Who we are?





Born in the Mountains and raised by the Ocean, we are an Adventure Guide/Photography company located in various locations throughout Japan. Operating out of Nozawa Onsen during the Winter and Miyazaki during the Summer season. We offer Adventure tours (both Summer and Winter), Marine activities, SUP/Surf board rental, Surf lessons and Professional Photo shoots. 

Mountain Swell Photography and Guiding look forward to showing you the less known parts of Japan...



Our Mission!


Mountain Swell was born in the Japanese Alps back in 2016, originally as a Ski Photography company specialising in ‘Powder shots’. Our goal was to capture our customers experience in the well known Japanese ‘Powder Snow’. We work closely with Local Guides and Photographers and aim to provide the best services for our customers. During the winter of 2017 we started to offer Snow Shoe Tours as a means to promote the nature of Nozawa Onsen and offer a Non-Skiing activity for people of all ages.


Our aim is to promote Miyazaki Prefecture and invite more people to explore this undiscovered part of Japan. We offer FREE information to help get you started on planning your trip to this incredible area. Miyazaki is not built up like a lot of places in Japan and we like it that way here. Use our FREE Local Business guide to learn the best places to eat, sleep, drink, car rental, surf school, etc..

Mountain Swell offers Surf Photography services and a range of Adventure Tours with both Local and Native English speaking guides 

Let us show you 'The Japan you don't know'


Meet the team


Ryan Butterfield

Mountain Swell Founder and Head Photographer.

“Born in Germany but grew up in both Scotland and Austria. I started Skiing/Snowboarding at a young age in the Austrian Alps which eventually led me into a career within the Ski Industry. I started Guiding at 18 years old in Austria and moved on to work in various locations throughout the world. Photography came to me early on in my teenage years from Skateboarding. I have always been interested in Action sports Photography and dreamed of starting my own company based around this.

I first came to Japan in 2014 to work a season in Hokkaido. The original plan was then to move onto Finland after the season but couldn’t bring myself to leave Japan. There was so much to experience and explore here. I traveled and worked around Japan for 1 year before deciding to build a base here.”

Nozawa Onsen Photography Services

Eri Butterfield

Photography Assistant, Translator, Bookings

“I am from Kyushu, Japan. I lived in Hawaii for 5 years to study and improve my English. I love to dance Hawaiian Hula and am part of a dance group based in Kumamoto. Hula is my main passion and I get to travel and dance shows in different locations. I use to work as an Accountant before I met Ryan, but shortly after i left my job to join his travels and we spent a year traveling around Europe together.

We got married in 2017 and started Mountain Swell shortly after. I enjoy living by the beach in the Summer and up in the Mountains during Winter.