The Wild side of Hokkaido With Imagine

Backcountry Tours

Unlock the magic of the backcountry with some of Japan’s most experienced mountain guides!


A professional guide makes all the difference when it comes to heading out into the backcountry. You want to know that you will be safe above all, and also stand the best chance of scoring those epic conditions you’ve been longing for all year. From the choice of location based on multiple variables, to the equipment, to the route for the hike up and the lines for the shred back down, everything is meticulously thought out based on years of experience, accumulated local knowledge in all conditions as well as continuous study and training.

Imagine powder guides live and breathe the backcountry lifestyle. Most have been regularly guiding in Hokkaido for well over a decade; all know Hokkaido’s mountains like the back of their hands and love going the extra mile to ensure you have an unforgettable adventure.

Backcountry Japan




























Tokachi Dake

All tours begin with a consultation and planning phase, where your guide takes into consideration your riding level, fitness, experience, goals, preferences, accommodation location and time frame, as well as the forecasted weather and snowpack conditions on different aspects of each potential mountain. With all of this factored in, a recommendation is made on the best choice of mountain and specific ascent and descent routes for you on each day.

A few of our popular routes near Niseko are on Mount Yotei, Chisenupuri, Weiss and Shiribetsu-dake. If you have time and feel like going further afield, we are always stoked to guide adventurous guests in Central Hokkaido, such as on Kuro-dake, Asahi-dake and Tokachi-dake. Not to mention the many other exciting options around the island. Just get in touch to begin discussing your journey with us. 


Keen to get as many turns as possible in the pow without so much of the hiking? Our lift-access powder tours may be the option for you. Save your legs on the way up by taking the chairlift, then let our guides take you to discover the true gems that the mountain has to offer. Imagine being guided skilfully through the trees to a hidden spot, revealing a beautiful open stretch of untouched snow that most tourists would never know about… 

Lift-access tours give you that great balance of stepping a little out of your comfort zone and practising riding in Hokkaido’s world-famous powder, without committing to a full backcountry adventure. If you have been keen to venture off piste but unsure how, this is a much safer way to enjoy the side-country than attempting to do so without local knowledge. Our guides know which lines are safest to ride, how to get back on time and avoid getting stuck in gulleys, and how to select the best powder fields in the region, based on recent snow and weather conditions. If you are a keen learner, your guide will be happy to share these kinds of tips throughout the day to help you make the most of your time on the mountain in future as well as in the moment. 

All participants ride with full safety gear, so if you don’t have your own avalanche safety set, please plan to get it in advance or enquire for rentals. To get the most out of the experience, you should already be a fairly advanced skier or rider with at least some experience of riding in deep snow. If you think you need to brush up on key skills first, please consider one of our private lessons instead.


Our tours include private transport from your hotel to the mountain and back the same day. For trips further afield, we can create the perfect multi-day tour package to meet your requirements – just contact us to get the ball rolling. The early bird catches the pow!


While everyone speaks English, some members of the team can teach in various languages, including Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, German and others. Just enquire if you have a preference! 


The full team is updated each season, but here you can see examples of some core members of the guiding team: 


Rhys Imagine Ski Instructor Profile Pic
  • From Australia, living in Niseko since 2009
  • Ski School Director, lead trainer at some of Niseko’s leading ski schools since 2012
  • Instructing skiing and snowboarding since 2007
  • Backcountry Guide in Hokkaido since 2012
  • APSI Ski L3
  • Avalanche Canada AST L1 & L2
  • APSI Adaptive L1
  • Native English, conversational Japanese
  • Business Owner of Ezo Tourism Services 合同会社 – operating property management, accommodation, ski school
  • Mission: our lessons focus on your goals, not the instructor’s. Exclusive service and memorable experiences.



Francis 2
  • From Singapore, living in Niseko since 2005
  • Extremely experience backcountry guide


Premium Backcountry Day

Full dedicated service with our most experienced guides, including transport from hotel and assistance with anything you need for the perfect day! After an initial consultation and planning phase, your guide recommends the ideal location for your personalised backcountry tour. Avalanche gear rental is also available for those who don’t have their own. Please ensure you have suitable gear, including poles and skins or snowshoes for hiking (enquire about rentals if unsure). The length of the day will depend on the distance and intensity of the adventure. 

All season: 80,000 JPY

Premium Lift-Access/Side-country Powder Guiding

This option is great for those who are not quite ready for a wild adventure and prefer to stay closer to civilisation or simply cut out the hiking part! It can enable you to unlock areas of fresh powder that you may not find by yourself, or give you that extra confidence and guidance on how to stay safe, score fresh tracks have the best day possible on the mountain. Your guide will take you to the ‘gates’ areas and/or the hidden gems off to the sides of the pistes, using local knowledge of the best spots based on weather, snowpack and other factors. Available in the Niseko United area, Rusutsu, Moiwa and Kiroro.

All season: 80,000 JPY

Customisable Multi-Day Backcountry Adventure

Keen to head further afield? Let us put together a backcountry trip package that includes guiding as well as the added logistics, accommodation and other elements for the perfect multi-day experience. Central Hokkaido is our most popular choice for this style of road trip, accessing areas such as Asahi-dake, Tokachi-dake, Furano-dake and Kuro-dake.  

Price: Bespoke (Please Enquire)


Lessons & Courses