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 chase the best powder. On your Japanese ski tour or snowboard trip you can also enjoy amazing cuisine, traditional cultural performances, great lodging, and take a dip in a remote onsen. Don’t just ski Japan – feel it! Japan Ski Tours offer different Japan ski and snowboard trips in both Hokkaido and Honshu, that include scheduled group tours, and bespoke guiding packages in Iwate, as well as Hachimantai Cat Ski Trips.

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

22/23 Season Updated Booking Policy

Updated February 20th, 2022:

We understand that due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, you may be experiencing some concern and uncertainty with regards to your `22-23 winter travel plans. JST will continue to offer flexible booking options so you can book your ski trip with confidence. The following COVID-19 terms and conditions will apply to bookings for the ’22-23 winter season.

Booking policy for the '22/23 winter season:

A ¥40,000 refundable deposit will secure a reservation on any of the JST products. This deposit is fully refundable until August 31, 2022 for any reason, and may be further extended.

On September 1, the card on file will be charged 50% of the remaining balance due, with the final balance charged on November 1.

Failure to receive balance payments by September 10 and November 10 respectively, will result in cancellation of the reservation which will then be subject to our standard cancellation policy (see below).

From September 1st, all bookings are to be subject to our standard terms and conditions or by our COVID-19 exclusive policy (see below).

COVID-19 exclusive policy:

If a COVID-19 travel ban is in effect, prohibiting international travel to and from Japan or to and from your home country, or if a mandatory quarantine is required after arrival into Japan or upon return to your home country:

Up to 30 days prior to your ski trip start date the following applies:

You may cancel and receive a refund minus the service fee of ¥10,000 per person;

or you may receive a 100% trip credit towards a future JST trip, with no service fee applied.

Less than 30 days before your JST trip start date the following applies:

You may cancel and receive a 50% refund with a 50% cancellation fee.

or you may receive a 75% trip credit towards a future JST trip, with a 25% cancellation fee.

Due to the substantial time and financial investment required in getting our trips prepped for winter, sudden cancellations even under Covid related circumstances will incur the above mentioned cancellation fees.

Terms of Agreement & Policies/ Booking Information

Please carefully read the policies below before you make a reservation.

Cancellation

Once we receive written notification that you are canceling your trip the following fees will apply. Of the total price of the reservation, a fee of 25% will be charged for all cancellations made more than 4 months before the start of your trip. Cancellations made between 2 and 4 months prior to the start of your program will be charged a 50% fee. Cancellations made with less than two months of advanced notice will not be refunded. Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to the departure date, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.

Japan Ski Tours cannot be held responsible for snow conditions. Trips cannot be cancelled or amended on the basis of snow conditions. No refunds will be made if you voluntarily leave a tour for any reason after the tour has begun. Refunds will be at the discretion of JST if you are involuntarily forced to leave a tour for any reason. No refunds will be given for any accommodation, transport, sightseeing, meals, services, lift tickets or any component of the tour not utilized.

Responsibility and dependence on suppliers

JST acts only as an agent for the other companies providing or offering accommodation, lift tickets and other services and as such has no control over any services or products provided by these supplying companies. All bookings made are subject to the booking terms and conditions under which these services are provided. JST and its suppliers reserve the right, without liability or right of compensation, to prohibit or restrict any activity, or cancel or alter any service or itinerary component, without notice. JST will not be held responsible for the inability of the suppliers to comply with any special request relating to age, medical conditions, physical ability or disability, dietary requirements, allergic conditions, smoking or non-smoking accommodation.

Cancellation by JST

JST reserves the right to cancel any tour prior to departure, including a confirmed tour, due to circumstances beyond our control. If this occurs you will be given the option of changing to another tour or receive a full refund. JST is not responsible for any incidental expense you have incurred as a result of your booking. If you choose and alternative tour and it is at a lower value than your original tour you will be refunded the difference. If the alternative tour is of a higher value then you will pay the difference in price.

What Storm Chasing means

While we do "storm chase" as much as possible, we are constrained by the limitations of our itinerary and hotel reservations. There may be instances where we have to leave our base accommodation and move to the next area as soon as a storm is coming in. If you're not willing to run the risk that the timing of the itinerary might not work with the storm systems during your trip, your best bet is to rent a Camper Van and travel around in real-time with the storms. Since our trips aren't Camper Van based, we'll be following our itinerary as described on our website and storm chasing within those limitations.

Change of Date

Date changes are subject to availability. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 2 months prior to your departure date. Date changes made between 2-3 months prior to the tour will be charged a ¥15,000 fee per person. A ¥10,000 fee will be charged per person for all date changes made more than 3 months prior to the tour.

Medical and Emergency Evacuation Insurance

Due to the inherent risk involved in alpine pursuits, and in the interest of your safety, Japan Ski Tours strongly recommends all participants to bring insurance that provides full medical and emergency evacuation coverage. Japan Ski Tours will NOT provide insurance for participants on any JST tour. If a participant does not have proper insurance documentation he/she will be liable for her own medical and emergency evacuation expenses and will receive no refund, date change, or any kind of compensation from Japan Ski Tours. Please take this seriously and lean on the side of caution.

Hazard Management and Skier Responsibilities

Managing risk is JST’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent to sidecountry pursuits (e.g. avalanche, inclement weather, tee-accidents, rock fall, and high winds) but they cannot eliminate them.

Please clearly understand that skiing in bounds and out of bounds is an inherently hazardous sport and both actions are only undertaken with the full knowledge and consent from the participant that these are inherently dangerous activities. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which skiers have been injured and worse. While these accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge that risk, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity. We ask that each participant is physically and mentally fit, is properly attired and equipped, and continues to assess him/her-self throughout the tour to ensure as safe a time as possible. We ask that participants honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their guide.

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. See our video here

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. See our video here

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! See our video here

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. See our video here

Japan Ski Tours

Amy Cutting
29/02/2020