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Big powder turn in Japanese forest during Powder Culture Tour with First Tours

Powder Culture Tour

Powder Culture Tour

€1950 / per person
(3 Reviews)

02 – 11 February  &  13 – 22 February, 2020.

The Powder Culture tour is our most popular guided ski and snowboard tour which combines plenty of that famous Japanese powder mixed in with the rich Japanese culture. Explore some of our favorite spots in Honshu and stay in traditional Japanese ski towns.


We’ll take you to the Nagano region, home to some of the highest mountains in Japan and known for receiving massive amounts of snow. An average snow depth of 4 meters is pretty much the standard for this time of season. Add a soft layer of dry Japanese powder on top of that and you know you’re in for a rad time!


You’ll visit Nozawa Onsen, Madarao Kogen, Myoko Kogen & Lotte Arai, each home to different terrain and steeped in Japanese culture.


Nozawa Onsen is renowned for having some of the best treeruns in mainland Japan, all accessible via fast lifts and as its name suggests  –  its traditional ‘onsens’ (bathhouses) which can be found on practically every corner. There’s 13 public ones around town and our guide will show you his favoriete ones!


Madarao is a relatively unknown ski resort spread across Mt. Madarao. With 60% of its slopes ungroomed and ample slack & backcountry runs to play in – you know you’re in for a great time!


After Madarao head towards Myoko Kogen – the powder capital of Honshu! Myoko gets an average of 15 meters of dry Japanese powder!
You’ll also spend a day in Lotte Arai where you’ll find great inbound gates with great amounts of powder and some fantastic views (if it’s not snowing).


Included in the Powder Culture Tour is a guided backcountry day with a member of the local ski patrol. A couple of short hikes from the lift gets us to some of the lightest snow in the area. A perfect way to experience some unbelievable first tracks.


We highly recommend adding a few days in Tokyo after the tour is done. This beautiful city has something for everyone – beautiful temples and historic sights to futuristic buildings, dancing robots and weird and wonderful cafes with delicious food.


This tour is fully guided by the First Tours team. We’ll show you the best spots on and off the mountain. Due to small groups places are strictly limited. Start your booking now.


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Day 1 - Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo! A shuttle bus awaits you at Tokyo airport to drive you to Nozawa Onsen. Check-in and spend the rest of the day exploring the amazing town. Visit the beautiful temples, explore the many onsens or just wander around the little streets. At night when everyone has checked in, we'll go for a delicious dinner at one of the many local restaurants.
  • Shuttle bus Tokyo airport - Nozawa Onsen
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with onsen, Nozawa Onsen

Day 2 & 3 - Nozawa Onsen

We'll spend the first 2 days exploring the many great side country runs in Nozawa Onsen. This powder factory has some all-time tree runs all within easy access from the lifts. After a sick day riding, relax in one of the many natural hot springs, or 'onsens'. At night there are plenty of restaurants we can go to for dinner or even sneak in a beer or two at the local pub.
  • Good breakfast
  • Lift ticket Nozawa Onsen
  • All day guiding around Nozawa Onsen
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with onsen, Nozawa Onsen

Day 4 - Nozawa or Madarao

Depending on the snow conditions, weather and mood we'll have the choice of spending another day riding at Nozawa Onsen or get the local bus to the nearby resort of Madarao where we'll be staying for 2 nights. If we decide to ride in Nozawa Onsen we'll have almost all day to ride some of our favourite lines from the previous days. The bus to Madarao departs around 4 PM. If we decide to go to Madarao first thing, we'll take the morning bus. Upon arrival, we'll drop our bags somewhere safe and head straight up the mountain to enjoy all the natural features Madarao has to offer.
  • Good breakfast
  • Lift ticket Nozawa Onsen or Madarao
  • All day guiding around Nozawa Onsen or Madarao
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with beautiful onsen, Madarao

Day 5 - Madarao

Madarao is a small, still relatively unknown resort that lies between Nozawa Onsen and Myoko. Mt. Madarao is a high, 1382 meter mountain with 60% of its slopes ungroomed! The chance to find deep powder is extremely high! Next to the groomers, Madarao also offers plenty of slack and backcountry runs all with amazing bowls, pillows and hand-made features! 
  • Excellent buffet breakfast
  • Lift ticket Madarao
  • All day guiding around Madarao
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with beautiful onsen, Madarao

Day 6 - Backcountry

Depending on how everyone's feeling today we have the opportunity to go on a fully guided backcountry experience with snowshoes and all. A local ski patrol guide will take us to some amazing backcountry spots in the area. Only accessible via a hike. If the group doesn't feel like hiking we'll head towards a nearby resort and use the local lift to get us to some sick terrain. After spending all day riding, we'll take the 5 PM bus from Madarao to our final stop – Myoko Kogen.
  • Excellent buffet breakfast
  • Professional backcountry guide
  • Backcountry equipment
  • Transfer to and from backcountry area
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with nice onsen, Myoko

Day 7 - Myoko Kogen

This large resort is situated on a big volcano and consists of 4 interlinked resorts. Each resort has its own unique qualities and your guide will take you to the best spots based on the snow and weather conditions. At night we'll visit the many different ramen, sushi, and yakitori restaurants and can end the night in some of the apres ski bars in town (one of them with indoor skate ramp!)
  • Good buffet breakfast
  • Lift ticket Myoko Kogen BIG 4
  • All day guiding in Myoko Kogen
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with nice onsen, Myoko

Day 8 - Lotte Arai

This morning, we'll get up early to sneak in some breakfast before getting a local bus to Lotte Arai. This resort has recently been renovated and the lifts are finally up and running again (after being closed for 15 years). It is also one of the few resorts that follow the American "gate" system so expect a lot of inbound powder runs all accessible via modern lifts. After a day riding all the inbound stashes you can hand in your lift ticket at the local onsen and soak in one of the in-and-outdoor onsens. One of the most beautiful in the area!
  • Good buffet breakfast
  • Lift ticket Lotte Arai with access to a beautiful onsen
  • All day guiding in Lotte Arai
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with nice onsen, Myoko

Day 9 - Suginohara

Based on the snow conditions we'll decide during breakfast which of Myoko's resort we'll visit. If there isn't much new snow there's an option to go for a short hike towards the volcano of Mt Myoko. From here we can watch the steam come out of the crater before riding a mellow backcountry run down to lunch. For those who have an early flight the next morning, it is advised to get the afternoon train back to Tokyo and spend the night at a hotel near the airport so you don't miss your flight.
  • Good buffet breakfast
  • Lift ticket Myoko Kogen BIG 4
  • All day guiding in Myoko Kogen
  • Accommodation in a comfortable lodge with nice onsen, Myoko

Day 10 - Depart

After an amazing trip around some of the best resorts in Honshu, it's time to make your way back to Tokyo to spend a few days sightseeing around this amazing city (highly recommended) or to go straight to the airport to catch your flight home.
  • Good buffet breakfast
  • Transfer to train station from the hotel
Rating 0
Guide 0
Runs 0
Terrain 0
  • A.J. Schiphorst-Kok

    Fantastic! Best trip ever, especially when you combine it with a few days in Tokyo!

    Rating Guide Runs Terrain
    July 5, 2019 at 11:23 am
  • Angus Leith

    Going on a trip with the first tour crew was an epic experience. Having experienced riders guiding you through some amazing fun terrain, off the beaten track, with fun as a priority. As it should be. Off the hill was excellent to have someone with some local knowledge to show you around and keep you clued up. Basically, its a rad fun crew to tour with and it was well worth it. Hell yeah.

    Rating Guide Runs Terrain
    July 24, 2019 at 3:39 am
  • Tim Schiphorst

    I’ve joined First Tours to Japan and India, and both tours offered memories that will stay with me forever. Bottomless snow, great culture, amazing food. Around every corner hid a secret that left an everlasting impression on me. First Tours organized everything perfectly, and even so, we were still flexible enough to move around the travel itinerary according to the best possible snow conditions.

    Rating Guide Runs Terrain
    July 25, 2019 at 12:02 am

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  • 3 nights Nozawa Onsen
  • 2 nights Madarao Kogen
  • 4 nights Myoko Kogen
  • Daily breakfast
  • Lift pass for Nozawa Onsen, Madarao Kogen, Myoko Kogen & Lotte Arai
  • Daily guiding
  • Backcountry day with a local guide (equipment included)
  • Transfer from hotel in Myoko to the local train station
  • 'First Tours' guide for the duration of the tour
  • Free access to Rome powder boards


  • Lunch & dinner
  • local buses (Nozawa - Madarao & Madarao - Myoko)
  • Allowance
  • Backcountry gear (beacon, probe, shovel, backpack)
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance


This tour is for the intermediate to experienced skier/snowboarder. Experience in deep snow is not necessary but recommended to get as much out of your holiday as possible. Some runs are accessible via narrow cat track and can be rather steep. Good control is necessary.


Because most of the runs are side country and can be unpatrolled, backcountry equipment (backpack, beacon, shovel & probe) is highly recommended. (without backcountry equipment different, inbound runs will be found)


Because of the crazy amounts of snow falling in Japan, a good waterproof but breathable jacket and pants are highly recommended. For example, consider the Beast series from Airblaster available at Behind The Pines in Amsterdam.


Must have a min of 4 people to operate.

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