Overall Rating

Tohoku Storm Chaser

Tohoku Storm Chaser5/534
Tohoku Storm Chaser5 out of 5 based on 34 reviews
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8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Areas + Cat Skiing

Deposit must be paid by special cut-off date
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, On-Piste, Backcountry, Sidecountry
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Price p/p
USD 2,765
Get away from the crowds & the tracked out snow, and also experience Japanese culture, food & unlimited powder on this Tohoku tour. Chase the best snow on the day in the far northern parts of Honshu, using the lifts as well as touring gear at times
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Tohoku Storm Chaser Tour Overview

The Tohoku Storm Chaser Tour is a ski and snowboard safari in Northern Tohoku in Honshu (i.e. way north of Tokyo) that chases the storms to get the best powder conditions, whilst incorporating cultural experiences, and authentic restaurants with the assistance of professional bilingual guides. The tour heads to far away Tohoku ski resorts that are not well known so there are plenty of fresh tracks! If the ski hills were easy to get to they'd be tracked out, but on the Tohoku Storm Chaser, you'll get taken to plenty of great ski areas.

While lift-accessed powder is the goal and most of the time you'll be using the lifts, when conditions dictate, you'll need to put you'll put in some work to get those freshies. And at Hakkoda, whilst the ropeway will be used for initial vertical gain, you'll need to earn your turns. You'll need touring gear for this trip and touring skis or splitboards can be rented. Never toured before? No problem, the guides help you pick up a new skill.

For the first part of the tour you'll stay in Morioka and chase the best powder each day at up to 5 different nearby ski hills (plus a half day of cat skiing at an abandoned ski hill) where you will have little to no competition for the fresh POW. Ski areas visited might include: Geto Kogen, Tazawako, Appi KogenHachimantai, Shizukuishi, Amihari or Iwate Snowpark, plus a few other undisclosed gems.

After smashing the powder in the Morioka area, you will travel up to Aomori City and Hakkoda (right at the top-end of Honshu) which is Honshu's answer to Asahidake. Hakkoda has 8 peaks serviced by a single ropeway (cable car) and gets an insane amount of powder. The ropeway only provides some of the uphill. Expect to do plenty of touring to get the most out of Hakkoda.

At the end of the day, you can soak in traditional hot springs (onsen), treat yourself to delicious Japanese food, and think about how life couldn't get much better! Oh and post your brag photos on social media :)

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Ride the famous bullet trains
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Stay in regional cities
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Ski at uncrowded ski areas


  • Storm-chase the best powder & conditions each day
  • Stay in 3-star hotels in real Japanese cities not frequented by western tourists
  • Soak your powder-tired muscles in outdoor natural hot springs (onsen)
  • Into the après-ski scene? An endless supply of nightlife from izakayas to craft-beer establishments offering local brews
  • Cat skiing for one half day at an abandoned ski resort - freshies galore!
  • Food is key - optional dinner reservations
  • Maximize the quality of your skiing and snowboarding by getting the scoop on powder stashes in the off-piste and side country zones, and resort orientation from your native English speaking bilingual guide
  • 2 days of backcountry guiding with a local guide at Hakkoda
  • Explore resorts that most gaijin don't get to (so lots of fresh powder)

Skier/Boarder Ability

This tour is ideal for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders with plenty of experience riding powder. You don't necessarily need backcountry experience, but a good level of fitness is required as you'll be doing plenty of touring (ski touring or splitboarding) at Hakkoda. At the other ski areas, touring gear may be utilised for short skins as dictated by the conditions.

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Ski endless lines of powder
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Experience a day of cat skiing
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Visit incredible onsens

If you have a group and would prefer a self-guided version of this tour, the Indy Pass tour offers everything this tour does without the hosting & guiding.


Day 1: Meet at Morioka train station 6:45pm

There are three options of where to meet the group.
1) Meet at Hanamaki Airport "Hana Shop and Cafe" on the first floor at 5:30pm
2) Meet at Morioka Station South Exit by 6:45pm on day-one of your tour
3) Meet at the hotel in Morioka by 7:30pm on day-one of your tour

Day 2-5: Storm Chase in the Iwate/Morioka Region

The area surrounding Morioka explodes with ski hills in every direction. Depending on the conditions, you'll hit Geto Kogen, Tazawako, Shizukuishi, Appi Kogen or Hachimantai Shimokura, Amihari or Iwate Snowpark ski hills. With so many options sometimes it can be hard to choose!

One of the days your group will have its own private snowcat to go cat skiing at an abandoned ski hill.

One thing's for sure though, there will be negligible foreigners there and there'll be very little competition for our pow, if any.

This section of the trip involves a fair amount of driving (by your guide) in one of the adventure vans. Every day you can expect to travel 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to a ski hill.

Each night you'll head back to the vibrant city of Morioka where you'll have the option to head to a great restaurant organised by your guide. And if you’re into nightlife, you’ll have an abundance of options.

On the afternoon of day 5 you'll pack up and your guide will drive you 2 hours north to the city of Aomori (near Hakkoda).

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Fabulous cultural experiences
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Incredible local cuisine
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New lifelong ski buddies

Day 6-7: Ski Hakkoda in Aomori

Hakkoda is one of best undiscovered gems left to be found in the Japow universe. In the same fashion as Asahidake in Hokkaido, Hakkoda is a single ropeway (tram) that opens up incredible backcountry terrain. Depending on where you want to go, one run can take 30 minutes or 1.5 hours. At Hakkoda, it's all about the quality. However, because of its location it often shuts down due to bad weather. In this case there are some exciting backup options in the area that will still leave you satiated.

The two days in Hakkoda are backcountry days which are accessed by a tram. That means that while the tram takes care of 90% of elevation gain, you'll still be skinning anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes per run on terrain that varies from flat traverses to moderate climbs. Since you'll be doing 2 runs per day, that means you'll be touring for between 1-3 hours per day. But it's worth it and the snow quality is worth it!

If you have your own touring equipment, you will definitely want to bring it. If you don't have your own gear, you can rent it from the guides. 

More than just skiing and snowboarding, Aomori is a unique and interesting culture with its own traditions, dialect and yes - amazing local food. In this town you'll be feasting on sushi, seeing a musical performance, and can even learn some traditional dances (if you're in the mood).

Day 8: Drop Off Day

You'll be dropped at the Aomori bullet train station where you can take a 3.5 hour train back to Tokyo. Or you might choose to catch a train up to Hokkaido.

If you're planning on staying in Tokyo for a few days at the end of the trip, note that you can mail your ski bag to the NRT or HND airports. That way you won't have to lug it around!


All of the hotels are 3-star rated, western-style, shared twin room accommodation with ensuite bathroom. Single room accommodation is available subject to availability. If one of your aims is to stay in "luxury" accommodation, this trip probably isn't for you since the hotel choices are clean, comfortable, and very nice, but not what anyone would consider luxury.
  • Pricing and occupancy are based on shared twin rooms. This means that you will be sharing your room with another person in the group and yes, you will have separate beds!
  • If you're traveling alone, we can't guarantee that you'll be paired with someone of your same gender. Ie, if you're a solo female traveler, we can't guarantee that you'll be paired with another female. If you're uncomfortable with this, please select the option for a single room upgrade.
  • If you're traveling as a couple or as friends, you'll be paired together.
  • An upgrade to a single room is possible subject to availability.
  • Each room has its own private toilet and shower.
Morioka Lodging
The hotel in Morioka is the absolute best that this modest city has to offer, right at the perfect intersection of good facilities in a lively area, and directly across the street from one of the best pubs in town.

Each room features free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms feature shower/tub combinations, complimentary toiletries, and bidets. Twin room size is 31 square meters or 333 square feet. Beds are two single beds.

A buffet breakfast is provided, with a range of Japanese and western fare.

Aomori Lodging
Located in the heart of Aomori City, the hotel is the best this humble city has to offer. Featuring WiFi in every room, a superb buffet breakfast with western style options, and individual bathrooms with personal baths and showers, you couldn't ask for more to help you recover before your next big day crushing the pow at Hakkoda. Room size is a bit smaller than the first hotel at 23 square meters or 247 square feet. Beds are two single beds.

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Deluxe business hotel accommodation
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Private ensuite bathrooms
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Daily buffet breakfasts


JST thinks that skiing and snowboarding is about more than just the riding, especially when you're in a country famous for its culinary delights. The guides are excited to take you to the best possible food on any given evening. The guides will have nightly reservations for the group to favorite places in the areas. These meals are optional but highly recommended!

The criteria for selecting restaurants are strict:

  • Most of the restaurant selections can't be found anywhere in English, don't have English menus, and the staff don't speak English (your guide will interpret for you)
  • The guides choose restaurants based on what food is regionally famous in the area and personally tested for authenticity by locals and your guides.
  • The guides understand that not everyone has US$50 to spend on a meal so they choose restaurants which meet a variety of price points, usually between $10-$30 per dinner not including drinks.
  • They choose restaurants with an aim to provide you a diverse cross section of excellent Japanese cuisine from sushi to noodles, from rice to Japanese style BBQ!

Note that participation in dinner isn't mandatory and isn't included in the price of your trip. If you want to have dinner on your own--no problem, just let your guide know!

Also note that sometimes the guides have to deviate from the planned meals because they can't make advanced reservations for everywhere they want to take you, so bear in mind that flexibility might be required.

The areas you're going to on this trip are so remote and off the tourist track that it's almost impossible to find an authentic restaurant that is completely non-smoking. Most of the places aren't crowded but there's always a chance that someone sitting in your vicinity might light up a cigarette. Unfortunately, this risk is the price of admission for good food in this region. 

Dietary Restrictions
JST believe that skiing Japan and cultural experiences aren't mutually exclusive so they try as much as possible to give you authentic food options. Unfortunately however, in Japan it's pretty much impossible to have an authentic culinary experience with dietary restrictions such as gluten intolerance and veganism, even pescetarians and vegetarians have a famously difficult time. If you have dietary restrictions such as that listed above, your guide and selected restaurants will probably not be able to cater to your needs. This can be discussed with the guide but you should be prepared to eat grocery store food for most dinners.

2024 Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons

Before Aug 31: 389,000 JPY

After Aug 31: 419,000 JPY

  • Price is per person
  • Based on twin share
  • Base / invoice price is in Japanese Yen
  • Includes 13% taxes

  • Your own bilingual, qualified guide – max 1:4 ratio
  • 7 nights 3 star accommodation with ensuite bathroom (twin share)
  • Daily breakfasts featuring western & Japanese options
  • Lift passes for 6 resorts, 1/2 day cat skiing
  • Ground transport to ski areas
  • Arrival pick up from Morioka station (or Hanamaki Airport) & departure drop off at Aomori
  • 2 days of guided backcountry at Hakkoda with local guide
  • 3 visits to onsen
  • Single room upgrade (pending availability)
  • Avalanche safety gear rental (beacon, shovel, probe)
  • Touring gear rentals (touring gear is required for this trip)
Not Included
  • FLIGHTS: International flights in/out of Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) - book flights here
  • TRIP INSURANCE: Highly recommended, as all subsisting costs will be charged in case of absence. Payment by credit card, Visa Premier or Gold MasterCard, may provide cancellation insurance. Check your contract. - buy online here
  • LUNCHES, DINNERS & DRINKS: only those meals stated above are included in the price
  • POWDER SKIS & POWDER BOARDS: It is highly recommended for maximum enjoyment that you have appropriate skis and snowboards for deep, deep powder
  • TRAINS: to & from Morioka & Aomori, JR Pass

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.


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.