Tohoku Backcountry Tour
2021-22 season tours now released – BOOK NOW & SAVE 5%
FULLY REFUNDABLE ¥20,000 DEPOSIT REQUIRED
BOOK BEFORE 30TH JUNE 2021
8 NIGHTS | 7 DAYS SKIING/RIDING |
FULLY GUIDED & HOSTED LIFT ACCESSED BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
What does this mean? Click here to find out
NEW FOR 2021-22 SEASON – BY POPULAR DEMAND WE ARE BRINGING OUR POPULAR LIFT ACCESSED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS TO TOHOKU!
After 5 years of exploring the Tohoku region we have found some amazing backcountry terrain for you to enjoy. Like our popular Powder Belt Backcountry Tour you’ll be required to have touring gear but that doesn’t mean you have to hike all day. The beauty of this tour is that you will use the lifts most days to gain vertical, smash the pow of the lifts and then once that’s done start touring into the backcountry to get more fresh tracks. By having touring gear you have the flexibility to go where the snow is best, hike into and out of backcountry areas and get endless fresh JAPOW!
The starting point for this tour is the bustling city of Morioka, a quick two and a half Shinkansen train trip north from Tokyo. Sitting in view of Mt Iwate, Morioka gives us the flexibility of being able to do short day trips to the nearby ski areas of Geto Kogen, Appi Kogen, Hachimantai, Shizukuishi and Tazawako. Each resort offers awesome terrain straight off the lifts as well as plenty of great backcountry touring. After a great days riding we’ll often stop at an onsen on the way home to sooth those muscles before heading out for dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants near your hotel as well as checking out some cool bars if you’re up for it. With hardly any foreigners apart from yourselves in this area you’ll get to enjoy a unique Japanese cultural ski experience.
For the special experience, ask us about an optional Cat Ski day at either Shizukuishi or Hachimantai!
For the next four nights, you’ll travel up to northern Tohoku where you’ll enjoy Aomori Springs’ deserted powder or head to the famous Hakkoda, ascending to the peak to explore the limitless backcountry possibilities amongst the snow-monsters! This area has become one of our favourites and from our base in Kuroishi you’ll have the flexibility to either head up to Hakkoda or across the plains to Aomori Springs. Both ski areas have some amazing terrain straight off the lifts as well as vast easily accessed backcountry terrain.
At night you’ll relax in the warm and welcoming Hotel Azumashiya, soak in it’s lovely natural onsen and enjoy transitional Japanese cuisine cooked up by Fukushi-san and his family. It’s hotels like these that make staying in this barely explored part of Japan that little bit special. Fukushi-san will ensure your stay is one to remember and when you see him in the lift line at Hakkoda you will understand why he calls this area home.
What makes this tour special is the lack of foreigners, epic amounts of powder, quaint 1,900-year-old onsens, amazing local food and an overall unique cultural experience. This tour will not only take you to some awesome backcountry areas but will also leave you with a true Japanese experience that cannot be missed. See the video below from one of our private tours we took through the region and up to Hokkaido last year!
If you’d like to read about taking the train from Tokyo to the north island, check out our blog article on the journey from Tokyo to Hokkaido by Shinkansen Bullet train!
16 – 24 Jan 2022 – 3 SPOTS LEFT
26 Jan – 3 Feb 2022 – 4 SPOTS LEFT
5 – 13 Feb 2022 – 2 SPOTS LEFT
*5% Earlybird discount price. ¥20,000 fully transferable and refundable deposit. Book before 30th June
5 to 1 Client to Guide ratio
5-10 people max per tour. 3 person minimum.
Skill Level: Advanced – Expert in powder (some touring experience)
You must be able to ski/board the whole mountain in all conditions confidently at speed and have advanced ability in powder, through trees in steep terrain and in variable conditions. 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. You must have a very good level of fitness and be able to hike for around 1-2 hours total per day. Groups are split up into ski/board/ability levels and AT/skins set-up or split-boards are required. You must have had some experience using this equipment. The idea of these tours is to use the lifts for their vertical bump, smash the easy pow then use our touring gear to go further and further away from the lifts in search of more fresh lines. On some days we will not use the lifts at all – it’s all up to the group and the conditions.
We are a IATA registered travel agent with wholesale fares and can organise discounted flights from anywhere in Australia. Ask for our ski and fly packages.
Prices are in Japanese Yen and include consumption tax. Correct as of 11th Dec 2020. LAND ONLY. (See our terms and conditions for full details)
- Fully guided & hosted
- Transfer from Morioka station
- Transfer to Aomori train station or Aomori Airport
- 4 nights twin/triple share accommodation at Hotel Grand Annex, Morioka
- 4 nights twin/triple share accommodation in Azumashiya, Kuroishi
- 7 guided days at both resorts & backcountry areas
- Lift passes for any resort as required
- 5 dinners showcasing the areas delicious food including a welcome dinner party in Morioka
- Onsen (hot spring) tour
- Daily breakfast
- Whiteroom T-shirt
– Single share accommodation – ¥7500 per night
– Avalanche gear rental – ¥14,500 for 9 days
– Discounted flights with Qantas ex Australian capital cities
– Tokyo stopover
– Kyoto cultural side trip
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.
Check back soon, we’re working to update this page!
This tour is new but check out our past reviews from the Tohoku Powder Tour…
Loved the tour. Firstly the group got on well and secondly the places we stayed at and the welcome and farewell meals were superb. Having a Japanese experience as well as ski was a highlight.
By far the most outstanding aspect of the tour was our guide Gareth. He was professional, fun but most of all, always had our safety as his number one priority. He planned our ski days around best options with snow conditions and made sure all of us got the most out of the day’s guiding. He boosted our confidence when we (especially me) needed it and he genuinely wanted everyone to have a good time. His sense of humour was legendary and both on and off the snow he went that extra distance to ensure our comfort. As the last tour and at the end of the season to maintain the enthusiasm for our group as if it was the first one of the season made our holiday fantastic. Please pass on thanks.
I’d like to also mention Graeme (consultant) who helped arrange the tour and whom we met (again he made the effort) and who was delightful. Also my experience with Whiteroom in Niseko (I stayed at the M Hotel for 5 days on their recommendation) and met some of the team there. Thanks Whiteroom. Hopefully will join another tour one day.
– Hilary Fine 2019
Absolutely awesome. The team was amazing. (i left my wallet on the train, they called up the next station, got my wallet back!) The culture tour was great. All of the spots they took us to on the mountains were incredible. Our guide took us to a ton of great local nightlife spots, a snowboard shop when we needed some gear, and over all just could not be any more accommodating. And ofcourse, the guiding on the mountain was amazing. Not just all of the fresh powder, but the education about riding in the conditions, what to look out for, tips and tricks, and the wide diverse experience of all different terrain/snow. It was the best trip of my snowboarding career and i will be back!
– Lev Katsouba 2019
I’ve been on a handful of different Japan tours with Whiteroom over the years, and this one had to be very close to the best – we were immersed in authentic Japanese culture the whole time, and were 100% welcomed everywhere we went. We rode a range of hidden gem resorts with minimal queues, minimal crowding, maximum snow quality, maximum terrain and great, untouched lines. The guides were awesome blokes, as were the crew that came along. Would have no hesitation recommending this trip!
David Coulton 2018
The Tohoku region of japan truly does still offer the road less travelled from foreigners. The snow never let up while we were there and the crowds were non existent. Traveling with the Whiteroom crew gave us the flexibility to go where the snow was best each day and took the hassle out of having to organize anything. All I had to worry about was riding pow, eating great food and kicking back drinking beers with the crew at the end of the day.
They make it all too easy.
– Carl Drechsler 2018
Loved the authentic accommodation at both ends of the trip. Fantastic locations with access to some really awesome terrain & no crowds. The snow quantity & quality were the best I have experienced during my quest for pow. The photos taken by both guides are priceless & offer a truly memorable holiday. Both guides provided invaluable experience & knowledge of the terrain & changing weather conditions
– Gregg Cambourn 2018
Just wanted to say a big thanks for the awesome time we had in the Tohoku region in February. As always the guides were very experienced and went out of their way to ensure we had fun and stayed save. Another great trip with heaps of memories that will last forever.
– Gibbo 2018
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.
Like many parts of the Tohoku region Aomori Springs has remained off the radar to Western visitors. Perched on the side of Mt Iwaki we can easily use the lift systems to gain quick elevation before hiking to the upper slopes above the resort.
After a short time you can expect to find perfectly spaced trees running down into the valley floor that can be easily lapped. If the weather is settled a puch for the summit will give you access to some open bowls and amazing views of the Sea of Japan.
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.
Split over two different resorts Hachimatai’s Panorama and Shimokura ski areas regularly have great snow conditions as they are slightly more protected from the winds.
Hachimantai Panorama allows us access to Mt Iwate. A huge but rewarding hike if the conditions are on.
Hachimantai Shimokura is a little gem with easily accessed backcountry where we can go wider and wider or off the back with a relatively easy hike back to the lifts when we need to.
Whilst not getting as much snow as the other resorts in the Tohoku area what it lacks in snow it makes up for it in the lack of people riding what’s there. Zao’s snow monsters are certainly a sight to behold and skiing amongst them, quite an experience. These things coupled with its rejuvenating onsens and quaint Japanese ski town vibe (albeit slightly dilapidated) we find Zao a special Japanese cultural ski experience.
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.