Japanuary 2020 // nagano prefecture // Jan 12 - 24, & Jan 26 - Feb 7   

Canadian Powder Adventures will be running our fourth year of guided trips to Japan this coming January.

In 2017 we selected this powder paradise as the perfect circuit to run our tours, and have since given the itinerary some fine tuning, settling with 11 days on the snow, skiing and snowboarding in the areas around Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen, and Hakuba on the main island of Honshu.

Guests arrive at the Narita Airport (Tokyo) on Jan 12, transfer by train to Nagano City where Claire and I pick you up in the van. We’ll arrive at the picturesque village of Nozawa Onsen around 9 pm.  Nozawa is famous for its 11 free onsens, some being hundreds of years old, with shiny weathered wood and stone from the vapours of the natural steam waters. We'll stay 4 nights here, skiing the first 2 days at the Nozawa Onsen Resort.  After our second day of skiing is the night of the Fire Festival, where hundreds of spectators gather to watch this 150 year old tradition of villagers "attacking" a 30 ft tall (occupied) structure with burning stacks of reeds and bamboo, eventually lighting this temporary shrine on fire forcing the defenders to submit. To see, click here. The next 2 days of skiing will be at Ryuoo and Madarao. After skiing Thur, the 16th, we’ll drive 40 mins into Myoko Kogen, where we'll spend 3 nights.

While in the Myoko area we'll pick our 3 ski days between Akankura Kanko, Seki Onsen, and Lotte Arai. If desired we can take a rest day at Jigokudani Park, a 1 km hike through a cedar forest to visit the residing snow monkeys, who famously lounge in the steamy outdoor thermals. On Sun, Jan 19th we’ll drive into the ski village of Hakuba, where we'll stay for the remainder of the trip.  

Hakuba is located at the base of the largest mountain range in the country, the Japanese Alps, with impressive peaks of over 3000m in elevation dominating the skyline.  There are actually 10 resorts all within a 30 minute drive of our hotel.  This bustling Japanese version of a ski town also offers excellent restaurants, pubs, and shops in the downtown area.

There has already been a lot of interest in these trips for the coming season, so if you're tempted, act fast!  Please drop me a line if you have any questions at mike@canadianpowder.ca


Why Ski In Japan?  Here are a few reasons:

1. JaPOWPOW - It snows a lot in Japan.  The areas we'll visit boast 10m of accumulated snowfall per year.  It snows a lot in Japan.  I guess I said that already.  It snows a lot in Japan.

2. The Onsen Culture - this tradition of replenishing the mind, body, and spirit in natural-source hot springs at least once a day goes extremely well with skiing and snowboarding.  The onsen pools are kept pristine, as each visitor sits at a washing station just before entering, taking advantage of the complimentary soap, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, etc.  This is very agreeable to a cold and tired powder samurai.  There are often several onsen facilities within a small town, and they all have their own characteristics.  A great way to clean up before dinner.

3. Dinner (& All Meals) - culinary delight in this country is in large part due to the extremely high level of service that truly defines the Japanese... that, and the food is delicious, often with portions relatively small, extending the evening meal to easily a couple hrs.  There are a lot of local craft beers, and the Japanese scotch is truly top shelf, while most of the wine is sake, of the rice variety.  The breakfasts are usually in between fun (a version of the ‘western breakfast’), and highly adventurous (when the local selection is served).

4. Options - There are well over 500 ski resorts in Japan.  We'll visit between 7 - 10 different ones on this trip.  The resorts are commonly separated with a river drainage, making more than one accessible in the same day. There are many ‘hike-to’, ‘skin-to’, and sidecountry opportunities. When the conditions are safe, we’ll present these options along the way. Avalanche safety equipment is required as always when leaving controlled areas.

5. Flora and Fauna - From the snow monkeys and kamoshikas (goats), to the massive snow-laden birch trees and bamboo forests, Japan offers an abundance of natural wonder.

6. High Tech - High speed trains (Shinkansen), phenomenal bridged/tunnelled roadway infrastructure, digitally controlled toilet functions (!), hot coffee and cream corn soup vending machines...  It's never ending, at least for us small-town kids.  Best part of this is the contrast, for example; the smiling and bowing gentleman sweeping the snow off your seat on the lift with a reed broom, greeting you each time you pass by. 

7.  The Japanese, Themselves - The locals have an exceedingly gracious quality that is so pleasant to be immersed in, and will make you wonder why everyone isn't a little nicer to others in this world.

8.  Other Highlights - Buddhist and Shinto temples, geishas, mochi, sumo wrestling on every channel, and ice bars.


Trip Itinerary for 2020

  • Sun, Jan 12 arrive at Narita Airport, travel to Nagano City by train, and to Nozawa Onsen by van

  • Jan 13 ski and stay in Nozawa Onsen

  • Jan 14 ski and stay in Nozawa Onsen

  • Jan 15 ski at Ryuoo, stay in Nozawa Onsen * Fire Festival *

  • Jan 16 check out, ski at Madarao Kogen (40 mins away), then on to Myoko Kogen (40 mins)

  • Jan 17 ski Akankura Kanko, stay in Myoko Kogen

  • Jan 18 ski Seki Onsen, stay in Myoko Kogen

  • Jan 19 ski Lotte Arai, stay in Myoko Kogen

  • Jan 19 check out, drive 1 hr to Jigokudani Monkey Park to spend a few hrs, then 2 hrs to Hakuba -or ski another day instead of rest

  • Jan 20 ski and stay in the Hakuba area

  • Jan 21 ski and stay in the Hakuba area

  • Jan 22 ski and stay in the Hakuba area

  • Jan 23 ski and stay the final night in Hakuba

  • Fri, Jan 24 check out, drive 3.5 hrs to Narita Airport

NOTE: the trip running Jan 26 - Feb 7 will run in the reverse order, starting in Hakuba & ending in Nozawa

Trip Prices

  • $4550 USD per person

Impressive backdrop of the Japanese Alps, looming over the village of Hakuba

Impressive backdrop of the Japanese Alps, looming over the village of Hakuba

Rare sighting of a wild (goat like) kamoshika

Rare sighting of a wild (goat like) kamoshika

Cortina is one of the ski areas within Hakuba, with the Austrian style hotel below

Cortina is one of the ski areas within Hakuba, with the Austrian style hotel below

The quiet resort of Myoko Kogen

The quiet resort of Myoko Kogen

The burning of the structure at the Nosawa Fire Festival

The burning of the structure at the Nosawa Fire Festival