If you love powder, Japan is THE place to go. Ski the most famous powder resort in the world followed by the cultural highlights of Tokyo and Kyoto.
- 10 days skiing/snowboarding deep powder in Niseko
- Three nights exploring the vibrant city of Tokyo
- Bullet train travel and one night in Kyoto exploring the history and culture of Japan
Depart London Heathrow for Tokyo (Tokyo Haneda or Tokyo Narita airport).
Arrive in Tokyo, get your connecting flight to Sapporo and transfer to Niseko. We booked our coach transfer with White Liner . We stayed in the Green Leaf Hotel for 11 nights for 10 days of heavenly snowboarding.
THE FIRST DAY OF SNOWBOARDING!! We got up mega early and headed for the first lift to find there wasn’t a queue on a powder day…?!
We familiarised ourselves with the Niseko United Resort which encompasses Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu and Hanazono. The view from our ski in/ski out hotel.
Finding more hidden powder within the resort – which isn’t hard to find! Most people seem to stick to the slopes so you’ll find fresh powder for days after a massive dump.In Niseko Village ski area, the trees are wide enough to ski in between. A great spot is the natural bowl starting at the top of the Enchantment green run which wraps around it, and don’t forget to explore the trees either side for hidden powder stashes.
We booked First Tracks and a half day backcountry tour with Hanazono Harmony Resorts who picked us up at 06:40am in a private car to take us to the starting point and Hanazono base station.
It was ANOTHER powder day and we were the first of a small number of groups lapping the mountain. And then, as soon as the gates opened, we made the short hike up from gate 3/4 and dropped into the back bowl. It was literally the best run of our lives…so far!
More exploring and night skiing.
Our Aussie friends joined us for the rest of our time in Niseko. We showed them the best bits of the mountain.Gate 1 and 8 are also good fun (make sure they are open first). Just remember to never go alone. The best bit about the side country is that you end back up in Annupuri and can get straight back on the gondola.
On the other side of the mountain, gate 5 has tree runs for miles. Just don’t drop too low and remember to cut back in resort.
See our full Niseko Resort Guide here.
Day 8 – Day 10
More exploring, après ski and food.
On our penultimate day, we had pre-booked the Niseko Hidden Secrets tour with Niseko Extreme Tours. A few days before, they contacted us to say that due to the weather, there would be better powder at another resort, Kiroro.
The runs were shorter, but steeper and deeper!
Sadly our final day boarding, re-visiting the best bits.
Transfer and flight back to Tokyo. We then took the train from the airport to Tokyo. We stayed 5 nights at the Sunroute Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku. It is slap bang in the middle of Tokyo; the perfect base to explore and only a two minute walk from the station.
A night out in Tokyo, and of course we tried Karaoke.
Exploring Tokyo by day, we visited Shibuya and the local attractions. It is so easy to get around Tokyo by train and the Taxi’s are cheaper than London black cabs so ok if you’re in a group. All travel signs are also in English.
See our Tokyo Guide here.
An evening meal at the Park Hyatt featured in the film Lost In Translation.
A second day and evening exploring Tokyo. The Robot Restaurant is fucking weird, but a must.
We had dinner at the Kill Bill Restaurant and drank in the Roppongi district.
We got up early and jumped on the bullet train (pre-booked a few days before) to Kyoto for one night. We were travelling light since we left all our luggage in our hotel room in Tokyo.
We wandered the markets and Geisha district and stayed at the Gion Maifukan, a traditional Japanese Inn.
See our 24 Hours in Kyoto guide here.
We visited the Golden Temple, had a traditional vegan buddhist meal and headed back to Tokyo. A final nights sleep in Tokyo before flying home the next day.
Pack up and coach transfer to the hotel. We flew from Tokyo Haneda (which is closer than Narita) to London Heathrow. Goodbye Japan!