The Ultimate Japan Safari

Japan Holidays

Expert Opinion Our Expert
Andrea Selig

"Why should you have to pick and choose between Niseko and the mainland ski resorts when you could ski both! Combine these with stays in Tokyo and Kyoto and you get this trip of a lifetime."

Safari Details

Resorts & Cities

Driving Times

Nozawa Onsen Tokyo - Nozawa Onsen 4 hrs
Kyoto Nozawa Onsen - Kyoto 4½ hrs
Niseko Kyoto - Saporo (flight) 2 hrs
Tokyo Saporo - Niseko 2 hrs
Sapporo - Tokyo (flight) 1½ hrs

Combine skiing on both Japan's mainland and north island with two very different and dynamic cities for this once in a lifetime experience of phenomenal powder, fabulous food and captivating culture.

We can tailor-make any itinerary to your requirements, depending on budget and how much travelling and skiing you wish to do. However, for the ultimate Japan Ski Safari we recommend the following 15 night itinerary:

Sample 15-night itinerary

Day 1:

Overnight flight to Japan.

Days 2-5:                

Arrive in Tokyo and transfer to Nozawa Onsen for a few days skiing. With great intermediate terrain and advanced tree skiing at the peak, Nozawa Onsen has a beautiful unspoilt village with free hot springs scattered throughout. The accommodation is traditional Japanese and there are also an amazing selection of restaurants.

Days 6-8:

Take the bullet train to Kyoto. Set in an inland basin bordered by hills, Kyoto has a reputation as Japan’s most beautiful city and is one of its most popular destinations. With more than 1,000 temples it is known as the temple capital of the world. Some of my favourites include Fushimi Inari Shrine (for the Tori Gates), Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizu Dera (shrine with excellent views over Kyoto and great souvenir shops). Other compelling attractions include a visit to the Geisha district of Gion, and the Pontocho restaurant alley lined with traditional Japanese eateries.

Days 9-12:

Fly the short 2 hour hop to Hokkaido for Niseko. Three interlinked ski areas (Hirafu, Annapuri and Higashiyama) combine to create Niseko, Japan’s largest and best known resort. The powder is incredible and the terrain includes wide cruising runs fringed with snow-laden trees and the best backcountry in Japan with vast and varied tree skiing. These steeper descents are accessed from gates off the mountain peak and should be skied with a guide or a local as a wrong turn can lead to a long walk through deep snow! 

The food in Niseko is sensational. Local dishes served in the many restaurants and cafes scattered throughout the village include wonderful sushi and sashimi, steaming hot bowls of noodles and broths and delicious chicken yakkitori skewers. Those seeking nightlife (with an Australian flavour) should stay in Hirafu. Otherwise we recommend the Green Leaf Hotel, or the Hilton Niseko Village in Niseko Village. Accommodation is either ski-in ski-out or has easy access to the slopes.

Days 13-15:

Back to Tokyo for a final blast of culture and shopping. I recommend heading to Omotesando, where designer shops such as Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton have amazing window displays. The Oriental Bazaar can also be found here, where you can pick up great Japanese kimonos, yukatas and chinaware. On ‘Cat Street’ in Jingumae, just off the main Omotesando drag, you will find the flagship stores for a lot of outdoor brands such as Patagonia, Burton, Mammut and many more. However if you are looking for really cheap ski/snowboarding gear, head to Jimbotcho (closest station Ochanomizu), an area where shop after shop attempt to undercut each other with the latest gear, or last season’s equipment at the lowest prices!

Disneyland is a must for families. Visit the legendary Tsukiji fish market, the Akihabara electronic district, or explore Asakusa and its ancient temple. On a Saturday or Sunday I would highly recommend a stroll through Yoyogi Park, where you can catch a glimpse of everyday life in Japan – whether people are out walking their dressed-up dogs, dancing dressed as Elvis, or having a boozy picnic with friends. Shinjuku is the business district where a ride up the government towers gives you the best views over Tokyo, or venture to the seedier “Kabukicho” red light district. There is something for everyone in Tokyo!

Price Guide

A sample price for this 15 night ski safari including accommodation, direct flights, internal flights and transfers is £2,579 pp for 2 adults.

Click here to request a quotation tailored to your particular requirements, or please call Andrea on 01273 224 062.


        Click map to enlarge

Nozawa Onsen