- Fully guided & hosted
- Resort Liner coach transfer Furano – Chitose Airport
- Transfer from/to Morioka Station or Hanamaki Airport
- 4 nights accommodation at Grand Hotel Annex, Morioka
- 3 nights twin share accommodation including dinner at Azumashiya, Kuroishi
- 2 nights twin share accommodation at OMO5, Otaru
- 4 nights twin share accommodation at Hotel Munin, Furano
- All lift passes as required
- Ferry from Honshu to Hokkaido Islands
- Welcome & farewell dinner parties
- Daily cooked breakfast
- Onsen (hotspring) tour
- Whiteroom merch
- Single share accommodation (price on request)
- Avalanche gear rental
- Ski or Snowboard rental
- Extra nights accommodation & ski days
- Add on a pre or post tour travel package – click here for more info
NOTE: Avalanche safety gear is compulsory for all our tours. Please advise us upon booking if you have your own gear or will need to rent.
IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?
Ability Level – Advanced in Powder
You must be able to ski the whole mountain with confidence and at a reasonable speed in powder, through trees and in variable conditions. You must have a good level of fitness.
Snowboarders in this level are able to keep speed in flat sections by planning ahead as well as hold a solid traverse line and be able to hop up and manoeuvre in a way as to not slow down the group.
Groups are split up into ski/board/ability levels and some groups we will be doing some hiking (traversing/boot packing) to get to the goods. Skins or split-boards are not required but if the group has touring gear or wants to hire we will happily take you deeper into the backcountry.
Please make an honest assessment of your abilities whilst keeping fitness in mind as to not slow the group down.
Furano is a country town of about 20,000 people with an awesome ski hill. With over 100 bars and restaurants you be able to experience true Japanese hospitality . On the mountain you’ll enjoy some of the best tree skiing in Hokkaido, with easy to access steep faces, mellow glades, and gullies full of hits for skiers and snowboarders. The cold temperatures in Furano keep the 9 metres of annual snow light and dry and when its on, it is quite simply the best. Add to this the distinct lack of crowds and express lifts that take you to the top of 3.5km runs in a little over ten minutes and you have a recipe for leg burning skiing.
Tomamu strikes a cord with all who ride its mountains. With arguably the best in-bounds powder skiing in Hokkaido you’ll be wanting to come back for more. Mt. Tomamu at 1239m, offers skiers and snowboarders a wide variety of runs catering to all abilities. With 11 lifts, Tomamu has some great options. It also offers skiers and boarders an awesome park and off-piste section which is roped off from the rest of the crowd.
Kamui is a small ski resort set on its own, 1.5 hours north of Furano. With 7 lifts accessing a network of wide open cruises as well as powder filled trees and gullies, you’ll feel like your riding your own private mountain as crowds here a virtually non-existent. Combine that with one of Japan’s most open ski area policies, and there is enough here to suit every kind of skier and boarder.
Asahidake is one of the most popular touring locations in Hokkaido, due to the easy access to above tree line terrain given by the Ropeway at the bottom of the volcano (top height 1600m) and the fame of the mountain itself, which at 2290m is the highest in Hokkaido. Short hikes are often required along the ridges at the summit and there is the option of hiking around the active volcano. Once at the bottom, all roads lead to the Ropeway but if you do happen to veer off the well groomed runs a short hike may be needed to return to the lift.
Like stepping back in time to how skiing and riding was in Japan 15 years ago Kokusai offers an off the beaten track experience that few visitors see. Easily accessible from both the Niseko or Otaru areas, this resort is full of perfectly groomed wide trails that are great for ripping fast turns and laps. Mellow tree islands allow for people wanting to get a feel for what tree skiing is all about
One of the closest ski areas for anyone staying in Sapporo, it is a great option to ski a half day when moving between Niseko and Furano. Teine was home to the skiing events at the 72 Olympics and has plenty of open terrain to explore within the resort. From steep well groomed trails to low angle trees on the edge of the resort boundary, Teine allows for some great turns right above Sapporo city. A run past the old Olympic torch is also a great photo opportunity
Home to some of the highest snowfall totals in Hokkaido, Kiroro is a vast ski area that has lots of variable terrain for anyone looking to get their Japan powder fix. On a resort guided day expect long runs down from the top of the gondola where you can take advantage of some expert grooming before ducking off the side of the trails into countless tree islands and plenty of powder.
Well known to the local Japanese powder hunters, Hakkoda is a mecca for lift accessed backcountry skiing and riding. Hidden away in Northern Tohoku don’t expect any frills form this area, run as a hiking destination in summer they keep the ropeway turning for skiers and riders to enjoy the absolute abundance of yearly snowfall it receives.
From open chutes higher on the mountain to long tree runs all the way to base Hakkoda offers an amazing locals feel. The weather can be temperamental to say the least as the large snow covered trees at the top of the ropeway testify to. If you have some skins and a splitboards Hakkoda offers great experiences to get deep into the backcountry if the weather allows.
Uncrowded and wide open describes Aomori Springs terrain. Spend your day perfecting your turns down these expertly maintained groomed slopes that will have you building confidence in no time. As soon as you are comfortable we can hit up any one of the tree islands for some cruisy powder laps on the edge of the resort. So you can get a taste of what Japan is famous for. With a clear view of the Sea of Japan when the weather allows, Aomori is blessed with great snow conditions for you to enjoy.
Geto continues to open new terrain to allow anyone looking for easy backcountry access to get their fill. Operating a well defined gate system allowing you to use Geto Kogen’s lift system to make the most of your time at the resort is easy.
You can expect steep tree runs that lead easily back to the base of the lift so you can maximise your laps in a day. The new Extreme zone has added a large section of steep trees to enjoy this coming season.
One of the most expensive resorts we go to in Northern Honshu you will definitely feel the leg burn after tackling one of Appi’s long and wide groomers. After jumping off the main gondola an over 5 km run down Yamabato will have you dying for more.
Although slightly busier during weekends the well maintained lift system allows access to all levels of skiing and riding terrain. Mid-weeks can be a dream with fresh snow and few people around. If you want to test yourself, any one of the main tress islands open out to challenging long runs that you can easily jump in and out of.
Often the beaten track definitely jumps into your head when you roll into Tazawako. Expect to get a few curious looks from people wondering how you have managed to end up at this local resort.
The result of being home to a core group of ski racers is plenty of untracked powder away from their courses for the rest of us to enjoy. Although smaller than some of the other areas in the region the lack of people in the trees means there are plenty of good turns to be had. If you have made the most of the snow Tazawako is also a short drive to one of Japan’s most famous onsens – Tsuru no Yu.
As you stare across to the impressive Mt Iwate in the distance you will quickly realise you are far from where any Westerners ever roam at Shizukuishi. Located West of Morioka city Shiz is another gem of an area that will make you feel like you have the place to yourself.
Long groomed runs that are punctuated by tree islands for you to get your powder fix Shizukushi has plenty to get the legs burning. Although it’s starting to look a little tired from its heyday of the Japanese bubble, if you are feeling up to it you can make a short hike to ski to an abandoned lift line at the top of the mountain or try out some inexpensive cat skiing at the weekends in a repurposed part of the resort.
Split over two different resorts connected by a 10 minute shuttle bus, Hachimatai’s Panorama and Shimokura ski areas regularly have great snow conditions as they are slightly more protected from the winds that the bigger and better known nearby Appi Gogen receives.
Like many of the smaller ski areas in the area expect an awesome Japanese welcome and it won’t hurt to have a few easy phrases as Hachimantai does not see many Westerners with its off the beaten track location. Although a true locals area the resort has been opening up tree runs so you can get off the groomers and into the deeper snow. Some great turns can be had up high in some steep terrain that allows for easy access back to the lifts. For those looking to improve their skills on the groomers the lack of people at the resort especially mid week will allow you to build confidence quickly.
This itinerary is an example of Tour #2. The tour will be run largely by the weather and each day will fit around where the best conditions are. This is the beauty of such a tour.
Tour #1 – Start Furano / End Morioka
Tour #2 – Start Morioka / End Furano
(arrival and check-in day)
Upon landing in Tokyo we recommend you take the Shinkansen for a true Japanese travel experience up to the snowy city of Morioka. There you will be welcomed by your guides and driven to Morioka Grand Hotel where you will meet your fellow road trippers over dinner and drinks. Your guide will also will run you through the tour, current conditions and prevailing weather and answer any questions you may have.
(NOTE: If you wish to organise rental ski/SB equipment and your tour is starting in Morioka we may be able to ship it down from Hokkaido. If your tours starts in Furano it is advised that you try to arrive with enough time on the arrival day to be fitted – seek advice from your consultant)
DAYS 2 – 4
(first snow days)
The beauty of staying in the city of Morioka is not only you will be able to enjoy the nightlife of a Japanese city but you will also be able to access multiple resorts, each affected by slightly different weather patterns. Every day your guide will be checking the forecast to see which resort has the best powder conditions. We will be able to choose from Appi Kogen, Hachimantai Shimokura, Tazawako, Getto Kogen, and Shizukushi. Each resort brings something different to your experience with wide-open bowls, chutes, gladded trees, pillows and all-around fun-filled days. There are some great cultural sites and onsens on the way back to Morioka which we may stop at to soak our muscles ready for the next days’ adventure. Each night your guides will take you out to sample the delicious local cuisine and hang at some cool bars.
Transfer day – It’s time to say goodbye to the Morioka region and head north to Hakkoda. On our way we may detour to a fun ski area few know about, boasting epic tree lines and road drops off the back. Hakkoda is famous for the epic amounts of snow that blanket the mountain. The terrain is epic and one of our favourites in Japan. The powder is ridiculously deep and as it is further north is dryer too. For the next three nights we will be staying in the family run Hotel Azumashiya, a ryokan style guesthouse with lovely hosts, regenerative onsens, delicious food and the powder of Hakkoda and Aomori Springs a short drive away.
DAY 6 & 7
Hakkoda will blow you away, sometimes literally. Known for its temperamental weather and pea soup like visibility you’ll either have your best day on the trip or one of the toughest. With one Ropeway (Cable Car) taking you right to the top, it is from here where we will enjoy Hakkoda’s epic backcountry terrain. It was mainly built for sightseeing and hiking in summer but stories of epic pow, snow-monsters and endless terrain made it a growing mecca for powderhounds and backcountry skiers. We will also head over to Aomori Springs. This little known resort has some fun powder filled terrain and the terrain off back lift is Japanese tree skiing at it’s finest. If you have skins the terrain above it extends the fun even further!
Transfer/rest day – After a relaxed breakfast and maybe a quick onsen we will drive north to Aomori City for our ferry over the Tsugaru Strait to Hakodate. Hokkaido’s southernmost city was once the first international trading port open to foreigners after the isolationist Edo period (from 1603 to 1867). As such it has interesting Euro-Japanese style architecture in the old part of town along with a large port area, seafood markets and an extinct volcano Mt Hakodate. After some sightseeing you’ll transfer further north to the one of the snowiest cities in Hokkaido, Otaru. Here you will stay at the centrally located OMO5 for the next 2 nights.
After an awesome breakfast at the Grand Park Hotel we’ll jump in the van and drive to whichever resort is getting the goods – Kokusai, Kiroro or Teine. During the evenings we’ll wander along Otaru’s canals, and dine in one of it’s great seafood or BBQ restaurants – the sashimi is the freshest and most delicious you will taste in Hokkaido.
Time to check out and take the scenic transfer from Otaru to Furano. As it is a 3-4 hour drive this may be your rest day if we didn’t have a rest on the trip from Aomori to Otaru. If so we’ll stop in Sapporo on the way to enjoy Hokkaido’s capital, including the Sapporo Beer Hall or the Snow Festival. If the snow is dumping and you’ve had a rest day previously we can ski a few resorts on the way – Teine, Tomamu or Sahoro. That night you check into North Country Inn and enjoy delicious dinner.
DAY 11 – 13
In Central Hokkaido we have five main resorts to choose from: Furano, Asahidake, Kamui, Tomamu and Sahoro. We’ll choose which has the best conditions each day followed by relaxing soaks in the many onsens in the area. Asahidake is one of our favourites, rising 2290m the ropeway does most of the hard work taking us to well above the tree line at 1600m. From there you’ll spend your day exploring the powder-filled ridges and chutes from the lift.
(check-out and departure day)
All good things must come to an end. It’s time to check out and say goodbye to your new friends. After one last onsen you will check out by 10am and be picked up from the door for your transfer to New Chitose Airport and your flight home. Sayonara! Hope to see you again soon6
Loved every minute. Great trip. Great guide. Great group. Great experiences. Great food. Great riding.
Highlights were the onsen hotel in Hakoda, the ferry trip, all the different ski areas we visited and the onsen and the great food. No improvements…
Excellent planning and logistics.
– Will Davies 2020
GB (guide) was very good! High focus on safety! Social and knowledge about Japan. Could read the group well and was a great off-piste guide. Very easy going and good communication. He gave us just the right amount of information to know what we had to do.
– Magnus Norrström 2020
In Furano, we are staying in a brand new boutique hotel located in the middle of Kitanomine close to restaurants and bars. With well-appointed rooms, a sumptuous lounge and a lovely onsen, this Hotel will make the Powder Belt Backcountry Tour A special Japanese experience.
OMO5 opened in January 2022 and is the perfect spot to base yourself for your stay in Otaru. Located in an area with many historical structures and buildings, this city-tourism hotel consists of two buildings: the south wing, a renovation of the former Otaru Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the north wing, designed for functionality and design. OMO5 Otaru offers two types of guest rooms, standard and superior.
The “Standard” rooms are new and functional with modern furnishings and are located in the new wing. The “Superior” rooms are slightly larger with higher ceilings and are located in the renovated Chamber of Commerce building. Walk out the hotel’s front door and you are right in the heart of the historical district of Otaru with the canals and warehouse district close by as well artisan’s studios, cafés, a sake brewery, and a variety of restaurants and bars.
HOTEL GRAND ANNEX MORIOKA
Located right in the centre of town 10 minutes walk from the train station. This hotel is the perfect base in which to explore the city of Morioka as well as having easy access to the surrounding ski areas. You’ll love being in the centre of town with all the great restaurants and bars within walking distance. Each room is comfortably appointed with twin beds and all that you’d expect from a 4 star hotel.
A lovely accommodation run by a friendly and welcoming family. You’ll feel right at home at this hotel overlooking the river and onsen town of Kuroishi. We have chosen this spot for not only the great food and lovely hosts but also it’s perfect location between Hakkoda and Aomori Springs ski resorts. It boasts a large outdoor onsen relaxing lounge space and large Japanese ensuited rooms with optional western bedding.
This tour will either travel from Morioka in Tohoku to Furano in Hokkaido or vise versa.
Getting to and from Morioka to Tokyo is best done by train on Japan’s amazing Shinkansen (fast train). Your guides will take care of the transfer from the train station to Morioka Grand Hotel.
Getting to and from Furano is easy with the included Resort Liner coach transfers. You’ll be dropped or picked up directly from North Country Inn. Please ensure you check with your consultant before you book your flights to/from New Chitose Airport so that they line up with the available transfer times.
Once you’ve booked onto the tour you will receive our Trip Info Brochure packed with loads of useful information to help you plan your trip to Japan.
View our full Terms & Conditions / COVID Policy here.