Top three reasons to go skiing in Japan
The snowiest winters on the planet due to the Sea of Japan and the cold Siberian air
Shred powder under scenic leafless birch trees and finish off the day in an onsen
Get a taste of Ja-Pow and ski with little to no wind, in deep snow as light as clouds
If you’ve been dreaming of shredding the deepest snow imaginable, Japan will satisfy all your cravings. Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s main islands and it has gained an international reputation for incredibly deep and light powder, with over 15 m / 50 ft of snowfall each winter. Your guides will lead you through some of Hokkaido’s most scenic ski destinations, like Otaru, Asahikawa, and Furano. The slopes aren’t very steep compared to the Alps or the Rockies, but the champagne powder and plenty of tree skiing among the white birch trees, Shirakaba, is pure bliss—especially on bluebird days. Combine all this with Japanese culture, natural hot springs—onsens, and volcanoes dominating the skyline, and you’ve got yourself a bucket-list trip for any powder hungry skier.
Sapporo is 45 minutes away
7 or 9 days
Intermediate to advanced
Book this adventure
7-Day Backcountry Skiing Tour in Japan
A ski trip to Japan is strikingly different from what you’ll experience anywhere else in the world. Get a taste of Ja-Pow over 6 powdery days on mellower terrain (30 to 45 degrees) and deep stashes. Step out of the resort bounds and into the backcountry, where you’re virtually guaranteed to find a blank canvas of the lightest, deepest snow on the planet. End each day in an onsen, a hot-spring full of mineral rich water to relax those overworked ski muscles before you do it all again!
9-Day Backcountry Skiing Tour in Japan
Six days of JaPow isn’t enough? Enjoy eight fantastic days of slope-shredding in Japan! Explore 3 distinctive zones in Hokkaido—Otaru, Furano, and Asahikawa—and enjoy days spent in cool temperatures on superb quality snow. Onsen and Japanese cuisine at the end of the day will help you regain your energy before going on a new adventure in the morning!
Welcome to Japan
Once you reach Chitose Airport and Sapporo city, you’ll board a bus and after a 2.5-hour ride, you’ll be at the hotel, where the guides will be waiting for you. Get to know the group, make yourself comfortable and get ready for an adventure!
Shred, eat, onsen, repeat!
There is no strict itinerary as you will visit a different ski location each day, conditions permitting, of course. A typical day begins with a warm breakfast at the hotel, followed by a van transfer to your skiing destination for the day. You will ski bottomless, cold smoke around Otaru, Furano, and Asahikawa, 3-5 hours each day. In some locations, you’ll use the ski lifts at several resorts, as it helps get to the best snow quickly.
Ski and tour until the afternoon and then head to the onsen, Japan’s famous hot springs! Soak your legs, relax, have a snack, and return to the hotel.
Choose a local restaurant you want to visit and sample Hokkaido’s wonderful seafood, ramen, sushi, kaizen don, and jingisukan. After this culinary experience, relax, sleep and repeat the whole day!
After a week of skiing, pack your bags, take a few last photos for the album and head back to the airport!
Meet your guides
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide
Rob is a AMGA/IFMGA guide who runs ski and climbing trips all over the world — from the Rockies to the Dolomites. We tour at least once a year with him because he always brings out the best in us wherever we go and whatever the objective. Rob is the owner of Vetta Mountain Guides, based out of Boulder, Colorado.
IFMGA Certified Guide
IFMGA Certified Guide
Things to know
Covid measures in Japan
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Hokkaido, please visit Japan Travel.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- Two experienced, certified ski guides with extensive knowledge of the area
- Six or eight days of backcountry ski touring
- Accommodation in hotels during the trip
- Transportation once you arrive at the hotel in Otaru
- All transfers between hotels and resorts
What’s not included:
- Transportation to Japan
- Accommodation before and after the adventure
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Food and restaurants during trip
- Lift tickets at resorts
How fit do I need to be?
While this trip does require some experience with backcountry skiing in variable conditions, the difficulty scale isn’t that high. Most of the terrain you’ll ski in Japan is mellow, the slopes aren’t that steep, and the altitudes are pretty low.
You will be skiing in the 1300-1500 m range, downing mostly intermediate runs with the occasional advanced pitch, and doing plenty of treeline skiing. You have to be comfortable with multiple hours of skinning, diving into deep powder, and navigating between trees to fully enjoy the terrain.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
To participate in this tour, you need to have previous backcountry skiing experience. You will be shredding in deep Japow for 5-7 hours every day. Your guide will take care of the planning, oversee your technique, and teach you how to better manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training necessary to keep you safer on the slopes. For those looking to take their first foray into backcountry skiing, we suggest joining a guide for a day of Intro to Backcountry Skiing. Find a guide close to you on our Adventures site.
What equipment do I need to bring?
- Wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
- Long underwear top — synthetic or wool
- Light fleece or wool sweater
- Wind shell — nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type jacket
- Waterproof breathable jacket
- Warm insulated jacket — down or synthetic
- Long underwear bottoms — synthetic or wool
- Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
- Waterproof breathable pants
- Warm hat — wool or synthetic
- Brimmed cap for sun protection
- Face warmer — scarf, neck tube or balaclava (optional)
- Light gloves — wool, synthetic or leather
- Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
- Spare gloves or mitts
Snow Safety Equipment
- Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares)
- Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)
- Ski helmet
- Skis or split board — wider, powder skis, minimum width 108mm are recommended
- Lightweight, touring bindings (Dynafit or ATK are best)
- Ski strap
- Ski or snowboard boots and ski crampons
- Climbing skins
- Skin wax (or a candle)
- Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
- Durable duffel bag, preferably just one (approx. 60L)
- Sunglasses (both orange and dark lenses help a lot for travel in all conditions)
- Goggles for stormy weather and goggles for bright sunshine
- Sunscreen and lip cream (SPF 30+)
- Head lamp with good batteries
- Insulated water bottle or thermos (1-2 L)
- Lunch bag or container
- Personal blister kit (i.e: Leukotape-P and Compeed/Second Skin blister pads)
- Pocket knife — optional
- Camera — optional
If you have any questions regarding the equipment list, feel free to contact us prior to booking.
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Sapporo Kokusai, Sapporo Teine, or any other rental shop
- Splitboards can be rented from Sapporo Kokusai, Sapporo Teine, or any other rental shop.
Ski rental locations are in Sapporo and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and pricing:
- For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1, with 8 people per group.
- It takes a minimum of 6 people for this tour to run.
- If joining alone, you’ll be placed with peers that share a similar level of experience.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Ski touring in Japan can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Deposits and cancellation policy
A $500 non-refundable deposit secures your spot. Because your guides need to book hotels and transportation assets far in advance, they request a 50%, non-refundable deposit by July 15, 2022. The balance is due October 1, 2022 and is non-refundable.
If you need to cancel a reservation, please do so in writing (best by e-mail). Once your booking is confirmed, you and your Guides enter into financial obligations and they cannot refund payments or release you from your contractual obligations. Therefore, it is highly recommended buying cancellation insurance.
Your Guides do reserve the right to change guides, particular lodging or the itinerary or venue should unforeseen circumstances (guide sickness, hut or route closing etc.) force them to do so or should the physical condition of the participants, weather or mountain conditions make a continuation as planned too risky. Your Guides will not be deemed to be in default for any delay or failure to perform their obligations under this agreement resulting from acts of God, the elements, war, acts of government, civil or military authorities, natural calamities, catastrophe, fire, flood, accidents, epidemics, shortage of transportation, or any other like events beyond our reasonable control.
We strongly recommend trip and cancellation insurance. This protects you from losing your investment in the event of illness, injury, or unforeseen events. Because booking hotels, transportation, etc. in foreign countries requires planning ahead and often no potential for refunds, your guides cannot offer refunds on the trip. Therefore, it is highly recommended buying cancellation insurance to cover your losses for the case that you can’t participate or have to interrupt your trip “for any reason.”
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Otaru, most people fly into New Chitose Airport, Sapporo, only 45 minutes away.
There are direct buses from Chitose Airport and Sapporo city that are convenient. You’ll be provided with step-by-step instructions (including photos) to find the right bus and after a 2.5-hour ride, you’ll be at the hotel, where the guides will be waiting for you.