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Itinerary

The Tohoku Powder Tour

Tokyo - Zao Onsen - Morioka - Kuroishi (Hakkoda Ropeway) - Kyoto
16 days
£5,828

RESORT & SIDE-COUNTRY / GUIDED & HOSTED (for 9 days)

This tour focuses on the Tohoku region of Japan - the vast tract of land north of Tokyo on Honshu Island, the main island. This is Japan's least-visited region and also, bizarrely, it's snowiest! You are heading north towards Hokkaido Island, and the constant proximity of the western sea assures heavy snowfall as the storms blow in from Siberia. And there are so many un-discovered ski resorts up here, off the radar of the international skiers and largely dependant on local trade, meaning fresh track opportunities are plentiful. This is Japan's new frontier and this group tour gets you to mountains we otherwise struggle to access on our tailor-made tours - the logistics proving prohibitive unless you have your own transport and guides.

After flying to Tokyo and spending a day or two sightseeing (and getting your body-clock into local sync), you then jump on a bullet-train north to Yamagata where the group is ready to assemble. Your first day on the slopes will be in amongst the snow monsters at one of our favourite resorts in all Japan, Zao Onsen - characterful, authentic and quirky. You stay in a wonderful, traditional ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn) with real onsen baths. After your first days skiing, you head down to Yamagata town where we you’ll enjoy a lovely kaiseki dinner accompanied by a private Maiko (geisha) performance.

You then head deeper in to the north and settle in to Morioka city, your base for the next five nights. From here you head off on day trips to nearby low-key resorts such as Appi Kogen, Geto Onsen, Hachimantai, Tazawako and Shizukuishi. Local conditions will determine the day-by-day - but each resort is fully worth your full attention, all with no other foreigners on the slopes. And Moriaka itself is a simply wonderful base - lively, vibey, provincial and real. 

The last three nights are spent even further north - as north as you can get on Honshu Island - where you either ski (or ride) in Aomori Springs or head to the incredible Hakkoda ropeway and its limitless backcountry. With two guides, two vans and a road that rings the mountain, you have the option of going wide and blasting fresh deep pow down to the road before pressing repeat!

Finally - you say goodbye to the group and fly from Aomori Airport to Kyoto, for three nights / two days sightseeing (at leisure) in Japan's ancient capital. Then, and only then, do you fly home to the UK after your skiing and cultural odyssey.

The Tohoku Powder Tour
 

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1
Fly from the UK, direct to Tokyo on British Airways.
Day 2
Arrive in Tokyo and make your way to your hotel in the Shinjuku district. Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing after the long international flight.
Day 3
FA 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 4
We have you booked on a bullet-train to express you directly from Tokyo Station to Yamagata Station, several hours north of the capital and in the mountains. This is where you guide will meet you and you are then transferred up out of the valley to the village of Zao Onsen, where you check in to your ryokan and congregate together with your travelling companions for the first time. Enjoy kaiseki dinner (gorgeous Japanese dining) and onsen bathing before bed.
Days 5-13
Join the group, travelling around the Tohoku Region. You have 8-days of skiing or riding, with two nights in Zao Onsen, five nights based out of Morioka City and finally three nights in remote Kuroishi.
Day 14
You are dropped back at Aomori Airport (where you say goodbye to the group) and then have a domestic flight, heading south to Itami Airport. From here make your way in to Kyoto, where your central hotel is close to all the main sights of the ancient capital. Afternoon and evening at leisure in Kyoto.
Day 15
A full day at leisure in Kyoto. You are free to explore at your own pace. 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 16
We have you booked on a transfer to take you out to Kansai Airport, from which you fly home to the UK.

Dates, Cost & Inclusions

 

DATES

13 – 28 Jan 2021

25 Jan – 9 Feb 2021

4 – 19 Feb 2021 

COSTS

£5,828 per person* / single supplement = £745

Note: an early booking discount is in place until 30th September - save £250 per person

*note that this cost may vary and this is usually down to the costs of the international flights. This is more likely over Christmas / New Year or other peak dates. We will confirm the price if you call us (or email) to check availability.

TOUR INCLUSIONS

International flights on British Airways.

Domestic flight on All Nippon Airlines.

Fully guided & hosted whilst in the Tohoku Region (10 days).

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

2 nights twin share in Meitoya-So Ryokan, Zao Onsen. Breakfast is included.

5 nights twin share accommodation at Hotel Grand Annex, Morioka. Breakfast is included.

3 nights twin share accommodation in Hotel Azumashiya, Kuroishi. Breakfast is included.

2 nights twin share in Vista Premio Hotel, Kyoto. Breakfast is included.

Bullet-train from Tokyo (Shinjuku) to Yamagata Station.

Transfer from Yamagata Station to Zao Onsen.

8 days worth of lift passes and guiding in the Tohoku region.

Onsen (hot spring) tour.

5 dinners showcasing the areas delicious food.

Welcome kaiseki dinner party in Yamagata City, complete with Maiko performance.

Transfer to Aomori Airport on the final day of the group tour.

Shared taxi transfer from Kyoto hotel to Kansai Airport.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

Rental equipment.

Avalanche gear rental.

Accommodation & Ability Requirements

 

ACCOMMODATION

Gracery Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Meitoya-So Ryokan, Zao Onsen.

Hotel Grand Annex, Morioka.

Hotel Azumashiya, Kuroishi.

Vista Premio Hotel, Kyoto. 

SKI / SNOWBOARD ABILITY REQUIREMENTS

6:1 Client to Guide ratio (i.e. two guides will accompany the group, if full)

12 people max per tour (four person minimum).

Skill Level: Advanced in powder

You must have a good level of fitness.

You must be able to ski the whole mountain with confidence and at a reasonable speed in powder, through trees 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.

Groups are split up into ski/board/ability levels and some groups we will be doing some hiking (traversing / bootpacking) to get to the goods. Skins or split-boards are not required but if the group has touring gear or wants to hire they will happily take you deeper into the backcountry.

What our customers say

4.5 star rating

Our customers rate us 'Excellent'

Every detail was taken care of

We love to travel and I love planning trips, but Japan was just a little bit out of my comfort zone. I appreciated Nick’s expertise and was willing to pay for it! It was worth every penny in my mind. We appreciated the “guides” and all the suggestions.

Meg  ·  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)

Please visit our TrustPilot page to read the full reviews.

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