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Gunma and Niigata backcountry snowboarding day

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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.


+1 Day


Jan - May, Dec






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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.


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.

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