2018 Japan Tours…Who To Book Through/Where To Go

Hey guys,

So i have been approved for leave early next year (anywhere from Jan to Feb) and have been looking at booking a trip overseas for a week or two of snowboarding.

The plan was to head to Japan as i have been toying with that idea for over 12 months now. As I am going at it solo i have been looking at booking so i have a group to board with. So far I have been looking at either Mint Tours or Liquid Snow Tours but i have hit a snag…there are that many trips on offer buggered if i know which one to pick/what location to head to.

Anyone on here done trip through either Mint or Liquid that can shed some light on them for me?

Is there anyone that is booked through either of these companies for Jan/Feb 2018?

Like I said Japan was the main focus of the upcoming season unless someone can suggest better? Ive boarded at Whistler before so i am trying to hit new locations rather than returning to the same places unless something epic is on offer.

Cheers,

Brendan

 
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Hey kazitski - welcome to Boardworld!

First up - I’ll let you know you won’t be disappointed with Japan! The snow is phenomenal and the culture is pretty amazing too!

I’ve ridden with Mint Tours a bunch of times now. A couple of tours (Canada Road Trip and Niseko Freeride tour) as well as doing my own thing but had them source accom and lifts passes etc. I’ll be doing another Tour with Mint this Feb - one of the Niseko Freeride Tours.

So as you can probably guess - I would definitely recommend Mint Tours! Doing a tour if you are riding solo would be a sweet option. You’ll ride with a group of other people who’ll you’ll hang out with for apres and dinner etc. Chances are you’ll end up with some lifetime mates - I know I have! Mint put together some sweet trip and take all the dramas out of organising things yourself. They hook you up in great accommodation and sort out any issues that happen on tour. You also get guiding every day which is sweet for finding the best spots.

As for where you should go in Japan - that kind of depends on what you are after but really I don’t think you’ll have a bad time anywhere. Depending on flight availability Honshu might be the easiest island - fly into Tokyo and either shuttle bus or bullet train to your location. This year we got great flights from Sydney to Sapporo (Hokkaido) via Hong Kong so it’s super easy for us just to do Hokkaido this time around.

Mint has a great range of tours - resort based and backcountry oriented as well - on both islands. I’d recommend you shoot them an email - let them know your dates and what kind of riding you are after and see what they recommend.
If you haven’t been to Japan before I’d highly recommend you hit up Tokyo for a couple of days - it’s absolutely amazing and must see. I personally am not a city person - kind of hate them really - but man I love Tokyo!

Hope that helps!

 

Hi,

Ive been on multiple tours of japow with various operators and id say Mint tours are my #1 pick.
They have heaps of tours to cater to all wants, guides are all super knowledgeable and chill,
accommodation and locations are great.
I did one of the Niseko freeride tours a few years ago , met a whole bunch of like minded peeps
chasing the powpow, the guides even showed me sneaky runs i had missed from my previous years at each resort and Jarred the head honcho of mint, who i met during the tour,
is a top dude and gun boarder.

Im using them again this winter for one of their new tour experiences (powsurf! yeahyeah) and theyve also sorted me out for accom at myoko after my tour ends and i revist my fav resorts with friends.


cheers,
Hugs

 

Cheers Geniass and Hugs for your replies appreciate the input from both of you.

Japan has always fascinated me from their culture to the ridiculous amount of snowfall they get over there…figuered it was time to make the trip over.

From what i have come to find it seems like everyone who has been on a Mint Tour, not matter what tour they chose has nothing but good things to say about them which is awesome. As you both said doing a tour when you’re riding solo seems to be the way to go as you find yourself grouped with a bunch of like minded people chasing the same thing that you are and with the added bonus of the guides there to send you in the right direction for the best runs.

I have actually been in contact with Jarred from Mint and after speaking with him i hoped on their website and thats when i got a bit stumped haha. Ive kind of narrowed it down to a few of the tours they have on offer and they are:

*Mint X Nitro Good Times Tour
*Nagano Freeride Tour
*Niseko Freeride Tour
*Myoko Powder Tour (although i dont know if i can do these dates)

Im sure either of these four tours are gonna be unreal to say the least…now its just a matter of picking one. If anyone is going on one of these specific tours let me know!

I will definetly look at hitting up Tokyo after the tour has finished as its always somewhere i have wanted to go and i have heard it is a mind blowing city.

Cheers Guys

 
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kazitski - 31 October 2017 09:11 PM

Cheers Geniass and Hugs for your replies appreciate the input from both of you.

Japan has always fascinated me from their culture to the ridiculous amount of snowfall they get over there…figuered it was time to make the trip over.

From what i have come to find it seems like everyone who has been on a Mint Tour, not matter what tour they chose has nothing but good things to say about them which is awesome. As you both said doing a tour when you’re riding solo seems to be the way to go as you find yourself grouped with a bunch of like minded people chasing the same thing that you are and with the added bonus of the guides there to send you in the right direction for the best runs.

I have actually been in contact with Jarred from Mint and after speaking with him i hoped on their website and thats when i got a bit stumped haha. Ive kind of narrowed it down to a few of the tours they have on offer and they are:

*Mint X Nitro Good Times Tour
*Nagano Freeride Tour
*Niseko Freeride Tour
*Myoko Powder Tour (although i dont know if i can do these dates)

Im sure either of these four tours are gonna be unreal to say the least…now its just a matter of picking one. If anyone is going on one of these specific tours let me know!

I will definetly look at hitting up Tokyo after the tour has finished as its always somewhere i have wanted to go and i have heard it is a mind blowing city.

Cheers Guys

I’m glad you’ve already been in touch with Jarred. I’ll try to share my thoughts on the tours you’ve mentioned above. I’ve been to both Myoko and Niseko. We did the Niseko Freeride Tour in Feb this year and will be on it again in 2018 (Feb 1 to 8 but I think that one is already full). So that probably says that I really like that tour. You are based in Niseko but because you have the tour van available it opens up heaps of the resorts nearby - eg: Rusutsu, Kiroro, Sapporo Kokusai and a bunch of others. The tour guides look at the weather for each day and say “I reckon we go here - the pow will be the best - what do you guys reckon” and you decide as a group. One downside to Niseko is that it has less of a Japanese feel nowadays with a whole heap of Aussies etc over there. But with Mint because you have the van you can get out of Niseko town - we went down to Kutchan a few times which is much more traditional, and cheaper. Great food too!

Myoko was great fun as well - a much smaller town but some really cool terrain and great snow. Again - Mint know exactly where the good stuff is. I’ve been there twice now and I feel like I’ve seen most of what it has to offer so probably won’t head back any time soon. Also starting to feel less authentic even between the two years I went - heaps more Aussies (some really horrible bogan ones too :( ) in 2017 compared to 2016.

I haven’t done this one yet but I believe the that Good Times tour is a bigger tour group - but they have a heap more guides and break into smaller groups each day depending on what you want to ride. But check in with Jarred on that. Also - how sick would it be to ride with that crew of Pros! Oh and the Mint guides that are on that tour are absolute shredders too! And cat skiing too!

Again - I haven’t done the Nagano - but one of my mates (who I met on the Canada tour in 2015 - rode with in Myoko last year and is joining us on the Niseko Tour in 2018 [what did I say about making lifetime mates!]) has done that one or most of the resorts mentioned there. She rated that region - absolutely loved it so I’ll be checking that one out next time I reckon. A bit more traditional in some of the resort areas and a bit less busy. You also have some optional backcountry days on this tour - definitely do that!

So - if I were in your shoes - what would I do? I reckon I would look at the Nagano tour. (But remember that’s partly because I haven’t done it yet so it’s the most exciting and new to me) It’s on Honshu so it’s pretty easy to get to - just fly in and out of Tokyo and don’t worry about connections etc. Easy to do a couple days in Tokyo at the end as well.

But ultimately - any of those tours will be absolutely sick and you can’t go wrong.

Make sure you let us know what you decide!  shred

 

Yea i ended up getting in contact with Jarred straight up which was good as he was extremely helpful…good bloke to talk to about it all.

And thanks for sharing your previous experiences with Mint…seems like you have covered a fair bit of ground with them and that generally speaks for itself…you wouldnt go back to a company that delivered poor service.

Well my plans have started to unfold on me…Myoko is out purely because of the dates, all the Niseko tours have been sold out which sucks that was my preference of places to go, flights over to Tokyo early Jan for the Nagano tour are ridiculous im looking at over $2100 return which is over double what you would normally pay and i am unsure on if there are spots left on the Good Times Tour (although this one doesn’t seem to go to the larger powder areas like the other tours).

Ive even looked at the Austria Innsbruck tour as an alternative as a lot of the Japan tours are booked out through Mint…things just are going to plan right now.

Ive tossed around the idea of going over completely solo no tour but i know 8-9 days of boarding by yourself isnt going to be nearly as much fun as doing it with a group of others. Ive asked mates to join me but none of them are interested in it.

So at present i am currently at a stand still with this trip although i am determined AF to make something happen…i cant sit this season out again.

 

Hi Kazitski,

I’ll be quick as I’m at work and don’t have much time to write.

First, Mint are great. I’ve done one tour with them to Myoko and they helped me plan my next trip (not a tour though).

Secondly, I’m actually doing a solo trip to Niseko this Jan. I’ll be there by myself from Jan 19 to Jan 28. So if you want someone to ride with feel free to get in touch as I would love to have a riding buddy so that I can get into the trees and out the gates. Otherwise if I’m by myself I’ll just be on trails :(

If you end up in Niseko let me know.

Cheers,
Gary

 

Also, My plan is to ride Niseko for 5 or 6 days and then possibly day trip out to Rusutsu and Moiwa. Unless I decide I’m happy to continue riding Niseko, and then possibly a cat boarding day if I can swing it.