Nagano Snow Tow - New for 2016/17!!
If you are wanting a powder adventure in Japan without all of the hassle of researching and coordinating transfers and accommodation, and you prefer to ride independently (without a guide
) then the Honshu Snow Tow could be "just the ticket" you are looking for!
This tour is designed for the budget conscious
; those who just want a warm and comfy place to rest at night between constant face-shots during the day.
You can bring a friend, an entire group, or just come along on your own and join a group of like-minded powder hounds.
The Ski Areas
The first 3 days of skiing will be in the Hakuba Area
(staying in Echoland
in a well-located lodge) including Happo One
& Hakuba 47
After 3 epic days of riding the Hakuba area, you will travel to Nozawa Onsen
(staying in a fabulous western run Japanes-style lodge). From here you will access some of Honshu's best and largest ski areas; Nozawa Onsen
, Myoko Kogen
& Shiga Kogen
At the end of each day, you can soak in natural hot springs
, treat yourself to delicious Japanese food
, and think about how life couldn't get much better (oh and post brag photos
on Powderhounds Facebook page
and share with your friends to see)!
- Ski some of the best powder on the planet
- No need to follow a guide, rip the POW at your own pace
- Soak your powder-tired bones in outdoor natural hot springs aka "onsens"
- Relax and be driven from location to location (with a beer in hand at the end of the day!)
- All of the headaches of planning your trip before arrival and whilst you are on tour are taken care of
- Venture out to many of Honshu's top resorts
Skier/Boarder AbilityGiven that this trip is unguided and you are likely to be skiing off-piste, it is recommend that you be an intermediate to advanced skier or rider.
If you are planning to ski off-piste, Japan Ski Tours would also highly recommend that participants carry avalanche safety gear including a minimum of transceiver, shovel, probe and backpack.
Superb Japanese food
Make new life-long friends
AccommodationJapan Ski Tours
stay in lodging which is comfortable and functional. Rooms vary per lodge, but you can expect to stay in two to four person rooms.
Japan has a reputation for a lack of après ski scene you say? Not this place.
Your lodging in Hakuba is within close walking distance to all of the fun amenities of the popular Echoland area and provides access to everything Echoland has to offer during the off-hours including cafes, restaurants, onsen, convenience stores, and of course a healthy number of bars.
The common area in the lodge features a big fireplace surrounded by big comfy couches to relax after a cold, snowy day on the slopes. It's also got free wifi in each room, shared showers (split gender) and shared community toilets.
Your hotel in Nozawa Onsen is great, just around the corner from one of the village's 13 public and free traditional onsen, centrally located, full (Japanese) size and has its own hot springs style bath free of use for an après-ski soak. It's also a short walk through Nozawa's narrow, hilly, windy paths to all of the small family run restaurants, bars, and izakayas (Japanese-style drinking spots). You like craft beer? It's here. You like sake? It's here. You like karaoke? Guess what? It's also here. The fun does not stop on the slopes for the Snow Tow.
Less than 1 hour away from Myoko and some of the best snow in Nagano, this hotel is a great base to come back to before deciding where to storm chase the next day. The hotel's daily crafted breakfast, featuring many Nozawa specialties, both Japanese and Western, is sure to give you the boost you need to surf Japow's white waves!
Each room features free Wi-Fi and bathrooms feature private showers.
Accommodation in Hakuba
Lodge in Nozawa Onsen
Typical rooms in Nozawa lodging
Day 1: Travel to Niseko & Meet & Greet
You will meet your host/guide at 4pm in Nagano Station which is the central transit area in Nagano Prefecture. If you are unable to arrive by 4pm at the station, you can arrange a shuttle to Hakuba's Echoland on your own to meet the host there on the evening of Day 1.
You will arrive in Hakuba via one of the JST 4-wheel drive "Adventure Vans" around 5pm. The lodging in Hakuba is within close walking distance to all of the fun amenities of the Echoland area, including delicious Japanese and western restaurants and a healthy number of bars for you to hop around to. If you need to rent a set of powder skis or board for the trip, your host will assist you with that on Day 1 as well.
Day 2: Ski Happo One
As the site of Nagano's Olympic slalom and downhill events, Happo has a variety of terrain for everyone. Steep pitches starting from the highest point of any of Hakuba's resorts, long intermediate slopes for the rusty, and powder bowls for the hounds, this is a great place to start the adventure.
You should note that you will be supplied with an all-Hakuba pass for the 3 days you'll be skiing here, so with a free shuttle service, you'll be able to hit any of the slopes on the mountain each day. While JSTs aim to take you to the best resorts on Hakuba, there's no requirement for you to follow their schedule in Hakuba.
Day 3: Ski Cortina
A favorite among Hakuba veterans, this resort has wonderful tree runs and Cortina's ski patrol is very relaxed in its approach to off-piste skiing. On top of that, Cortina frequently gets the most snowfall of any resort in the valley.
Day 4: Ski Hakuba 47/Goryu and head to Nozawa Onsen
It's time to pack up your things, check out of Echoland, and head to Hakuba 47/Goryu. With over 11 meters of average snowfall and north-facing slopes, many believe this resort has the best snow quality in Hakuba. It's got steep slopes for you to rip down and if you're a freestyler, 47's got Hakuba's best park and biggest jumps. After this final day in Hakuba, you will head north to explore three more mountains in pursuit of some of the best pow and terrain in Honshu.
Day 5-6: Northern Nagano and Myoko
You will arrive at one of Japan's most famous onsen (hot spring) towns, Nozawa Onsen.
This second base is a town that dates back to at least the 8th century, and has been famous as an onsen town across Japan since the Edo era three hundred years ago. At the same time, Nozawa Onsen is a historically significant ski area as Japan's second-ever established ski resort and the site of the country's first competitive ski course.
The jewel of this town is the thirteen public and free onsen. Traditional buildings dating back hundreds of years are open to visitors of Nozawa and can be easily found as you walk the town's narrow and hilly roads. Towns people maintain the baths, as they have for generations, and all you need to bring is a towel.
From the Nozawa base, you'll have easy access to Myoko, Shiga Kogen and Madarao.
Day 5: Ski Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort
Tree skiing at Madarao
Happo Village Hakuba
Spectacular Nozawa Onsen
Ski Nozawa, just up the hill from our lodging. This resort offers steep slopes, tree skiing, and some solid backcountry options. At the end of the day onsen-hop and hit up some local izakayas (Japanese-style bars) and the local craft brewery.
Day 5 Option:
Take a break from skiing and spend the day on a snow monkey and cultural tour
of Northern Nagano. Check out Japan's famous snow monkeys, one of the nation's best breweries, and the old town of Obuse. Worried about the cost? Don't! This all-inclusive option is free of charge
Day 6: Ski Myoko's Akakura Resorts
Hit up the famous powder-blessed mountain of Myoko at the combined resorts of Akakura Kanko/Onsen. This resort has a relaxed off-piste strategy, famously deep pow and tree skiing. It is also the base-point of Myoko's best backcountry tours.
Day 6 Option
: Join a guided backcountry tour
by Myoko's most experienced backcountry operator. Enjoy beautiful views, a free bento lunch after your climb, and untouched pow. Just be sure to let Japan Ski Tours know when you submit your enquiry that this tour is of interest.
Day 7 Option #1: Early Iiyama Station Dropoff (8:30 AM)
If you need to make it back to Tokyo or the airport in time for a noon departure, JST can drop you off at Iiyama Station, which is a shinkansen (bullet train) station and you can zip back towards Tokyo.
Day 7 Option #2: Ski Shiga Kogen Resort
Finish off an epic Japow tour at Shiga Kogen, Japan's largest ski area. JST will hook you up with an all-mountain pass, giving you access to this highand's vast area of 19 interconnected resorts. After skiing, they'll drop you off where you started, at Nagano Station between 5-6 PM.
Inclusions & Pricing
per person (multi-share room)
- AIRPORT TRANSFER: All transportation beginning with a station pick up at Nagano Station.
- TRANSPORT: The transportation to resorts around the Hakuba area, to Northern Nagano, and back to Nagano or Iiyama Station is included.
- LODGING: All lodging. The practical lodging has everything you need and is based on shared triple/four person rooms in Hakuba and triple/four person in Nozawa Onsen. The rooms are basic with a shared toilet and private bathing facilities. Both of the lodgings are easy walking distance to convenience stores, onsen (hot springs), bars and restaurants.
- MEALS: Big daily breakfast
- LIFT PASSES: All lift tickets at 6 ski resorts including all resorts at Hakuba (Happo One, Cortina, Hakuba 47/Goryu) and Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Akakura Kanko/Onsen and all 19 interconnected resorts at Shiga Kogen.
- HOSTING: Bilingual tour host and native of the area clearly communicates daily activities, meeting times and recommendations. Your guide will make daily dinner arrangements and translate menus as well as cultural interpretations. You may get lost on the mountain but will never be lost in translation :)
- GUIDING: Free optional tour day to go see Japan's famous snow monkeys, a great sake brewery with free tastings, and Nagano's historic Obuse Town.
- FLIGHTS: International flights in/out of Chitose airport (CTS) - book flights here
TRIP INSURANCE: Highly recommended, as all subsisting costs will be charged in case of absence. Payment by credit card, Visa Premier or Gold MasterCard, may provide cancellation insurance. Check your contract.
LUNCHES, DINNERS & DRINKS: only those meals stated above are included in the price.
POWDER SKIS & POWDER BOARDS: It is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment that you have appropriate skis and snowboards for deep, deep powder.
AVALANCHE SAFETY GEAR: Beacon, shovel and probe etc.
- BACKCOUNTRY GUIDING: Guided backcountry isn't included in this trip. If you would like a day of guided backcountry, they can recommend a company that specializes in this service
- ADDITIONAL LIFT PASSES - any additional lift passes required beyond the 6 days.
- TAXES: rates do not include 8% consumption tax
- Myoko Backcountry Tour (Day 6) - ¥15,000
- Snowmonkey & sake Tour (Day 5) - FREE
Japan Ski Tours Terms & Conditions
Deposit and Full Payment
- Deposit is 50% of the trip cost
- The remaining balance is due one month before trip departure
- Credit card payments may be made via Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express
- 30% cancellation fee for cancellations made more then 3 months before the start of your trip
- 50% cancellation fee for cancellations made between 1-3 months before trip departure
- No refund for any cancellations made less than one month before trip departure
Cancellation by Japan Ski Tours
Japan Ski Tours reserves the right to cancel any program due to weather or route conditions. If a tour is canceled before commencing, due to weather or route conditions, then a full refund will be given; however, JST is not responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).