Tomamu is one of Japan’s best ski resorts for families, with plenty of facilities, activities and services to make for an easy and enjoyable ski holiday. Fortunately it’s also got some of the best off-piste tree skiing in the country and, better still, it’s completely legal. Powder-hungry skiers and boarders will be delighted!
- Amazing facilities for families, including plenty of indoor and outdoor activities.
- Dedicated powder areas set aside for advanced skiers and boarders with a new express quad.
- Everything is convenient and it’s easy to get around.
- A variety of dining options, including a cute “Forest Mall” with small, local-style restaurants.
- Uncrowded slopes.
- Being greeted by Snow Angels at the entrance to the Snow Hotel.
- Skiers and boarders wanting to ski the powder zones need to register at the resort center.
- There’s no village or town attached to Tomamu. There is a small community 10-minutes drive away, but it’s not accessible by public transport.
- For first timers and beginners, Club Med Tomamu is a perfect all-inclusive option.
- “Resort fever” may set in for adults without kids, if staying for longer than a few days.
- The main restaurants are giant buffet halls (although the food is actually quite good).
- Nightlife is minimal outside the hotel restaurants and bars.
- Tomamu can get very cold in January or in a big snow storm.
Arriving at Tomamu ski resort in Hokkaido is surreal. Four giant skyscrapers up to 40-floors high rise from the valley floor and contrast starkly with the beautiful mountains and snowfields that surround them. Once there, the out-of-this-world experience continues as you discover that Tomamu is like a cross between a luxurious cruise ship and Disneyland.
Tomamu is a purpose-built ski resort about 1.5 hours drive East of Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport. Like Kiroro and Appi Kogen, the resort was developed in the boom times of the late 80s by a single developer that owns all parts of the mountain and facilities at the base area.
No expense was spared at Tomamu and fortunately over the past 25 years the resort has continued to invest in facilities and infrastructure – most notably new express lifts, including the Powder Express lift that accesses powder-skiing areas preserved and reserved for advanced skiers and riders. Tomamu also offers cat skiing and backcountry guides to explore even more powder areas close to the resort.
At the base area there are a ton of activities on and off the snow (see full list below), including one of Japan’s largest wave pools – 80m long and 30m wide. There’s even an ice chapel should you feel the need to suddenly get married!
Scattered throughout the resort’s two hotels and buildings are a variety of restaurants and dining options, all connected by undercover walkways or a looped shuttle bus. Tomamu also features Club Med's newest Japanese resort which makes it perfect for families looking for an easy, all-inclusive experience.
The result of all this is a ski resort that is perfect for families and powderhounds.
Tomamu has great skiing for all standards and some of the best powder snow in the country. Since it’s inland, the snowfall is generally less than that on the coast, but it’s light and dry so not as much is needed to make it amazing.
The ski area is divided over two main mountains – Tomamu Mountain and Tower Mountain. Each has a separate base area with the main Tower Hotel appropriately forming the base of the Tower Mountain. The two mountains are connected via an old chair and green and blue runs.
Beginners will spend most of their time on Tower Mountain. The ski school, which has English-speaking instructors (for private lessons only) meets at the Tower. (Club Med guests have their own instructors). There’s a magic carpet right outside, and the Nipo Chair which accesses beginner runs and “Adventure Mountain”. Beginners will progress to longer green runs on both mountains and then some of the resort’s intermediate runs.
Although there are some intermediate runs, it’s this group that’s not as well catered for at Tomamu. There are parts of the mountain in which they can try their hand at powder skiing, but until they have adequate skills much of the great powder terrain is strictly for advanced skiers.
It’s the advanced powder-hungry skiers who are very well looked after at Tomamu. The resort has a “Commitment to Winter Mountains” program that regulates off-piste skiing but makes it legal, unlike many other resorts in Japan. You can even ski under a lift line! When combined with the Powder Express Lift at the top of Tomamu Mountain it really is like a dream. The other area is at the top of Tower Mountain, appropriately named Powder Heaven. The best runs require a short hike that accesses wind-loaded powder fields. To participate in the program advanced skiers and riders must register at the Resort Center (base of the Unkai Gondola) where they are made to listen to an explanation about the slope conditions, are given an arm band to wear and they must possess a helmet and sign a waiver. They are also required to wear a helmet and have a fully charge, working phone (they will even do a test dial while registering to make sure your phone rings). All of these precautions are well worth the effort as it's some of the best in-bounds powder skiing we've had in Japan. The resort even provides a handy map, explaining the characteristic of the different areas.
Tomamu has a terrain park with a variety of features and it’s been reported to have a high quality half-pipe. There’s night skiing from 4pm–7pm under the Tower Express. The resort has a good variety of rentals including high-end Atomic skis and Salomon snowboards.
Tomamu runs a cat skiing program from January 15. It is a full day excursion out the back of the resort, includes lunch and is for strong intermediates and above.
Where Tomamu is a powder heaven for advanced skiers, it’s like Disneyland for families. Plenty to keep the kids entertained for hours on end and with great facilities on and off the snow. (See the full list of activities below). Parents will love how convenient everything is – it certainly makes for an easy ski holiday.
Tomamu provides English-speaking instructors for private kids lessons (not guaranteed for group lessons). (Club Med runs its own lessons). There’s a great learning area called Nipo Town, just outside the Tower Hotel, for first-timers with magic carpet for skiing and sledding, and play equipment (including igloos).
Tomamu offers child care at a nursery in the Tower (charged by the 30 minutes) that operates from 9am–6pm. Unusually for Japan it doesn’t shut during lunch hours, so parents can ski all day to their hearts’ content! There’s an additional option for the staff to take the children outside for snow play. Reservations are recommended.
The newly built Club Med Tomamu ups the ante when it comes to family friendly ski resorts. Their all-inclusive packages take care of everything for you, including all meals, daily lessons and guiding, kids clubs, and evening entertainment.Search Hotels
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The accommodation at Tomamu is restricted to Club Med and two hotels – both of which contain hotel rooms only (no self-contained accommodation). The Tower Hotel (which is actually two giant towers) is the hub of most of the activity in the resort. Risonare Tomamu is another pair of tall towers located a little further away from the Tower base. It’s the more luxurious of the two options and has some big suites. It’s a 10-minute walk between the two via a covered walkway. Here is a map of the Tomamu Village area.
The newly built Club Med is another purpose-built accommodation option in Tomamu, and perfect for those who want everything within walking distance. Enjoy a number of restaurants and cafes, resort facilities, lessons, rentals, and nighttime entertainment all in the one slopeside location.Search Hotels and Deals Get your
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It takes a big pamphlet to list all the non-skiing activities available at Tomamu. Needless to say guests (particularly families) will be kept entertained for hours.
- Polar Village: An outdoor snow-play area with snowshoeing, tree climbing, kids snowmobiles, snow rafting, banana boats and sled parks.
- Excursions: Cross-country skiing with breakfast, night snow-cruising in a sled with cheese raclette dinner, ice-fishing.
- The Ice Village: Opens 5pm-10pm with an ice-skating rink, ice slides and ice playground, illuminated igloos with an ice bar, ice café, shop and ice school (where you can turn a snow crystal into a charm!).
- An ice chapel.
- Cat skiing and backcountry guides.
- Mina-Mina Beach: One of Japan’s largest indoor wave pools and shallow kids pool.
- Onsen: Although not strictly an onsen since it’s artificially heated, there’s an outdoor hot bath.
- Spa treatments.
- A delightful, Scandinavian-style café with an excellent range of design magazines.
- A kids room.
- Souvenir stores with some convenience items.
Tomamu is located in central Hokkaido, east of Sapporo. It’s very easy to get there from New Chitose Airport with direct buses (1hr, 25mins). There are six return buses a day.
Alternatively you can catch the train to Tomamu station (1hr from New Chitose with one change) and then catch a free courtesy bus to the resort.
Getting around the base area is either on foot or on a resort shuttle bus. Here is a map of the Tomamu base area.
Tomamu’s ski season runs from late November until early April. It can be bitterly cold in January-February, but this is when you find the best powder. Conditions can be variable in March and December – from blue sunny skies one day to dumping with snow the next.
|Base Elevation||1771ft / 540m||Gondolas||1||Beginner||30%|
|Summit Elevation||4064ft / 1239m||Express Quads||5||Intermediates||40%|
|Vertical Drop||2293ft / 699m||Quad Chair||0||Advanced||30%|
|Skiable Area||358ac / 145ha||Triple Chairs||0|
|Annual Snowfall||314.9in / 8m||Double Chairs||0|
|Longest Run||2.6 miles / 4.2km||Surface Lifts||0|
|Operating Hours||9.00am – 6.00pm|
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