The Tomamu Ski Resort in Hokkaido has lots of bells and whistles that make it incredibly family friendly, yet for powder hounds the Hoshino Resort Tomamu is still somewhat of a hidden treasure.
Tomamu is the most extravagant of the Hokkaido ski resorts (and also rather kitsch!). With a 50 metre wave pool, glamorous restaurants and peculiar looking sky-scraper hotel towers, one could be mistaken for thinking that Tomamu is a glitzy and busy ski area that powder hounds should avoid. Think again! At Tomamu there are very few people to share the famous Hokkaido powder with, and off-piste skiing is not
prohibited at Tomamu.
Tomamu Ski and Snowboard Terrain
When you see the size of the hotel towers at the base, you’d think that the ski area must be the size of Whistler Blackcomb. Then you remember you’re in Japan where the ski resorts are only small to medium sized and Tomamu Ski Resort is no exception. Officially the ski resort is 145 hectares in size (which probably only refers to the piste) with 28 courses (ie trails) and a vertical drop of 699 metres (540-1,239m).
The Hoshino Resort Tomamu ski area offers a variety of terrain including a great beginner area, various groomers for intermediates, and a couple of advanced mogul runs. The "expert" courses and off-piste skiing are certainly a drawcard for the advanced skier and snowboarder, whilst the sidecountry and backcountry areas around Tomamu are a major bonus. As is somewhat typical of Japan there are no super steep pitches, but with such great powder and awesome tree skiing, experts don't seem to mind.
The Tomamu ski resort also caters really well to families and the young at heart, with an adventure terrain park and a kids-specific park.
Tomamu Ski Resort receives about 8 to 10 metres of snowfall on average per season, and in typical central Hokkaido fashion, the powder falls very light and dry. The Tomamu snow is often well maintained thanks to low temps and high elevation, however a downside of the resort is that many of the slopes are south facing, so the off-piste slopes can become a bit crusty when it’s sunny. Conversely, some of the sidecountry slopes are north facing and the powder can be absolutely delicious!
Where is Tomamu Hokkaido?
Tomamu Japan is situated in central Hokkaido, 150km east of Sapporo
close to the Hidaka National Park. It is only an hour train ride away from the Sapporo International Airport. Nearby ski resorts include Sahoro
, and Yubari
is primarily in the “sky-scrapers”; the aptly named Tower Hotel and the upscale Risonare Hotel. The Tomamu hotels are western-style and are conveniently ski-in ski-out.
The Tomamu hotels break the mould of Japan hotel rooms being small and pokey, with rooms ranging from very generously sized to massive.
Facilities & Activities
Tomamu Resort was purpose-built during the bubble era at a cost of around US$1Billion. With no expense spared, the resort has substantial infrastructure and amenities.
The resort has a range of facilities including souvenir shops, lots of restaurants, child care, ski and snowboard rentals, ski school, and little shops selling sundries. It lacks some fundamentals such as a bar (except an ice bar where you'll last 5 minutes), however in true Japanese style there are plenty of vending machines if you need a drink.
The Hoshino Resort Tomamu has a major "resort" feel to it so there's the risk of catching "cabin fever". However like a cruise ship, Tomamu has a plethora of activities on offer to keep you entertained including cat skiing, tubing, kids parks, fishing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, and the over-the-top wave pool.
Summary of Pros and Cons of Tomamu Japan
- Tomamu Hokkaido offers an opportunity to get away from the major western crowds, and there are enough English speaking staff to make your stay easy.
- Powder days provide some of the best in-bounds powder skiing in Hokkaido. And if you head off-piste you won’t get chased by a whistle-blowing ski patroller (unless you’re not wearing a poxy bib).
- The towering hotels seem somewhat out of place at the base of a ski resort and the resort looks might fancy (and very OTT), but surprisingly the hotels provide great value for money considering they’re ski-in ski-out and the high standard of accommodation.
- Tomamu is incredibly child friendly with an array of kids activities and plenty of beginner slopes. The downside for those on a budget is that ski lessons in English are only provided in a private format.
- There are also lots of activities for adults.
- Tomamu is close to other central Hokkaido ski resorts, so it’s great to visit on a multi-resort powder chasing tour (see below).
- There is zero nightlife at Tomamu (this is quite common at Japanese ski resorts).
- The south facing aspect of the resort might be nice for beginners who like the sun, but it’s not so good for the snow quality a few days after a snowfall.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
- There is no cute little Japanese traditional village at Tomamu. The resort is a resort in the truest sense and it provides modern (kitsch) Japanese culture at its best.
Tours That May Include Tomamu