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    • Spring
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
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        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • Summer
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        The World is Our Playground

        The Pasche family has been cycling and living out of a tent in remote corners of the planet for the past 13 years on four continents spanning 50 countries.
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        Adventure Travel World Summit in Hokkaido

        The ATTA will host their first Adventure Travel World Summit in Asia in Hokkaido, Japan. We caught up with ATTA Director Shannon Stowell to find out more about the adventure travel industry and how it continues to grow and evolve.
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        The Sweet Secrets of Brewing Mead

        Wander into the world of mead brewing and find yourself immersed in a fascinating journey spanning centuries and continents.
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        The Knights in White Lycra

        Each year a group of cyclists head to the deep north towards Tohoku’s vast rice fields and coastal trails to help transform the lives of neglected children.
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        Sea to Table in Yamagata

        An unforgettable way to intimately explore the Shonai Region in Yamagata is a culinary experience bringing bounty of the sea straight to your table.
    • Autumn
    • Winter
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        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

        Keith Stubbs, a veteran in the snowboard industry, transitioned from rider to coach and instructor trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand. After coaching in various Japanese resorts, he has established a permanent base in Madarao, outlining his plans for the area and future snowboard endeavors.
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        New Horizons in Shiretoko

        During another epic powder season, two seasoned winter sports enthusiasts traded their snowboard bags for camera bags and traveled to Eastern Hokkaido to explore the frozen landscape and broaden their winter horizons.
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        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.
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        Heritage Hunting in Hokkaido

        Travelers venturing beyond Hokkaido's popular winter resorts will discover a land with a rich cultural and natural history, a proud indigenous people and a community striving to preserve their heritage.
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        Shizukuishi

        Northern Honshu’s Iwate Prefecture, known for heavy snowfall, features Shizukuishi—a powder-rich resort area with views of Mt. Iwate. Snow enthusiasts seeking lesser-known gems can enjoy exceptional snow quality and uncrowded resorts, including Shizukuishi Ski Resort, Amihari Onsen Ski Resort, and Iwate Kogen Snow Park, offering affordability and traditional hospitality.
    • Near Tokyo
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        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Near Kyoto
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • River and Lake
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        Heritage Hunting in Hokka...

        Travelers venturing beyond Hokkaido's popular winter resorts will discover a land with a rich cultural and natural history, a proud indigenous people and a community striving to preserve their heritage.
        getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
      • getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Snow and Ice
      • camp3 clubhouse madarao keith stubbs outdoor japanvideo

        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

        Keith Stubbs, a veteran in the snowboard industry, transitioned from rider to coach and instructor trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand. After coaching in various Japanese resorts, he has established a permanent base in Madarao, outlining his plans for the area and future snowboard endeavors.
        shiretoko hokkaido outdoor japan

        New Horizons in Shiretoko

        During another epic powder season, two seasoned winter sports enthusiasts traded their snowboard bags for camera bags and traveled to Eastern Hokkaido to explore the frozen landscape and broaden their winter horizons.
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        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.
        shizukuishi skiing snowboarding outdoor japan

        Shizukuishi

        Northern Honshu’s Iwate Prefecture, known for heavy snowfall, features Shizukuishi—a powder-rich resort area with views of Mt. Iwate. Snow enthusiasts seeking lesser-known gems can enjoy exceptional snow quality and uncrowded resorts, including Shizukuishi Ski Resort, Amihari Onsen Ski Resort, and Iwate Kogen Snow Park, offering affordability and traditional hospitality.
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        Northern Shinshu’s Secret Stash

        A weak yen, revenge travel, and excellent ski conditions have led to high demand, booking out popular resorts like Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen this year. Fortunately, lesser-known gems like Togari Onsen, near Nozawa Onsen and Madarao, offer charming alternatives for powder seekers.
    • Travel
      • Okinawa’s Treehouse Oasis

        Tucked away in the lush jungles of Okinawa is an eco-conscious retreat called Treeful Treehouse. This sustainable resort is an immersive experience that invites guests to reconnect with nature.
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        The Spirit of the Kuma Valley

        Travelers to Japan undoubtedly view sake as the traditional liquor of Japan. Histori-cally they wouldn’t be wrong, since Sudō Honke, the world’s oldest sake brewery (and one of the oldest companies in the world), was founded in 1141 in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. However Southern Japan is home to another authentic Japanese spirit—shochu, which was first produced about 500 years ago, its roots firmly planted in Japan’s warmer southern climes.
        camp3 clubhouse madarao keith stubbs outdoor japanvideo

        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

        Keith Stubbs, a veteran in the snowboard industry, transitioned from rider to coach and instructor trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand. After coaching in various Japanese resorts, he has established a permanent base in Madarao, outlining his plans for the area and future snowboard endeavors.
        shiretoko hokkaido outdoor japan

        New Horizons in Shiretoko

        During another epic powder season, two seasoned winter sports enthusiasts traded their snowboard bags for camera bags and traveled to Eastern Hokkaido to explore the frozen landscape and broaden their winter horizons.
        sayuri matsuhashi double role curling athlete japan outdoor

        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.
    • Food and Drinks
      • Okinawa’s Treehouse Oasis

        Tucked away in the lush jungles of Okinawa is an eco-conscious retreat called Treeful Treehouse. This sustainable resort is an immersive experience that invites guests to reconnect with nature.
        video

        The Spirit of the Kuma Valley

        Travelers to Japan undoubtedly view sake as the traditional liquor of Japan. Histori-cally they wouldn’t be wrong, since Sudō Honke, the world’s oldest sake brewery (and one of the oldest companies in the world), was founded in 1141 in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. However Southern Japan is home to another authentic Japanese spirit—shochu, which was first produced about 500 years ago, its roots firmly planted in Japan’s warmer southern climes.
        camp3 clubhouse madarao keith stubbs outdoor japanvideo

        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

        Keith Stubbs, a veteran in the snowboard industry, transitioned from rider to coach and instructor trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand. After coaching in various Japanese resorts, he has established a permanent base in Madarao, outlining his plans for the area and future snowboard endeavors.
        shiretoko hokkaido outdoor japan

        New Horizons in Shiretoko

        During another epic powder season, two seasoned winter sports enthusiasts traded their snowboard bags for camera bags and traveled to Eastern Hokkaido to explore the frozen landscape and broaden their winter horizons.
        sayuri matsuhashi double role curling athlete japan outdoor

        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.
    • Races and Events
      • sayuri matsuhashi double role curling athlete japan outdoor

        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.

        Winter News and Notes

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2024!
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        In nearly e...

Niseko Cats

Niseko snowcats are found deep in the snowy mountains of the north island; they detest crowds, preferring to travel in small groups, away from busy ski resorts in search of bottomless powder and steep, forested terrain. Follow their tracks, and you’re in for an unforgettable adventure.

Okay, so the Niseko Snowcat is not a real animal. However there is nothing fictitious about the volume of snow that falls in Niseko annually; the amount of lift-accessed powder you get at the resort is simply incredible. While it’s indisputable Niseko gets more than its fair share of light, fluffy snow, it’s for this same reason the area has attracted an increasing number of snow enthusiasts.

Although there’s plenty of powder to go around, those searching for untouched perfection must venture further afield. Luckily, much of the steepest and deepest terrain is out of reach unless you really like hiking in the snow or you get yourself a snowcat.

A couple of long-time Niseko locals chose the latter. Nick Gutry and Aaron Jamison have combined their passion for diesel-powered engines and machines with their penchant for skiing fresh tracks in the backcountry. Nick has been exploring and guiding in the mountains in and around Niseko for more than a decade, and his experience with snowcats spans 21 years.

Aaron, a professional photographer based in Hirafu Village for the last seven years, was drawn to the area by a love of snow and the outdoors. He is the founder of Niseko Photography and is an oft-published ski/snowboard photographer. His passion for photography is second only to that of skiing untracked powder, and he’s found the perfect way to do both.

The two joined forces to create a professional and proficient cat skiing operation that takes small groups into the Yamanashi Range, an inaccessible powder paradise unless you have a snowcat.

Their tours traverse frozen rice fields, navigate through forests and climb some steep faces to get to the good stuff. As the snowcat rumbles to the top of a ridge line, panoramic views reveal terrain from Mt. Shiribetsu to Mt. Youtei and all the way across to Mt. Annupuri—without a ski track in sight!

The remoteness of this place becomes apparent when the cat rumbles away, leaving you standing in silent awe if not for the occasional crackle of the guide’s radio. As you watch your guide ski off into the unknown, your stomach twitches with excitement and a nervous anxiety of what lies below. The radio call comes through and you’re all clear…“Three, two, one…dropping!”

The ridge rolls away to gentle north facing slopes, speckled with mushrooms and trees, then juts back around to steep southern facing slopes of technical tree skiing. It’s a wonderland for experienced powder skiers.

If you join a tour, it’s just you, your personal guide and photographer, and a professional cat driver. The tours are steep and deep, for advanced skiers/boarders and limited to five persons. All safety equipment is provided, and every customer is fitted with a beacon, with guides carrying avalanche safety equipment. This tour is not for the faint-hearted; it is true backcountry skiing. No cozy day lodges, no popping in for a hot wine (some good hot coffee, though), no getting your boots fixed between runs…and no lift lines either!

The day draws as the light fades and Youtei turns pink. Loading into the cat and leaving so much untouched powder behind may seem like a crime, but you can take consolation knowing you’ll soon be sharing stories in the bar about getting neck deep in Niseko. You’ll also have some great photos (or video) by professional photographers.

If you’ve visited Niseko before and think you’ve skied it all, this is for you. If you’ve never been to Niseko, you don’t know what you are in for. Powder so deep you might want to bring a snorkel.

NISEKO SNOWCAT TOURS
Area: Yamanashi Range
Guide Ratio: 1 to 5 persons per guide
Level: Advanced
Tel: (0136) 22-5764
*Contact Niseko Photography for bookings and inquiries.

OTHER SNOWCAT TOURS IN NISEKO

For those who want to try cat skiing or snowboarding but aren’t quite ready to go too extreme, the Niseko Adventure Centre (NAC) has started a new service for the 2012- 13 season that may be the answer. Join a tour and have an entire (closed) ski resort in which to play. NAC is a pioneer in outdoor tours in Niseko, and they’ve acquired the whole of Niseko Weiss Mountain for guests’ cat skiing pleasure.

Weiss is the last mountain of the Niseko mountain range. The snow falls here from all directions, making for many deep days. Weiss has a lot of open treeless bowls; great for intermediate and some steeper tree runs for the more adventurous.

A photographer is on hand to document all your fun (photos and video), and lunch is served in the comforts of the Niseko Weiss Hotel. The hotel was recently redesigned for the 2012-13 season by photographer Neil Hartmann and features all the comforts a snow lover could want.

NAC SNOWCAT TOURS
Area: Niseko Weiss Horn Level: Intermediate and advanced level (13 years old and over)
Guide Ratio: 1 to 12 persons per guide Tel: (0136) 23-2093

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