When the Sea of Japan is not delivering, just find some frozen waves inland...

Torii gate on a sea stack in the sea of Japan, in Hokkaido winter
Snow surf in Japan, surfboards on snow down a mountain

Whilst exploring Hokkaido, Charlotte & Steve of The Adventure Photographers met a local legend & did exactly this. We surfed together where conditions were best.

A place we dubbed

'Big Wave Mountain'

Huge wind lip cornice on a mountain top. Wind formed snow and ice sculpture

Hideki Yamanaka-san

"Great Tree in the Mountain"

A true purveyor of stoke & rider of everything, Hideki welcomed us into his home & shared his overwhelming passion for the slide

Hideki Yamanaka-san, Japanese surfer, Hokkaido local
Okonomiyaki, Japanese hospitality cuisine and wine
Hideki Yamanaka-san, Japanese surfer. A Hokkaido local with surfboards

Hideki lives in the northern most city of Japan, Asahikawa.

His compact apartment is stacked with every type of craft a person can ride, shelves heaving under surf books & DVDs. He tells us about Hokkaido's distinct seasons.

Summers are hot.

Bamboo grows everywhere sometimes over 10ft tall concealing bears.

This is the best time for surf as the typhoon season brings swell to the E and SE coasts.

Mountain hiker surrounded by sassa bamboo in Niseko Japan, view of Mount Yotei volcano, Hokkaido

Winters are cold.

Frozen air from Russia is pulled across the Sea of Japan towards low pressures in the Pacific. The mountains of Hokkaido intercept this flow, the moist cold air meets & rises over the land...

and then it dumps.

Record breaking snowfall in Hokkaido Japan, huge snow banks, burying a house in Japow
Snowboarder powder turn in Niseko, Hokkaido in Japan
Shiba inu, Japanese dog howling in the snow
Skier blasting through deep powder in kokusai, hokkaido, Japan
Thick fresh snow on wood pile and heavy machine digger in the woods, Japan

Winters have inconsistent and often blown out surf.

But if you have the patience to wait for that bitter NW wind to drop, there are good waves to be found and a community of smiling surfers who will welcome you to the line-up

Surfer cliff jumping into the sea to cold water surf in Rishiri Japan
Japanese surfing in Hokkaido Japan winter
Hideki Yamanaka smiling face thumbs up with a longboard surfboard in winter Japan
Winter coldwater surfing in industrial Japan with smoke and chimneys pollution

This day though, we looked out on grey chop, churning unappealingly into the bay.

'We go to Big Wave Mountain!' Hideki proclaims as he starts the van.

Consistent Hokkaido snow provided the goods with a top up overnight and with open minds we head to a small community ski hill so common throughout Hokkaido.

Action photo of popping up on a surf board whilst snowboarding down a mountain
Funny Surf snowboard wipeout bail winter Japan

We paddled in, we popped up, we ate sh't and we laughed.

There is a lot of stoke to be found if you know how to look for it.

And Japan offers heaps in it's people, land, snow & surf... And snow surf.

A huge appreciation to Hideki-san for showing us around & sharing his passion and insider knowledge on Hokkaido.

Hideki Yamanakasan surfing Japow in Hokkaido on an adventure

The best surfer is the one having the most fun. And Hideki Yamanaka-san rips.

Arigatou gozaimasu!

Hideki Yamanaka-san is a local surfer who showed us the surf culture in hokkaido Japan. He shakas infront of a snowcat