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Otaru Freeride Tour

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7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Days Riding

Location: Japan | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Off-Piste, On-Piste, Sidecountry
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Price p/p
USD 2,650
Chase Hokkaido's biggest storms from the seaside city of Otaru where you'll get a unique cultural perspective being based in a regional city. By night explore the lively food culture and by day head to lift-accessed areas of nearby ski resorts that are renowned for getting some of the most snow in Japan.
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Fixed Date(s)
Fixed Date(s): Jan 07 - Jan 13, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Sold Out
Fixed Date(s): Jan 14 - Jan 20, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Sold Out
Fixed Date(s): Jan 21 - Jan 27, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Sold Out
Fixed Date(s): Jan 28 - Feb 03, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Filling
Fixed Date(s): Feb 04 - Feb 10, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Filling
Fixed Date(s): Feb 11 - Feb 17, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Feb 18 - Feb 24, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,560
Availability: Available
Fixed Date(s): Feb 25 - Mar 02, 2024
Days: 7
Price: USD 2,650
Availability: Available
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.

Otaru Freeride Tour

The Otaru Freeride Tour is based in the lively port town of Otaru, which has various Hokkaido ski areas nearby that are renowned for some of the biggest snowfalls in Japan. This is a fully hosted powder hunter freeride tour that takes in resort terrain and lift-accessed sidecountry (ie there is no backcountry ski touring or split boarding).


  • Chase the snow - the tour itinerary is flexible so as to pick the best conditions each day. 
  • Local knowledge - your guides have decades of experience leading groups throughout the SW Hokkaido region. You'll benefit from their extensive local knowledge and access to many of their secret spots.
  • Easy access - there are regular trains that run between Sapporo and Otaru that take only 30 minutes. If you are flying into Sapporo, there are regular trains from New Chitose Airport. From Niseko it's just 60 minutes by car.
  • Private transport - the guides will drive you to the ski areas in a modern 4WD van and get you ahead of the pack so you'll arrive for first lifts.
  • Evenings - your guide will help you explore many dining and drinking establishments in Otaru. Otaru is a city of sushi and there are plenty of sushi restaurants and other restaurants with fresh seafood.
  • Premium lodging - you will stay in a private single room (1 person per room) in a great location

Otaru Experiences

Rather than being stuck at a cheesy resort that doesn't feel particularly Japanese, you'll get a unique cultural perspective being based in a regional city. Otaru has a lively food culture and by night, you'll have countless food, beer, and entertainment options on your doorstep. You'll visit Otaru's sushi "mecca", a 200 metre long street of sushi shops founded in the 1980s to promote Otaru as a "city of sushi". In addition to fresh seafood, you'll enjoy other perks of staying in a city such as local markets, plenty of photo opportunities with the restored canals and warehouse buildings, snow lined streets, locals surfing during the depths of winter, a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and nearby onsen.

At night Otaru is a buzzing city with plenty of izakaya where you can try hefty helpings of seafood at very reasonable prices. After dinner there are plenty of great bars to check out or simply walk back to the hotel and get ready for another big day riding in Hokkaido.

The Snow Light Path Festival runs from February 10 to 17 so some of you may see this spectacle where the canal, streets and shops are illuminated with endless rows of snow-crafted lanterns.

Skiing & Snowboarding

This is a fully hosted and guided tour with a flexible itinerary for a small group of 6 people. You’ll chase the snow and ride at different resorts each day. Your guide is an experienced and qualified professional who has many years of experience working and riding at the local ski areas and reading the conditions and terrain.

On this tour you'll get to ride a variety of resort and lift accessed backcountry terrain.

There is a good chance you'll score some of the deepest, lightest and driest powder in the world. In winter, big storms roll in and blanket the Otaru streets in deep snow. Surrounding the town you’ll find a variety of resorts within driving distance that also get caked in snow. These include Kiroro (18 metres of snow per season on average), Sapporo Kokusai (18 metres of snow per season), Sapporo Teine (lots of snow), Otaru Tenguyama and the little Asarigawa Onsen that is virtually empty mid-week. Where you'll ride largely depends on the snowfall and conditions as well as the group's appetite for adventure. The driving times can range from 20 minutes to 1 hour. 

Ability Level

This tour is suitable for strong intermediate (off-piste) to advanced snowboarders and skiers. You should be comfortable on black diamond runs, be able to ride/ski off-piste at a resort or in the backcountry, can confidently navigate alpine and treed terrain and maintain a continuous rhythm and pace, even through traverses and flat sections.

The more accurately you’re able to self-assess your on-snow abilities, the more you (and others in your group) will be able to relax and enjoy your tour. If you have any questions, please make a booking request.

The only way to guarantee the speed and ability level of your group is to book a private tour so you can ride with like-minded friends. If you have a group of 6 people, you can book this as a private tour.


After you sign up for a tour, you will receive pre-trip emails with specific information about your tour, the arrival and departure day process, information about the destination, packing suggestions, and other relevant information to help you prepare for your trip. In addition to this, you have access to the customer care team who are just a phone-call away. Mint can also assist with insurance, stopovers and pre or post tour arrangements.

This tours runs from Sunday to Saturday. You’ll ride every resort mid-week to avoid the weekend day-trippers and maximise your time on-snow. If 6 nights isn’t enough, then you can book another Mint tour and make it a multi-tour combo. For example you could head to Asahikawa, then start a new tour in a different destination the following day. 


The itinerary below may change to reflect the current situation in each destination. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary somewhat. Changes to the itinerary, once in country may be necessary due to weather, local conditions, transport, public holidays or other factors. Your guide will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

Day 1 - Arrival Day

Welcome to Japan. Make your way to the meeting point at Otaru Station by 3:00 PM where your guide will meet you. You will be transferred by bus to your hotel in Otaru. The drive takes about 5 minutes. After check in, you can settle in to your room, unpack and set-up your equipment for the adventure ahead. At 6:00 PM, meet your guides in the hotel bar for an information session. Your guide will explain what’s in store for the week, the current weather, run through equipment and answer any questions you have. After the information session, join your guide for a buffet dinner at the hotel. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the other guests and your guide.

Day 2 to 6 – Otaru Storm Chasing

You'll spend 5 days riding the resorts surrounding Otaru. The itinerary is kept flexible so you can ride at the best resort on the day. Your guide will monitor storm cycles to ensure you are getting the best conditions at each resort as weather and snowfall affect each resort differently. There are over half a dozen resorts that can be easily accessed. Drive times can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Each day will follow a similar format:

Mornings - The breakfast buffet is open from 6:30am so you can enjoy breakfast at your leisure. Your guide will advise the departure time the evening before. Please be ready to depart on-time with all your riding equipment and don’t forget to bring cash for lunch. You can bring a small day pack to leave in the car. You may want to bring a towel or dry clothes to put on after an onsen visit. Each morning your guides will explain the weather and snow conditions for the day and advise the group where you’ll be riding. There are half a dozen resorts to choose from, so your guides will keep a sharp eye on the weather to find you the best snow daily.

Throughout the day - Once at the resort the aim will be to spend a full day on-mountain. You can join your guide or you can explore the resort at your own pace. Each day the group will break for lunch on mountain. After riding, your guide will make plans according to time, the groups interest and energy levels. The group may opt to visit an onsen, sushi train, 7-Eleven or another local attraction like a sake or whisky brewery before returning to the hotel.

Evenings - On return to the hotel you’ve got free time. Head to the local craft brewery, explore the area surrounding the hotel or just rest. Your guides will plan a few group dinners throughout the week so you can share a few stories about the days’ turns. You are welcome to join or explore Otaru independently.

Day 7 - Departure

Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check out at 10:00am. All good things must come to come to an end, and after a big week of riding deep, Japanese powder the guide will transfer you back to Otaru Station and say goodbye.

Lodging & Meals

Throughout the tour you will stay at OMO5 Otaru. This is a 4 star city hotel with modern amenities like restaurant, bar and free wifi.

All guests stay in a private Single Room with ensuite bathroom (1 guest per room).


6 buffet breakfasts are included during your stay. There is a variety of western and Japanese options. 1 buffet dinner is included on arrival night.

Each night you can explore the the surrounding area's local ramen shops, sushi and countless izakaya.

Rates, Inclusions & Add-Ons

2024 Rates

USD 2,650

About Rates:

  • base/invoice currency is USD
  • price is per person
  • price includes all taxes
  • 6 nights in a single ensuite room, 4* hotel (1 person per room)
  • 5 days of on-snow guiding
  • 5 days of lift tickets
  • Use of avalanche safety equipment – pack, transceiver, shovel & probe
  • 5 days of private transfers to and from resorts
  • 6 buffet breakfasts
  • 1 group dinner (arrival night)
  • Mint merch pack
  • Arrival and departure day transfers from Otaru Station (1 departure time)
  • Fully-escorted tour, guides on hand throughout the tour
No optional extras to display
Not Included
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • All lunches – expect to pay USD $10 – $15 per meal
  • 5 dinners – expect to pay USD $20 – $40 per meal
  • Onsen entry fee – expect to pay between USD $5 – $10 per visit
  • Any meals, drinks, snacks not listed

Mint Tours Booking Terms & Conditions


A deposit of 50% per person is payable within 3 days of confirmation of booking, unless otherwise stated. Deposit amounts may vary for selected trips and special campaigns that may be run by us from time to time and will be set out in special conditions upon booking.


For FIT package bookings, the balance (or final payment) is due in full 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (USA, Canada, Europe, Japan) prior to departure. Bookings made within this period must be fully paid upon confirmation.

For tour bookings, the balance (or final payment) is due in full 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (rest of world) prior to departure. Bookings made within this period must be fully paid upon confirmation.

Mint Tours reserves the right to charge late booking fees for any booking made inside of 30 days of departure.


For FIT package bookings, a cancellation made outside of 90 days will incur a minimum fee of 10% (of total package) per person plus any charges levied by ground operators, hotels, airlines or lift companies. A cancellation made within 90 days before departure will incur a 100% cancellation fee of the total booking amount.

For Tour bookings, a cancellation made outside of 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (rest of world) will incur a minimum fee of 10% (or total tour price) per person plus any charges levied by ground operators, hotels, airlines or lift companies. A cancellation made within 60 days (Australia, New Zealand) or 90 days (rest of world) before departure will incur a 100% cancellation fee of the total booking amount.

Airfares are subject to up to 100% cancellation fee once tickets are issued. Any refunds due cannot be processed until the relevant funds have been returned by suppliers to Mint Tours and Mint Tours cannot be responsible for supplier delays in issuing refunds. Note that airlines can take up to 90 days to process refunds.

Insurance covering cancellation is strongly advised as some cancellation penalties are strict. Refunds will not be given for unused guiding, accommodation, car rental, transfers, ski passes, rentals, lessons and activities.


A charge of $50 will apply for each and every amendment after booking instructions have been received. The charge is in addition to any cancellation fees that may apply.


All credit cards incur a 3% surcharge. If cancellations are made, the merchant fee will not be refunded.