Our most popular tour
Get away from ski resort towns and foreign crowds to see Japan's real backcountry while staying at authentic Japanese inns.
What's it about?
The objective of this backcountry tour is to enjoy real Japanese hospitality, accommodation, and food in unique setting away from ski resorts. It isn't just about the backcountry skiing or snowboarding.
A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that serves genuine Japanese banquet style meals for breakfast and dinner and usually has a fantastic in-house onsen (volcanic hotspring bath). We might stay at one of two Ryokans during the tour, depending on conditions. Most are within 2 hours drive of Hakuba, and once there, we often ski to and from the door and seldom see other skiers. We will not ski any resorts or use any lifts on this tour.
The terrain will always include alpine and tree skiing, depending on conditions. Some venues require significant approach walks every day to access bigger runs.
- Suitable for upper-intermediate skiers/riders and those with intermediate backcountry experience. Please read our skill and experience definitions before signing up for a tour.
Who does it suit?
Generally more mature-minded people. Adventerous and easy-going open minded travellers who are not fussy eaters (this tour really does not suit fussy eaters.)
Rescue Insurance, Cancellation and Ability
Comprehensive mountain rescue insurance is compulsory. For more important info on that topic, and our cancellation policy, please see below, or here.
We meet in Hakuba on the evening before the first day and have dinner together. Accommodation is included for that night. The next morning, we'll relocate to our Ryokan and start backcountry skiing. We may change locations midway through the trip depending on conditions. On the afternoon of the last day, we'll return to Hakuba for a farewell dinner. Accommodation on this last night in Hakuba is also included.
- 5 days of professional guiding with an ACMG qualified Ski Guide and a tail guide.
- 6 nights of accommodation.
- All meals.
- Compulsary personal mountain rescue insurance (see below).
- Transport before and after the tour. You have to get yourself to Hakuba.
Accommodation and Cuisine
Japanese Ryokan accommodation is traditionally in shared rooms, perhaps 2-4 people per room. Couples will always get their own room. Solo travellers will be grouped - we aim for two people per room. The bedding is futon mattresses rolled out on tatamti floors. If you prefer a private room and/or a western style bed, please discuss the [limited] options with us.
Japanese Ryokan accommodation includes set-menu banquet meals. They are very Japanese and to be honest, not so adaptable to strict dietary requirements. If you have serious allergies, please discuss this with us before booking. As for fussy eaters - you may not enjoy the food experience as much as the rest of us. Traditional Japanese cuisine is an important experience on this tour. Please consider this before booking.
These are Japanese o-bento style and supplied by the Ryokan. However, some venues are unable to provide this service, in which case we will be responsible for our own lunch supplies.
A detailed gear list will be provided after booking. In the meantime, please consider the following.
- 3-antenna digital beacon, and a proper avalanche shovel and probe.
- Touring skis or a splitboard. No snow shoes, sorry.
- 30-40 liter backcountry-specific backpack capable of carrying your skis or snowboard. Smaller packs are too small, and that includes most rental packs.
- Warm down or synthetic puffy jacket that can be worn over your shell jacket. A combination of lighter jacket and vest is also a good option.
On this tour you will be uncomfortable in heavy and bulky resort clothing. Most people signing up already own light backcountry layering. If not, please take this chance to buy some.