Your ticket to skiing places like Niseko, Appi, Madarao and Lotte Arai on a single pass

With over 500 ski resorts across the entire country, you’ll never run out of places to ski in Japan. In fact, with such a large number of resorts, you might even feel like you’re missing out on some of the lesser-known mountains when you’ve decided to commit to a single resort for a week or more.

It’s possible to ski interconnected resorts with something like the ‘Niseko United All Mountain Pass’ but even still, you’re locked into one area. That’s no fun if you like hunting around for secret spots and following the powder.

Fear not! Your Japanese ski bum dreams can live on with the Earth Hopper Ski Pass which gives you access to 38 individual ski resorts. 1 pass, endless opportunities.

Best ski resorts in Japan

Lotte Arai is one of 38 ski resorts accessible on the Earth Hopper pass

What is the Earth Hopper Pass?

Developed for ‘People who play with the earth’ the Earth Hopper pass was designed for people to enjoy travelling and ‘Earth Sports’ (more on that later) at the same time. Individuals get access to a number of resorts across Japan including MTB trails, Water activity facilities, Rental shops, and discounts for camping.

Types of Earth Hopper passes

Earth Hopper has been split into three main passes depending on your goals, itinerary, or budget. While each of them provides access to the entire list of resorts, there are a few important differentiating features to be aware of.

Unlimited

Cost: ¥60,000 (Junior: ¥36,000)

As the most expensive of the three, Earth Hopper Unlimited gives you an unlimited amount of uses over the season. Great if you’re staying in Japan for a longer period of time or you’re travelling around frequently enough to warrant the expense. Despite its unlimited number of uses, you can only use it a maximum of twice at each of the participating resorts, trails, and water facilities.

Standard

Cost: ¥38,800 (Junior: ¥23,300)

Next up we have the most popular option of the three Hopper passes, the standard. This gives holders 16 uses, with the same maximum of two for each individual area. If you’ve planned a two-week trip, something like this would be ideal and you won’t have to worry about going over your uses.

Lite

Cost: ¥27,800 (Junior: ¥16,680)

As the last main pass offered, we have the Earth Hopper Lite. As the cheapest of the three, it’s a great option to dip your feet into the world of hopping but that does mean that it comes with fewer uses than either of the other two. If you’ve got a two or three-week trip to Japan planned, grabbing a pass like this could be ideal if you fancy a few spontaneous adventure days in between a bit of city hopping.

Rental+

Cost: ¥19,800 (Junior: ¥12,000)

The Earth Hopper pass works extremely well for those who enjoy a bit of spontaneity in their plans. The folks who created Earth Hopper realised that, and have started offering an extra rental pass. Think of it like an add-on to one of the three main passes above, and for ¥19,800 for up to 16 uses it’s a pretty good deal. Especially true when you realise you can travel to any of these resorts without worrying about sending your gear through TA-Q-BIN (though it’s actually very simple!) or lugging it around on the trains. If you like to travel from place to place, the convenience that a Rental+ Earth Hopper pass gives you is ideal.

Other activities

While the passes themselves seem to be aimed at those who want to travel from ski resort to ski resort, snow sports aren’t the only activity available to its holders.

Bike

Are you someone who prefers charging down the trails without snow? With a number of mountain biking tracks all across the country, you’ll be able to ride no matter where your travels take you.

Wave

If you find yourself in Japan during the warmer weather, the Earth Hopper pass even gives you access to a few water sports locations. All of these wakeboarding parks have a maximum use number of either one or two, depending on the location.

Camp

One addition to these cards that I think makes them superb for intrepid travellers is the camping discount. From luxury glamping sites to small ‘cottage-like’ private stays, you’ll be able to take advantage of the 10% discount coupon included with your pass. You can use them once a day, for an unlimited number of times. Keep in mind, all of these locations will have to be reserved in advance.

Which resorts are included in the pass?

Back to skiing, it’s time to have a look at which resorts are included in the Earth Hopper pass. I like to consider myself pretty well-informed in terms of the ski scene in Japan, but I haven’t heard of half of these. If you’re looking to beat the crowds, that’s probably a good thing. And who knows, you might stumble across a secret area that most tourists don’t know about. Make sure to share it with us, though!

Hokkaido

Kamui Ski Links, Sapporo Bankei Ski Resort, Sapporo International Skir Resort, Memory Shin-Arashiyama Sky Park, Kieoeo Snow World, Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort, Niseko Moiwa Ski Resort

Aomori

Aomori Spring Ski Resort

Iwate

Appi Kogen Ski Resort, Hachimantai Resort Panorama Skir Resort, Summer Oil Plateau Ski Resort

Yamagata

Asahi Shizenkan Snow Park, Yudonosan Ski Resort

Miyagi

Miyagi Zao Eboshi Resort

Akita

Tazawako Ski Resort

Niigata

Muika Snow Resort, Ninox Snow Park, Cupid Valley, Maiko Snow Resort, Yuzaea Nakazato Snow Resort, Kandatsu Snow Resort, Lotte Arai Resort, Akaakura Tourist Resort Ski Area

Gunma

Marunuma Kogen Ski Resort, White World Oze Iwakura, Oguna Hotaka Ski Resort, Kawaba Ski resort, Palcall Tsumagoi Resort

Nagano

Madarao Kogen Ski Resort, Ryuoo Ski Park, TsuGaike Mountain Resort, Kurohime Kogen Snow Park

Yamanashi

Kamui Misaka Ski Resort

Hyogo

Sky Calley Ski Resort, Up Plane, Chikusa Kogen Ski Resort, Hachi Kogen Ski Resort

Ehime

Kuma Ski Land (Entrance fee required separately)

Locations may be subject to change, and news places are likely to pop up fairly frequently. For an up-to-date list, head over to the Earth Hopper website.

How to use the Earth Hopper pass

Eart Hopper pass: How it works

So you’ve decided this is the pass for you, but how do you actually use it? Honestly, it’s pretty simple.

First, decide on the type of pass you want. Then, make an account on the Earth Hopper website (you’ll need to verify your identity). Your pass will then be locked to your account, so make sure you remember your phone when you head to the slopes, or else you’ll be stuck without a ticket!

When you arrive at the ticket office of your chosen resort, the first thing you’ll need to do is tell the person in the window that you’re using an Earth Hopper pass. At this point, make sure you’ve selected ‘Use’ under your account from the Earth Hopper Website. It’ll then bring up the camera on your phone, and you simply have to scan the Earth Hopper QR code in the window. One of your uses will be removed, and you’ll be able to have a full day on the slopes!

Who is this pass best for?

If you’ve never skied in Japan before, you probably won’t buy this pass, and will instead choose to spend your time in a single resort. If however you’ve been to Japan before and been skiing over here, this is a fantastic way to explore the lesser-known ski resorts.

If you love outdoor sports, and only have two or three weeks in japan, this might also be a great choice for you. By grabbing any of the passes, you’re giving your itinerary the adaptability it needs, and not confining yourself to any one area.

There are a lot of ski resorts that aren’t as popular as some of the more well-known ones, and the Earth Hopper Pass does a fantastic job of putting the spotlight on places that would otherwise pass under the radar.

So, If you want to start your holiday off in Hokkaido, pop down to Tokyo mid-way through, and then have a few days skiing in Nagano, the Earth Hopper Ski pass might just be your best bet!

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