Epic Honshu Ski & Snowboard Progression
Epic Ski Adventures (ESA) are all about designing lifetime memories
, and this guided tour will stay in the recesses of your mind for years to come. Your guide/instructor will assist you in developing your skills
whilst introducing you to some of Honshu's great ski areas
Learning to ski and board in powder can sometimes be a daunting process
, however with the right direction and encouragement it can become a lifetime addiction
. The Nagano and Niigata areas with their abundant annual snowfall
are the perfect locations to teach powder technique alongside improving general ski confidence
. Your guide/instructor's methods of assisting you to learn to ski and ride the powder are a gradual process over the seven days of riding that will increase your confidence levels at a pace that suits you
. Although the focus is making you a better piste and powder rider, it is not all drills and practising
. Your guide knows where the private stashes are and will take you to places you would not dream of going on your own.
Your Japanese ski adventure is not complete without being immersed in a culture that has to be experience to be appreciated. Visit the world famous snow monkeys up close, be entertained by a traditional Geisha performance, be entertained by the Taiko Drum, Shamisen guitar and lion dance, participate in a Karate performance, and have the option to spend a recovery day exploring one of Japan’s oldest castle and temple in Matsumoto and Nagano, soak in the rejuvenating Onsens, taste the local sake and beer recipes and visit historic Shibu Onsen
town. Where other companies may place the cultural experience in Japan as an option, we include them so you get to experience the real Japan, and the list doesn't include the hidden gems we have up our sleeve that will amaze you and surprise you along the way.
These tours cater for intermediate and above - skiers and snowboarders
. You should be able to link turns together confidently on groomed trails.
should check out the Honshu Buffet for skiers only.
should check out the Honshu Buffet for snowboarders only.
Resorts/Ski Areas Visited (Depending on Conditions)
This tour has the ability to visit up to 10 different resorts in the Nagano and Niigata prefectures.
The resorts visited are dictated by the conditions
on any given day and each area has its own individual micro climate so don’t be surprised if you visit the same resort a number of times. The resorts include: Oku Shiga Kogen
, Yakebitaiyama, Ichinose and Giant (all part Asia’s largest ski resort Shiga Kogen
), Ryuoo Ski Park
, Nozawa Onsen
, and Myoko Kogen
ski areas Akakura
and Seki Onsen
Drive times to these resorts vary from 25 minutes to 50 minutes in good road conditions.
Madarao - Madapow!
Shiga Kogen - 21 ski areas!
Myoko Kogen - 5 ski areas
Accommodation & Meals
Ryokan Biyu no Yado
is a 3.5 star Ryokan
(Japanese Inn) in Yudanaka
and is ranked #1 by Trip Advisor,
scoring an average of 5 out of 5 from over 160 reviews!
Rooms all come with private ensuite/bathroom
and are Japanese-style with woven tatami floors
and futon beds
. All rooms have a flat screen TV, small fridge & kettle. Your room also has a traditional Japanese wardrobe (Yakata) which is not mandatory to wear at this Ryokan, although it is definitely comfortable attire after a day on the slopes.
The Ryokan also has four western rooms which are double the size of the Japanese rooms and cost an extra 6000 yen per night per person for the upgrade.
The Ryokan has an indoor Japanese bathhouse
(onsen) and outdoor hot spring
(rotenburo) and there is also a private onsen available
for rent for an additional fee.
Night-time meals (included in the package) are traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine
served by your own private waiter in the hotel dining area. Breakfast (also included) is either a Japanese or Western-style
There are massage services available
, free wi-fi
in the common lounge area, a luxurious lounge bar
and common seating area
, drinks vending machines, grand piano, large screen TV, karaoke and a souvenir shop.
Although the night time meals are exquisite, we mix your evening dining between five meals on site at the Ryokan and four off-site at authentic Japanese restaurants around Yudanaka and Nakano
. Each guest will be given cash or a voucher to the value of 2,000 yen
to be used at the restaurant that the group will be visiting on the off-site dinners.
Please enquire about budget and high end accommodation options.
...deluxe Japanese-style rooms...
.....outdoor hot springs
This itinerary is a guide only as the tour will ultimately be dictated by the weather each day
; your guide will fit around where the best conditions are. This is a powder tour so wider skis are recommended
to get the best out of your time with us. A full equipment checklist can be provided by ESA upon request. Your guide is there to teach skills on how to better ride the powder, and at the same time show you lines you may not have discovered on your own.
Make your way to Yudanaka
(home of the snow monkeys) on either the amazing rail system or a shuttle from Narita airport and be picked up at the station at Yudanaka
and taken to your lodging at Ryokan Biyu no Yado
(further information on how to get to Yudanaka is contained in the pre trip instructions). The area has a history of over 1,300 years as a hot spring resort
and more recently was put on the map due to the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games. You are treated like a rock star at the Ryokan with exceptional service, immaculate surroundings and food to die for. Your first nights meal is at the Ryokan which is an experience in itself. Bring your camera.
Made up of 19 resorts, Shiga Kogen
is the largest ski area in Asia and has something for everyone. Because Shiga is so large and elevated, fresh lines can be found days after a snowfall
. And because relatively few westerners have discovered this area the queues are almost non-existent
and another bonus is that very few Japanese ski off-piste
. After skiing why not try an onsen to sooth any aches and pains followed by a local beer or wine from the lounge bar. While eating a dinner that is pure art, you will be entertained by a traditional Geisha performance
. Bring your skills for the Geisha games.
After breakfast we will travel to Nozawa Onsen
for some more action on the snow. Considered by some as the birthplace of skiing in Japan, its 300 hectares of terrain and 50km of slopes will not disappoint. At the end of the day we will take a walk through Nozawa Onsen township
and enjoy the many shops and eating treats. After your daily onsen ritual
we will drop into Nakano for the sushi train experience
The drive to Myoko Kogen
allows you the choice of either Akakura or Seki Onsen to be skied at today. Seki Onsen, which has been in the same family for 93 years and is on the northern tip of the Myoko range receives over 13 metres of snow each year,
and has some fantastic steeps and side country. Enjoy some socialising at the lounge bar at the Ryokan followed by another traditional Japanese meal
This is one of those days where you get to choose. For those that want to stay on the snow you will visit the resort of Togakushi. You will enjoy a totally western free resort with a wide range of runs with an awesome view of the Japanese Alps.
Because some of you have not used those ski muscles for a while we find that day four is the day where some guests need a rest. This is a rest from skiing not the rich culture that is available in this area. After breakfast you will visit Matsumoto Castle which is the oldest 5 story, 6 layer castle tower in Japan. Get a photo with the Samurai, Ninja and Geisha who roam the castle garden area. Roam around Nakamachi-dori street and Nawate-dori street to soak up the old time Matsumoto atmosphere. No visit to Nagano is complete without visiting the Zenkoji Temple with over 1400 years of history. Unique in the fact that the city of Nagano was built around the temple thus know as a temple city and that it houses the oldest Buddhist image in Japan. You can walk through the pitch-black corridors under the main hall and tradition has it that if you touch the key below the principle image, your entry into paradise is secured (apparently they have lots of powder snow there).
After a full day of Japanese culture the group will dine in Suzaka at a Japanese buffet that has a staggering range of different food options to feast on.
Now that you were able to rest those tired muscles you are now more conditioned to enjoy the next four days of skiing. Ryuo Ski Park
offers some great tree skiing or open wide courses which are accessed with the areas only ropeway. Depending which activity is available over your 10 day tour, you will either experience the tradition of soba noodle making or view a ninja performance in house at the Ryokan.
Tonight you will enjoy a meal at one of the many traditional Japanese restaurants in Yudanaka.
...traditional Japanese food...
...visit the famous snow monkeys.
After breakfast we will further explore Shiga Kogen
. The great thing about the 19 connecting resorts at Shiga is that we may ski one area for the morning then after lunch relocate to another part of the mountain for more powder action. Your pass gives you access to the whole of Shiga and your guide knows where those private stashes are located
. Enjoy a bit of après ski at the Phoenix Hotel at Oku Shiga Kogen
which is where the Emperor of Japan holidays each year. Enjoy another meal in the township of Yudanaka.
is another of the Japanese ski fields that does not attract the hoards of gaijins (foreigners). This field seems to have its own micro climate and when it snows here it can be very light and deep
. If you are looking for a change from the Japanese fare, there is a restaurant on the mountain that makes the best burgers and pizzas. Tonight we will enjoy a meal at one of the many traditional Japanese restaurants in Yudanaka.
Finish your last day on the snow as a powder day. Using the many resorts you have already skied, your guide will choose the one with the best snow and go there
. If time allows we will visit the local sake museum
and taste up to 10 different sakes that are made on site. After dinner enjoy your last night at the Ryokan socialising at the lounge bar which overlooks the township of Yudanaka.
It is time to bid farewell to our fabulous hosts at the Ryokan Biyu no Yado
. No visit is complete to Yudanaka without some interaction with the famous “Snow Monkeys
”. This is the only place in the world you can see the snow monkeys soaking in natural hot pools up close and personal.
The evening performances of the Geisha, Taiko Drum and Karate demonstrations may vary on which night they fall on the 10 day tour due to overlap in bookings.
2016/17 Rates & Inclusions
- twin share per person
- single room upgrade ¥54,000
In addition to the dates listed, tours between 10th March and 31st March can be arranged and are based around a minimum of 4 people.
- 9 nights twin share accommodation in Japanese style rooms at Ryokan Biyu (please enquire re budget and upgraded accommodation options)
- Daily breakfasts
- Nightly dinners (includes 5 dinners at Ryokan Biyu and 4 dinners at a range of authentic Japanese restaurants in Yudanaka,Nakano and Nagano)
- 8 days of lift passes with guiding/instruction
- All mountain transfers
- Visit to the snow monkeys
- Geisha performance
- Taiko Drum, Shamisen guitar and lion dance performance
- Karate performance from a Grand Master champion of Japan
- Option to visit Matsumoto Castle and unique shopping experience
- Option to visit Nagano and the Zenkoji Temple
- Rejuvenating onsens
- Walk around 1300 year old historic Shibu town
- Local sake factory sampling tour
- Complimentary tour t-shirt
- Plus many more hidden gems....
- Travel to/from Yudanaka
- Flights - book flights here
- Travel Insurance - purchase online here
- Lunches, snacks, alcohol, dinners (apart from those advertised above)
- Equipment rental (although Epic can assist you with this)
- Backcountry gear (available for rent for 1,000 yen/day)
DEPOSIT & FULL PAYMENT
- Deposit is 20% of full tour price per person.
- All deposits are non-refundable.
- Final balance due: 30 days prior to departure.
- All payments are in Japanese Yen (JPY)
CANCELLATION BY YOU
- more than 30 days prior to departure, full deposit forfeited.
- Less than 30 days 100% forfeited.
- Tour operator highly recommends you take out travel insurance at time of sending your deposit.
CANCELLATION BY EPIC SKI ADVENTURES
Epic Ski Adventures reserves the right to cancel any tour prior to departure. In this case you will receive a full refund. You will not be entitled to make any further claim for compensation, damages, expenses, loss of time or inconvenience.
Other Important Information
The rules when skiing at resorts in Japan can be a lot different to what is experienced in Western resorts around the world. At a high percentage of the resorts in Japan trail skiing is the norm and anything off the main marked trails is deemed out of bounds. The out of bounds is not patrolled so as far as the resort is concerned skiing there is at your own risk. The out of bounds skiing we provide is deemed what has been termed in Japan by westerners “slack country” or “side country”. Many times these out of bounds areas are in between two marked courses so at the bottom of the run you meet up on a marked course to take you back to the lifts, hence the term “slack country”. Some resorts are more lenient with out of bounds skiing and others very strict. Some will have signs that state ski at your own risk where others may not. We consider everything that is not on a marked trail to be out of bounds so any clients who wish to experience the out of bounds need to have the appropriate avalanche equipment and be able to ski at a high enough level to manage the conditions. Epic Ski Adventures has rental avalanche equipment available for those that do not at a rate of ¥1000 yen per day (beacon, shovel, probe and pack). Anyone who wishes to ski off the main marked trails will be given instructions on the use of their avalanche equipment and will need to sign the release of liability agreement. The Epic Ski Adventures team have knowledge and experience at skiing the various resorts visited in the Nagano and Niigata areas, with accreditation and different combinations of instructors, ski patrol, avalanche awareness and first aid plus years of experience on the snow.
Please note the Honshu Progression is an intermediate tour so all skiing will be performed in bounds. However if your guide believes your skill level is at a stage where off piste or out of bounds you may be moved to a more advanced group and AVI gear can be rented on a day by day basis.
Exclusion of Liability and Assumption of Risks
Adventure sports activities involve many risks, dangers and hazards. These risks and hazards are outlined in our release of liability, waiver of claims, assumptions of risks and indemnity agreement which all participants are required to read and sign before participating in adventure sports activities. This agreement will affect your legal rights should you be involved in an accident.