• Maximum participants


  • Price

    $ 500 (reservation deposit)
    $ 3950 (second payment)

  • Duration

    9 days, 8 nights
    January 17-25, 2020

  • Location

    Niseko– Hokkaido, Japan


Join Saveur the Journey for an ADVANCED/EXPERT POWDER Skiing/boarding trip to the ultimate powder stash, Niseko, Japan! Float effortlessly through some of the driest, deepest snow in the world, while experiencing the decadent delights of Japanese hot spring baths (onsen), the rich and delicious culinary traditions, and amazing hospitality.  

The snowflakes are softly building into a deep, light blanket, the yakitori is sizzling above the binchotan charcoal, fresh fish is being turned into sushi by a master with forty years’ experience, the onsen is sending clouds of steam into the snow-filled ski.

We are going to Japan, are you coming?

Photo credit: Juan Barros

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island receives amazing amounts (45 feet on average!) of some of the driest snow on the planet. In the midst of this giant snow party is Niseko, perhaps Japan’s most famous ski area, featuring numerous resorts, fantastic terrain, fast lifts, and acres of powder. Skiing/boarding through knee, waist, and even neck deep powder is not uncommon (see video)! Japan is also famous for its excellent tree skiing/riding through beautifully spaced birch and alder forests.  
Apres ski, Japan has a strong culture of bathing in thermal hot springs (onsen) baths. Finishing a day on the mountain with a hot soak surrounded by snow is the Japanese way.  

Japan boasts the largest number of Michelin starred restaurants per capita – and has one of most enviable and refined cuisine in the world.  Hokkaido’s cold waters are renowned for the high quality and freshness of its seafood. The ramen in Hokkaido is unique with a miso based broth around Sapporo, salt broth (shio) from Hokadate, and finally soy (shoyu) from Asahikawa. We will even try the hearty and soon-to-be famous soup curry. If you are a ramen fan, you will be thrilled to try this special, under-the-radar specialty of the northern prefecture.

Jingisukan” (Genghis Khan) is a convivial dish from Hokkaido consisting of lamb and vegetables cooked on a dome shaped metal grill in the middle of the table. After cooking, the meat is dipped in a soy based sauce and eaten right off the grill. 

Japan has a huge culture of informal drinking and small plate restaurants called “Izakaya.” Here you can eat platefuls of gyoza (dumplings), Japanese fried chicken, yakitori (grilled skewers), noodles, soups, sashimi, sushi and wash it all down with cold Japanese beer, sake, or Japanese whiskey.


Photo credit: Kelly Rice

Every day after a hard day on the slopes, we’ll visit one of the many beautifully landscaped Japanese onsen. These natural hot springs are often found in natural settings, among mountains and rivers, and they are the perfect place for quiet soaking, relaxation, and contemplation. Winter, with its powdered snow landscapes is arguably the best time to bathe in a hot outdoor bath (Roten-buro). 

Located an hour and a half from Niseko, the romantic port town of Otaru is steeped in a rich history that dates back to its glory days as a major herring center. We will take a break from skiing/boarding for a day to wander the canal district and check out centuries-old glass blowing shops famous for blowing balls meant to hang squid nets. Otaru is known for the freshness and quality of its sushi. We will eat fresh seafood and even sample soft serve ice cream made from Hokkaido milk (including some odd flavors, e.g., uni, beer, potato).  Japan is famous for its rice wine (sake) but also for producing some of the best whiskeys in the world. We will have the option to visit, tour, and taste our way through the Tanaka Sake brewery or Nikka Whiskey Yoichi Distillery (founded in 1934). 

Photo credit: Kelly Rice

For the ultimate JapPow (Japanese Powder) experience join us on an optional backcountry guided tour or a day of Cat Skiing/boarding. Whether you want human powered ascents to reach untouched powder fields, bowls, and glades or the thrill of riding a snow cat and lots of fresh powder runs we have something for you.

Nestled on the backside of Mt. Annupuri, Goshiki Onsen provides access to a whole range of backcountry zones. Low angle trees, steep pillow lines, wide open bowls and peaks to hike all wait at the end of Hwy 58. Choose to spend the day lapping the bowl right off the parking lot for quick, blower pow runs or adventure out to the high alpine world of Mt. Annupuri for extended untracked laps. Finish the day off with a soak in Goshiki Onsen, and experience one of the greatest combinations of culture and adventure Japan has to offer.

Once we get to Niseko, we will all stay together in a beautiful and comfortable chalet where we’ll have home cooked Japanese/Western breakfasts.  We will also share a few meals together at “home,” learning how things are made and helping you bring some cooking tips home with you.

In the twilight the snowflakes fall thick and fast.  Steam rises from the hot water of the onsen, reaching up to mingle with the falling snow.  Muscles relax, powder exploits are shared, and appetites build.  In a restaurant nearby the bounty of Hokkaido is transformed into loving and exacting dishes, layered with color, texture, flavor, and umami.  After Sake and Sapporo it is time to rest, tomorrow will bring staggering quantities of snow, new dishes, new friends, and memories that will remain as fresh as the powder.

Sample Itinerary- subject to change

Day 0 – Thursday January 16th
This day is optional and is on your own.
Arrive at New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, Japan.
Take free airport shuttle to Crown Plaza Ana Chitose
Check into hotel , rest and relax or explore Chitose or Sapporo on your own.
Dinner on your own.
(Alternatively please plan to arrive at the Crown Plaza Ana Chitose Hotel by 9 am on Friday, January 17th.)

Day 1 -Friday January 17

Breakfast at Hotel
We will pick you up at the Crown Plaza Ana Chitose Hotel at 9am
Take Japanese train to Sapporo
Welcome introductions
Lunch at Ramen Alley (included)
Sapporo fish market tour
Sapporo Brewery Tour
Welcome dinner – All you can eat/drink Gengis Kahn (included)
Return by train to Hotel Crown Plaza Ana Chitose
Prep to leave in the AM

Day 2 - Saturday January 18

Breakfast at Hotel
Leave 9am by van for Niseko
Check in and hit the slopes or rentals
Lunch on your own at resort
Onsen together (included)
Dinner at izakaya restaurant (included)
Covered (breakfast, Niseko ski, onsen, dinner)

Day 3 - Sunday January 19

Japanese/Western Breakfast at Chalet at 7:30am
Travel by van to Rusutsu (not included)
Lunch at restaurant on the slopes (included)
Visit one of the nice onsens nearby
Dinner out in small groups (not included)
Travel back to chalet in Niseko
Covered (breakfast, Rusutsu ski, lunch, onsen, )

Day 4 - Monday January 20

Breakfast at 7:30
Ski Niseko resorts (8:30am-5pm)
Slopeside lunch (not included)
Visit one of the nice onsens nearby
Dinner at chalet (included)
Covered (breakfast, Niseko ski, onsen, dinner)

Day 5 - Tuesday January 21

Otaru day trip
Visit glass making factories
Fish market for lunch (included)
Ice cream
Tanaka Sake brewery or Nikka Whiskey Yoichi Distillery tour
Dinner at nice restaurant (not included)
OR Free time
OR ski niseko (not included)
Covered (breakfast, lunch, tours)

Day 6 - Wednesday January 22

If the weather looks good, travel to Kiroro ski areas
Lunch at Kiroro (not included)
Visit one of the nice onsens nearby
Dinner at chalet
Covered (breakfast, Kiroro ski, onsen, dinner chalet)

Day 7 - Thursday January 23

Breakfast at chalet
Cat Skiing/Boarding or Backcountry tour (not included)
Or ski Niseko (not included)
Dinner out (included)
Covered (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner out)

Day 8 - Friday, January 24

Ski Niseko
Visit one of the nice onsens nearby
Farewell dinner out (included)
Covered (breakfast, Niseko ski, onsen, dinner out)

Day 9 - Saturday, January 25

Breakfast at chalet
Pack up
Transportation by van to Sapporo and airport



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