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Aizu Zao Powder Tour

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Japan Ski Tour Tohoku Area
Aizu Zao Powder Tour Enquire
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share mixed-group tour for 2020.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,183

10 Nights | 8 Days Skiing/Riding

Book & pay by cut off date for special
Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, Backcountry, Sidecountry
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share mixed-group tour for 2020.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,183
The Aizu region in Southern Tohoku is as Japanese as it gets with rich cultural experiences, fabulous food, lots of onsens, and of course fresh powder. Also visit Zao with its pretty onsen village and more powder. Get away from the ordinary.
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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.

Aizu Zao Powder Tour

This tour is being officially launched for 2020, although the WhiteRoom Tours guides have been running a few test tours and scoping trips over the past few years.

The Aizu Zao Powder Tour is aptly named as it heads to the Aizu Region and its many ski resorts, and Zao Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture. These Southern Tohoku areas are about as Japanese as it gets, so in addition to scoring fresh lines, you'll get the full Japanese experience. Stay in a traditional ryokan, soak in the onsens, relish the gorgeous food, and enjoy an area that's largely untapped when it comes to foreigners chasing powder.

Aizu Ski Resorts

Only two hours by Shinkansen from Tokyo, but a world away, the Aizu region sits under the majestic Bandai-san (Mt Bandai), a towering volcano that is surrounded by 12 ski resorts caked in powder. Few westerners visit this area, making it one of the last remaining places in Japan where powder lays untouched days after it snows. From your base at Urabandai Lake Resort you’ll explore the in-bounds and backcountry terrain of Minowa, Grand Deco, Alts Bandai, Nekoma and Inawashiro ski resorts. Each offers up something different from charging through birch forests in knee deep powder to hiking the ridges of Nekoma or dropping down pillow laden pitches to a road pick up and an end of day soaking in the onsen. Storybook Samurai Japow awaits.

If you are needing a rest (optional) from all that pow smashing, the guides will take you on a cultural day tour in the Aizu region. First stop Ouchijuku, one of the few traditional thatched roofed towns left in Japan, famous also for its soba noodles and miso. The group will also visit the ancient Samurai town of Aizuwakamatsu and explore Tsuruga Castle, once home of samurai loyal to the shogunate during the Edo period, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, then sample local sake at the famous Suehiro Sake Brewery.

One of the limitations of snowboarding and skiing in Aizu is that it's really difficult to get around to the different ski resorts via public transport, but you won't need to worry about that because you can sit back and relax whilst your guide drives you around.

Zao Onsen

The last three nights will be spent in Zao Onsen which is just under 2 hours to the north. Zao is the second oldest onsen town of its kind in Japan. Many travel there to seek out its therapeutic onsens, or to see the famous snow monsters, yet you'll be there to also seek out its epic pow. During the 80’s Zao was a happening ski town crowded with skiers decked out in amazing fluro ski suits and dancing the night away in the town's three discos. Today, like many of Japan’s ski resorts, it is a sleepy village with old lift infrastructure and some dilapidated buildings. However, it is slowly renewing itself thanks to increasing foreign visitors but it is still largely off the beaten powder hound path.

You will explore the lift accessed backcountry by day and wander the streets at night, dropping into a local brewery and sake bar. On the last night the guides will take you to Yamagata town where you will end the tour in true Japanese style at one of the town's traditional Japanese restaurants, complete with a private Maiko performance.

Guide Ratio

  • 6 to 1 client to guide ratio
  • 12 people max per tour
  • 4 person minimum.

Ability Level

For the Aizu Zao Powder Tour you need to be an advanced or above skier or snowboarder. You must be able to ski/ride the whole mountain with confidence and at a reasonable speed in powder, through trees and in variable conditions. You must have a good level of fitness. Snowboarders at this level are able to keep speed in flat sections by planning ahead and can hold a solid traverse line and hop up and manoeuvre in a way as to not slow down the group.

Groups are split up into ski/board/ability levels and some groups we will be doing some hiking (traversing/bootpacking) to get to the goods. Skins or split-boards are not required, but if the group has touring gear or wants to rent gear, the guides will happily take you deeper into the backcountry.


Day 1 – Arrival Day

After landing in one of Tokyo’s international airports, you will either catch the train to Koriyama Station where your guide will meet you and transfer you to Urabandai Lake Resort, or depending on your arrival time there is the option of catching the direct bus to Urabandai Lake Resort. After checking in you will have a welcome drink in the hotel's bar where you will get to meet your tour mates and the guides will run through the current conditions and tour plan. This will be followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel's main restaurant.

Day 2 – First Day On Snow

On the first day the guides will introduce you to the avalanche safety gear, run you through how to use it, and ensure that all your gear is functional and ready for the next 9 days of pow smashing. The group will hit up one of the local resorts to warm up the legs and get the first taste of that famous Japanese powder.

Day 3 – 7 Ski/Shred, Eat, Sleep and Repeat

Each day your guide will choose one of the 6 resorts in the area. This choice will be made based on prevailing conditions and the group. When the group heads to Alts Bandai there will be the option, subject to availability, of cat skiing up to three runs on an abandoned part of their ski resort. Enjoy full vert fresh pow! On one of these days or perhaps the transfer day the guides will take you down to the town of Aizuwakamatsu and Ouchijuku. First stop is Ouchijuku, one of the few traditional thatched roofed towns left in Japan, famous also for its soba noodles and miso. You will also visit the ancient Samurai town of Aizuwakamatsu and explore Tsuruga Castle, once home of samurai loyal to the shogunate during the Edo period, enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, then sample local sake at the famous Suehiro Sake Brewery.

Day 8 Transfer to Zao (Possible Rest/Cultural Day)

You will say goodbye to the Aizu region and head north to Zao Onsen, a traditional onsen town, the 2nd oldest of its type in Japan. On the way you will either ski at one of the lesser known Zao area resorts or enjoy a cultural day. In the evening you will check into the newly renovated Ryokan Meitoya So where you will enjoy a Zao welcome dinner.

Day 9 – Ski Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen is home to the most famous snow-monsters in Japan. You will explore the in-bounds and lift accessed backcountry terrain here. Zao is like Nozawa Onsen was 8 years ago, a quaint onsen village with lovely restaurants and bars, few people on the mountain and loads of fresh tracks to be had. The guides will take you to see the snow monsters under lights at night as well as the local sake brewery, craft beer bar and other highlights.

Day 10 Ski Zao Onsen and Farewell Dinner

You will explore Zao’s backcountry more during the day, then it’s off to Yamagata for a special farewell dinner. You will get to experience a traditional Maiko performance at one of Yamagata’s historic restaurants. The Maikos will sing and dance as well as play Japanese drinking games designed to test both skill and sobriety! This will be a truly unique experience.

Day 11 – Departure Day

It’s time to say goodbye to your new found friends and be transferred to Sendai station for a Shinkansen train back to reality.


Urabandai Lake Resort - Aizu

Located within Bandai-asahi National Park and on the shores of Lake Hibara, the Urabandai Lake Resort Hotel offers quality deluxe accommodation, beautiful indoor and outdoor onsens over looking the lake, and delicious restaurants and an aprés ski bar complete with pool tables, tabel tennis, foosball and virtual golf. There is also a karaoke room if you want to get fully into the Japanese resort hotel vibe. The location of this hotel is excellent for the tour, allowing short 20-50min drives to the nearby Aizu resorts.

Meitoya So Ryokan - Zao Onsen

Meitoya So is a tastefully renovated ryokan with large Japanese and Japanese/Western rooms. Situated in the centre of Zao Onsen, this traditional ryokan is a highlight of the trip. The onsens also make it special, as well as the delicious local food and inviting communal spaces. This is a lovely way to spend your last 3 nights on tour.

Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons

2020 Rates

  • base/invoice currency is Japanese yen inc tax - convert to your currency here
  • prices are based on twin/triple share room
  • Please enquire for a quote for a customised private tour
  • 12 people max per tour. 4 person minimum
  • 10 nights accommodation twin/triple share
  • 8 days guiding & hosting at various ski resorts
  • Transfers from/to Koriyama and Sendai train stations & daily transport
  • 8 days of lift tickets
  • 9 dinners showcasing the areas delicious food including a welcome Kaseki degustation & farewell dinner party in Yamagata complete with Maiko performance
  • Daily breakfast
  • Onsen (hot spring) tours
  • Alts Bandai 3 run cat ski experience (if available on the day)
  • Avalanche safety equipment 14,500 yen
  • Single share accommodation
  • Tokyo stopover, Kyoto stopover
Not Included

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Whiteroom Tours reserves the right until final payment has been received in full, to vary prices & rates in the event of changes in currency exchange or price increases made by our suppliers or airlines. If the cost of any service increases due to exchange rate fluctuations, tax changes, price increases or any other reason, you are required to pay the increase when notified by us. If you choose not to pay the increased price you may choose to cancel the booking. Please note that cancellation charges will apply.

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