When Hokkaido native Takuto “Steve” Shimode went to Canada for an immersion program as a high schooler, he learned that many outside of Japan knew little about his hometown.

Hokkaido is Japan’s largest but least populous prefecture. Its climate is cold and harsh, but its landscape – complete with frozen lakes, primeval forests, and volcanic peaks, is also breathtakingly beautiful.

Now 32 years old, Steve is glad that Hokkaido’s beauty is known to many more international travelers. He now works as a part-time travel guide for Hokkaido Nature Tours (HNT), an agency founded by his friend Ido Gabay.

As a former sponsored champion short-ski freestyle skier, Steve also coaches skiing professionally. Some of his guests who are interested to pick up the basics have learned from him during their tours.

Want to find out more about Steve and his top picks in Hokkaido? Catch the video now!