All about Japow: interview with a mountain guide

14 Feb 2018 in On The Move

Freestyle snowboarding for kids? Snow touring on active volcanoes? Mountain guide Yu Sato tells all.


What does your job involve?

I work for the “Riki Japow Guide” company, helping skiers and snowboarders at Tomamu to get more from Japan’s famous power snow, which we call “Japow”.

Freeride ski in Japan

In the summer, I take groups of Japanese clients abroad to climb mountains like Kilimanjaro.

What’s so special about the snow in Tomamu?

Tomamu is perfectly situated in the center of Hokkaido. To get here, snow clouds travel over the Tokachi mountains, making the snow drier.

Best snow in the world

And because the temperature in Tomamu is always cold, the snow remains powdery.

Where to freeride in Japan

Other resorts in Japan in Niigata and Nagano are closer to the sea, so the snow is wetter. I’ve also skied in the Alps in France and Switzerland, and the snow here really is the best.

What activities do you offer?

We cater for everyone from beginners to expert skiers. My boss is a professional freestyle skier and he teaches freestyle to kids.

Ski schools in Japan

Decent skiers and snowboarders can come off-piste with us, into the forests where you’re all alone – except for the occasional deer, fox or ferret.

Freeride spots in Hokkaido prefecture

And we can take experienced clients ski touring up and down Asahidake, a volcano where you can get up close to smoking craters!

Asahidake volcano ski

Why should foreigners travel to ski in Tomamu?

Tomamu is a big resort and it’s never crowded – which means no queues.

Japanese ski resort

Sunlight in Japan

And you really do have to come here to test the incredible Japow snow!

Looking for a place to stay?

Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu offers large rooms where you can unwind post-ski in your private whirlpool bath and sauna.

hotel room in Hokkaido prefecture

Bathtub in room



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