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Gunma and Niigata backcountry snowboarding day

Gunma and Niigata backcountry snowboarding day

Join JMGA-certified guide Hiroko on a full-day off-piste snowboarding tour in the Japanese prefectures of Gunma or Niigata, in the Honshu Island. Find programs for beginners to advanced riders.

Not specified

1 Day

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Dec


Whether you are looking to get into backcountry snowboarding or take your off-piste snowboarding skills to the next level, these tours are exactly what you need!

I offer regular day trips for beginner, intermediate and advanced snowboarders to the best off-piste spots in the Gunma and Niigata prefectures, in Honshu, Japan’s largest island and the seventh largest in the world.

Often chosen venues in Gunma include: Kawaba ski area in Mount Hotaka’s southern slopes (2,158m); Hodaigi ski area; and the famous Mount Tanigawadake (1,977m), the highest peak in the Tanigawa mountain range. In Niigata, we usually visit the Kagura (1,845m) and Yuzawa (1,181m) ski areas. These sites are easily accessible from Tokyo and feature great backcountry terrain for all levels. They are especially known for their long seasons and amazing powder snow!

During these tours, I make my best to ensure participants learn or refresh their backcountry skills. Below you will find a brief description of the topics we usually cover in each program:

Beginner tour:

  • The use of off-piste snowboarding gears

  • The use of avalanche safety gears

  • How to do avalanche rescues

  • How to behave in a backcountry environment

  • Off-piste snowboarding techniques

Intermediate tour:

  • Avalanche rescue techniques

  • How to operate avalanche beacons

  • How to behave in a backcountry environment

  • The use of backcountry gears

  • Efficient skinning and hiking techniques

Advanced tour:

  • How to gain fitness

  • Rescue scenarios

  • Techniques for advanced-only routes

I will plan each tour’s exact itinerary based on the participants’ skill level, as well as on the weather and snow conditions. However, for your reference, below are a few aspects to consider when choosing a program:

  • Beginner program: 30-60 minutes hiking uphill + snowboarding a 20°-30° slope

  • Intermediate program: less than 3 hours hiking uphill + snowboarding a 25°-35° slope

  • Advanced program: 3-4 hours hiking uphill + snowboarding a 25°-35° slope

If interested, you can stay overnight at the guesthouse I run or in any Onsen town (resorts with hot natural springs) nearby, and join multiple day trips.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn or improve your off-piste snowboarding skills in some of Japan’s best ski areas. Book your tour now!

Check out a ski touring version of these programs. If you are interested in other winter activities in the area, I recommend the winter climbing day in Mount Tanigawa and the 1-day snowshoe hike in Minakami.

Price includes

- Guiding fee

Price details

Please note that the price per person varies based on the tour's level: beginner programs cost from JPY 10,000, intermediate programs cost from JPY 12,000, and advanced programs cost from JPY 13,000.

The price doesn’t include accommodation.



If interested, participants can stay at the guesthouse I run, at a discounted price.

More info

Schedule: • Beginner programs: end of December to mid May • Intermediate programs: end of December to mid May • Advanced programs: February and March

Participants must have accidents insurance, covering mountain rescue operations.

Guests need to bring the following equipment: • Splitboard • Boots • Splitboard bindings • Skins (for splitboard) • Poles • Backpack • Avalanche safety gears (beacon, probe, and shovel) • Helmet • Gloves (and thinner gloves for hiking uphill) • Goggles • Sunglasses • Sunscreen • Appropriate clothing *Rentals are available for some of the items

Meeting point

6:30AM - 7:30AM at a lodge in Minakami, a hot spring and outdoor sports town in Gunma Prefecture, located one hour away from Tokyo. If you decide to stay in a nearby Onsen town, I can provide pick-up and drop-off service, with an additional cost.

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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