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The Legendary Roadie

The Legendary Roadie5/57
The Legendary Roadie5 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
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Price p/p From price based on twin-share, standard package at Lodge Aibiya.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,072

11 Days | 10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing

To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
10% off advertised price for bookings before 30th May 2022
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, On-Piste, Sidecountry
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Price p/p From price based on twin-share, standard package at Lodge Aibiya.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,072
Experience Japan powder like no other on this legendary road trip where you will visit up to 8 resorts in 3 prefectures; Nagano, Gunma & Niigata! Join a tour as a solo traveler, couple or small group. Max 6 spots per tour so get in quickly!
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Fixed Date(s)
Fixed Date(s): Feb 19 - Mar 01, 2023
Days: 11
Price: USD 3,072
Availability: Available
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.

The Legendary Roadie

Definition of Roadie: “a member of a crew for a traveling group of musicians or other entertainers, whose work usually includes the setting up of equipment”. Well that is similar to what your ski guide does for you on tour. However Japan Powder Culture Tours have two other versions of a “Roadie”. The first is an adventurous ski road trip with a group of mates or like minded individuals and the second is something we drink in the van at the end of an epic day on the way back to our accommodation. Either way it all makes for a legendary ski trip especially when you get to ski in three different prefectures (provinces). Moving from Nagano to Niigata to Gunma, you will experience a snow quality like no other.

By our definition, a “roadie” means this tour will move about a bit. The first six nights are based in Yudanaka which acts as a hub to a number of resorts which we drive to each day. You will then hit the road and ski at Kagura ski resort after which you wil then relocate to Tenjin Lodge for four nights for some legendary skiing.

Your Japanese ski adventure is not complete without being immersed in a culture that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Visit the world-famous snow monkeys up close, be part of a traditional taiko drum, shamisen guitar and lion dance performance, participate in a karate performance, visit the famous Takaragawa Onsen and soak you tired muscles, taste the local sake and beer recipes and visit historic Shibu Town. And let’s not forget the night where the group all eats together at the Sushi train restaurant followed by a legendary night in the karaoke bar. You will get a totally authentic Japanese ski experience.

Skier/Boarder Ability

This tour is for advanced to expert skiers & boarders with no exceptions. There is no leeway on this and we will be vetting our guests ski level prior to signing up for the tour.

For shorter tours check out the Nagano Ski Buffet or the Nagano Powder Chaser.

Ski Areas Visited

This tour has the ability to visit a number of resorts in the Nagano, Niigata and Gunma prefectures. The resorts have been hand-picked based around our three Q’s criteria – quality, quantity and quietness. 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 we visit the same resort more than once. Transport to these mountain is either by ESA buses or vans and different groups are mixed together to fill the seats on the Nagano part of the tour (The Niigata and Gunma part of the tour has its own vehicle). The resorts we can access for our clients include: Nagano - Shiga Kogen (with 18 interconnecting resorts), Madarao, Tangram, Togakushi and Nozawa Onsen; Niigata – Kagura, Naeba and  Kandatsu; Gunma – Tenjindaira and Minikami Houdaigi. Drive times to these resorts vary from 5 minutes to 50 minutes in good road conditions


NOTE: This itinerary is a guide. The tour is dictated by the weather each day and your guide will fit around where the best conditions are. This is a powder tour so wider skis are recommended to get the most enjoyment on the tour. Your guide is there to show you lines you may not have discovered on your own.

Also note: the evening performances of the Geisha, Taiko Drum and Karate demonstrations may vary on which night they fall on the due to overlap in bookings.

Day 1
Make your way to Yudanaka (home of the snow monkeys) on either the amazing rail system or a shuttle from Narita or Haneda airport and be picked up at the station at Yudanaka and taken to your lodging at Ryokan Biyu or a short walk for those staying at Lodge Aibiya (further information on how to get to Yudanaka is contained in the FAQ’s and 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. For those staying at Lodge Aibiya enjoy the many eateries around Yudanaka.

Day 2
Made up of 18 resorts, Shiga Kogen is the largest ski area in Asia with the highest lift access in Japan (higher and dryer). 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. Tonight is a chance to get to know the rest of your group so why not try the local restaurant Hakko which serves a variety of Japanese and Western dishes.

Day 3
Madarao (Madapow) is another of the Japanese ski fields that does not attract the hoards of gaijin’s (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 travel into the town of Nakano to enjoy a meal at Kappa Sushi Train followed by the new signature event of a karaoke evening. There is a one song minimum either as single, duet or group to ensure everyone can ski the next day.

Day 4
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. If time permits at the end of the day we will take a walk through Nozawa Onsen township and enjoy the many shops and eating treats. For those at the Ryokan Biyu it is another exquisite meal in-house and those at Lodge Aibiya either eat out or cook in. For your nights entertainment participate in a Karate performance and teaching session from one of Japan’s Grand Masters at the Ryokan Biyu.

Day 5
After breakfast we will drive to either Togakushi or Ryuoo Ski Park depending on where the best snow is to be found. With seven lifts your time at Togakushi will have you smiling with some of the easiest access slack country around. This is a true authentic Japanese resort with no westerners to be touching our precious powder. Ryuoo is much the same with the areas only ropeway with some great tree skiing and steep open courses. Get together with the rest of your legends group and why not choose the restaurant Goen opposite the train station to toast your glasses and indulge in some quality Western and Japanese fare.

Day 6
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. If time allows we will visit the local sake museum and taste up to 10 different sakes that are made on site. For those at the Ryokan Biyu it is another exquisite meal inhouse and those at Lodge Aibiya either eat out or cook in. The entertainment tonight is the taiko drum, shamisen guitar and lion dance performance at the Ryokan Biyu.

Day 7
Roadie time! This is the part of the trip where the group lightens the load. The skis and boards go on the roof and the boots in the back. Each person has a small bag akin to a carry-on bag in a plane. Time to bid farewell to our amazing hosts at Ryokan Biyu and Lodge Aibiya.

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 monkey soaking in natural hot pools up close and personal.

The group then leaves Yudanaka for a 2.5 hour drive and on the way to Tenjin Lodge you will visit a very famous onsen in Japan named Takaragawa Onsen.

Dinner will be at Tenjin Lodge followed by a beverage and chat with your guide for the game plan the next day.

Note: This is a flexible tour and we do have the option if the group is agreed to do a half day ski in the morning for the extra cost of a lift pass if conditions are favourable for this.

Day 8
Game on. After breakfast if the Snow God has co-operated you are off to Tenjindaira (the locals call it Tenjin). This is where things start to get real. Tenjin is not an area to be trifled with and the area turns up the volume to what you have been experiencing thus far on the tour in regard to steepness, depth and risk. So on this part of the tour we engage our guide Kieren's knowledge and experience on this mountain to bring our guide to guest ratio to 2:6. Depending on the day the group may break into two groups of 3 guests skiing the same area, or run it with a lead guide and tail guide.

By the end of the day why not try a craft beer from the bar Tenjin Lodge, freshen up in the natural spring hot bath then we will go and dine at a Minikami favourite restaurant – Daruma.

Day 9
Because Tenjin gets so much snow, there are times it is just not possible to ski it. So a backup plan is needed which the Gunma area provides in the resort of Minakami Houdaigi nearby to Tenjin Lodge. You are not going to come across any westerners at Houdaigi and the mountain has a real local feel. Mount Hotaka (Hotakasan) in Gunma has various ski resorts sitting on its flanks, yet the Hodaigi Ski Resort is located on the northwestern slope and many of the runs face due north, so the snow quality is particularly nice.

Back to Tenjin Lodge for another amazing meal prepared by Bo and the team.

Day 10
After breakfast we will travel to Kagura which is a three-in-one ski resort that incorporates the areas of Kagura, Mitsumata and Tashiro. The Kagura Ski Resort is also interconnected with Naeba Ski Resort via a super long gondola, the Dragondola, to form one large ski area referred to as Mt Naeba. The real goodies are off the top lift which gives us access to a wide range of terrain with some very light snow if the Snow God plays ball. For our last night we will head back into Minikami to enjoy some authentic Japanese fare and relive our stories from the last 10 days.

Day 11
After bidding farewell to Bo, Kieren, Hana, Lucky and the team, you can either leave by train from Minakami if you wish to get the fastest route to Tokyo, or come back to Yudanaka if you want to continue with some skiing and riding.

Travel Luggage

When the group leaves for the Niigata and Gunma part of the tour there is only limited room in the van for luggage. Bring a ski or snowboard bag and pack your clothes around your gear and a backpack or small suitcase. The trip takes 2 and half hours from Yudanaka to Tenjin Lodge. Skis, boards and clothing will be stored on the roof in your bags and ski boots in the luggage compartment. This leaves room for one bag each and is limited to a pack or small suitcase the size you would put in carry-on luggage in a plane. If possible, you can store this gear in your AVI pack would create more room in the vehicle.

At the end of the tour you have the option of leaving by train from the Tenjin area or travelling back to Yudanaka in Nagano.

Accommodation & Meals

10 nights accommodation in summary:

  • 6 x nights accommodation at either Lodge Aibiya (standard package) in twin share western room with shared bathroom, or 6 night at Ryokan Biyu in twin share Japanese style rooms with own bathrooms
  • 4 x nights at Tenjin Lodge in twin share Japanese style room

Lodge Aibya

Lodge Aibiya is located in Yudanaka township and the perfect place to relax after a day on the slopes. Yoshi and Seongmi provide a high level of Japanese service backed up with western insights gained by working overseas. English speaking with a wealth of knowledge of the Nagano area, Yoshi and Seongmi will look after all your needs.

The Lodge has an option of quad share single western bed dorm rooms for group bookings and twin share rooms with shared bathroom. They have a twin room with double bed which is ideal for couples or for those that want to upgrade to the single supplement and there is the option to upgrade to the deluxe rooms with private bathrooms which can sleep up to four people.
There is a well equipped kitchen for those who would like to cook themselves (supermarket shuttle available) or you can enjoy the many traditional Japanese restaurants only a short walk away. There are two different types of lounge rooms and a separate cinema room. There are separate male and female shared shower rooms.

A free continental breakfast is provided each day with breads, cereal, fruits, yoghurt, coffee, tea and fruit juices.

Free WI-FI is available throughout the lodge. A gift shop with crafts made locally and beverages, local Shiga Kogen beer and snacks are available for sale. Experience the tradition at a local ryokan onsen for a small fee.

The lodge is only a 3 minute walk from the train station and local convenience stores are nearby.

Lodge Abiya

...western-style rooms...

.....a nice communal area

Ryokan Biyo no Yado

Ryokan Biyu no Yado is a 3.5 star Ryokan (Japanese Inn).

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 yukata 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 some western rooms which are double the size of the Japanese rooms available as an up-grade for an additional cost.

There is a spectacular an indoor Japanese bathhouse (onsen) and outdoor hot spring (rotenburo) and there is also a private onsen available for rent for an additional fee.

The THREE night-time meals included in the Ryokan Biyu package are traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine served in the hotel dining area. Breakfast (also included) is either Japanese or Western-style. For the remaining night-time meals you have the choice of many authentic Japanese restaurants in down-town Yudanaka or Nakano, or you can buy additional meals at the Ryokan.

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.

Ryokan Biyo..

...Japanese-style rooms...

.....spectacular onsen

Tenjin Lodge

Tenjin Lodge is a family-owned and operated mountain lodge, deep in the Joetsu National Park, and just minutes away from Tenjindaira Ski Resort. Your hosts, Bo Yeon, Kieren and their staff provide a homely experience for travellers, and their daughter Hana acts as entertainment manager, and the family pet Lucky is the ever attentive receptionist.

There are two types of rooms Western or Japanese style with their own toilet and wash basin, with shared lodge bathing facilities. Each room has a powerful winter heater with a fridge and free WI-FI throughout the property. The western rooms are first in best dressed as they are limited in number. There is also a family room that sleeps up to six people.

The male and female baths are fed by the same natural mountain spring which supplies water to the lodge. They are not onsens as the water is heated to temperature and the room has a pleasant ambiance with views of the forest outside. The water is not re-circulated so the baths are operating on a constant flow. Each bathroom has two showers which run hot 24 hours of the day and during the ski season the baths are available between 5pm and 8pm.

Breakfasts are served at the Lazy Bear Restaurant in house and are made up of either the western breakfast consisting of a hearty serving of scrambled eggs and toast or the mountain breakfast consisting of warm oatmeal served with chopped seasonal fruit and yogurt. Both breakfasts come with coffee/tea or juice. The evening meals at the lodge consist of Italian pastas, South East Asian and Korean dishes.

You will also travel into the local town of Minakami for two of the nights to sample some of the tasty cuisine from the local restaurants. A must is Restaurant Daruma – Japanese Izakaya in Minakami where the Master is always welcoming and he serves up some great value cuisine.

Tenjin Lodge..

...western-style rooms...

.....a nice communal area

2023 Rates & Inclusions


 Prices are in Japanese Yen per person
 Package  Twin-Share  Single Occupancy Add
 *Deluxe Package  439,000  36,000 at Ryokan Biyu
 **Standard Package  399,000  24,000 at Lodge Aibiya
  • Base rates & invoice currency is in Japanese Yen - convert to your currency here
  • Rates are per person
  • *Deluxe option includes 6 x night accommodation at Ryokan Biyu in single or twin share Japanese style rooms with own bathrooms and includes breakfasts and two dinners and 4 x nights at Tenjin Lodge in twin share Japanese style room and includes breakfasts and two dinners
  • **Standard options include 6 x night accommodation at Lodge Aibiya in single or twin share western room with shared bathroom and includes breakfasts and 4 x nights at Tenjin Lodge in twin share Japanese style room and includes breakfast and two dinners
  • 10 nights accommodation (various options), all breakfasts & 2 dinners
  • 8 days of lift tickets
  • All ground transfers to/from Yudanaka
  • Transport to the world-famous snow monkey park (does not include admission fee)
  • 8 days fully guided (max 1:6 guide to guest ratio), ski guides for 1 day at Tenjin (max 2:6 guide to guest ratio)
  • Free transport to the signature night of Sushi train followed by a karaoke evening with the locals of Yudanaka (does not include meal and karaoke cost)
  • Interactive Geisha performance
  • Interactive taiko drum, shamisen guitar and lion dance performance
  • Karate performance from a Grand Master champion of Japan
  • Evening tour in a Pistenbully snow cat to the highest lift access point in Japan 2307metres to see the snow monster trees and includes hot drinks and homemade breads
  • Local sake factory sampling tour
  • Visit to the famous Takaragawa Onsen
  • Walk around 1300 year old historic Shibu town
  • Avo safety pack (transponder, shovel & probe) - 2,000 yen/day; requirement for all guests riding off-piste
  • Private room upgrade
  • Traditional Thai massage at ¥5000 yen per hour for full body
  • Full ski rental store which includes clothing, helmet, goggles, gloves, ski boots, poles, carving skis & fat skis
  • Extra nights and guiding
Not Included

Corona Virus Update as of 25th April 2020 – Message From JPCT

Japan Powder Culture Tours understand that due to the ongoing developments of the Coronavirus situation that you may be having some anxiety and doubts with regards to your winter travel plans to Japan this season. Rest assured JPCTs are full steam ahead this season with guides and instructors on the ground so they will be operating tours as usual this season.

However, we are under no illusions that there will not be ongoing problems with this situation which may include your ability to get to Japan. Bearing this in mind we are easing our cancellation policy for bookings made for the 2020/2021 season to assist skiers, borders and telemark skiers and give you the peace of mind that your deposit will not be forfeited if you are unable to join us.

So, for the 2020/2021 season, the following will apply: We have a 20% deposit which is payable within 7 days of invoice to secure your spot on the tour. You can cancel by 30th September 2020 with no penalty. To then confirm your booking a further 20% will be charged on the 1st October 2020 and the remainder is due 40 days prior to your tour.

If you must cancel your 2020/2021 tour your 20% deposit can then be used for a credit for later in the season, bearing in mind we operate right into May, or the deposit can be used for the following season.

In the past we have not ever cancelled a trip due to tour group size and we hope to continue this tradition. We run our beginner programs with a minimum of 2 people and our longer 8 and 10 day tours with a minimum of 4 people, and our policy of running our tours regardless will remain.

So we hope our new policy puts your mind at ease and we wish everyone of you the best through these trying times. We would love to see you in the future and share with you our little piece of utopia here in Japan with a truly authentic Japanese ski and riding experience next to none.

Japan Powder Culture Touts (JPCT) Booking Conditions


  • 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) 


  • 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. 


JPCT 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.

All bookings are subject to JPCTs terms and conditions and subject to availability at time of booking.

Other Important Information

Terrain & Safety

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 provided by ESA 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. JPCT consider everything that is not on a marked trail to be out of bounds.

If you wish to experience the "out-of-bounds" (skiing off any of the marked trails) areas:
  1. You must carry the essential avalanche safety equipment (beacon, shovel, probe & backpack to carry such gear)
  2. You must be able to ski at a sufficient ability / level to manage the conditions on the day for any out-of-bounds runs
  3. You will need to undertake an safety instruction session on the use of your avalanche equipment (even if you already know how to use it)
  4. You will be required to sign a release of liability agreement prior to undertaking any out-of-bounds skiing with ESA
The JPCT team have the following credentials:
  • knowledge and experience at skiing the various resorts they visit in the Nagano and Niigata areas
  • accreditation and different combinations of instructors, ski patrol, avalanche awareness and first aid
  • ski instructors have a minimum of level 2 NZIAS certification
Exclusion of Liability & Risk
Adventure sports activities involve many risks, dangers and hazards. These risks and hazards are outlined in the JPCT 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.