About Us

Northern Heights Guiding’s name is derived from the Japanese words “kita” meaning north or northern and “kochi” meaning highland or heights.

We are based right in the Northern Alps of Japan in the mountain resort village of Hakuba. Our passion is not only making your day out a great ski day, but also leading you towards an appreciation of our snowy mountains and unique alpine culture of the area. We just love seeing our guests stoked on the ascents, descents and all points in between! With over 20 years of guiding experience in Japan and Canada your guide has the knowledge and professional skills to lead you safely into some of Hakuba’s best on-resort runs, off-piste powder terrain and backcountry areas. Northern Heights Guiding is partnered with Hakuba Ski Concierge.


About Your Guide

James Robb - Guide

Northern Heights Guiding is owned and operated by long-time Hakuba local James Robb.

Hailing from the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, James came to Hakuba in 1999 from Calgary, Alberta with aspirations to be a ski instructor on Happo-One Resort. Once seeing the peaks and the copious amounts of snow in Hakuba he was hooked on skiing in Japan.

A few years later he moved permanently to Hakuba and worked as an outdoor guide year-round for many years. Winter is his definitely his favourite season and creating memorable, safe and quality tours for his guests is his goal.


James is certified with the following organisations:

    • Canadian Ski Guide Association 
    • Canadian Avalanche Association 
    • Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance
    • Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors
    • Wilderness Medical Associates: First Responder
    • Interpretive Guides Association : Professional
    • International Mountain Bike Association
    • International Rafting Federation

    • Canyoning International Commission
    • Rescue 3 International: Swift Water Rescue Technician
    • Tree Climbing Japan: Instructor
    • New Zealand Rafting Association: Advanced River Rescue
    • Canadian School of Mountaineering Rock and Alpine Courses
    • PADI : Open Water Diver



Snow, terrain, ambience .. all absolutely amazing!

We found ourselves the most brilliant guide – one of the best I have encountered in 40 years of skiing (all over the world). James’ ability to deliver superlative skiing experiences day after day is remarkable – he seems to know every nook and cranny of the Hakuba valley and was unfailing in knowing where to go at what time of day to get the best powder. Not only that, indeed perhaps most important, he is super safe and thorough in everything he does. Oh and excellent company too – with a joke for all occasions! I would not hesitate to recommend him.”
Tim Bastone, ENGLAND

BOOK NOW FOR 2021/2022

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