Minakami Explorer
Japan 8 days ex Tokyo

We base ourselves in Minakami in the shadow of Mt. Tanigawa, the lowest mountain on the main island of Japan to be covered in snow all
year round. Of course at this time of year everything here is snow covered, with the cold Siberian air blowing south and hitting the Japanese
Alps, this area has some of the best and most consistent powder in Japan. From mid December to mid March the area has regular dumps
but is relatively unknown outside Japan and less visited than the neighbouring resorts of Yuzawa and Niigata.
Itinerary
Trip Details
Day 1 Tokyo
on arrival in Tokyo make your way to our conveniently located hotel using the detailed instructions in our notes (which
you will get after booking). Explore some of the many fascinating neighbourhoods of the capital before joining the
rest of the group for a welcome meeting and included dinner at an izakaya, a japanese style pub where the focus is
on the drinks and the food is a tasty and filling afterthought. If your jetlag isn’t to bad (or maybe if it’s so bad you’re
nocturnal) join us on a night exploration of one of Tokyo’s infamous entertainment areas before heading to the 45th
floor of the Tokyo government offices for a view over Tokyo’s sea of lights. Optional activity: party all night!

Day 2 Tokyo/Minakami
Start the day at Tsukiji fish market’s outer market where hundreds of shops sell everything from fresh fish to sake
sets to gum boots. Surrounding the market is a huge selection of restaurants selling the freshest sushi and sashimi
you are ever likely to get (and plenty of non fish items if your stomach can’t cope with that in the morning). Join the
market workers for an after work drink (at 8am) or stick to green tea. Options for the morning include zazen
meditation, ikebana, tea ceremony, karate/aikido martial arts, city bike ride, sumo stable visit, Akihabara otaku visit
and kabuki theatre performance before we head to the centre of youth culture for the afternoon. Harajuku has
become world famous for the crazy costumes worn there and we hang out and people watch as the youth primp and
preen on the bridge leading to Tokyo’s most important Shinto shrine.

In the evening we take a bullet train to Minakami, our base for the next few days. Popular for its onsens since the 16th
century (there are over 100 in the area!) is has recently become popular for a range of outdoor activities including, in
the winter, some of the best and most easily accessible slopes in Japan. Only 70 minutes by bullet train and we’re
above the snowline, settling in to our traditional Japanese ryokan and setting up our futons on the tatami mat floors.
Hop straight into the onsen if you’re after a soak or try some of the local sake before our delicious traditional style
dinner.

Day 3 Minakami
We spend our first morning on the snow, making the most of the great runs which offer something for skiers and
boarders of all levels – from total beginners to seriously advanced. Every day we will offer an optional non
skiing/boarding alpine activity for those who want to experience the many and varied adventure activities that
Minakami has to offer and today’s is a backcountry tour. If you want to get off the main slopes and carve up some
fresh powder head off on one of the optional backcountry tours which take you to little visited parts of the mountains
and away from the popular runs. Learn the basics of backcountry safety and equipment use from the professional
guides as you learn the ins and outs of a snow pit test for snow stability before taking the road less travelled back
down the mountain.

Day 4 Snow shoeing
Another day on the slopes or the option for today is snow shoeing. It’s a great way to get out into winter wonderland
that surrounds us so strap on your snow shoes and set off through snow covered beech forests, walk past frozen
waterfalls and take in incredible panoramas of the surrounding mountain range. Evenings are spent at our
comfortable ryokan where a soak in the onsen and some warm sake are a perfect way to end our days on the
mountain.

Day 5 Snow mobiles/ kayaking
More time on the slopes or if you want to give your legs a break head out on a snow mobile for a less energetic way
to see the stunning scenery. There’s also the option of doing some kayaking on flat sections of the Tonegawa River
or on the remote mountain lakes nearby. With the snowcapped mountain range reflected in the surface of the lake
there really is no better place to be.

Day 6 Ice Biking
Our final day on the slopes and the option for the day is ice biking, a simple sport which is actually quite different to
summer cycling. Learn how to brake and turn safely in winter conditions as well as aspects of bike maintenance and
safety as we explore the back country roads on our modified bikes.

Days 7-8 Tokyo
Heading back to Tokyo by bullet train we have a free afternoon to do some of the many activities on offer, buy some
last minute souvenirs or indulge in a shiatsu massage to ease muscles sore from our time on the slopes. Our final
night dinner is spent at the restaurant that inspired Tarantino’s set design for the House of Blue Leaves scene in Kill
Bill. With so many bars to choose from it would be a shame to head home so early we can pub crawl or karaoke our
way to last train (or first train depending on how the night goes). There is also the option to spend your last night in
Japan in a capsule hotel or love hotel for a slightly different sleeping experience. On day 8 make your way to the
airport or spend some more time exploring Tokyo on your own. We say our goodbyes to everyone and look forward to
meeting again.
Departure dates
Departure dates to
suit you, please
contact us for more
details.

Trip code
MMN

Group size
Min 4, max 12

Inclusions
All breakfasts and
dinners
Tokyo day tour

Accommodation
local inn ryokan and
shared lodge style

Optional activities
Snow shoeing
half day US$50
full day US$90
Snow mobile tour
half day US$50
Ice biking
half day US$50
Back country tour
US$120
Kayaking
half day US$70
full day US$120


Booking enquiry