Why Go?

What to Expect

Rishiri-zan (5,650 ft) is a conical volcano that seems to rise directly from the sea. It sits on a tiny island less than 40 miles in circumference. Despite its size, there are seemingly endless backcountry routes to explore, catering to a range of abilities. Summit approaches from the south and west tend to have better snow while being steeper and more technical. Approaches from the north tend to be better for intermediate skiers. However you get there, the summit offers rare 360° views of the sea that you won’t soon forget.

"No lifts. No ski resorts. The experience at Rishiri is all about remoteness and freedom."

-Marina Parra

If you don’t want to make the haul to Rishiri Island, you can find excellent backcountry skiing on Hokkaido’s main island. Mt Tokachi (Daisetsuzan) (6,800 ft) offers a mix of alpine terrain and tree skiing, and it is known for having some of the deepest powder in Japan. Another good option is Mt Yotei (6,250 ft), where you can make a 450-foot descent into the crater at its summit. It takes 5 to 8 hours to skin up and the ski descent is 4,950 feet, so make sure you have some energy reserves before dropping in.

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