8 days of Flexi lift passes, 10 nights accommodation, cat skiing, 9 dinners including a Kaseki degustation, onsen tours, breakfasts and more.
There are four of these tours in the season in January and February and the price is ¥445,000. If you mention SnowsBest and book before September 30 then you’ll save ¥20,000 and pay around AUD$5800 for the 10 day adventure.
Mint Tours – Tohoku powder freeride week
Mint Tours offer a 7 day guided Tohoku Freeride week in January and February for AU$2490 per person. You’ll be based in the lively town of Morioka City with a flexible tour itinerary to keep an eye on weather and snowfall to get the best snow daily. Ride the resorts mid week to ensure no lift lines with boot to waist deep turns.
Expect daily guiding and locals access to the coolest bars and culture all explored by your small group to ensure a personalised experience.
You’ll hit up Appi Kogen, Hachimantai Resort Shimokura, Tazawako Nyuto Onsen and Geto Kogen plus soak in the famed springs of Tsurunoyu Onsen which dates back to the Edo period.
Goneski Hokkaido Powder Tour of 10 ski areas
Picture 10 nights in Hokkaido with 8 days skiing and snowboarding and lift passes to 10 ski fields (Niseko, Rusutsu, Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Kiroro, Annupuri, Asari, Tenguyama, Teine, Kokusai) to make the most of the snow forecast and weather. That’s the Goneski Powder Tour, the ultimate pow taster of Hokkaido.
Add a personal host and a small group of 6 guests, daily breakfast, authentic hot cooked Japanese lunches, access to four onsets, a free day in the cool Otaru City.
Goneski are serving up their Hokkaido Powder Tour from late December to late February From NZ$2399 per person.
Others to consider
There are a number of multi resort tour operators in Japan. Also check out The Good Guides, a Kiwi outfit based in Myoko and offering guided and hosted multi day tours in the Hakuba and Myoko regions. PowderQuest also have multi resort and multi day lift assisted off piste and backcountry tours in both Honshu and Hokkaido.