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Backcountry Skiing in Japan

World famous champagne powder meets exquisite Japanese hospitality
A skier on a steep slope shredding deep powder snow in Japan.
Niseko, Hakuba & beyond
World-famous & local-favorite runs
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A skier going through powder and snow covered trees.
Day trips
A time-efficient taste of JaPow
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Skier touring among some birch trees in Japan.
Multi-day trips
Make the most of your skication
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Three active tourists ski touring along the snowy mountain overlooking the beautiful valley in Japanese wilderness. Ski tourers trekking in the fresh snow in spectacular mountains in Niseko.
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Shred safely with local pros
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Worldwide adventures with the best local guides
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All Japan backcountry ski tours

Ben Bersick

Tracy is without a doubt one of the best guides I have ever worked with. Besides smoothing out some issues I had upon arrival, really going above and beyond, he is super knowledgeable about the history, culture, and a trove of local knowledge. Add to this that he is at baseline unassailabley cool and you’re there. Legend.

Annie C.

Will provided an amazing adventure for our women’s backcountry ski trip in Japan. He is an experienced guide who sought out the best snow based on conditions. It was wonderful not having to navigate to resorts or think about where we wanted to ski for the day. Will planned that all out and drove us everywhere. An excellent trip.

Iwona Erskine-Kellie

Best skiing of my life! Awesome people, fantastic guides, and superb choice of terrain, and let us not forget all that delicious food. I will come back for more!

Mike Jacobs

57hours connected me to the company in Niseko, JP and I was guided by Marcus. It was awesome from start to finish. The company took great care of me and Marcus knew every route in the region.
If you ever get the chance to go to Japan, go to Niseko and go into the backcountry. The pow in Niseko is other worldly.

Chase thrills in epic alpine terrain

Shred the deepest snow imaginable

With an average snowfall of over 10 m/ 32 ft in some regions, Japan offers some of the deepest, lightest, and fluffiest powder in the world. From Hokkaido to the peaks of Honshu, the diverse terrain and world-renowned snow offer thrilling descents through birch forests, open bowls, challenging steeps, and even volcanoes, catering to all levels of adrenaline-seeking skiers. 

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One of the places to ski in Japan with an iceberg view
A skier shredding powder in the backcountry in Hokkaido, Japan near Niseko ski resort.

Unique adventures paired with friendly, welcoming locals

Experience the famous JaPow

  • Honshu and Hokkaido provide some of the most reliable and deepest snowpacks in the world — ideal for all powder-hungry skiers

Stay for the food and culture

  • Try out delicious traditional food in izakaya gastropubs, go for a whiskey tasting, or visit local cultural attractions

Find your zen

  • Onsens are as integral to the experience as the adrenaline-pumping descents; unwind after a day of skiing and let your worries float away in natural hot springs
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Best backcountry skiing areas in Japan

Hakuba Valley

Hakuba consistently receives some of the deepest snowfall in Japan. It offers a variety of terrain, from wide-open bowls to steep chutes, with cat skiing operations that lead you to untouched areas.

A hidden gem in Hokkaido with some of the most incredible scenery in Japan, Shiretoppu offers a variety of backcountry skiing options, from mellow slopes to challenging climbs, with far fewer crowds.

Niseko is known for its expansive terrain. Three interconnected ski resorts offer easy access to a massive amount of slopes, with plenty of off-piste opportunities for experienced skiers.

Winter landscape in the Mount Zao that located on the Yamagata-Miyagi prefectural,Japan

Frequently asked questions about backcountry skiing in Japan

  • Backcountry skiing season in Japan typically runs from December to April, but can vary depending on the island. Here are some of the most popular destinations:

    Hokkaido: Japan’s northernmost island is a renowned powderhound paradise. The Niseko United area is particularly popular, with mountains like Niseko Hirafu and Niseko Hanazono offering extensive backcountry terrain. The season here runs from December to early May.

    Honshu: Honshu, Japan’s main island, is home to many great backcountry skiing destinations. The Hakuba Valley, located in the Nagano Prefecture, is a popular choice, with resorts like Hakuba Hapone and Hakuba Goryu providing access to a variety of backcountry terrain. The season in Hakuba typically runs from December to April.

    Shikoku: Japan’s smallest island is also home to some good backcountry skiing. The mountains here are not as high as those on Hokkaido and Honshu, but they still offer plenty of powder snow. The season usually lasts from January until March.

    Kyushu: The southernmost island, has a shorter backcountry skiing season than the other islands, but it can still be a good option for those looking for a late-season trip. The season on Kyushu goes from December to March.

  • Depends on the runs and ski areas you choose. 

    Beginners will find many resorts welcoming with gentle slopes and soft powder snow that cushions falls. Intermediate skiers will have a blast cruising groomed runs and exploring pockets of hidden powder.  Advanced powder hounds can find challenges off-piste and in Hokkaido’s backcountry, though the steeps may not be as extreme as in other regions. 

    If you’re new to backcountry skiing, choose an area with beginner-friendly runs and consider lessons to make the most of your Japanese ski adventure.

  • Absolutely! Japan is a fantastic destination for beginner skiers.

    Many Japanese ski resorts boast mountains with mellower inclines compared to North America or Europe. This translates to wider, gentler slopes perfect for learning how to control your skis and build confidence.

    Also, Japan is famous for its light, dry powder snow. This type of snow is much softer to fall on than icy slopes, making those inevitable beginner tumbles a bit less painful.

    Most importantly, Most Japanese slopes cater to all skill levels, with beginner-friendly areas featuring wide, flat terrain ideal for practicing the basics.

  • Backcountry skiing is technically not prohibited on Mt. Fuji, but it’s important to understand the challenges and risks before you go.

    Mt. Fuji’s terrain is extremely demanding, with steep slopes and high altitudes. Only experienced backcountry skiers with excellent avalanche awareness and self-rescue skills should attempt skiing there. The season is also very short, typically from mid-April to early June, depending on weather conditions.

    Also, there are no ski patrol or rescue services available on Mt. Fuji for backcountry skiers, and you may encounter unpredictable weather, limited access due to road closures, and high avalanche danger.

  • Hokkaido is a highly popular backcountry destination for backcountry skiers of all levels, including locals. This is due to the island’s abundant powder, accessible terrain, and relaxed backcountry access & regulation system.

Get in touch
We’re happy to answer any of your questions. Send us an inquiry or talk to one of our adventure planners free of charge.
Get in touch
We're happy to answer any of your questions. Send us an inquiry or talk to one of our adventure planners free of charge.
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