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Itinerary

Honshu Powder Extravaganza

Hakuba Valley - Myoko Kogen (or Arai) - Tokyo
two weeks

If you were to provide us with a straight-forward request –

"I want to go to Japan for one reason only. I want to experience the best snow and make fresh tracks in the really deep stuff"

- then this is the itinerary we would end-up creating.

Honshu Island gets every bit as much snow as Hokkaido, yet the terrain is more varied and - crucially - the crowds are fewer, so fresh tracks are a real possibility. This itinerary combines three regions, all famous for the amount of snowfall they receive and their relaxed attitude to side and backcountry skiing.

The Hakuba Valley has the largest amount of terrain and the most variety - a wonderful introduction to skiing or snowboarding in Japan. You then head over towards Myoko Kogen (or, better still, Arai if you have the budget), which places you on the snowiest mountains in all Japan.

The final ski resort is further away…but well worth the effort. A long bullet-train ride (three and half hours) takes you to Appi-Kogen, and the rewards are immense. This is our Ja’Pow secret gem, out on a limb and rarely visited by international guests. Fresh tracks abound. And, close by, is the Hakkoda ropeway; one lift / one mountain / no grooming. Absolute ski nirvana.

Then it's back down to Tokyo for a final night in the capital before flying home.

 

day-by-day itinerary

Day 1
Depart from the U.K., flying to either Tokyo Narita or Tokyo Haneda.
Day 2
Shared taxi transfer direct from the airport to your hotel in the Hakuba Valley. Relax after the long international flights.
Days 3 - 6
Four days skiing in the Hakuba Valley - use the gates to explore the backcountry. Guides can be arranged.
Day 7
Coach transfer from Hakuba to either Arai (for luxury) or Myoko Kogen (budget accommodation) - you have time to get on the slopes in the afternoon.
Days 8 - 10
Three days in the Myoko / Arai region. If you are staying in Myoko Kogen, then it would be worth making a day trip to the Arai mountain at least once, using the regular shuttle bus. And, if staying in Arai...then vice versa.
Day 11
Catch the shinkansen (bullet-train) from Joetsumyoko Station and head back to Tokyo, looking to arrive back in the capital in the early afternoon. Make your way to your hotel in the Shinjuku district and have an evening out on the town. Don't worry, we'll let you know where to go!
Day 12
A full day at leisure in Tokyo, left free for you to explore at your own pace.
Day 13
Make your way out to Tokyo Haneda or Tokyo Haneda, and fly back to the UK. You arrive home the same day.

what would this holiday cost?

Obviously, cost depends on which accommodation you choose, how many excursions and activities you want to book, whether you wish to include ski hire and local backcountry guides, etc. An indicative lead-in price for this 13-day itinerary would be circa £2,200 to £2,500 per person, including on moderate accommodation (mid / low season), shared taxi and bullet-train transfers, lift passes in both Hakuba and Myoko Kogen, and economy class flights from the U.K.

However, if you want choose to swap Myoko Kogen for Arai, the costs will rise simply because the standard of accommodation markedly rises. And then, for many, you would also want to factor in ski guides to get the most from an itinerary such as this - with a clear agenda to ski the best of the best. You should budget for circa £550 / £600 per day for a private guide, this cost shared between however many of  you there are.

If you were to move the dates to January (but still avoiding Christmas & New Year / Chinese New Year), this would then rise by approximately a couple of hundred pounds per person. And, of course, if you wanting the finest, most luxurious accommodation then....the sky's the limit really! Solo travellers should also be aware that costs increase, as you carry the burden of the accommodation cost alone.

We don't have to include international flights. However, by keeping it all within one package, your arrangements are protected by ATOL.

Different Snow strive to offer the most competitive prices in all instances. However, we pride ourselves first and foremost on quality - we are an independent specialist tour operator and, therefore, are not beholden to any supplier. We make our decisions based only on who's best in each and every instance.

Suggestions & Variations

With no set departures or fixed dates this itinerary can be extended, or even curtailed, to suit your available dates or match your budget.

Your biggest decision if you choose to follow this itinerary template, is whether to stay in Myoko Kogen or Arai for the second part of the itinerary? To be honest, because they are so close to each other and because if staying in Arai you will no doubt ski in Myoko Kogen and vice versa, therefore the decision merely becomes about where you would prefer to stay. An upmarket luxury ski lodge with all the facilities, but in the middle of nowhere (Arai) or would you prefer to stay in an authentic small Japanese village, though in more basic accommodation (Myoko Kogen)?

Do you have more time, perhaps extending to a full two weeks? Well, there is so much to terrain in the Hakuba Valley so more then only five ski days here is a blessing. Some guests stay in the Hakuba Valley for a full two weeks and don't get close to skiing it out! 

Alternatively, we've operated a similar itineraries by adding in Kyoto as well. It's simple; Tokyo - Hakuba Valley - Myoko Kogen (or Arai) - Kyoto. Or simply reverse, for exactly the same experience, but with the bright lights of Tokyo before you fly home. Either way, we couldn't think of a better way to spend two weeks in Japan.

What our customers say

4.5 star rating

Our customers rate us 'Excellent'

Would recommend Different Snow to everyone

Different Snow organised a tailor made holiday for my wife and I, visiting the snow monkeys, a ride on the bullet train, a short stay in Tokyo and 10 days skiing in Hakuba / Arai, both amazing resorts and plenty of snow. Excellent hotels, all transfers etc and even arranged last minute changes to our itinerary at our request that were dealt with happily and efficiently, nothing was too much trouble for them.

Trevor  ·  TrustPilot (verified review)

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

Different Snow put together a well thought out and carefully researched tailored three week trip. 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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