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Backcountry Skiing in Gunma and Niigata

1-day backcountry / off piste skiing in Gunma and Niigata regions of Japan in Honshu with a local JMGA guide, Hiroko. Very accessible from Tokyo!

Not specified

1 Day

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Dec


1 day backcountry skiing / ski touring group tours for beginners to advanced skiers / snowboarders in Gunma (Kawaba, Hotaka, Hodaigi, Tanigawadake) and Niigata (Kagura, Yuzawa) areas with a local JMGA certified guide.

I offer regular tours in my favourite regions of Gunma and Niigata in Japan, known for deep powders.
I will plan the exact itinerary for each day depending on the level of the group and the conditions of the mountains.

Please tell me which programme you’re interested in joining when you contact me.

Beginner Programme:
For those of you with no off piste / backcountry skiing or snowboarding experience but wants to learn!
You will learn
– how to use off piste / backcountry skiing and snowboarding gears
– about and the use of Avalanche safety gears
– how to do Avalanche rescues
– how to act in the backcountry environment
– some off piste skiing techniques

Intermediate Programme:
For those of you who wants to improve on their off piste / backcountry skiing or snowboarding.
You will
– re-learn and check how to operate avalanche beacons and your avalanche rescue techniques
– be explained how to behave in the backcountry environment
– check how to use backcountry gears
– learn about efficient skinning and hiking techniques

Advanced Programmes:
For those who want to take off piste / backcountry skiing or snowboarding to the next level!
– thinking about rescue scenarios
– how to gain fitness and techniques necessary for expert only itineraries

You can join me for multiple days by staying in the lodge that I run or staying in nearby Onsen towns, and join the tours on a daily basis.

Let me know if you’re interested in joining me and feel free to ask any questions! 

Extra details
Fitness and Ski Level

Beginner programmes – 30-60min hike up / skiing of 20-30 degrees slope

Intermediate programmes – hiking under 3hrs / skiing of 25-35 degrees slope

Advanced programmes – 3-4hrs hike up / skiing of 25-35 degrees slope


Beginner programmes – end of December to mid May

Intermediate programmes – end of December to mid May

Advanced programmes – February and March

Price includes

- Guiding fee



A basic lodging (dormitory style / private room) can be arranged at a discount

More info

For Beginner tours, cost is from JPY 10,000 per person For Intermediate tours, cost is from JPY 12,000 per person For Advanced tours, cost is from JPY 13,000 per person
KIT LIST: - Skis (with touring binding or non-touring binding) - Boots - Skins (for touring skis) - Snowshoes (for non-touring skis) - Poles - Backpack - Avalanche safety gears (beacon, probe, shovel) - Ski crampons - Helmet - Goggles - Sunglasses - Sunblock - Gloves (and thinner gloves for hike up) - Appropriate clothing Rentals are available for some of the items so please get in touch!
In case I'm busy on the dates you request this trip, a JMGA mountain guide colleague will be able to guide you instead.

Meeting point

6:30am - 7:30am at a lodge in Minakami I can provide pick up / drop off service if you decide to stay at a nearby Onsen towns of Takaragawa onsen and/or Houshi onsen

About the guide

I am a JMGA mountain guide based in Minakami in Gumma prefecture in Japan, home to Mount Tanigawa in the Tanigawa Mountain Range. It is one of the top 100 famous mountains in Japan and is my favourite mountain full of potentials in rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing and trekking. I also run a lodging service there for the convenience of clients, which I started in response to the requests by my clients in 2011.

My specialty ranges from climbing / mountaineering, trekking (hiking and snow shoeing), Sawanobori (climbing up through waterfalls), backcountry skiing / ski touring, pack rafting and canyoning.

Having been a member of Exploration Club whilst at University in Kyoto, my first guiding certification was in river rafting, where my passion lay at the time, and my main guiding activities now are mostly in the mountains.
With “explore deeper and have fun” as mottos, I put together outdoor adventure itineraries for each season of the year, so that more people can feel and enjoy the power and kindness of the nature.

I would love to share the unique, beautiful and exploratory experience you can get in Minakami with you, let it be in the mountains or in the waters!

I have the following certificates: JMGA Climbing Guide Stage Level 2, Oze Nature Guide, Oze Climbing Guide and WMA Wilderness First Responder.

When I'm unavailable to guide, my trusted colleagues with JMGA certifications will be able to guide you!


Japanese | French | English





What people are saying about Hiroko Takatsuki

Olivia Lee


March, 2023

No one replies questions on Explore-share whatsapp. Appreciate if can know change of tour guide in advance.

Li-hsin Tu


March, 2022

It was my first winter mountaineering experience, and I had a wonderful time. Hiroko is great guide. She is professional, knowledgable, and very patient. Also, her love for Tanigawadake and the Minakami area is both inspiring and contagious. It made me want to come back and experience the area in a different season. My only complaint is that our email communication was a little slow. Overall I highly recommend this tour.

Jesus DeLeon


October, 2019

The traveller did not leave a comment.

Mindy Han


March, 2019

Hiroko was amazingly fit, really professional and punctual, and clearly loved the area. Lunch was delicious and we got so lucky with the weather - highly recommended!

Andrew Vigar


February, 2019

It was wonderful and the guides were superb – big recommendation



April, 2018

A good climb although weather wasn't good and couldn't see much at the summit.



April, 2018

The traveller did not leave a comment.



March, 2018

Excellent guide for a very dangerous mountain! In Hiroko's hands she guided me across challenging terrain. I highly recommend this winter hike as she will teach you the basics of winter mountaineering. The mountain is quite steep. For beginner mountaineers, this is the perfect trial ground. Hiroko was polite friendly and extremely helpful. She dropped me off at an onsen after the hike and then dropped me off at the train station.



February, 2018

I got a new experience from here. She is very nice I will come back here again. ^^

Yve Driesen


August, 2017

Very friendly, patient and professional guide. Good rafting skills. Lovely day! Thx !

Jonathan Travis


May, 2017

Hiro was fantastic from start to finish. She introduced me to winter techniques and was brilliant company all the way to the peak. She is a true pro. It was an epic day on Tanigawa that will live long in the memory!


October, 2016

Thank you soooooo much to help arranging such an experience for us! Jimmy, Alice and I had so much fun, everything was great!!!! Thank you for your kindness! We love the blog too! We will certainly come again! Please send our great appreciation to Michi San (he's fun and cool!), also our Chef (She made us the best noodles and CD : ) I will send you more photos.  Please take care and let us know when the next multi-day packrafting opportunity comes. We love camping and outdoor! Japan has a very nice natural environment. Cheers, Ardis



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