Overall Rating

Nagano Powder Zone

Nagano Powder Zone5/515
Nagano Powder Zone5 out of 5 based on 15 reviews
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Price p/p From price based on twin share room with shared bathroom at Lodge Aibiya.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,148

8 Days | 7 Night | 6 Skiing | Up to 6 Ski Areas

10% off advertised price for bookings before 30th May 2022
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided-Progression | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, On-Piste, Sidecountry
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Price p/p From price based on twin share room with shared bathroom at Lodge Aibiya.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,148
Ideal for budget conscious intermediate to advanced skiers & riders who want maximum pow! Based in the traditional town of Yudanaka, which is relatively free of western influence, you will be ensured of an authentic Japanese ski or snowboard experience.
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Fixed Date(s)
Fixed Date(s): Dec 19 - Dec 26, 2022
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Dec 28 - Jan 04, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Jan 06 - Jan 13, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Jan 15 - Jan 22, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Jan 24 - Jan 31, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Feb 02 - Feb 09, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Feb 11 - Feb 18, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Feb 20 - Feb 27, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Mar 01 - Mar 08, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Mar 10 - Mar 17, 2023
Days: 8
Price: USD 2,148
Availability: Available
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.

Nagano Powder Zone

The Nagano Powder Zone is all about variety and this tour gives you a huge selection of resorts to visit in the Nagano prefecture over your six days of skiing and riding. The other two foci are powder chasing and traditional cultural experiences, which are in abundance in this part of the world. There is also a focus on teaching intermediate and advanced riders who wish to become better and more confident at skiing and riding the world famous JAPOW and on-piste.

Groups are mixed in accordance to their ability types to keep the group dynamic flow.

The Nagano Powder Zone combines adventure, culture, quality Japanese run accommodation and personalities to give you the complete Japanese cultural immersion. Visit the world-famous snow monkeys up close, be entertained by a traditional Geisha performance, enjoy the interactive taiko drum, shamisen guitar and lion dance show and participate in a karate performance. Take a ride in the evening in a Pistenbully snowcat up to 2,307 metres elevation to see the unique tree formations know as snow monsters. Also soak in the rejuvenating onsen (hot springs), taste the local sake and beer recipes, and visit historic Shibu Town. And a highlight is a visit to a sushi train restaurant followed by an epic night in the karaoke bar.

Japan's highest & largest ski area...

...incredible Japanese cuisine...

.....mind blowing cultural experiences

Where other companies may talk up the culture of Japan and include the experiences as an option at an extra cost, JPCTs include them so you get a totally authentic Japanese ski and snowboard experience.

Based in the historic onsen town of Yudanaka, which is relatively free of western influence, this tour focuses on finding powder where there are few westerners. So if you like skiing pristine powder all day and not having to fight with the masses then this tour is for you. If you have time constraints, visit the Nagano Powder Chaser Packages.


  • No need to work out the best places to ski and ride - your guide does this for you
  • Rejuvenate in a local ryokan’s onsen
  • Visit the world famous snow monkeys and walk through 1300 year old Shibu Onsen town
  • Relax and be driven from location to location with the experienced mountain drivers
  • Enjoy a variety of traditional Japanese restaurants to eat at each night
  • Visit resorts that many visitors don't get to without the knowledge of a guide
  • Make some new friends to share those face shot stories with over a local ale or wine

Rider Ability

This tour caters for intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders. Avalanche equipment is mandatory and can be rented from us. For further information on skill level please make an enquiry and ask for the ability chart.

There are various other tours that are similar to this that vary with respect to duration or ability level. See the JPCT overview for a summary of the tours.

Visit the snow monkey onsen....

...indulge in Japanese sake...

.....karaoke the night away

Resorts/Ski Areas Visited (Depending on Conditions)

This Nagano Powder Zone tour has the ability to visit a number of different resorts in the Nagano Prefecture. 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 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, Giant, Yokoteyaa and Kumanoya (all part Asia’s largest ski resort Shiga Kogen), Togakushi, Myoko SuginoharaNozawa Onsen, Madarao & Tangram.

Drive times to these resorts vary from 25 minutes to 50 minutes in good road conditions.

Partake in Japanese culture....

...the kids will love it...

.....visit an ancient Samurai castle


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 and a powder board are recommended to get the best out of your time. Your guide is there to show you lines you may not have discovered on your own.

Day 1 - Arrival day

Make your way to Yudanaka (home of the snow monkeys) on either the amazing rail system or a shuttle from Narita or Haneda airport. Then it is  just a short walk to your accommodation from the station where you will be greeted by Yoshi & the team (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. Let Yoshi recommend one of his favourite restaurants to enjoy your first of many meals in Yudanaka.

Day 2 - Ski/ride Shiga Kogen

Made up of 18 resorts, Shiga Kogen is the largest ski area in Asia with the highest lift access in Japan. 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. Then the group will travel into the town of Nagano to enjoy a meal at Kappa Sushi Train followed by the signature event of karaoke.

Day 3 - Ski/ride Nozawa Onsen

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.

Day 4 - Ski/Ride Mararao

Madarao (Madapow) 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. Enjoy a meal at one of the many traditional Japanese restaurants in Yudanaka.

Day 5 - Ski/ride Togakushi

Togakushi is one of those hidden resorts that few westerners have either heard of or visited. With a total of seven chairlifts, it is a great resort to explore, and the views over the Japanese Alps are spectacular. If time allows we will visit the local sake museum and taste up to 10 different sakes that are made on site.

Day 6 - Ski/ride Myoko Suginohara

Time to ski once again.  Suginohara is the pick of the Myoko ski resorts, with nice long groomers, some nice tree skiing, and super enjoyable side country. For your night’s entertainment participate in a karate performance and teaching session from one of Japan’s Grand Masters followed by a taiko drum, shamisen guitar and lion dance performance at the Ryokan Biyu. 

Day 7 - Ski/ride Shiga Kogen

After breakfast you will further explore Shiga Kogen. The great thing about the 18 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. After dinner in Yudanaka the group will be heading to Mt Yokoteyama (Japan’s highest lift access 2,307m) and boarding a Pistenbully snowcat to drive to the peak to enjoy the snow monster trees, followed by a hot drink and some homemade baking.

Day 8 - Departure day

It is time to bid farewell to your fabulous hosts at the Lodge Aibiya and Ryokan Biyu.

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.

Visit historic Shibu Onsen....

..Zenkoji Temple Nagano..

.....Yudanaka is central home base

Accommodation Options & Meals

This tour is based in the township of Yudanaka which is located near the Shiga Kogen ski areas and also ideally located to visit many of Nagano's other great ski areas.

The area is well known for its onsens (hot springs) and it is said that over 1300 years ago a monk who visited the area discovered the healing quality of the water and the popularity of the region grew so much that the Samurai would come to repair their bodies in the rejuvenating waters.

The other attraction to the area is the world renowned snow monkeys who have learnt to keep themselves warm in the natural onsen water. Although the town is visited by foreigners to visit the snow monkeys during the day, you will find the town relatively free of westerners in the evenings. There is a wide array of traditional eating houses in Yudanaka which serve fresh local and regional produce. In the past few years the restaurant scene has expanded to include a number of new eateries which have a mix of Japanese and Western food to suit every palette. A walk through historic Shibu town is also a must with its quaint shops, temples, shrines, foot onsens and authentic architecture.

Indulge in Japanese cuisine...

...check out the local Sushi Train...

...fun social group meals

There are 2 accommodation options; Ryokan Biyu no Yado (deluxe) and Lodge Aibiya.

Deluxe Option - Ryokan Biyo no Yado

Ryokan Biyu no Yado is a 3.5 star Ryokan (Japanese Inn) 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 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 3 night-time meals included in the Tyokan Biyu package are traditional multi-course Japanese cuisine served by your own private waiter 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.

The Ryokan does not have clothes washing facilities however there is a public laundry a short walk away.

Deluxe Ryokan Biyu..

...traditional Japanese tatami rooms...

.....outdoor hot springs

Budget Option - Lodge Aibiya

Lodge Aibiya is located in Yudanaka township 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 (the lodge offers a service whereby they take to the adjoining town several times a week to a large supermarket) 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 onsens for a small fee.

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

There is an in house laundry service available at an extra cost.

Lodge Abiya..

...comfy western-style beds...

.....shared cooking facilities

Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons

2022/23 Tour Prices

 Prices are Per Person in Japanese Yen
 Accommodation  Room Type   Price
 Ryokan Biyu (Deluxe)  Twin room Japanese-style private bathroom  329,000  63,000
 Lodge Abiya (Standard)  Single Share Room - shared bathroom (limited availability)  309,000  n/a
 Lodge Abiya (Standard)  Twin share room with shared bathroom  279,000  n/a
 Lodge Abiya (Standard)  Twin room private bathroom  309,000  n/a
 Lodge Abiya (Standard)  Quad/Triple share room  enquire  

Please enquire for the cost for triple and quad share western style room with shared bathroom for group bookings


Custom Private Tour Dates
Tours between 17th March and 30th April 2021 can be arranged and are based around a minimum of 4 people. Note that these tours may be a mix of skiers and snowboarders if the minimum of 4 people in each discipline is not reached. Where possible, we will try to have separate skier and snowboarder tours when numbers allow.

  • 7 nights single or twin share accommodation (various options available)
  • Daily breakfasts
  • 2 dinners for guests staying at Ryokan Biyu
  • Pick up and drop off at Yudanaka train station (for Ryokan Biyu customers only). Lodge Aibiya is only a short walk from the station)
  • 6 days of lift passes
  • 6 full days of guiding/instruction 1:6 guide to guest ratio
  • All mountain transfers
  • 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)
  • Transport to the world-famous snow monkey park (Ryokan Biyu has a complimentary drop-off and pickup shuttle and clients of Lodge Aibiya can use the bus from Yudanaka station, admission to monkeys not included in tour cost)
  • Interactive geisha performance, taiko drum, shamisen guitar & lion dance performance, karate performance
  • Option to have a self-guided rest day or bad weather day to visit Matsumoto Castle & Nagano to visit the Zenkoji Temple & 1998 Winter Olympic Museum
  • Local sake factory sampling tour
  • Walk around 1300 year old historic Shibu town
  • Rejuvenating Onsens visits
  • Avo safety pack (transponder, shovel & probe) - 2,000 yen/day; requirement for all guests riding off-piste
  • Single supplement at Ryokan Biyu at 46,000 yen (Also enquire about western room upgrade and VIP rate)
  • 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
  • Option to have an 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 ¥5,000 per person
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.