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Itinerary

Hokkaido Backcountry Tour

Furano - Niseko - Tokyo
13 days
£3,998

BACKCOUNTRY TOUR / GUIDED & HOSTED (for 9 days)

A simple premise - using two bases on Hokkaido Island, go and find the very best snow in Japan. Once identified, hike up to find the best lines possible untouched by fellow skiers. It really is pretty straight-forward.

So base no.1 will be Furano, located in the quieter central Hokkaido region. You are booked in here for five nights, and you'll be exploring the Daisetsu mountain range. These big, big volcanos include Kuro-dake, Asahi-dake and Tokachi-dake accross which you'll access some of the best backcountry skiing in Hokkaido. No, correct that. The best backcountry skiing in Japan. Your powder-packed days in the wilds of Hookaido often end with a relaxing soak in one of the many onsens in the region.

Next you head due south-west to Niseko - Japan's world-famous ski Mecca. This is the snowiest region in all Japan (arguably) and the possibilities here are limitless. And while nearly all of the international ski-set who swamp the region stay close to the lifts...you are your comrades need not follow their lead and instead head out to more remote, more thrilling, untouched slopes. As well as Niseko itself - Moiwa, Shiribetsu-dake, Rusustu, Mount Yotei, Kiroro and Chisenupuri are all within range.

(note: sometimes the tour will head to Niseko first and then on to Furano second - it simply depends on logistics and it makes no difference to the overall experience.) 

After all the skiing, you say goodbye to the other members of your small group on Hokkaido Island and head down to Tokyo for a couple of nights in the mega-city before flying home.

This tour has evolved over the years to be looser in content and more flexible in outlook. To best showcase Hokkaido’s backcountry all you need are locally-knowledgeable guides, the logistics taken care of, plenty of days and then you simply go with the flow, always mindful of local conditions. You need to bring with you plenty of energy (and by that we mean, you need to be pretty fit!) and some experience ski touring in deep powder snow. 

The tour is guided and hosted whilst you are in Hokkaido by guides who are local residents, hugely experienced and knowledgeable. They will accompany you on and off the slopes, meaning that time in the resorts includes the best restaurants, secret little bars and fun company. Your time in Tokyo at the end is by yourself (yourselves), and with so much to see and do - that's not a problem. Indeed, it's a bonus.

The Hokkaido Backcountry Tour
 

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1
Fly from the UK to Tokyo. Ideally, we use the direct flight on British Airways from London Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda.
Day 2
Arrive in Tokyo in the morning and transfer to a domestic flight to Sapporo Chitose Airport on Hokkaido Island. You then have a coach booked to take you on to Kitanomine Village in Furano. Meet up with your guide, your host and the rest of your fellow skiers / snowboarders. An evening in the bar to discuss local conditions, make sure expectations are clearly aligned, get to know each other and ask any questions.
Days 3-6
Skiing in central Hokkaido. Where you head out to ski or snowboard each day will depend wholly on local conditions - there are so many options, simply too many to list here. And because you are not constrained by 'lift-access' then the entire National Park if full of possibilities.
Day 7
A transfer day - you leave Furano and Central Hokkaido and head to Niseko in Western Hokkaido. Settle in to your accommodation in Hirafu, which is the lively village at the heart of the Niseko resort.
Days 8 - 10
You can explore the backcountry terrain accessed through the gates of Niseko itself or head to Rusutsu, Moiwa or Kiroro for the day. Or anywhere else, for that matter...again options are plentiful. You simply go find the best snow, away from the crowds.
Day 11
You take the shuttle coach back to Sapporo Chitose Station, say goodbye to your compadres at the airport and then fly south to Tokyo Haneda. Make your way to your hotel in the Shinjuku district of the capital - easily done. You then have the late afternoon and evening at leisure in Tokyo, free to explore at your own pace.
Day 12
A full day at leisure in Tokyo - the word's most exciting city! Different Snow have produced comprehensive, pragmatic and sometimes irreverent 'How To...' guides to help you explore - full of practical advice, recommendations, sightseeing notes and tips.
Day 13
Make your way out to Tokyo Haneda airport on the direct Airport Limousine coach and fly directly home to the UK, whereby you arrive home the same day in the mid-afternoon.

Dates, Cost & Inclusions

 

DATES

9 – 18 Jan 2021 

4 – 13 Feb 2021 

25 Feb – 6 Mar 2021 

COST

£3,998 per person* / single supplement = £650

Note: an early booking discount is in place until 30th September - save £200 per person

*note that this cost may vary and this is usually down to the costs of the international flights. We will confirm the price if you call us (or email) to check availability.

It is possible to upgrade the accommodation selections - the hotels featured are perfectly fine - clean, comfortable and trusted. However, they are basic (3-star equivalent). Contact us for details of mid-range or luxury options, of which there are many. 

TOUR INCLUSIONS

International flights on British Airways.

Domestic flights on Japan Airlines.

Fully guided & hosted whilst in Hokkaido Island.

Coach transfers from Sapporo Chitose Airport to Furano and then back from Niseko to the airport.

Road transfer between Furano and Niseko.

Daily transport to the best snow.

5 nights twin share accommodation at Rising Sun B&B, Furano. Breakfast is included.

4 nights twin share accommodation at Full Note Pension, Hirafu Village, Niseko. Breakfast is included.

2 nights twin share at the Kadoya Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Breakfast is included.

Welcome & farewell dinner party.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

Avalanche gear rental.

Avalanche Awareness Course (optional).

Lift passes are not included due to the flexible nature of this trip. And, very often, you actually only need single ride passes to get you to where you want to be.

Cat skiing excursions are possible from both Furano and Niseko.

Rental gear (touring / splitboards).

Accommodation & Ability Requirements

 

ACCOMMODATION

Rising Sun B&B, Furano.

Full Note Pension, Hirafu Village, Niseko.

Kadoya Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo. 

The accommodation featured in the itinerary is clean, perfectly comfortable and very friendly. 100% fit for purpose. However, it is of a modest standard and it is possible to upgrade your hotels in Furano, Niseko and Tokyo - ask for details and costs.

SKI / SNOWBOARD ABILITY

4:1 Client to Guide ratio (i.e. two guides will accompany the group, if full) 

Eight people max per tour (three person minimum).

You must be able to ski/board the whole mountain in all conditions confidently at speed and have advanced ability in powder, through trees in steep terrain and in variable conditions. Snowboarders in this level are able to keep speed in flat sections by planning ahead as well as hold a solid traverse line and be able to hop up and manoeuvre in a way as to not slow down the group.

You must have a very good level of fitness and be able to hike for around 2-4 hours total per day.

AT/skins set-up or split-boards are required, no snowshoes. You must be experienced using this equipment.

The idea of these tours is to have complete flexibility to seek out the best conditions and objectives on any given day. Some days we will use the lifts for their vertical bump, on other days we will head to secluded locations to hike and explore Hokkaido’s amazing powder filled terrain.

 

What our customers say

4.5 star rating

Our customers rate us 'Excellent'

Terrific

Very knowledgeable, patient and organised. Enjoyed all of my chats with Nick who offered a fantastic personalised service. Itinerary, accommodations and transfers all exactly as planned, loads of useful info to accompany the trip. Would definitely use again and recommend.

Patricia O'Donnell  ·  TrustPilot (verified review)

I can’t rate Different Snow highly enough...

They put together a well thought out and carefully researched tailored three week trip. Different Snow’s guidance notes and travellers’ aid pack were comprehensive and really well thought out. Their recommendations for hotels, sightseeing, entertainment and dining were spot on.

David  ·  TrustPilot (verified review)

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