Kayo Sonoda

JMGA Mountain Guide

Hakuba, Japan

I'm a JMGA certified hiking and ski guide, as well as a telemark ski instructor. I also hold the Nagano Prefecture's Official Mountain Guide license, meaning that I'm particularly proficient with the mountains in Nagano i.e. most of the Japan Alps. I've also competed at World Cup for telemark skiing during 2002-2009 years.

I have been living in the village of Hakuba, in Nagano, right at the base of mountains in the North Japan Alps since 2012. However, I am originally from the island of Shikoku towards the south of Japan, so I used to love the sea more than mountains and used to enjoy scuba diving, surfing, and kayaking. But from the moment I met telemark skiing, I've been enchanted by the mountains. It was fun to hike up whether it be on foot or on telemark skis, and to discover the mountains this way, and eventually I chose to pursue the ambition of becoming a hiking guide. My motto is for my clients to enjoy mountains safely.

My favourite guiding field is the North Japan Alps. The infrastructure here, including the gondola and buses, make the mountain ridge lines so accessible!!

I prefer hiking long trails than peak hunting. I usually save one month every year for trekking for myself and mainly choose to trek abroad. I particularly love trekking in Europe!

The distinct four seasons in Japan is very unique, and you can enjoy the mountains in different ways during different seasons. I would like to show you the best way to enjoy Japanese mountains that suits the season, so please join me on the discovery trip!