March 28, 2020: In response to global uncertainty in light of the COVID-19 situation, JST has relaxed our cancellation policy to protect our guests in the event that the world doesn't stabilize in time for winter season! Have a look at our updated COVID-19 booking policy here.
Hachimantai Cat Ski Trip
Introducing the Hachimantai Cat, the best and biggest Cat ski operation in the Tohoku region. A favorite among "core" locals, Hachimantai boasts extremely light snow in great quantities, constantly reset by predominant westerly winds and big storms.
The terrain on offer is high elevation and east facing which means its constantly loaded by weather systems which come from the west. The ski zone is very open with trees available for skiing in as an option--not a requirement.
Our Hachimantai Cat ski trip is an inclusive three-day, two-night experience, with two days on the Cat. Of the ski days, one day is spent lapping the Cat and the other is spent using the Cat as a backcountry access tool, slapping on skins or snowshoes to do a scenic, flat, one-hour traverse to access a different aspect of the mountain to get some long open freshies.
Our Cat ski trip is a package that includes an airport or bullet train station pick up, transfers by private vehicle, two nights at a Western or Japanese style hotel, six meals, and an English speaking JST guide. While our hotels do have Onsen (hot springs) available on-site, we also go to a little snow covered Onsen by a river as well.
Pickup's from Morioka Station and Hanamaki Airport (HNA)
This trip starts with a pickup at Morioka Station which has direct access to Tokyo and Hokkaido on the Shinkansen Bullet Train or a pickup at Hanamaki Airport (HNA) which has good access from Hokkaido or Osaka/Kyoto areas.
It meeting at Morioka Station, guests will need to find their own way to the meeting point at Morioka Station South Exit by 3:45pm. To find a train schedule that works for you, use this route finder here.
If meeting at Hanamaki Airport (HNA), guests will need to be at the airport by 2:50pm
Dropoff's at Morioka Station and Hanamaki Airport (HNA)
This trip ends with a drop off at Morioka Station which has direct access to Tokyo and Hokkaido on the Shinkansen Bullet Train or a drop off at Hanamaki Airport (HNA) which has good access to Hokkaido or Osaka/Kyoto areas.
If ending at Morioka Station, the drop off is at 4:30pm.
If ending at Hanamaki Station, the drop off at the airport is 5:30pm. Note that the airport is tiny and you only need to arrive 45 minutes before the flight departure.
Mailing your luggage
If you're planning on staying in Tokyo before the trip, you can mail your big clunky ski bag directly to the Mountain Hotel or Kyounso Ryokan in Hachimantai for only ¥2,000 (approx US$18). If you're spending an extra day or two in Japan after the trip, you can mail your ski bag directly to NRT or HND airports. It only takes 48 hours from the time to mail your bag until the time it's delivered.
Arrive into Tokyo two days before the trip at 6pm and mail your bag to the Mountain hotel in Hachimantai from the airport. Your baggage should arrive at the hotel before 9pm the next day. Before mailing your bag, be sure to confirm with them that it will be delivered by the night of the trip start date. In Japan, if they promise a delivery time, it'll be there when they say.
Just like that, if you mail your bag you won't have to lug it around Tokyo. It's a big life-saver, very reliable and incredibly reasonable.
For more information on mailing bags, checkout this great article about how it's done here.
JR East Tohoku Rail Pass
If you're planning on taking the train: Even with just one Tokyo/Morioka round trip, you'll save ¥13,000 (approx US$110) by buying a JR East Rail Pass for the Tohoku area. You can buy this train pass on arrival at NRT or HND airports, as well as major hubs like Tokyo Station. This pass gives you 5 unlimited days of riding anywhere on the JR East Rail Network, which is perfect for where the Hachimantai Cat operates. As a bonus, you'll still have 3 unlimited days left at the end of the tour to use as you want! You can see full details on the pass here.
2021 Cat Dates
January 18- 20
January 27- 29
February 1- 3
February 8- 10