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Join us in Tohoku and score some of the highest average snowfalls in Japan

Get off the beaten path as we ski and snowboard Japan’s little-known, stash-laden resorts of the Northwest Tohoku region through the prefectures of Iwate and Akita.

The mountainous areas of Tohoku are covered in deep snow from December to May and are home to over 15 ski resorts. To the northwest, Appi Kogen is one of Japan’s most famous ski areas due to its Hokkaido-like dry powder snow and wide open pistes. Geto Kogen Ski Resort in the west, is a real gem and boasts heavy snowfalls, a relaxed off-piste policy and fewer crowds compared to the rest of Honshu. Then in between, there’s the true ‘secret spots’ of Tohoku that we’ll leave off the list until we see you on the tour!

We base this tour in Morioka city, located at the foot of the dormant Mount Iwate (2038m), which gives us access to the numerous ski resorts in the region. With a flexible tour itinerary, your guide will monitor storm cycles and decide where we road trip to the best snow conditions daily.  You will be skiing and snowboarding all these areas mid-week, which means you’ll virtually have the resort to yourself.

Basing the tour in Morioka also offers a unique cultural experience as we get to explore the city after dark with your guide and rub shoulders with the locals at the surrounding bars and restaurants.

Dates

10 January - 16 January, 2021
17 January - 23 January, 2021

Guest to Guide Ratio

5 guests : 1 guide

Price

AUD $2,850 per person

Currency Convertor

Tour type

Freeride - Be prepared to ride and ski in the trees

Why Travel With Mint

In a rapidly changing travel industry it’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. We are a registered member of AFTA and IATA and conduct business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct. When you travel with Mint you can have peace of mind that you are booking with a qualified and established travel operator with over 20 years of expertise. And as a full-service travel agent, we are able to take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

Highlights

Fewer crowds = more pow

Get off the beaten path as we ski and snowboard Japan’s little-known, stash-laden resorts of the Northwest Tohoku region through the prefectures of Iwate and Akita.

Highlights

Local Cuisine

The tastes of Iwate - from wagyu through to fresh seafood and the world famous Wanko soba.

Highlights

Powder hunting

We have our 4WD vans ready to chase the storms and shuttle you to the best resort each day. Storm chasing means we keep the itinerary flexible to find you the best snow.

Highlights

Morioka City Stay

You'll enjoy the after-ski experiences only available in the city. Surrounding our hotel in Morioka is hundreds of izakaya, bars, shops, and karaoke.

Highlights

Local knowledge

Our long-standing relationships with local guides, local legends, professional athletes, local businesses and resorts allow us special access to places and people. Travelling with us, you go behind the scenes to get a close-up view of each destination.

Tohoku Freeride Tour

Get in touch for a detailed tour itinerary and more info

ABOUT TOHOKU

Japan's northeastern wilderness is a huge area encompassing six rural prefectures within the Tohoku region. The tour is based in Morioka which is the capital city of Iwate prefecture. From Tokyo Station it is around two hours on the Shinkansen where our guides will meet you at the scheduled meet and greet times. In Tohoku you’ll experience an authentic mix of culture, cuisine and of course incredible skiing and snowboarding.

SNOW & CONDITIONS

January and February is the best time of year to experience skiing and snowboarding in Tohoku. What you can expect is light and dry snow similar to Hokkaido with average temperatures ranging from -5 to -20 degrees celsius. Most days you can expect to ride new snow that’s anywhere from boot to knee deep. Even if we don’t get fresh snow overnight, our local knowledge will ensure you’ll ride the best snow conditions on that day.

ACCOMMODATION

We make sure all our guests stay in quality accommodation that’s in the best location. Throughout the tour you’ll stay in a 3 star hotel which is in the heart of Morioka’s nightlife district. Our comfortable twin share rooms are equipped with 2 single beds and each room has a great heating, private ensuite bathroom, TV, and free WiFi. Breakfasts are included throughout the tour.

FLEXIBLE ITINERARY

This is a powder hunter tour where you’ll get to chase the big winter storms in Japan. We keep the itinerary flexible so your guide can hunt down the best conditions all day, every day. Each day your guide will assess the conditions and decide which is the best place to ride based on weather and snowfall. This flexibility ensures that we will find you the best snow and conditions all day, every day.

SMALL GROUPS

We offer one of the smallest client to guide ratio’s in the industry which ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. Our small groups allow greater manoeuvrability and ease of access to the best areas a destination can offer. When we are on mountain, our guest to guide ratio is maximum 5 people per guide. This also makes for a more personal experience between our guests and guides.

PRE-TOUR SUPPORT

After you sign up for a tour, you will receive pre-trip emails with specific information about your tour, the arrival and departure day process, information about the destination, packing suggestions, and other relevant information to help you prepare for your trip. In addition to this, you have access to our customer care team who are just a phone-call away. And as a full-service travel agent, we are able to take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

Meet your expert team

LOCAL GUIDES & PARTNERSHIPS

Mint opens doors around the globe. Our long-standing relationships with local guides, local legends, professional athletes, local businesses and resorts allow us special access to places and people. Travelling with us, you go behind the scenes to get a close-up view of each destination. You’re enriched by the knowledge of our experts and local guides.

Meet your expert team

Kei Ishiuchi

Kei is a snowboarding veteran with over 20+ years experience including stints as a test rider for Burton, editor of Japanese snowboarding magazines and head coach for multiple ski schools across Japan. Spend a day riding with Kei and you’ll see why our clients keep coming back to ride with him, season after season.

Meet your expert team

Hiro Nakamura

Hiro is our newest member of the Mint guiding team. He brings years of experience coaching and guiding throughout Japan. Hiro has also worked extensively in New Zealand on both the North and South Islands as a snowboarding coach at Mt Ruapehu and Cardrona. Hiro loves being in the forest all year round. He enjoys exploring new spots and meeting new people to ride, ski or just hang out with.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Tour Inclusions

YOUR TOUR INCLUDES

 

  • Local Japanese guides on-hand throughout the tour
  • Private transportation throughout the tour in 4WD vans
  • 6 nights twin share accommodation, Morioka City
  • Buffet Breakfast daily
  • 5 days of on-snow guiding with professional guides
  • 5 days lift tickets
  • Safety briefings
  • Visits to local restaurants
  • Return scheduled transfers from Morioka Station to your hotel (arrival & departure day)
Tour Dates

All our Japan Tours are 6 nights and run from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride every resort mid-week to maximise your time on-snow and avoid the weekend day-trippers. If 6 nights isn’t enough, then book one of our multi-tour combo’s. Join us in Tohoku, then start a new tour in a different destination the following day. Ask us about tour combo ideas and multi-tour discounts.


WEEK 1    10 January – 16 January, 2021
WEEK 2    17 January – 23 January, 2021


PRO-TIP – GO PRIVATE!
Book this tour as a private departure – with your own guide and all the benefits of a Mint group tour – for any group, big or small (even just one traveller). Get in touch to discuss.

FAQ

WHY TRAVEL WITH MINT?
In a rapidly changing travel industry it’s important to know that your travel provider is accredited, accountable and responsible. Mint is a registered member of AFTA and IATA and conducts business in accordance with the ATAS Charter and Code of Conduct. When you travel with Mint you can have peace of mind that you are booking with a qualified and established travel operator with over 20 years of expertise. And as a full-service travel agent, we can take care of your flights, insurance, stopovers and pre-or post tour arrangements.


WHAT HAPPENS IF BORDERS ARE CLOSED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?
The global health crisis has impacted everyone enormously, so we want to make sure your future travel plans are safe and reassure you that we are committed to supporting our customers in the best way that we can. You can view our latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates HERE


ARE LIFT TICKETS INCLUDED?
Yes, lift tickets are included and your guide will provide them to you each day at the resort.


WHAT IS A FREERIDE TOUR?
Our Freeride Tours offer you the best chance to ride deep, Japan powder. Our experienced guides have an in-depth knowledge of the resorts we visit, which gives you the ultimate advantage when your chasing deep, un-tracked snow. We’ll aim to ride and ski a lot of powder, glades and trees so please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees for 5 days straight. Of course weather and conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything.


WHAT HAPPENS ON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE DAY?
Once you’ve signed up for the tour we will send you through a comprehensive guide with details about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, a map of where we meet, recommended arrival and departure times, flight options, Visa requirements and transportation information.


WHAT IF I’M TRAVELLING SOLO?
About 99% of our guests are travelling solo, so you’ll be in good company. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer. If you are travelling solo, you will be paired with another guest to room with. The accommodation for this tour is twin share i.e. 2 beds per room. If you’d prefer your own room please request a single room at time of booking.


HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON THIS TOUR?
Each tour is different, but we know that by offering one of the smallest client to guide ratio in the industry allows you to ski or snowboard at your preferred pace, and ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. When we are on mountain, we have a maximum of 5 people per guide. This ensures you get the most out of your time with us, and keeping the groups small means less time waiting and more time riding powder.


IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR ME?
This tour is best suited to skiers and snowboarders who can link turns in powder snow, can make a variety of turn shapes and can traverse and hold speed. If you’re not sure, give us a call. Weather and ski conditions are impossible to predict so guests must be prepared to ride or ski anything. If you have never ridden in powder or shy away from it at your local resort, this is not the tour to learn. Tohoku terrain has lots of glades and trees – please be prepared to ride and ski in the trees.


WHICH RESORTS WILL WE VISIT?
We keep the tour itinerary flexible so you can ride at the best resort on the day. Each day your guide will make the decision on which resort to ride based on a number of factors including weather, snowfall, group ability and interest. We have over half a dozen ski resorts we can access within easy reach of our centrally located hotel with terrain ranging from wide-open pistes, perfectly crafted terrain parks to deep untracked tree riding and skiing.


CAN I ARRIVE EARLY OR STAY ON AFTER THE TOUR?
For most tours you can arrive earlier or stay later. We can tailor the trip to suit your travel plans. Speak with one of our tour specialists when you are booking and they will be more than happy to assist.


WHO ARE THE GUIDES?
All of our tours are guided by friendly, knowledgeable and expertly trained guides who are passionate about the mountains. Your guides for this tour are Kei Ishiuchi and Hiro Nakamura.


CAN YOU BOOK FLIGHTS?
Yes. Let us take the hassle out of selecting the right flights for the tour. We can book you the best flight options for the tour, with no booking fees.


ARE FLIGHTS INCLUDED?
No, flights are not included. If you need assistance booking flights, we can book you the best flight options for the tour, with no booking fees.


DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Yes. All guests on tour need to be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Once you have booked on the tour, we strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance. We offer all of our tour guests discounted snow specific travel insurance.


WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I’VE BOOKED?
Once you’ve booked your spot on tour, we will send you through a booking confirmation and provide updates about the tour including the arrival and departure day process, a map of where we meet, recommended arrival and departure times, flight options, Visa requirements and transportation information. We will send out a Pre Departure Guide 30 days prior to departure. Prior to the tour commencing we will invite you to a group chat which is managed by your tour manager and guides.


CAN I BRING MY PARTNER WHO DOESN’T SKI OR SNOWBOARD?
Of course! We can tailor the tour to suit your non-skiing or snowboarding partner. Speak with one of our tour specialists when you are booking and they will be more than happy to assist.


HOW DO I CHECK MY ABILITY LEVEL?
The best way to check if a tour is suited to your ability is by speaking with one of our tour specialists. They will be able to determine if the tour you have selected is a good fit for your ability, as well as suggesting other tour options.


HOW DO I GET TO TOHOKU?
We’ll provide you with a guide with flight and train options to get to our meeting point. If it’s your fist time to Japan or if you’re unsure about travel arrangements, often we can link you up with other tour guests to travel with.


HOW DO I CHECK AVAILABILITY?
Speak with one of our tour specialists. As this is a small group tour with limited availability, it’s best to get in touch early to avoid disappointment.


DO YOU TAKE SKIERS & SNOWBOARDERS?
Yes! We are ski and snowboard friendly. Please note that the majority of our tours are led by snowboard guides.


CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT?
We can arrange rental equipment for most destinations, however we do recommend bringing your own equipment. We do recommend bringing powder boards or ski’s for all our Japan tours.


WHAT EQUIPMENT SHOULD I BRING?
Japan can be a cold place in winter, with temperatures typically ranging from 0 to -10. We strongly recommend that guests dress in clothing specific for traveling in backcountry areas. We recommend that guests have a good quality waterproof jacket and pants, lightweight insulated layer, merino base layers, merino gloves and waterproof gloves, goggles with low light & high light lenses, sunglasses, balaclava, beanie, and helmet. We recommend that all guests bring their own ski or snowboarding equipment for the tour (board, boots, bindings & outerwear). Powder boards and ski’s are recommended.


WHO WILL BE ON MY TOUR?
Your group will be made up of travellers from diverse backgrounds and will be varied in age. Our groups generally mix well due to a shared interest in snowsports and an eagerness to explore all that Japan has to offer.

Price and Payment

PRICE PER PERSON
The Tohoku Freeride Tour is AUD $2,850 per person

Pricing is in Australian Dollars and based on twin share accommodation. Please contact us if you would like a quote in your local currency. We can accept payments in USD, AUD, NZD, GBP, CHF, EUR, JPY, CAD.


RESERVATION AND DEPOSIT
To secure your spot on tour, a non-refundable 25% deposit is payable within 3 days of booking. The balance is due 90 days prior to tour departure. You can view our terms and conditions HERE and COVID-19 policy HERE

Enquiries and Bookings

If you would like some more information or a quote for the tour you can contact us by:

1. ONLINE
Enquire below. Once we receive your request one of our Japan Tour Specialists will be in touch with a with a quote, availability and further details about the tour.

Enquire


2. OVER THE PHONE 
Call us and follow the prompts to speak to one of our Japan Tour specialists.

Within Australia (03) 8563 9437
International +61 (03) 8563 9437

Enquire