HokkaidoWilds.org on Saturday announced the listing of their large-format printed backcountry map Niseko Backcountry for sale on Amazon.co.jp. Already available online at Rhythm Japan and Hokkaido Ski Club, the waterproof, tear-resistant folded map is a first for winter activities in Japan. With placenames in English and Japanese, HokkaidoWilds.org hopes the map will ease communication between local and visiting skiers, and aid in information sharing with a burgeoning inbound backcountry ski population in the greater Niseko area in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.
The map retails for 2000yen (approx. US$15).
There is an ever-increasing interest in Hokkaido by experienced backcountry skiers from around the world. This has led to a need for effective ways to educate English-speaking visitors and residents alike about parking, etiquette, norms, safety, and backcountry zones in the greater Niseko area. Niseko Backcountry was developed to cater to that need – providing something of value (a backcountry map) paired with plenty of information on the map to ensure backcountry skiers are well informed.
Niseko Backcountry was developed by HokkaidoWilds.org authors Rob Thomson and Chris J. T. Auld, making the most of HokkaidoWilds.org’s award-winning utilization of the Japan government’s public topographic map data. Development of the map began in early 2021, with on-the-ground route documentation over the course of two winter seasons.
Development of the draft map was followed by three months of in-depth consultation with local backcountry stakeholders in the greater Niseko region. HokkaidoWilds.org hosted two public meetings about the map, liaised with a number of Hokkaido-based guide associations, and spoke with numerous winter mountain safety associations. Vigorous constructive criticism was taken on board, with the resulting map balancing well the various interests involved (see a full development report here: English | Japanese).
- Printed in Japan on durable, pro-grade, waterproof, tearproof paper (made-in-Japan Yupo-paper)
- Large-format: 66cm x 97cm / 26″ x 39″ (folded: 107mm x 220mm / 4.2″ x 8.7″)
- Sold as a folded map (107.2mm x 220mm / 4.2″ x 8.7″)
- 50+ backcountry ski routes, including ascent and descent routes
- Place names in English and Japanese
- Includes entire Niseko Range from Hirafu to the Sea of Japan, plus Mt. Yotei and Mt. Shiribetsu
- Indicates popular lift-accessed backcountry areas at the eastern end of the Niseko Range
- Features an easy-to-use 1km UTM grid for ease of planning and on-the-ground location communication using international-standard grid references
- Niseko United shuttle bus route and bus stops
- Scale rule in meters and feet
- Includes detailed information about weather, safety, communications, etiquette, parking, and popular zones around the greater Niseko area.
We’ve prepared a full companion website to the printed map: Niseko Backcountry companion website
- Links to online retailers of the map, as well as a list of local in-store purchase options.
- Links to digital download of the map for the Avenza Maps smartphone app
- Interactive map of route guides posted on HokkaidoWilds.org
- Links to etiquette, parking manners, mountain guides, safety tips, avalanche bulletins, and gear shops.
Niseko Backcountry is a non-profit initiative. Proceeds from map sales are pledged to be donated to local Niseko mountain safety and access initiatives. Maps are also being supplied free of charge to local mountain safety, SAR teams, and emergency response organizations.
HokkaidoWilds.org is a non-profit voluntary association that exists to inspire people to explore and enjoy Hokkaido and the surrounding areas’ extraordinary outdoors by ski, bicycle, foot and canoe in an informed, safe and responsible way. In addition to detailed written route guides with great photography, we also provide GPS route files, custom English-language GeoPDF topographical maps (using Japan government map data), and safety notes. HokkaidoWilds.org is run by a Hokkaido-loving group of authors and contributors (see them all here).
HokkaidoWilds.org founder Rob Thomson is no stranger to adventure travel and expeditions. He previously cycled from Japan to Switzerland, and still holds the Guinness World Record for the Longest Journey by Skateboard (12,159km).
Rob Thomson (Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder, HokkaidoWilds.org)
TEL: +81 (0)80-4228-6132 (Japan mobile)