Hokkaido Japan Ski Tour 

Japan Guided Ski Tours 1
Experience the phenomenal powder skiing of Hokkaido, Japan

Mountain: Japan, North Island of Hokkaido

Tour: Hokkaido Powder Touring Ski Week

2025 Dates:
  • Jan 21-27, 2025
  • Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2025

Cost: $3800 per skier

Cost Includes
Guide fee, guide's expenses, 7 nights shared accommodations, 6 breakfasts in lodges, 3 lodge dinners (we eat out in Niseko to mix up the options), space in group van during tour.
Cost Does Not Include
Flight to/from Japan, 3 dinners in Niseko, meals in Chitose, lift tickets if used, taxi from airport to hotel, gratuities, drink purchases, equipment rental, lunches.

Register For 2025

Japan Ski Tour Equipment List

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If you backcountry ski you have heard the buzz surrounding the ski touring on Japan’s North Island, Hokkaido. Several years back we began our annual pilgrimage to this amazing island. We have found Japanese backcountry skiing every bit as remarkable as all the hype suggests. On storm days we tour in endless, deep, untracked powder in well spaced trees, and on sunny days where we poke up onto the higher peaks such as Yotei and Furnaodake. Over time we have most come to appreciate the warmth and hospitality of the Japanese people and the food has become the third highlight of this beautiful experience. Speaking of warmth, the Onsens are an experience in their own right and we try to end each day by soaking in a different hot pool. An Onsen sampler if you will.

In winter 2025 we will be taking a few small groups of lucky backcountry skiers on week-long tours focused on the two prime ski touring areas in Hokkaido. The tours begin in the backcountry a few valleys over from the sprawling ski area at Niseko and then move to central Hokkaido, known as the “powber belt” where we will enjoy more remote terrain on peaks like Furanodake and Tokachidake.

We retain a flexible itinerary as the weather heavily dictates where it is most enjoyable and safest to ski each day. On stormy days, which are frequent in the Hokkaido backcountry we stick to tree-skiing and on days when the sun peaks out we can venture higher on the many volcanoes that dominate the landscape. Each day will end with the option to visit one of the many Onsens (hot springs) that Hokkaido is famous for. Tying it all together will be the amazing food that Japan is known for.

In order to ease the logistics we meet and prep each group of skiers at a nice hotel near the Chitose (CTS) airport in Sapporo and then provide ground transportation to and from each touring area. During the trip we stay in comfortable hotels central to the areas we want to explore and we split the trip into 3.5 days spent around Niseko in the South and 3.5 days spent near Tokachidake and Daisetsuzan National Park in Central Hokkaido.

Sample Itinerary 

Day 0: Group will meet at our hotel in Sapporo, Japan near the Chitose Airport (airport code CTS) for a briefing on the upcoming trip, an equipment check, and dinner.

Day 1: Group will travel to Niseko and drop bags at our lodging for the next 3 nights and proceed to a ski tour nearby. At the end of the day’s tour we will visit a traditional “onsen” and relax in the hot springs before returning to our hotel of dinner.

Day 2: Today we will travel to Yotei (1,898 m / 6,227’), known locally as the Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido, which allows for phenomenal powder skiing among the silver birch trees. It is possible to ski here in most conditions, but only possible to ski to the summit in good weather. Following dinner we will visit a different Onsen and have dinner back at our hotel.

Day 3: Today we will travel to Shirabetsu-dake, another volcano, for another ski tour. On the way home we will stop at a restaurant known for its excellent sushi.

Day 4: Today we will ski in the morning at a low-key spot near Niseko and then drive to Furano (central Hokkaido) in the afternoon, where we will base for the reminding three days of our tour. This area is known as the Hokkaido Powder belt and has a much more remote feel than the areas we have visited earlier. The mountain summits are a bit higher and have a more wind-blown quality. Skiing will be a mixture of summit climbs and tree skiing, depending on the current weather & conditions.

Day 5: Today we will make a short drive from our guest house and ski tour on the flanks of Furano-Dake. The skiing consists of several climbs up elegant ribs followed by great powder skiing in the chutes and glades on either side of the ribs. In good weather we can poke up high and in more typical weather we can ski the trees down low.

Day 6: Potential objectives for this day include Asahidake or Tokachidake. If the weather is good we can ski to the summit of either of these peaks and peer into the crater, generally a steamy affair, followed by interesting skiing below.

Day 7: On our last day we will undertake one last tour on either Furanodake or Tokachidake and then drive in the afternoon back to Sapporo where we will return to the hotel we started at and get everyone ready for their flights home the next day. You may spend the night and rest up or catch a flight out that evening.

Frequently asked questions 

How well do I need to be able to ski? You should have previous ski touring experience to participate on this trip and should be in decent shape. Ski conditions generally include deep powder and you will want previous experience skiing in this type of snow. If you are comfortable skiing most black diamond terrain at a ski area, you should have no problem. You do not need to be an aggressive skier, but you should be familiar with use of skis, skins, and able to efficiently get down generally moderately pitched slopes while remaining in control.

Is the inability to speak Japanese a problem? Generally no. We choose lodging where the staff speaks some English and the areas we visit generally have signs in both Japanese and English. We do highly encourage you to pick up a few basic phrases in Japanese as makes sense in travel in any foreign place.

Do we primarily ski at ski areas or in the backcountry? We spend most of our time in the backcountry. The ski areas on Hokkaido are many and they are very good, but even the ski areas in Hokkaido get skied out on a busy day. As such we may use a lift here and there to access true backcountry, but we generally stick to more remote backcountry spots as this is where all the untracked powder is!

*I have heard it snows every night on Hokkaido? At times it may feel like this, but Hokkaido can also experience periods without new snow. Our trips are timed in January and February to give us the maximum chance of the combinations of new snow and cold temperatures. Some of the best days of skiing are when the snow finally relents and we have the chance to ski cold powder on a sunny day. If your trip happens to not have tons of new snow the north facing slopes tend to hold powder and there is plenty of interesting terrain to keep us occupied.

How do the Onsens work? Onsens are traditional Japanese Hot Springs. The water is usually channeled from its source into what looks like a giant hot tub or pool. Men and women are generally provided with separate facilities and everyone is required to take a hot shower before entering the water. Each facility generally sells beer and soft drinks, which may be consumed in the pool. Each Onsen has a variety of pools ranging from warm to almost too hot to sit in.

Getting to and from Sapporo, Japan 

Most of our guests will choose to fly into Chitose Airport (CTS) located in Hokkaido's largest city, Sapporo. It is possible to fly into Tokyo's Narita Airport and take the train to Sapporo. Most people will fly into Tokyo and then connect to a 90 minute flight to Sapporo. It is relatively easy to catch a flight from the west coast of the US to Tokyo, Narita (NRT) and then connect to Sapporo. If you really want to have the full adventure it is possible to fly on Hawaiian Air from the the US with a stopover in Hawaii on your way to and from Japan.

Reports from previous Hokkaido Japan Ski Tours