Ultimate Japan Ski Safari
Experience Hokkaido’s famous powder, the authentic culture of Nagano and the fascinating cities of Kyoto and Tokyo.
Japan's two famous ski destinations of Nagano and Hokkaido hold huge appeal: while Nagano has fascinating culture, Hokkaido island has legendary powder. Choosing between them is tough, so we’ve combined both to create the Ultimate Japanese Ski Safari.
The country’s most northerly island, Hokkaido receives around 14-metres of powder each year, and Niseko is the best place to experience it. While the snow is deep, Japan’s terrain is relatively mellow compared to the steep European Alps, making it perfect for practising your powder turns.
A short flight south, it’s easy to add Tokyo or Kyoto (45 minutes from Osaka) to the start or end of your trip. Tokyo’s cityscapes are simply stunning, and Kyoto is best known for its Geisha district and temples.
Many of Nagano’s ski resorts are a bullet-train ride from Tokyo and Kyoto. One of our favourites, Nozawa Onsen is famous for its public onsens (hot springs). Other great ski options include the Hakuba Valley, and the magical tree-skiing in Myoko (Niigata prefecture).
Tell us what you would like to experience most, and we’ll recommend the best resorts for you. For the best snow quality, fewest crowds and best prices, we recommend travelling in mid-February, after Chinese New Year.
For a taste of what to expect, watch Red Bull's pro athletes as they make the most of Hakuba, Hokkaido and Tokyo.
This sample itinerary is our suggestion of how you could divide your time between Honshu and Hokkaido.
All our ski safaris are completely customisable, and you can alter the itinerary to suit your preferences - whether that means more time on either island, more time in the cities, or following our route in reverse.
Fly overnight from London to Tokyo (Honshu), then catch a short connecting flight to Sapporo Chitose on Hokkaido.
Niseko - Spend six days in Japan’s most famous ski resort. Divide your time between the four linked ski areas, then hire a guide to explore the backcountry. Off the slopes, the food is incredible and there’s an excellent range of hotels to stay at.
Kyoto - Fly back to Honshu for a short transfer to Japan’s former imperial capital. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you spend two days touring the temples, visiting the Geisha district and tasting your way along Pontocho restaurant alley.
Nozawa Onsen - Travel by rail to this unspoilt village for four days of skiing. The intermediate terrain is excellent here, and there’s advanced tree-skiing at the peak. Rich in culture, the resort is also famous public onsens (hot springs) and traditional restaurants.
Tokyo - Spend your last two nights experiencing Tokyo’s malls, fish markets and neon cityscapes. The Oriental Bazaar is particularly good for gifts, and you can rely on Tokyo’s food scene for a last taste of yakitori, ramen noodles and fresh sushi before heading home.