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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
      • 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.
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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
      • Kumano’s Path Less Traveled

        A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

        Protecting the Sacred Trees of Koya-san

        Within the misty mountains of Japan's Kii Peninsula, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), stands as a sacred realm of tranquility, history, and spiritual significance. This awe-inspiring mountain has been revered for centuries and is home to a unique collection of trees known as the rokuboku, or The Six Trees of Koya-san.
    • 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.
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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.
    • 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.
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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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        Shizukuishi

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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 Blue Zone —A Lifestyle for Longevity...

        Dan Buettner’s bestseller, “Blue Zones,” which was also adapted into a hit series on Netflix, identifies five regions with a high number of centenarians. One of these zones is Yambaru, in the north of Okinawa Island. A rich cultural and natural heritage remain in this region, holding the secret to the longevity of the communities living there.

        Kumano’s Path Less Traveled

        A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

        Okinawa Forest Adventure

        Holiday-goers lounging on Onna’s white sand beaches are no doubt unaware of what’s going on high in the jungle as creatures climb above the forest canopy and zip or swing from tower to tower. Curious travelers will discover a new side of Okinawa’s tropical paradise if they take the leap into a Forest Adventure.

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        Okinawa attracts hordes of travelers to its sandy beaches and warm, clear water with divers and snorkelers often posting images of the majestic local sea turtles. The interior forest and rivers, however, are home to another Okinawa turtle also in need of protection—the small, reclusive, but equally beautiful, yamagame.

        Protecting the Sacred Trees of Koya-san

        Within the misty mountains of Japan's Kii Peninsula, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), stands as a sacred realm of tranquility, history, and spiritual significance. This awe-inspiring mountain has been revered for centuries and is home to a unique collection of trees known as the rokuboku, or The Six Trees of Koya-san.
    • Food and Drinks
      • Okinawa’s Blue Zone —A Lifestyle for Longevity...

        Dan Buettner’s bestseller, “Blue Zones,” which was also adapted into a hit series on Netflix, identifies five regions with a high number of centenarians. One of these zones is Yambaru, in the north of Okinawa Island. A rich cultural and natural heritage remain in this region, holding the secret to the longevity of the communities living there.

        Kumano’s Path Less Traveled

        A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

        Okinawa Forest Adventure

        Holiday-goers lounging on Onna’s white sand beaches are no doubt unaware of what’s going on high in the jungle as creatures climb above the forest canopy and zip or swing from tower to tower. Curious travelers will discover a new side of Okinawa’s tropical paradise if they take the leap into a Forest Adventure.

        Ryukyu’s Mountain Turtles – Interview wi...

        Okinawa attracts hordes of travelers to its sandy beaches and warm, clear water with divers and snorkelers often posting images of the majestic local sea turtles. The interior forest and rivers, however, are home to another Okinawa turtle also in need of protection—the small, reclusive, but equally beautiful, yamagame.

        Protecting the Sacred Trees of Koya-san

        Within the misty mountains of Japan's Kii Peninsula, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), stands as a sacred realm of tranquility, history, and spiritual significance. This awe-inspiring mountain has been revered for centuries and is home to a unique collection of trees known as the rokuboku, or The Six Trees of Koya-san.
    • 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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Summer Runs, Races & Tours

Ten years ago, if you mentioned the word “trail running” in Japan, you probably would have received a blank stare. And if you tried to explain that people actually run up in the mountains, you would most likely have been called “crazy” or something similar.

But today, there are trail running races, tours and clinics almost every weekend in Japan. With more than 400 races a year, and many new ones regularly popping up, trail running has become accessible to everyone (not just the crazy ones!) and has quickly grown in popularity.

Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots. It’s a deeply moving way to experience the culture and genuine hospitality of rural Japan while meeting some like-minded people.

Here are three popular races of varying distances and difficulty. All have website and race registration information in Japanese and English and even special slots allocated for international racers coming from overseas. We’ve also included a few trail running tours, seminars and clubs that are another fun way to get to know other trail runners and join the trail running community in Japan.

For those who are looking for an easy, fun summer trail to run without technically leaving Tokyo, we’ve even included a short trail guide to the Mitake area. Keep in mind summer trail running in Japan can be hot and humid even up in the mountains, so remember to bring lots of water with you—and jump in lots of water to cool off!

Races

Kirishima Ebino-Kogen Extreme Trail

Southern Kyushu is well known for beautiful hot springs but also is a hidden gem when it comes to trail running Deep within the Kirishima National Park lies peaceful, uncrowded trails, beautiful old-growth forests and, as you come out of the mountains and on to the hilltops, expansive jaw-dropping scenery that will stun even the most seasoned trail runner The Kirishima Ebino-Kogen Extreme Trail is a fantastic summer race good for experienced runners, but welcomes trail running beginners with its generous time limits for both the short and long courses Of course you’ll want to combine this race with a side trip to the area’s famous onsen hot springs for a perfect Kyushu trail running vacation!

  • July 21-22 (July 21: Race check-in and pre-race party; July 22: Race start)
  • Ebino (Miyazaki) and Kirishima/Yusui (Kagoshima)
  • Long course: 63 km (Elevation gain: 3,059m/ Time limit: 14 hours); Short course: 37 km (Elevation gain: 1,900m/Time limit: 8 hours); Kids course: 3 km (primary school students and younger)
  • Registration: From Feb 21 (overseas/ international registration)

Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail

The Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail (SFMT), also referred to as the “Shinetsu Gogaku” in Japanese, is now in its 10th edition and is one of the country’s most popular and iconic long distance trail races.

Race producer Hiroki Ishikawa is a famous and well-respected trail runner who has played a pioneering role in establishing the sport of trail running in Japan. Hiroki is in charge of producing every inch of the race course and with over 90% single and double track trail and forest roads, he has been adamant in making it a trail runner’s ultimate dream course! The SFMT is considered by many to be one of Japan’s best trail courses and sells out within minutes every single year. Starting last year, a long-awaited 100-mile category was added, making it one of the precious few “100 milers” in Japan.

  • Sept 15-16 (Sept 15: 100 miles; Sept 16: 110 km )
  • Myoko (Niigata), Shinano, Iizuna, Iiyama (Nagano)
  • 100 miles (Elevation gain: 6,500m/Time limit: 32 hours); 110 km (Elevation gain: 4,670m/Time limit: 22 hours)
  • Registration: June 6 (domestic and overseas/ international registration)

Izu Trail Journey 2018

As the name suggests, this is not just a race, but a journey as well. A very long and tough but incredibly rewarding journey from sea to sky: 72 kilometers up and across the Izu Peninsula.

The race has a dramatic start at the ocean, complete with the sound of waves crashing in the background. From there, it’s a patient and lung-testing upward grind. If you can make it past the cut-off points, you’ll then find yourself atop a high ridgeline looking way down at the ocean below. At this point, you’ll be tired but proud and satisfied knowing you’ve climbed more than 1,000 meters up sea level. The ridgeline trail is stunning with grand views of Mt Fuji and the ocean. This race is the final championship for the Asia Trail Master series.

  • Dec 8-9 (Dec 8: Race check-in and briefing; Dec 9: Race start)
  • Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka
  • 72 km (Elevation gain: 4,408m/Time limit: 14 hours)
  • Registration: June 10 (domestic and overseas/ international registration)

Other Races

While there are many other races in Japan, the above three races welcome international entries and have websites and registration available in English.

Here’s a list of other trail running races in Japan (in Japanese only).

Tokyo Trail Running

Mitake, located in the Okutama area in northern Tokyo, is an easily accessible area providing fun summer trail running. Here are a few courses suitable for beginners to intermediate trail runners.

Mt. Mitake to Tsuru Tsuru Onsen Hot Springs

  • 8 km (approx.)
  • 3-5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Get o at JR Mitake Station (Ome Line) and take the bus from across the street (beside the Seven Eleven convenience store) to the bottom of the Mitake Tozan Railway (cable car) Station. From there you can walk—or take the cable car up to Mt Mitake(御岳山)to save you from a very steep climb. Stop by the visitor center to pick up maps, then make your way to the sacred Mitake Shrine. From there, loop around the lovely “Rock Garden” trail and/or head east towards Mt Hinodeyama. Follow the trail signs towards Tsuru Tsuru Onsen. “Tsuru tsuru” means “silky smooth” and is how your skin will feel after taking a dip in this great onsen.

Mt. Takamizu to Mitake

  • 11 km. (approx.)
  • 3-5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate

Get off at the JR Ikusabata Station (Ome Line) and head north along the road. Follow the trail signs until you reach the trailhead for Mt. Takamizu, which heads steadily upward. At Mt. Takamizu, you’ll see an old shrine called Takamizu Fudouson. From there, it’s just another half-hour climb to the top of Mt. Iwatakeishi at an elevation of 793 meters. Take the trail heading south towards Mt. Sougaku and back down to the JR Mitake Station. After reaching Mitake Station, cross the road for the foot bath just behind the convenience store down to the river—a fantastic place to take a quick dip after a hot summer trail run!

Tours, Seminars & Clubs

Races are exciting and fun but if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing—or if you want to brush up on your trail running footwork and running endurance—join a trail running tour or seminar. Trail running clubs and groups are also a great way to meet new people and join the trail running community in Japan.

Fun Fun Trail Run

These trail running tours are open to women and men. Bilingual staff (Japanese/English) make it easy for anyone to join.

  • July 7: Escape the summer heat with a trail run in Karuizawa, Nagano (22 km., intermediate)
  • July 29: Waterfall jump trail run in Okutama, Tokyo (10 km., beginner/intermediate)
  • Aug 11-13: Mt Fuji area 3-day trail running camp at Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi (10-15 km./day, beginner/intermediate)
  • Sep 9: Wine & Grapes Galore Trail Run in Katsunuma, Yamanashi (14 km., beginner/ intermediate)

Cinderella Trail Run

Check out these women-only trail running clinics:

  • Aug 4-5: Coach Midori Hoshino
  • Sept 29-30: Coach Corrine Williams
  • Nov 3-4: Coach Chiyuki Mochizuki

Adventure Divas

(03) 6903-2577
info@adventure-divas.com

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