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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.
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        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
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        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.
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        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.
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        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.
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        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.
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        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
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        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.
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        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.
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        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.
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        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.
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        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
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        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
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        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.
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        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
      • 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.
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        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.
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        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

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        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.
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        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.
    • Food and Drinks
      • 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.
        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.
    • 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!
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        DD4D Brewing

        In nearly e...

Long Trails in Japan: The Shinetsu

The word for “hiking” in Japanese is “tozan(登山)which literally means “to climb a mountain.” As the word suggests, the lofty goal for most hikers in Japan is to get to the top of the mountain. However, while peak-hunting is still very popular, there’s been a shift taking place over the past few years toward what the Japanese refer to as the “Long Trail”(ロングトレイル). 

What exactly is a “Long Trail?” Basically, it’s any continuously long-distance hiking trail. In English, the term “thru hiking” is often used, and it refers to hikers who complete long distance trails from end-to-end in a single trip.

The Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail were the first three long-distance trails in the U.S. and form what is known as the Triple Crown of long distance hiking in the United States. The trails span thousands of miles.

The Pacific Crest Trail (4,286 km. / 2,663 miles) starts at the Canada-U.S. border and goes all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border. The Appalachian Trail (approx. 3,500 km./ 2,200 miles) unofficially continues into Canada, and the Continental Divide Trail (5,000 km. / 3,100 miles) also runs between Mexico and Canada following the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains.

In Japan, however, this concept is just starting to take hold as local organizations work toward connecting the myriad of footpaths in their respective areas in a grand effort to create continuous “long trails.” One of the first and most famous “long trails” in Japan is the 80-kilometer Shinetsu Trail which runs along the boundary of Niigata and Nagano prefectures. The trail follows the ridgeline of the Sekita Mountain Range (関田山脈), taking hikers through beautiful beech tree forests, lush wetlands and ridge tops that open to stunning vistas of the valley below.

The area is also steeped in history, as many of the mountain passes cutting across the trail were once vital lifelines connecting villages. In the days before cars, roads and telephones, villagers used these paths on a daily basis for work, travel and communication. Today, asphalt roads and highways connect the towns and villages, and the Shinetsu Trail is no longer used as a main transportation route, but its diverse landscape can be enjoyed hiking it from end to end.

In the U.S., not everyone can commit several months or more to thru hiking these classic trails, so often people make several trips to complete the entire trail, known as “section hiking.” The Shinetsu Trail is best done as a thru-hike, but it is split into six sections (from south to north), so it’s also possible to day-hike sections of the trail as well.

TRAIL TIPS

The Shinetsu Trail can be done as a thru-hike or, if you prefer, in bits and pieces in any order. Hiking it as a series of day hikes is probably the easiest way to tackle the Shinetsu Trail. If you can cover one or two sections a day, you should be able to complete the entire 80 km. in five or six days. Depending on your schedule, you can start from either end or somewhere in between.

When to Hike: The Shinetsu Trail is buried under eight meters of snow for nearly half the year. In particular, the region near Section 6 has experienced some of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan. The best season to hike is in June (although there will still be some snow remaining) and during the fall season from the end of September through early November. The summer season (July, August and early September) can be quite hot and humid, so shorter day hikes along the trail are recommended during these months.

Backpacking: Starting in 2012, campsites were opened for those wanting to backpack the trail. There are six campsites along the way, ranging from very rustic (no running water) to comfortable (hot showers and cooking sites available). While the trails are not technically difficult, the walking distances between the campsites are long, particularly between sections 4 to 6, so you’ll need to make sure you’re fit enough to hike long 8-to-10-hour days with a heavy backpack.

Access to Trailheads: Trailheads can be accessed by car so, if you go with friends, leave a car at each trailhead. If you only have one vehicle, there’s a “my-car” service where you can arrange to have your car driven to the next trailhead. If you don’t have your own car, there are “pensions” (Japanese style inns) which offer pick-up and drop-off services to and from the trailheads. Be aware, there are no mountain huts or accommodations along the trail. (Refer to the official Shinetsu Trail website for the most recent information).

Dangers: There are bears in the area, so make sure to bring a bear bell with you.

Badge of Honor: After successfully completing the entire 80-km. trail, you’ll be eligible to sign up to receive a “Shinetsu Trail Completion Certificate” as proof of your endeavor. Just report the sections you walked and dates via the official website and pay the service/postal charge to receive your official completion certificate and completion badge

Web Connection: Shinetsu Trail Website

Official Shinetsu Trail Guidebook & Maps: There’s an official Shinetsu Trail guidebook offering a wealth of information about the trail. It can be purchased at the local tourist offices as well as online. There are also maps (three maps) of the entire course available for purchase. Let’s walk the Shinetsu Trail (信越を歩こう! 公式ガイドブック). See the official Shinetsu Trail Web site for more information.

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