Hokkaido Explorer Ski Safari
Experience the best of Japan’s powder skiing and discover off-the-beaten-track resorts, then get your fill of Tokyo’s city sights
Japan’s largest and least developed island, Hokkaido is renowned for its record snowfalls and beautiful volcanic backdrops. Many of its best secrets lie in the smaller resorts, where the powder can stay untracked for days. With our ski safari, you can tour the resorts by transfer or hire car, venture away from the crowds and discover the very best of Hokkaido.
The first recommended stop is Niseko, internationally famed for snow, tree skiing, and a buzzing village packed with bars and dining options. Stay either slope-side in Niseko Village or in Hirafu Village for the local flair. One of Hokkaido’s quirkiest resorts, we love Rusutsu for its phenomenal powder and crazy Japanese kitsch. Nearby, Kiroro receives Japan’s most consistent snowfall and, relatively under the radar, we definitely recommend a visit. This is also a great place to hire a guide to find the biggest powder stashes. Furano is another favourite of ours, and makes a fantastic fourth resort with its long groomers, superb off-piste and authentic vibe. Having skied extensively throughout Hokkaido, we can also suggest alternative resorts - just ask our team to tell you more.
Culture and cuisine are a big part of any ski trip here, and you’ll find noodle bars and onsens (hot springs) in every resort, as well as local specialities such as snow crab and Hokkaido beef. Before flying home from Tokyo, a night in the capital is a must, whether you want to visit the mega-malls, tour the temples or spend all day eating sushi.
Our sample 14-day itinerary is just one suggestion of how you could divide your time. We suggest staying longer in one resort at the start of your trip, to help you settle after your flight.
All our holidays are completely customisable, and you can change the itinerary to suit your preferences, whether that means more powder skiing, more culture, or more time in Tokyo.
Fly overnight from London to Tokyo and catch a connecting flight to Sapporo Chitose Airport. The transfer to Niseko takes around three hours by scheduled bus or two hours by private transfer.
Spend four days skiing Japan's most famous resort Niseko. Divide your time between the four interlinked ski areas: Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri and Hanazono. Hire a guide to make the most of your time on the mountain and to find the best tree skiing. Off the slopes the food is incredible and there's a huge range of hotels to stay at to suit every budget.
It's a short 45 minute hop from Niseko across to Rusutsu. The quiet resort is particularly empty on the weekdays and the tree-skiing and off-piste are exceptional. Off the slopes, this resort centres around the two base hotels, the Rusutsu Resort Hotel and Westin Rusutsu.
The drive from Rusutsu to Kiroro takes around an hour. Hailed as the snowiest resort in Hokkaido, Kiroro has had a huge amount of investment in recent years which shows in the mountain infrastructure. Slope-side accommodation gives you easy piste access and for the best powder and off-piste, ask our team to organise a guide.
The transfer to Furano takes less than three hours and is a great opportunity to take in one of the more traditional Hokkaido resorts as Furano itself is a proper town as opposed to a purpose built resort. You'll have three days skiing in Furano before heading back to Sapporo for the flight home via Tokyo.