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Arctic Cat Snowmobiles in Japan

Arctic Cat snowmobile in Japan

If I didn’t know otherwise, these photos of Arctic Cat M sleds in a powder wonderland appear to have been taken somewhere in the North American Rocky Mountains. Perhaps near Cooke City or Revelstoke?


They depict a typical ride near Sapporo, on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, which sees around 15 feet of snow during an average winter.

2012 Arctic Cat M800 snowmobile in Japan

The person in the top photo is Keita, a hardcore Arctic Cat rider and friend of the crew at Country Cat. A snowmobiler for the past five years, Keita owned a previous-gen M8, and now rides the 2012 ProClimb M800 (162-in. track) in the bottom image.

I suppose it illustrates my own thick-skulled provincialism, but I wondered why Keita rides an Arctic Cat instead of a Yamaha.

The answer? Because the engine is made by Suzuki.

I’ve also come to learn that there are lots of non-Yamaha snowmobiles cruising around Hokkaido, and that the unique traits of each snowmobile brand are appealing to certain Japanese riders in exactly the same what that they are to North American riders.

In other words, Keita choosing an Arctic Cat to ride in Japan is no different than a sledder from Ironwood, Michigan, choosing to ride a Yamaha Nytro.

2012 Arctic Cat M800 snowmobile in Japan

In fact, the 29-year-old (shown at right) is so pumped up about Arctic Cat that he’s planned a trip to Minnesota this summer, where he’ll hook up with P.J. Wanderscheid from Country Cat and head up to Thief River Falls to tour the Arctic Cat factory.


Map of Japan

Perhaps I’ll get a chance to meet Keita while here in the states? And perhaps we’ll have the first-ever ArcticInsider Group Ride in Sapporo, Hokkaido, next winter? Anyone interested in a serious road trip?



  1. Awesome story! I was always curious what kind of riding opportunities there might be in Japan. Also, I have wondered if any staff from Suzuki Corp ever got to see/ride the Arctic Cat snowmobiles that their engines powered?

  2. Way cool! A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan for my job. We were doing business with companies developing fuel cells. Our travels brought us to the home of Yamaha! The Yamaha product museum was incredible! Motorcycles of every model year, snowmobiles of every modle year, boats, etc. My boss, let me wonder around the museum like a kid at, well the Yamaha museum… I hope Keita-san is as impressed with the Arctic Cat plant as I was with the Yamaha plant! Keita-san ?????????

  3. I am looking forward to going to the United States to play.
    Riding on a snowmobile in the United States is also a dream.
    Since the machines of YAMAHA are four strokes, they are heavy.
    cat will be good if deep snow is run about freely.

  4. My wife and I were in Tokyo in 2001. That is one long airplane ride ! We were lucky in that we stayed with friends there that could speak the language. It would be very intimidating otherwise. I’d like to ride everywhere but I think this one is out for me ! lol

  5. It’s really cool to see sleds featured out of country. It’s not something a lot of Americans would come to expect. I was even surprised by the notion of riding in Japan! The deep snow does bring back memories of riding back in Cooke.
    While I was in Romania visiting my inlaws, we walked by a snowmobile dealer in Timisoara. After asking around, apparently theres some real gnarly riding in the Carpathians. If only the wallet was deep enough to adventure around the world and experience all these cool riding experiences!

  6. Keita, Looks like great powder riding, any grommed trails to get there, Or just all off trail boon docking?
    If you ever want to ride the best network of grommed trails any where , email me and come on over the clark Co and eau Claire co Wisconsin USA..
    good news, I have two cats In the Garage!!
    Dan Flynn EC WI

  7. Sure, John! I work for an airline and fly free. I’ll meet you over there. Think they will let me check my XF800 Sno Pro as luggage?

  8. I had the pleasure of meeting and riding with some of the Suzuki motor engineers in West Yellowstone while on a Brian Nelson Snowmobile Tour. They were not used to riding sleds and got stuck often but we had great fun.Truely a multi-cultural experience.

  9. i am the distributor of arctic cat sleds and atv’s in lebanon middle east.
    since 1994,i would like to invite any rider to visite my country and ride with us in our mountains,we still have snow a lot of.


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