• Dates 17-28 January 2023
  • Duration 12 Days

• 8 days guided skiing 

• 1 Transit/rest day

• 1 Tokyo sightseeing days

• 2 International travel days

After two winters of Covid we are excited to be returning to the magical mountains of Japan and it’s legendary powder skiing. For the fourth time we are teaming up with our wonderful Japanese ‘fixer’ Akiko, between us we have honed our ‘Aikiko’s Favourites ’ programme to offer an action packed 8 days skiing on both Hokkaido and Honshu. As always our aim is to combine the main ingredients that are the essence of Japanese skiing; unrivalled powder, fascinating cultural history, awesome food and not forgetting the end of the day relaxing thermal pools or ‘onsens’. Akiko’s “favourites” ticks all these boxes and more.

Akiko Nakae, the owner of ‘Epic Japan’ has been the logistical maestro behind my last three powder skiing trips to the land of the rising sun. She is a “fixer extraordinaire” who spent twenty years working as a construction engineer in Tokyo before turning her back on the corporate world and setting up Epic Japan to assist visiting backcountry skiers get the best out of their off-piste and ski touring holidays in Japan. A qualified mountain guide Akiko and Nick will guide together.

The mountains of Japan receive huge quantities of light powder each winter and the snow-chocked forests are beyond idyllic for ski touring. The skiing emphasis on this holiday will be on ski touring with some lift access rather than lift access with some ski touring. In other words we often use lifts to gain height access at the beginning of the day enabling us to venture further into the wild, uncrowded Japanese backcountry but from then on it’s skins on to earn your turns!

Our goal is to discover the best of Japanese skiing whilst immersing ourselves in the fascinating culture of the country. There will be 8 days guided skiing. We start with 4 days on Honshu, the main Island. We then fly north to Hokkaido for 4 further days skiing. You’ll return to Tokyo for the last night back in the capital.

Japan’s huge snowfalls are a result of deep depressions of cold temperatures tracking from Siberia and picking up moisture from the Sea of Japan before dumping on Japan. The mature birch and pines provide excellent snow anchoring and the deep snow-pack promotes good stability. Average slope angles are 30 degrees with the steepest being about 35 - 40 degrees with average runs of 500-700m of (hopefully) superb powder snow. Days are then finished soaking in the many thermal springs.

A Taste of the Trip (subject to minor changes)


Day 1 (January 17) – Our group meets up in Japan, either at Narita Airport or Nagano Railway Station tbc. From Nagano station we will drive to Hakuba where we will stay for three nights at the Hotel Taigakukan http://www.taigakukan.jp/eng

Days 2-3 (January 18&19) – Two days of sampling the best backcountry ski tours in the Hakuba region. I often hear folk saying there’s ‘no steep stuff in Japan’ no ‘real’ mountains, no ‘challenging terrain’. The Hakuba backcountry will dispel that rumour straight away.

Skiing all day on the 19 January before an evening transfer to Nozawa Onsen and two nights staying at the Haus St Anton http://st-anton.jp/eng

Days 4-5 (January 20&21) – Two days skiing in the Nozawa Onsen area. Nozawa Onsen is famous for not only being one of the best skiing areas in Japan but is also famous for it’s rustic village, cuisine and public hot springs (onsen). 

Day 6 (January 22) Rest and transfer day to Hokkaido, we take the short domestic flight from Matsumoto to Ashikawa.

Days 7-10 (January 23-26) Four days sampling the best conditions of Hokkaido focussing on the Ashikawa/Tokachidake backcountry. After skiing on day 10 (January 26) we fly back to Tokyo for two nights.

Day 11 (January 27) Sightseeing in one of the world’s great capital cities.

Day 12 (January 28) Depart.

Not included

• International flights
• lunches, drinks etc
• dinner in Tokyo
• insurance
• equipment hire

Equipment – A full kit list will be sent out with joining instructions. Ski hire is possible in Hakuba and there is an efficient postal service for returning kit

  • CHF4600
    per per guest
  • based on a minimum of 8 guests *(please note we are waiting for confirmation of some Japan costs and will publish the
  • exact cost in due course)
  • 8 days backcountry guiding with Nick Parks and Akiko Nakae
  • 11 nights accommodation (4 hotels, 1 temple lodging)
  • 1 day sightseeing in Tokyo
  • All breakfasts and dinners except last night dinner in Tokyo
  • 2 domestic flights Honshu-Hokkaido return
  • All local transport
  • Ski Lift passes

“This was the second time I skied with Stefano and it’s only getting better! I am a 22 years-old skier in competitive level, and just like the first time, I enjoyed every single moment of my journey…”


“I chose Zenit because of their approach and program. All the other schools I contacted didn’t seem to offer what I needed. Dedicated 1/2 day lesson 1 to 1 reaching.Alex was my teacher, and I felt…”

GERMANY, Trip Advisor

“My son had an awesome experience. The coaches are all extremely professional, kind, caring, and knowledgeable. Our son got excellent feedback on his skiing and how to improve and he grew hugely in confidence both on and off the piste. We were very impressed by the coaches and by the whole setup. He’s looking forward to training with them again soon. Thank you!”

Switzerland, Trip Advisor


Off-piste safety equipment is necessary for all our freeride skiing lessons. This consists of an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. We highly recommend the use of a backpack with an inflatable air bag system to be even safer. We highly recommend the use of ski touring equipment to all our freeride guests to maximize terrain access
To enjoy a freeride lesson, you need to be an advanced skier. You don't have to be an experienced off-piste skier, but you have to be comfortable on all slopes of a ski resort. Skiing off-piste will prove itself more challenging than any type of ski slope.
There are multiple ski hire shops in Saas Fee, we recommend Glacier Sport and guests having lessons with us receive a 10% discount on equipment rental.
If you have booked private lessons our instructors can meet you in a variety of locations in resort such as: Plattjen / Spielboden Gondola station. Alpin Express Gondola station. Kalbermatten - Beginner slopes (Lift ticket office). For our intermediate and advanced skiers we can also meet up on the slopes at the Morenia Restaurant. Children’s group lessons will meet at the Plattjen / Spielboden Gondola station on Monday mornings. Please confirm your meeting point with the office when booking.
Our children’s group lessons are all taught in English. Private lessons can be booked in English, German, French, Dutch and Spanish subject to availability.
We always check that all safety equipment is working perfectly. Skis, bindings, ski touring skins and boots must be checked by the guest prior to the freeride lesson.

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