4. Hakkoda, Honshu

The mountains of Hakkoda are a volcanic range consisting of a group of about a dozen low lying stratovolcanoes and lava domes on the north of Honshu. Hakkoda is assisted by a cable car, which brings you up and opens the door to a huge area of backcountry skiing. There is a perimeter road that takes about an hour to drive around, so imagine how much space you have to explore!

“Juhyo”  — Hakkoda’s “snow monsters”  — are frozen stiff trees that guard the Hakkoda Mountains during peak snow season. Photo: Tracy Lenard Collection

Hakkoda is for those with a more relaxed backcountry touring mindset. If you are looking for things to do besides skiing, Hakkoda isn’t the place. Overall it’s made up of a few traditional lodges and onsens where you can get a real taste of being in Japan. Your afternoons will probably consist of soaking in an onsen and going to bed early to rest up for another tour.

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