Japan is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders thanks to it's long winters and deep powder snow. The main islands of Honshu and Hokkaido offer very different riding experiences. Hokkaido is famous for being home to the powder capital Niseko. However it has so much more to offer; Furano has some of the best fall-line riding in Japan, Rusutsu, Kiroro and Tomamu offer easy in-bounds tree riding and then there’s the incredible backcountry options within the Daisetsuzan National Park. The main resorts in Honshu are accessed via Nagano; Myoko and Madarao are getting a rep for having some of the best freeriding in Honshu, Hakuba and Shiga Kogen are two of the largest resorts and Nozawa Onsen has a great traditional feel. The adventure doesn’t stop here. There’s so many options if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and into the waist deep stuff. Here's just a few of the destinations we'll be visiting on our Japan Tours.
ASAHIKAWA FREERIDE TOUR
Asahikawa city is in Central Hokkaido, THE most snow-sure part of Japan. It has the most days with snowfall and the coldest temperatures. Within a short drive you’ve got dozens of places to ride – from quirky old-school resorts to lift-accessible backcountry zones filled with endless hits, pillows, banks and wind lips. There’s arguably no zone in Japan that’s littered with as many good spots and insane snow quality.
MORIOKA FREERIDE TOUR
Hit the little-known, stash-laden resorts just outside of the Morioka city with insider knowledge from our local Japanese guiding team. This region is covered in deep snow during winter and is surprisingly home to over 15 ski resorts. Surprisingly, Morioka was just rated by The New York Times as the Number 2 destination to visit on their ‘Places to Go’ list. So you need to visit now before the secret is out!
GUNMA CAT-SKI & BC TOUR
Our base for the tour is Katashina Village, on the east side of Minakami. We've chartered a cat for 2 days of private back-country cat-skiing and lined up local guides for 3 days of lift/van accessed back-country riding and resort riding. Our base for the tour scores the highest snowfall in the area. We have local Japanese guides leading this trip who are also local legends within the core Minakami snowboarding scene.
MYOKO POWDER HUNTER
An all-inclusive trip where you'll spend the week ripping pow from first to last chair in Myoko and the surrounding resorts. Your guide will give you a locals perspective from day one – from the secret spots and stashes to the best onsen, izakaya and ramen joints. The aim of the game is to ride powder every day, which is why we have a flexible itinerary and private transport on hand to get you to the resorts quickly.
AIZU FREERIDE TOUR
An all-inclusive week riding pow in one of our favorite under-the-radar regions. If you’re looking to get away from the high profile resorts and explore somewhere more authentic, then put Aizu on the top of your list. Consistent snowfall, uncrowded resorts, no lift lines and very little western influence. To top it off, everything is included to make this a stress-free trip. Great onsen hotel, breakfasts and dinners, dedicated powder guides, private transport and all lift tickets.
MINT WOMEN POWDER PROGRESSION
If you've dreamt of floating surfy turns through Japan powder, then join Mint Women! Spend the week riding with our coach who will give you plenty of tips and a locals perspective from day one. She knows all the secret powder stashes and will give you tips and feedback to help you up-skill. You’ll explore parts of the mountain you didn’t know existed, avoid lift lines, hit the best spots for snacks and of show you all the epic spots for the ‘gram.
JAPAN PROGRESSION TOUR
If you want to take the next step and start riding deep powder and trees then this is the tour for you. You’ll spend 5 full days snowboarding with a qualified coach and guide who will get your riding dialled so you can navigate the whole mountain, even on the deepest days. You'll chase the snow and ride at different resorts each day. Your coach will give you tips and feedback to improve your freeriding while exploring different ski areas.
OTARU FREERIDE TOUR
Perched on the Sea of Japan, this area scores some of winter's biggest storms. Surrounding Otaru you've got a variety of resorts - from world-class Kiroro to old-school local ski hills that are virtually empty mid-week. This area doesn't get hordes of tourists chasing snow, so you'll get plenty of waist deep turns with all the perks of staying in a city - local markets, fresh seafood, nightlife and great onsen set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
MINT WOMEN FREERIDE TOUR
Chase the snow and ride at different places each day. From the lesser known ski areas, to old-school local ski hills and a few of our secret spots which are empty mid-week. Of course, no trip is complete without a day or two riding the steaming volcano Asahidake. Your guide is one of the most experienced in the industry and will not only make your powder dreams come true, they will also give you some tips along the way to improve your freeriding.
ASAHIKAWA BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
Spend a week chasing the winter storms through the ‘roof of Central Hokkaido’ with our Asahikawa guides. The highlight of the week is a day splitboarding with expert local backcountry guide and Japanese pro snowboarder Shinya Nakagawa. On this tour you’ll chase the snow and ride a variety of lift accessed backcountry, hike-to and resort terrain, with incredibly beautiful backdrops.
ASAHIKAWA FREERIDE W. INGEMAR BACKMAN
Join Ingemar Backman for a week snowboarding and filming in Central Hokkaido. This region is THE most snow-sure part of Japan. Each day you'll head out to a different zone to ride and film. You’ll chase the snow and visit different resorts or backcountry areas. Mint has years of experience snowboarding in this region and will monitor storm cycles daily to ensure you’re scoring these zones in the best conditions.
ASAHIKAWA FREERIDE W. CHAD OTTERSTROM
This is an incredible experience where you can snowboard, hang out and film with Chad Otterstrom for a week in Japan. This tour is based on the northern island of Hokkaido – THE most snow-sure part of Japan. Chad will guide you to some incredible resort and lift accessed backcountry zones and share with you his knowledge and experience from a life in the mountains. Plus you've got a videographer on hand to capture all the action.
BEYOND MEDALS JAPAN
Join the Beyond Medals crew for a week snowboarding and filming in Japan. Kevin Backstrom, Sebbe de Buck, Ludvig Billtoft, Tor Lundstrom and Ulrik Badertscher. You’ll get a spot in the van with the Beyond Medals team, guiding every day at the surrounding resorts and lift-accessed backcountry zones, a videographer on-hand to capture the good times, plus all lift tickets, some meals and 4-star accommodation.
TOMAMU TOUR W. ERIKA VIKANDER
This tour is guided and hosted by freeride athlete, Erika Vikander. She'll keep stoke levels high, while she's hunting down the best lines, finding the best snow, and making sure you have an epic Japan experience. The location - Tomamu in Central Hokkaido. The resort has remained relatively unknown over recent years with powder seekers, so if you want to avoid the crowds, join us in Tomamu for some incredible pow turns.
JAPAN HOLIDAY PACKAGES
Let our team of Japan Specialists find you the best deals available for your next Japan holiday. We can create a package to suit your taste and budget. Mint Tours is a full-service travel agent, so we are able to take care of your flights, accommodation, transfers, rentals, lift tickets, insurance, stopovers and any other arrangements for your trip.
With its colossal amounts of snowfall and legendary freeriding, Niseko resort has something for everyone. Located on the western coast of the island of Hokkaido, is widely known as having one of the most consistent and biggest snowfalls in Japan. The ski resort is quickly becoming world renown boasting some of the best and most reliable powder conditions to be found. Niseko is the largest of Hokkaido ski areas with 4 interlinked first-class resorts, Annupuri, Hirafu, Hanazono and Niseko Village (Higashiyama). These 4 adjoining resorts make up Niseko and offer spectacular skiing and snowboarding opportunities to the novice, intermediate or expert, and offer the powder hound with unparalleled, pristine powder experiences 7 days a week. Niseko has one of the largest night skiing areas in Japan with the lifts open daily from 8.30am to 9.00pm. Niseko offers some great ski-in ski-out accommodation and a wide variety of self-contained apartments, private houses, western hotels and pensions catering to all budgets + READ MOREEnquire
Located on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, Rusutsu Resort is one of the best places to experience skiing and snowboarding Hokkaido’s famous light dry powder along with the luxe resort lifestyle. It is one of the most popular and upmarket resort hotels in Hokkaido, offering a variety of accommodation options and an endless array of quality facilities and services. Rusutsu’s slopes are spread over two distinct ski areas and spanning 3 peaks, the highest of which is Mt Isola, 994m high. From this peak on a clear day, you get a stunning panoramic view of Mt Yotei, Lake Toya and the Pacific Ocean. When it’s overcast and the views are not on offer, rest assured there will be powder to ride as it will typically be dumping in Rusutsu. The areas are connected by gondola and lifts, part of which make up the 18 lifts and 4 gondolas to enjoy alongside the terrain park, side country park, night skiing, and some of the best fall-line tree-skiing and snowboarding in Hokkaido + READ MOREEnquire
Furano is situated in Hokkaido’s beautiful Daisetsuzan National Park. The ski resort with over 950 vertical meters of skiing is one of Japan’s biggest and most famous resorts. Snowboarding and skiing Furano is spectacular, with virtually every run giving you great views of the peak of Mt. Furano and the summits of Hokkaido’s highest mountains. A wide expanse of lifts including two gondolas and seven lifts gives skiers and snowboarders access to a huge variety of terrain. Furano regularly holds World Cup events with the men’s downhill being the mountain’s specialty. On the slopes, Furano offers attractions for every level of skier, expert courses, long fast runs, fantastic tree skiing and long wide, easy cruising runs for beginners. Off the designated ski slopes, Furano offers an array of alpine alternatives, dog sled rides, snowmobiling, 4WD motor bikes, backcountry and alpine tours, parasailing behind a snowmobile and visiting the huge Buddha at Ashibetsu + READ MOREEnquire
Arguably the most snowfall in all of Japan, this is THE location for powder skiing and back country. Paired with top quality accommodation choices from world renowned Starwood Group’s Sheraton and Tribute-Portfolio brand hotels, and a number of off-slope activities, Kiroro makes a great holiday destination for friends, family and couples alike. Kiroro would have to be classed as one of the most modern and comfortable ski resorts in Japan. This recently refurbished and extremely well planned world class resort offers just about everything for a great ski vacation. The resort itself is situated about 40 kilometres west of Sapporo, close to the picturesque seaside town of Otaru. Skiing and snowboarding at Kiroro is extremely enjoyable, with a super fast lift system providing access to wide-open runs, and a variety of terrain well suited to beginners and intermediates. The resort has a well-designed lift network making it easy to get around the hill with a minimum of lift rides + READ MOREEnquire
Known as the new ‘ski city’ of Japan, Asahikawa is Hokkaido’s second-largest city and boasts a reputation of having the most days with snowfall in all of Japan, as well as the record for the coldest temperature (-40°C) meaning conditions are consistently deep and cold all winter. Base yourself in one of our select Asahikawa hotels and make it your base to not only explore the Daisetsuzan National Park, home to the famous Mount Asahidake ropeway, but also the lesser known ski areas – Kamui, Canmore and Pippu ski resorts. If you still have the energy, there’s even options to go night-skiing at nearby Santa Present ski area which is only 15 mins from the city centre. Being a thriving city of 350,000 people, Asahikawa has a buzzing entertainment area with plenty of noodle shops and izakaya restaurants, where you can try the local speciality of Asahikawa ramen and the ‘Japanese’ famous Otokoyama sake + READ MOREEnquire
Situated close to the Hidaka National Park and only a short way from Sahoro and Sapporo and sporting an expansive ski area as well as some luxury accommodation, Tomamu is a snowboarders paradise, with plenty of fantastic runs, great activities and situated in a convenient and close location. Not only are there a range of great family-friendly activities available, with sled parks and snowshoe tours, there’s also some fantastic advanced and legal off-piste runs, cross country skiing and backcountry tours to keep the adrenaline pumping. Most of the fun takes place between November and early April, with many of the facilities closed throughout the warmer months. The town itself is quite small with only a few hotels, all owned by the same company. This means that everything has been fantastically designed to be close together, easily accessible and with outstanding facilities. The two largest hotels are located within walking distance of one another + READ MOREEnquire
Sapporo not only provides great sightseeing, dining and shopping spots but also full-scale ski resorts that are within easy reach of the city. With many areas receiving heavy snow, the snow quality is typically good right through till early Spring.
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is only one hour away from the city and attracts skiers locally and globally. Although there are total of seven courses, the resort offers lots of powder snow and a good amount of off-piste and trees to entertain you for a day trip. Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is open from November until May. You can enjoy the powder snow all season around due to the heavy snowfall in the area. The snow tends to stay intact till spring.
Sapporo Teine Ski Resort hosted Winter Olympic events in 1972. The resort + READ MOREEnquire
The Hakuba Valley offers more terrain, vertical rise and advanced ski slopes than anywhere in Japan. Having hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and numerous FIS World Cup events, the Hakuba Valley has a well-established international reputation as a world-class ski destination. From one end of the valley to the other and with 10 resorts accessing over 130 ski runs as well as providing access to incredible off-piste terrain of the Japan Alps, Hakuba’s reputation as a serious skiers and snowboarders’ destination is well balanced across all levels. This combination of world-class skiing, abundant snowfalls, sunny skies and over 9 ski resorts truly makes Hakuba Valley a precious gem among the rugged Japan Alps. From the complete novice to the expert skier, the Hakuba Valley provides some of the best skiing in Japan. Everything from gentle beginner slopes, to steeps, bumps and long groomers, and of course, plenty of fresh powder. Happo One Resort is +READ MOREEnquire
NOZAWA ONSEN PACKAGES
Nestled in an idyllic landscape, surrounded by imposing mountain ranges, lies the classic resort of Nozawa Onsen. With skiing first being introduced in 1912, history has shaped the present in this timeless mountain village. Well known as one of Japan’s premier classic resort destinations, this impressive area has cultivated its warm après-ski charm throughout its long history of winter sports. Even though Nozawa offers some of the best skiing in Japan and a host of other alpine adventures, this often takes a back seat to the magical feeling of the village when it is blanketed in the copious amounts of snow it receives every winter. The fairytale-like enchantment of this winter wonderland has long captivated the Japanese as they relax in the abundant natural hot springs that are seemingly around every turn. Nozawa offers travellers and alpine winter sports enthusiasts fantastic skiing & boarding opportunities. This combined with warm traditional experiences staying at authentic Japanese ryokan + READ MOREEnquire
SHIGA KOGEN PACKAGES
Shiga Kogen is situated in the heart of the Johshinetsu Kogen National Park, and is by far the largest ski resort in Japan, with 21 interlinked resorts all on one lift ticket! Shiga covers a huge area and offers a great diversity of natural terrain. Shiga Kogen is an interesting ski resort in terms of its unique layout; a long winding road weaves through the ski resorts, with ski-in/ski-out hotels dotted along the way. Rather than an accumulation of buildings in the form of a village, the solitary hotels tend to cater to all guests needs – breakfast, dinner, hot springs and some form of entertainment. If one were to specify an area as the main village, it would be Ichinose area, a wide open area with a number of hotels, and a scattering of restaurants. Most hotels in Ichinose area cater to the budget travelers, with both Japanese and Western styles available. Snow conditions and quality are superb and Shiga has one of the longest seasons in Japan due to its high altitude + READ MOREEnquire
Seeing Myoko Kogen for the first time, the mind boggles as to how one place can simply get so much snow. Myoko Kogen receives endless snowfalls which literally blanket the entire area right throughout its long winter season. One of the pioneering ski resorts and one of the largest ski areas in Japan, Myoko Kogen was originally established in the early 19th century and soon developed a reputation as Japan’s first international ski resort by the 1930s. With four main ski areas; Akakura Kanko, Akakura Onsen, Suginohara and Ikenotaira along with a myriad of nearby ski resorts, Myoko Kogen offers an incredible variety of terrain, near perfect conditions with the deepest of deep powder, big vertical, long ike corduroy pitches, magnificent gladed tree runs all with an astonishing 13 plus meters of snow each winter. Mt. Myoko, once an active volcano is now Myoko Kogen’s rich source of thermal spring waters. With a plethora of natural onsen hot springs, Myoko boasts not only spectacular snow, but the Myoko Valley is literally teeming with relaxing + READ MOREEnquire
LOTTE ARAI PACKAGES
The legendary Lotte Arai Mountain & Spa is back on the winter lovers resort map; closed in 2006 and reopened in December 2017 under new management, Arai is renowned for the biggest snowfalls on the ski resorts on the mainland. Now with a whole new upgraded luxury resort, Arai will lead the way in offering prime resort-style ski experiences in Japan and throughout Asia. Situated in the Joshinetsu national park nearby Myoko Kogen, and with the towering peaks of Mt Myoko, Mt Huichi and Yakeyama in the background, Arai offers some of the most spectacular scenery you will find in Japan. Covering an area of 1,020 hectares and at the foot of Mount Ohgenashi, Arai’s close proximity to the Japan Sea ensures snowfall depths of over 500 centimeters over the winter months. Arai has a broad based appeal with both skiers and snowboarders(approximately 44:56 ratio). It is a small ski resort with just 5 ski lifts but it does boast a very impressive 951 metres (3120 feet) of vertical descent, and skiers at all levels have fun on the Resort’s eleven ski trails. Freeskiers and snowboarders rate + READ MOREEnquire
MADARAO AND TANGRAM PACKAGES
The interconnected resorts of Madarao and Tangram are becoming increasingly popular with their excellent quality snow, great tree powder skiing, side country and not to mention perfectly groomed slopes. Located in the Nagano prefecture, Madarao and Tangram are also extremely close to some of the nearby bigger and more popular resorts of Myoko, Nozawa and Arai, making it a great destination for day or overnight trip during your holiday too. The resort of Madarao offers a mix of accommodation, most popular choices are the slope-side larger hotels, with the remaining properties being more Japanese-oriented pension lodges. Madarao also has a small scattering of restaurants and western bars, offering all travelers to the area an authentic and fun experience. The Tokyu Resort Hotel Tangram is the dedicated ski-in ski-out accommodation at Tangram resort offering guests the full resort hotel experience with swimming pool and relaxing indoor & outdoor onsen + READ MOREEnquire
APPI KOGEN PACKAGES
Be happy in Appi! There is no doubt the pristine powder snow, well-groomed slopes and ski-in-ski-out resort hotel, will help you achieve this. This well laid out ski resort was built in during Japan’s economic bubble period and features a glitzy hotel with many first-class facilities and services. Enjoy a variety of terrain; ski the deep and steep up high, or learn on the lower slopes, taking in the beautiful views of the adjacent national park. With over 20 runs, you will have plenty of slopes to keep you busy through to the late afternoon. After heading in from the slopes, spend your afternoons relaxing in the therapeutic onsen baths, in the swimming pool, or at the in-house bar. Night skiing is also available if you have the energy to push on throughout the evening. If you’re feeling energetic and adventurous, and looking to stretch the legs a little, why not take a bus into the closest town, 30 minutes drive away, to experience local traditional restaurants and drinking establishments + READ MOREEnquire
NAEBA AND KAGURA
Naeba is vibrant and expansive resort, offering a wide array of ski runs, easy access to nearby resorts and a huge variety of accommodation. It’s perfect for skiers of any level with a large range of slopes and is also perfect for families with a large range of facilities designed to make both parent’s and children’s visits an enjoyable one! The Naeba Prince Hotel is arguably a skier’s paradise, spread across the foot of the slopes and offering sleeping for 4,000 guests with over 23 restaurants and a range of spas, a childcare centre and bars to enjoy an après-ski drink, plus more. For families the convenience of close access to everything and a range of children’s activities makes it easy for all members to enjoy the holiday. The size and scale of Naeba will impress – it’s home to the country’s largest ropeway, the “Dragondola” that connects the nearby resorts of Tashiro, Kagura and Mitsumata ski areas. Backcountry tours are available as well as snowshoe tours and ski schools for all experience levels, and English + READ MOREEnquire
Geto Kogen is a powder paradise. Located to the west of central Kitakami city in the south-western region of Iwate Prefecture. Uniquely positioned in a relatively narrow section of the Northern Japanese Alps, Geto enjoys heavy, and heavily concentrated falls. There are less ranges for the snow to be spread out over and Geto regularly tops the Japanese snow depth charts. Bowl-shaped, Geto Kogen also catches windblown snow from the nearby peaks, and creates a ‘powder pocket’ for our enjoyment. Geto Kogen is still a secret to many, but famous among those who know it for offering some of the best tree riding in Japan. The tree runs are all on the trail map, in-bounds and readily accessible. That combines with some of the most consistent and regular snow in all of Honshu. While there might not be many accommodation options, there is something to suit most budgets, from dorm beds on-mountain, through to great value Ryokans just just a short drive away + READ MOREEnquire
Zao Onsen offers an authentic Japanese experience to travellers, with traditional ryokans, small hotels and beautiful onsen all making this a unique place to visit in Japan. The onsen are one of the reasons many people come, and the other is the large range of skiing and snowboarding options, with nine different ski areas, 42 lifts and 741 acres of snow to enjoy. Located in a spectacular mountainous area, visitors are also treated to stunning views and fantastic scenery. This also means that it’s worth visiting throughout the warmer months, too, with hiking tours and fantastic greenery to be enjoyed. The small size of Zao means that almost everything is within walking distance, including the slopes and public onsen. Although most of the hotels have private onsens for guests to use, the public onsen offer a traditional experience and a beautiful environment to relax in. All of the hotels and ryokans, while small, will offer services for skiers and snowboarders, such as complimentary shuttles + READ MOREEnquire