Top 5 Honshu Powder Resorts - MountainWatch Travel

Myoko | Hakuba | Powder | Backcountry | Cortina | Madarao

Top 5 Honshu Powder Resorts



There’s no shortage of powder in Japan but some places get it better than others. From 16 meters of annual snowfall to uncrowded powder paradises, these resorts are our top 5 pick of powder resorts across Honshu. Pack your snorkel as these resorts get some serious snow.



Known for: Steepest Tree Runs

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Photographer: Andrew Fawcett, Rider: Clint Allen 

Situated at the northern end of the North Japan Alps, Cortina is the snowiest resort in the Hakuba Valley and has long been considered a powder mecca. Quite progressive for Japan, Cortina has long adopted an open and inclusive off-piste policy. The resort allows revelers access to almost all of its terrain. Steep trees are the name of the game at Cortina, with pitches exceeding 40˚ in places, Cortina really is a diehard powder lovers dream. It is not as off the radar as it once was but for any discerning powder buff then Cortina is a must and on powder days there is always plenty to go around.



Known for: Amazing Sidecountry / Backcountry


Image: Supplied

Tenjindaira is located north west of Tokyo in the Gunma Prefecture, which borders both Niigata and Nagano (home of Myoko and Hakuba respectively). There is not much in the way of infrastructure at Tenjin but what it lacks in lifts it makes up for in terrain. With an abundance of side and back country options Tenjin has long been a favourite of local backcountry revelers. Off the tourist radar, Tenjin has yet to be exploited by the international influx. For those looking for an off-the-beaten-track adventure then Tenjin is your place.



Know for: Longest Powder Runs


Photographer: Juha Laine Rider: Nate Proulx

Located in the Myoko area, Suginohara is blessed with an incredible amount of snow; some 13m or more falls here on an average season and it often seems there are more snowy days here than there are not. Suginohara has one of the longest runs in Japan at 8500m and some serious vertical (over 1000m) that will make you wish you didn’t skip leg day at the gym. The lift accessed side-country offers some incredible riding for those who have the equipment and the know-how. For the more adventurous souls, there is amazing backcountry terrain off Mt Myoko, accessible from Suginohara but it might be wise to team of (up?) with a local guiding outfit who know the area.



Known for: Truck loads of snow

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Photographer: Andrew Fawcett, Rider: Clint Allen

Seki Onsen is another resort located in the Myoko area in Niigata Prefecture. While the resort is very small, it gets a truckload of snow each winter – upward of 16m a season. The resort has an open policy toward off-piste skiing (nothing is off limits) and that is welcome news as the runs while short, are steep, and that is a good thing when it is so deep. Forget your snorkel at Seki you might just have to don your scuba equipment, as this is one of the snowiest places on earth.



Best for: Untracked Powder


Image: Supplied

With more than half the resort remaining ungroomed it means that when it snows in Madarao, there is powder abound for those in search of the white-and-fluffy. Madarao, while on the radar more than it once was, is still relatively uncrowded with a vast array of terrain options to suit any powder hound on the sniff of the glorious white stuff. From open spaced tree runs to steep bowls, Madarao Mountain Resort really is a must destination to visit when planning your Honshu snowboarding holiday.





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