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Make Your Own Traditional Wooden Snowshoes
January - April


As mentioned throughout the Hike and Bike Japan site, our HQ - the village of Otari - is located right smack in the middle of Japanese snow country. As such, over the centuries locals have developed numerous items and techniques to adapt to the harsh conditions that winter typically brings, and one obvious and particularly important problem that needed solving was how to get around in all this snow. Much like most similarly snow-blessed points across the globe, simple handcrafted snowshoes became the default solution - though the materials, design and construction of those snowshoes vary greatly from country to country, village to village and person to person. Even within Otari, multiple varieties of snowshoes were crafted and used for differing purposes (hunting, logging, etc...) and snow conditions (powder, hard pack, etc...). Among the various types, one of the most elegant and useful iterations is known as "tsume kanjiki".

About "Tsume Kanjiki" 

In general, this type of snowshoe was used by workers conducting various types of manual labor or other tasks in heavy-snow.  They are made from the branches of small, shrub-like trees. The outer frames are oblong in shape, and are made to be just slightly wider than your shoes, both on the sides and at the toes and heel. Your shoes rest on two parallel strands of woven cord just under your arch, while two wooden crampon-like "teeth" extend roughly 5cm into the snow on either side.  Unlike standard "kanjiki", "tsume kanjiki" are designed such that your toes and heel can be dug into the snow to create additional traction.  This design is most appropriate in spring or hard pack snow conditions, as well as climbing, descending and traversing snow-covered mountain slopes.

Recently, these traditional snowshoes, which are perfectly suited for the type of terrain and snow encountered here in Japan, have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity amongst winter mountaineers, backcountry skiers and snowboarders, fisherman, photographers and other outdoor enthusiasts because of their high functionality, light weight, use of renewable materials, traditional craftsmanship, uniqueness and more. Specifically, international visitors to Japan and younger individuals seem to particularly favor them for personal use.

Local resident and Hike and Bike Japan co-founder Paul, a member of the Otari Village Association for the Promotion of Tsume-Kanjiki, will be your teacher for this workshop. Paul has worked closely with the association over the last several years, learning the traditional process from start to finish. In fact, all of the raw materials provided at the workshop and all of the pre-work (boiling the branches, removing the bark, bending the branches into the right shape, etc...) were collected/done by Paul himself.


You will not only get to enjoy the process of making your own snowshoes, but the finished product is yours to keep; a unique, meaningful, fashionable and functional souvenir! 

IMAGE GALLERY (Winter 2019)


Complimentary pick-up and drop-off can be provided from/to any location within the village of Otari; such as your place of lodging, one of the three ski resorts located within the village (Tsugaike Kogen, Hakuba Norikura & Hakuba Cortina) or Otari's main train station - Minami Otari (on the JR Oito Line). 


  • There is no minimum number of participants for this tour  

  • Group size will be limited to a maximum of 4 persons.



The fee to participate in the workshop, all materials necessary to create your own set of snowshoes and personalized instruction and help when necessary, is included in the price. 


Not only will you go through the process of making traditional snowshoes, the finished pair is yours to keep and take back home with you for your use and memories.


  • WARM CLOTHING: The workshop will be held in an old, traditional home that may be a bit chilly 


For your convenience and ours, bookings are made through our online booking platform by clicking on the 'BOOK' button below and following the steps presented: (1) Choose a start time/date (2) Fill out the required information (3) Enter a coupon code (if applicable) (4) Complete your booking by clicking on the 'Book It' button.  


Upon confirmation of your booking, we will reach out to you through the contact information you provided to confirm or customize your itinerary and to follow up with any further questions or instructions. In general, payments are accepted in cash on the day of the tour.

snowshoe workshop

Make Your Own Traditional Wooden Snowshoes
January - April

Inquire for Pricing


If you would like to contact us to ask questions, receive more information, or inquire about booking this trip, please either connect with us directly using the chat feature located on the bottom right of your screen, or submit an inquiry through the contact form below.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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