Japan Ski Tours

Overall Rating

Japan Ski Tours

Japan Ski Tours4.9/589
Japan Ski Tours4.9 out of 5 based on 89 reviews
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Japan Ski Tours

Overall Rating

Japan Ski Tours4.9/589
Japan Ski Tours4.9 out of 5 based on 89 reviews
Japan Ski Tours is a premium Japan ski trip operator. With Japan Ski Tours (formerly Japan Ski Adventures) you can take the ski road trip of a lifetime to the best powder, cuisine, traditional cultural performances, hot springs (onsens), and lodging that Japan has to offer. On your Japanese ski tour or snowboard trip you can also take a bike ride around the best Kyoto temples, check out the Robot restaurant in Tokyo, or take a dip in a remote onsen. Don’t just ski Japan – feel it!

Japan Ski Tours offer different Japan ski and snowboard trips whether you're looking for an 8 day powder fix, a 13 day cross-Japan ski extravaganza, or an unguided road trip, Japan Ski Tours is your ticket to an unforgettable ski trip. JST is run by a group of bilingual guides who grew up in Japan. The company began with one single philosophy; that skiers and snowboarders who come to Japan should have more options to easily experience Japanese culture as well as its world famous pow.

Japan Ski Tours is part of the Japan Guides Group along with Fuji Mountain Guides.

Japan Ski Tours Terms & Conditions

Updated March 27, 2020:

Here at JST HQ, we understand that due to continuing developments of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, you may be experiencing some concern and uncertainty with regards to your winter travel plans. As a Japan-based guide operator located in Tokyo, we're not going anywhere, and we're planning on running our trips as usual--someone's gotta shred that pow!

However, we understand that we can't be totally confident that global infrastructure will have recovered by winter 20/21 and that you'll actually be able to get to Japan for your epic ski trip.

In light of this increased uncertainty, we're relaxing our cancellation policy for bookings made the for 20/21 winter season to help our skiers book with confidence, and feel reassured in a "just in case" scenario.

For the 20/21 season, the following will apply:

Instead of the usual 50% deposit, this year a 25% deposit will secure your reservation. Guests can cancel by August 31 with no penalty (see below). To stay reserved, guests will be notified and the card-on-file will be charged an additional 25% on September 1. The final 50% is due two months before your trips departure, per our usual policy.

If you would like to cancel your 20/21 season trip, you can do so before August 31with no cancellation penalty. Your 25% deposit will be rolled into a credit which can be used to re-book your 20/21 trip later in the year or in future seasons. Note that the 25% deposit is credited toward your future trip but isn't refundable.

While our trips don't usually have a minimum group size requirement, for the 20/21season, JST reserves the right to cancel a trip if it doesn't have a minimum of four guests reserved by 60 days before the trip's departure date. If a trip is cancelled due to insufficient guest numbers, a 100% refund will be provided to all members of the cancelled trip. The best way you can ensure a trip meets the minimum of four is to invite your friends!

Bottom line: book your trip now with a 25% deposit and circle back to decide whether you'd like to 100% commit to this season by August 31!

As the situation develops and we encounter hardship together as a global community, we at JST are hoping for a shreddy ski season full of that Japow, but we're keeping an open mind and continuing to watch developments along with everyone else.

Best Japan Tour We've Been On

18/03/2020

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Best Japan Tour We've Been On

18/03/2020
Our tail guide Taro pouring a sake in a Hachimantai onsen
Hakkoda on a rare fine day in January
One of the amazing dinners
A phenomenal onsen experience in Aomori Prefecture
Our guide finding plenty of pow stashes
It was rather sad when this incredible trip in northern Tohoku came to an end!! We’ve done quite a few ski tours in Japan with different companies, and whilst it wasn’t the best or deepest snow we’ve experienced (as it wasn’t the greatest season), overall it was the best tour we’ve been on. It was the combination of unique experiences, having fun guides that understood the culture and spoke fluent Japanese so they could easily navigate some great dining and onsen options, and our luck in being grouped with solid skiers who were all on the same page, entertaining, and lovely, considerate people. Staying in cities was also a highlight, rather than getting a “resort-ified” experience by staying at a ski resort.

The tour was fabulous and we’d highly recommend it.

Skiing:
Whilst Japan generally had been experiencing a low snow year, northern Tohoku was faring slightly better than other parts of Japan, and JST managed to find us great untracked powder each day of the tour, even if we had to work a little harder than usual to get to the goods.

There was plenty of variety with respect to the skiing which included some backcountry touring, lift-accessed off-piste and sidecountry, road pick-ups, and a few snowcat runs.

We had 4 different JST guides during the trip, and they were all were pretty relaxed & had a sense of fun whilst also having a good focus on safety considerations. One of the guides at times needed to pre-empt guests’ many questions, whilst the others made it very clear what the plans were. It was pretty impressive that we always had a tail guide (or 2) & Taro filled us in on fascinating insights into Japan. At Hakkoda there are all sorts of interesting guiding politics that go on, so we had to have a local Hakkoda lead guide who wasn’t particularly impressive compared to the JST guides, but thankfully we also had 2 JST guides with us to fill in the blanks.

The Shizukuishi cat skiing was a fantastically fun morning. See our Shizukuishi cat skiing review for more information, but essentially if you go on the Shizukuishi cat without JST guiding, you won’t be allowed to play in the trees.

Eating:
Staying in the cities of Morioka and Aomori gave the guides plenty of dining options to choose from, and their choice of restaurants each night was nothing less than extraordinary! The week started off simply with a yakiniku restaurant (grilled meats), tonkatsu restaurant, and noodles. And then it was full Japanese cultural immersion with a sushi restaurant, kaiseki (multi-course) dinner with a sedate shamisen player, and then another amazing multi-course dinner with a funky upbeat shamisen show.

The breakfasts at the hotels were also very good and provided a lovely balance between Japanese fare and western items.

Morioka in particular had a huge array of bars. The nightlife tended to only really come alive on the weekends but there was a cool bar near the hotel that attracted the only gaijin in town.

Onsen:
The onsen the guides chose for our 2nd daily soaks were really unique. Instead of shiny modern onsen, they chose old traditional onsen, many of which had the option of mixed gender bathing or ladies-only bathing. There was also variety with respect to indoor and outdoor baths, and the pièce de résistance was an ocean side rotenburo where we watched the waves crashing in front of us.

Organisation:
The administration of JST was highly organised. The registration process ensured that we had our expectations appropriately set, the pre-trip documentation was comprehensive, and the arrival day information was great.

One of the huge pros of JST is that it’s run by bilingual guides who grew up in Japan and live in Japan year-round. They have a mix of Japanese, Japanese/western and western guides, and are really well connected in with the locals at the destinations visited.

JAPOW off the beaten path

05/03/2020

Katy

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Katy

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Snow Boarder
  • Country
    United States
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

JAPOW off the beaten path

05/03/2020
Background: This was our third snow trip to Japan. Having already done Hakuba/Nagano and both central and southern Hokkaido (twice) we were ready to check out a new region - enter Japan Ski Tours "Frontier Explorer" itinerary.

Initially I had hoped to do what I usually do on snow chasing trips - gather our own group of friends, hire a private guide for our ski/snowboard days, and mimic a solid itinerary but book all my lodging, etc on our own. This was the solid itinerary. As it turned out I couldn't rally any friends this year so my husband and I went out on a limb and joined this set group tour...fingers crossed we would get a solid group of skiers/snowboarders and would like the pace of the more set itinerary.

Spoiler alert - we loved it! I am so used to doing all the logistics for my group that it was such a treat to be able to sit back and let Japan Ski Tours and their capable team take care of everything. Of our three trips to Japan the snow was the most touch and go on this trip...something we knew before we left. I am only saying this because I see some of the previous reviews seemed to have knocked Japan Ski Tours for this. This is totally out of a guiding company's control. Japan has the most reliable snow in the world but that doesn't mean it's perfect.

Through the expertise of the JST team we managed to stretch some favorable storms just before our trip and a surprise big storm day on our first day into four epic powder days in the Tohoku region. They knew exactly where to go to find the stashes (even 3 days post storm). Upon moving up to our second base area for days 5 and 6, we were able to find a few fresh lines, despite the lack of any notable fresh snow, again, with the expertise of our JST team. We really only got skunked on our 6th and final day and Daniel...our amazing round-the-clock guide, driver, coordinator, translator, hand holder, and local expert still worked his hardest to find us anything skiable. We did have to throw in the towel a touch early on this very last day because mother nature was just not cooperating...but he made sure the rest of the day was filled with as much activity and cultural experiences as the group wanted. Speaking of the cultural aspect, the added bonus of having a built in local expert, who just so happened to also be our guide, knowing exactly which onsen to take us to each day post skiing and with awesome dinners arranged for us each night, was such an added highlight I didn't appreciate nearly enough when booking this trip. This added bonus was just off the charts, particularly for this region of japan which is very much not

Having done many, many, many international snow chasing trips as "custom itineraries," for fear of what a group tour would look and feel like, I can honestly say I don't think I could have asked for a better first experience jumping into a set group tour. And if it is this region of Japan you are looking to explore - you won't want to do it without the expertise of Brent, Daniel, Cedric and the rest of the JST team. They made this trip unforgettable.

Incredible tour with Japan Ski Tours - Hokkaido Storm Chaser!

Ananda
04/03/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    36-50
  • Ability
    Intermediate
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    United States
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Incredible tour with Japan Ski Tours - Hokkaido Storm Chaser!

Ananda
04/03/2020
We had an absolutely wonderful time on the Hokkaido Storm Chaser tour. Though we were at the lower end of the skiing ability in the group (though hopefully still above the minimum threshold defined for the tour) we had an amazing time. All of the guides were professional, super helpful, and very fun to be around. The tour itself ran like clockwork and we never had to worry about any logistics throughout. The guides took us to spots on the mountain we never could have found on our own, so we had way more fun than we could have possibly done on our own at the same resorts and ski areas. The descriptions for lodging set low expectations (i.e. their descriptions indicate small rooms, etc.) but we found the lodging to be great at both hotel locations we stayed with rooms comparable in size to where we've stayed in European resorts. As promised, the guides also took us to very tasty restaurants for meals throughout the trip. I just got back and I already want to book this trip again!

Hokkaido Powder Chaser Tour A++

Rainey
03/03/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    18-35
  • Ability
    Advanced
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    United States
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Hokkaido Powder Chaser Tour A++

Rainey
03/03/2020
Excellent, excellent trip can or recommend more highly! If you are looking for lift-accessible deep dry powder in Japan and are comfortable skiing country this is THE trip for you! It was a “low” year in Japan yet the Japan Ski Tour team made sure we were skiing in at least knee deep stuff every day and checked the forecast to see where the best snow would be each day. We skied everything from big resorts to active volcanos. Had a blast! Guides all very enjoyable, professional and spoke great English. Food choices were all true delicious Japanese cuisine and hotels were all 4 star. Also stopped at several Onsens which really added to the experience. When I come back to ski again in Japan will likely sign up for this tour again. If this kind of terrain is in your wheelhouse you will not regret going to Japan with this group.

Japan Ski Tours

Amy Cutting
29/02/2020
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Country
    United States
  • Month:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    3

Japan Ski Tours

Amy Cutting
29/02/2020
We did not do the Frontier Explorer due to it being full. However, Japan Ski Tours arranged for a similar itinerary for my husband and me. Despite very disappointing ski conditions, we were very impressed with the professionalism with which Japan Ski Tours assisted us in making the most of our time in Hachimantai. They made every effort to find us the best skiing that was available and provided options for other things to do in lieu of skiing. We hope to return in the future and would absolutely use Japan Ski Tours again to plan the trip.

Amazing Family Trip

Brian Wineke
25/02/2020