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    • Spring
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • Summer
      • the nomad pasche family

        The World is Our Playground

        The Pasche family has been cycling and living out of a tent in remote corners of the planet for the past 13 years on four continents spanning 50 countries.
        adventure travel world summit in hokkaido

        Adventure Travel World Summit in Hokkaido

        The ATTA will host their first Adventure Travel World Summit in Asia in Hokkaido, Japan. We caught up with ATTA Director Shannon Stowell to find out more about the adventure travel industry and how it continues to grow and evolve.
        mead brewing in japan

        The Sweet Secrets of Brewing Mead

        Wander into the world of mead brewing and find yourself immersed in a fascinating journey spanning centuries and continents.
        the knights in white lycra

        The Knights in White Lycra

        Each year a group of cyclists head to the deep north towards Tohoku’s vast rice fields and coastal trails to help transform the lives of neglected children.
        sea to table yamagata

        Sea to Table in Yamagata

        An unforgettable way to intimately explore the Shonai Region in Yamagata is a culinary experience bringing bounty of the sea straight to your table.
    • Autumn
    • Winter
      • camp3 clubhouse madarao keith stubbs outdoor japanvideo

        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

        Keith Stubbs, a veteran in the snowboard industry, transitioned from rider to coach and instructor trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand. After coaching in various Japanese resorts, he has established a permanent base in Madarao, outlining his plans for the area and future snowboard endeavors.
        shiretoko hokkaido outdoor japan

        New Horizons in Shiretoko

        During another epic powder season, two seasoned winter sports enthusiasts traded their snowboard bags for camera bags and traveled to Eastern Hokkaido to explore the frozen landscape and broaden their winter horizons.
        sayuri matsuhashi double role curling athlete japan outdoor

        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.
        ainu tour daniel moore outdoor japan hokkaido

        Heritage Hunting in Hokkaido

        Travelers venturing beyond Hokkaido's popular winter resorts will discover a land with a rich cultural and natural history, a proud indigenous people and a community striving to preserve their heritage.
        shizukuishi skiing snowboarding outdoor japan

        Shizukuishi

        Northern Honshu’s Iwate Prefecture, known for heavy snowfall, features Shizukuishi—a powder-rich resort area with views of Mt. Iwate. Snow enthusiasts seeking lesser-known gems can enjoy exceptional snow quality and uncrowded resorts, including Shizukuishi Ski Resort, Amihari Onsen Ski Resort, and Iwate Kogen Snow Park, offering affordability and traditional hospitality.
    • Near Tokyo
      • getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Near Kyoto
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • River and Lake
      • ainu tour daniel moore outdoor japan hokkaido

        Heritage Hunting in Hokka...

        Travelers venturing beyond Hokkaido's popular winter resorts will discover a land with a rich cultural and natural history, a proud indigenous people and a community striving to preserve their heritage.
        getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
      • getting dirty in japan

        Getting Dirty in Japan

        “Getting Dirty in Japan” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Snow and Ice
      • camp3 clubhouse madarao keith stubbs outdoor japanvideo

        CAMP3 Clubhouse in Madarao

        Keith Stubbs, a veteran in the snowboard industry, transitioned from rider to coach and instructor trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand. After coaching in various Japanese resorts, he has established a permanent base in Madarao, outlining his plans for the area and future snowboard endeavors.
        shiretoko hokkaido outdoor japan

        New Horizons in Shiretoko

        During another epic powder season, two seasoned winter sports enthusiasts traded their snowboard bags for camera bags and traveled to Eastern Hokkaido to explore the frozen landscape and broaden their winter horizons.
        sayuri matsuhashi double role curling athlete japan outdoor

        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.
        shizukuishi skiing snowboarding outdoor japan

        Shizukuishi

        Northern Honshu’s Iwate Prefecture, known for heavy snowfall, features Shizukuishi—a powder-rich resort area with views of Mt. Iwate. Snow enthusiasts seeking lesser-known gems can enjoy exceptional snow quality and uncrowded resorts, including Shizukuishi Ski Resort, Amihari Onsen Ski Resort, and Iwate Kogen Snow Park, offering affordability and traditional hospitality.
        togari onsen outdoor japan

        Northern Shinshu’s Secret Stash

        A weak yen, revenge travel, and excellent ski conditions have led to high demand, booking out popular resorts like Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen this year. Fortunately, lesser-known gems like Togari Onsen, near Nozawa Onsen and Madarao, offer charming alternatives for powder seekers.
    • Travel
      • Bringing Strength to Otoyo

        Mountainous villages with dwindling populations are dotted throughout Japan as younger people move to urban areas. These countryside communities, which capture the essence of Japan’s rural beauty and traditional heritage, are at risk as elderly villagers are left to carry the burden. Industrious individuals tired of living in the city are giving some struggling communities a second chance, such as Violet Pacilea who moved to Kochi Prefecture with a dream of breathing new life into her mother’s hometown.

        The Knights in White Lycra Ride Again

        The 2024 Charity Ride celebrates five years and another 500 kilometers to help support Mirai no Mori and their mission to help the marginalized youth in Japan.

        WOLFBRÄU

        Thirty-five years ago German businessman Wolfram Opitz was sent to Tokyo for two months to help train a partner company in Japan. “What an interesting city and country,” he thought to himself. Today, he and his wife Yuka are the proud owners of Okinawa’s only German-style microbrewery at the steps of the island prefecture’s most famous landmark, Shuri Castle.

        Okinawa’s Treehouse Oasis

        Tucked away in the lush jungles of Okinawa is an eco-conscious retreat called Treeful Treehouse. This sustainable resort is an immersive experience that invites guests to reconnect with nature.
        video

        The Spirit of the Kuma Valley

        Travelers to Japan undoubtedly view sake as the traditional liquor of Japan. Histori-cally they wouldn’t be wrong, since Sudō Honke, the world’s oldest sake brewery (and one of the oldest companies in the world), was founded in 1141 in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. However Southern Japan is home to another authentic Japanese spirit—shochu, which was first produced about 500 years ago, its roots firmly planted in Japan’s warmer southern climes.
    • Food and Drinks
      • Bringing Strength to Otoyo

        Mountainous villages with dwindling populations are dotted throughout Japan as younger people move to urban areas. These countryside communities, which capture the essence of Japan’s rural beauty and traditional heritage, are at risk as elderly villagers are left to carry the burden. Industrious individuals tired of living in the city are giving some struggling communities a second chance, such as Violet Pacilea who moved to Kochi Prefecture with a dream of breathing new life into her mother’s hometown.

        The Knights in White Lycra Ride Again

        The 2024 Charity Ride celebrates five years and another 500 kilometers to help support Mirai no Mori and their mission to help the marginalized youth in Japan.

        WOLFBRÄU

        Thirty-five years ago German businessman Wolfram Opitz was sent to Tokyo for two months to help train a partner company in Japan. “What an interesting city and country,” he thought to himself. Today, he and his wife Yuka are the proud owners of Okinawa’s only German-style microbrewery at the steps of the island prefecture’s most famous landmark, Shuri Castle.

        Okinawa’s Treehouse Oasis

        Tucked away in the lush jungles of Okinawa is an eco-conscious retreat called Treeful Treehouse. This sustainable resort is an immersive experience that invites guests to reconnect with nature.
        video

        The Spirit of the Kuma Valley

        Travelers to Japan undoubtedly view sake as the traditional liquor of Japan. Histori-cally they wouldn’t be wrong, since Sudō Honke, the world’s oldest sake brewery (and one of the oldest companies in the world), was founded in 1141 in Ibaraki Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. However Southern Japan is home to another authentic Japanese spirit—shochu, which was first produced about 500 years ago, its roots firmly planted in Japan’s warmer southern climes.
    • Races and Events
      • sayuri matsuhashi double role curling athlete japan outdoor

        Silent Resilience

        Curling athlete Sayuri Matsuhashi’s journey to the top of her sport is an inspiration to deaf athletes and women juggling their roles as mothers while also pursuing their professional dreams.

        Winter News and Notes

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2024!
        dd4d brewing

        DD4D Brewing

        In nearly e...

From the Fish Market to the World Market

From back porch home-brewing to a state-of-the-art sustainable-minded brewery on the Izu Peninsula, Baird Beer has grown up continuing to play an important role in growing the appreciation for craft beer in Japan while staying true to their mission to making honest, minimally processed beer.

“I was just a beer-loving rugby player,” Bryan Baird laughs. “I’ve always loved beer.”

Back in the mid-1990s, when ji-biru (craft beer) was de-regulated in Japan, there was a relatively short craft brew boom around the nation. The craft brewery count quickly jumped from zero to 275, but as mediocre beer started spilling into the market, the craft beer bubble had fizzled out by 1997.

“Japan is a sophisticated place where mediocre beer can’t endure,” Bryan explains.

Like many young people arriving in Japan for a post-university adventure, Bryan came to Japan as a JET, the government-sponsored program to promote native English teaching in public schools in Japan.

He fell in love with the country immediately, and not long after, his future wife Sayuri. He was especially impressed with Japan’s emphasis on craftsmanship. Realizing brewing beer had been de-regulated, he believed Japan could be a fertile market for small, craft brewers who focused on quality.

In 2000, Bryan and his wife opened a small brew pub in the fishing port town of Numazu in Shizuoka Prefecture. With Sayuri handling the food, Baird was freed to focus on his passion, making good beer with a tiny home-brewing apparatus in 30-liter batches in an old Hoff-Stevens keg.

In a little more than 15 years, Baird Beer has grown from a husband-and-wife brewery to a nationally recognized and distributed craft beer with several tap rooms in Tokyo and Yokohama, and a new brewery that distributes to selected international craft beer-loving markets.

“You know how they say, ‘If you build it, they will come?’ Well, we built it, and very few people came,” Baird recalls, struggling the first few years in Numazu before expanding to Tokyo. Business took off in 2003.

They continued to brew out of Shizuoka while sending their bottled beers first to the city, then nationwide and eventually overseas. In 2005, they expanded to a thousand-liter brewery.

Growing while maintaining quality, integrity and trust with craft beer enthusiasts is a balancing act, but Bryan and the Baird family manage to stay true to their core values while keeping deep roots in Shizuoka where Baird Beer was born.

“Rural Japan is aging, it’s de-populated,” Bryan says. In 2014, after being courted by the Izu City government, Baird moved south into the beautiful Izu Peninsula to Shuzenji, a hot spring resort town on the way to southern Izu’s famous white-sand beaches and surf breaks.

Shuzenji is now home to Baird Beer’s impressive new brewery (although they kept the original taproom in Numazu), and locals are thrilled to see them building their business here.

Perhaps most striking about the Baird Brewery is the zero-waste approach they have taken to the brewing process. Spent grain, hops and yeast are brought to mulch facilities. Ingredients are locally and organically grown without pesticides from neighboring farmland and orchards. Ten percent of the electricity comes from solar panels, and Baird hopes to one day run completely off the grid.

They’ve also built a wastewater treatment facility. After treatment, the water is cleaner than the clear nearby river water. This water will also be used for irrigation in the future and, as part of the “One Percent for the Planet” initiative, Baird Brewery donates to the National Conservation Society of Japan for every bottle of Shuzenji Heritage Helles sold. “Beer is about agriculture,” says Baird. “It’s tied to the land and nature, because that’s where it’s from. Our goal is to create minimally processed beer in a beautiful place while enhancing the environment and making intimate connections.”

Standing on the banks of Kano River, the brewery is flanked by hills, rice paddies and a quiet village. Originally a KOA Campground, the land around the brewery will soon offer camping and cabins for craft beer friends old and new who want to visit the brewery and the on-site Shuzenji Gardens Taproom.

If you’d like to take a brewery tour, finishing off with a fresh pint of beer at the taproom (or a few bottles to take home), tours are available daily, but check the website for times. If you have enjoyed Baird for years, as you walk along the hallway, you’ll see the familiar artwork designed for Baird beer labels by Eiko Nishida, an artist and family friend.

“We have different artwork for all our beers,” Sayuri Baird points out. “All our beers have a different style and history we want to share with our customers. The artwork helps get them interested.”

Today, the Japan beer scene is facing a new boom. There are still fewer than 2,000 licensed craft breweries in Japan, but craft beer pubs are growing as Japanese beer drinkers get a taste for the good stuff.

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Bringing Strength to Otoy...

Mountainous villages with dwindling populations are dotted throughout Japan as younger people move to urban areas. These countryside communities, which capture the essence of Japan’s rural beauty and traditional heritage, are at risk as elderly villagers are left to carry the burden. Industrious individuals tired of living in the city are giving some struggling communities a second chance, such as Violet Pacilea who moved to Kochi Prefecture with a dream of breathing new life into her mother’s hometown.

WOLFBRÄU

Thirty-five years ago German businessman Wolfram Opitz was sent to Tokyo for two months to help train a partner company in Japan. “What an interesting city and country,” he thought to himself. Today, he and his wife Yuka are the proud owners of Okinawa’s only German-style microbrewery at the steps of the island prefecture’s most famous landmark, Shuri Castle.

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