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



“Best days out EVER!

I’ve been skiing the backcountry of Hakuba with James for 10 years now. He is my definitely my guide of choice for a safe and fun day skiing. His deep local knowledge of the terrain and astute study of the weather and snowpack mean that we get the best days out possible. James’s extensive experience in the backcountry and his technical mountaineering skills always gives me and my family a sense of comfort knowing we are in good hands when we are far from civilisation. I cannot recommend highly enough a day in the backcountry with James.”Chris Scott, Australia

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