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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.
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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.
        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.
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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.
        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
      • 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
      • 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.
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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.
        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.
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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.
        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 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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        DD4D Brewing

        In nearly e...

A Bone-Rattling Ride to Nirvana

Wedged between Bhutan, Tibet and Myanmar, Arunachal Pradesh is one of Asia’s last untamed frontiers. The remote mountain sanctuary in India is home to colorful indigenous tribes, rare wildlife and, until now, an unrunnable stretch of white water on the Kameng River.

The Kameng River originates from a glacial lake in the Tawang District on the India-Tibet border before cutting through western Arunachal Pradesh until it finally flows into the mighty Brahmaputra River.

Our expedition was organized by Dave Allardice and Ultimate Descents, 11 members assembled from Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the USA and Great Britain. Some had experience with first descents, while others did not. Yet all were reasonably fit, adventurous and successful enough to afford a trip like this, where logistics and access can be expensive.

We were, in fact, the first commercial rafting expedition to attempt to navigate the Kameng. The remoteness of the area and the difficulty obtaining permission had been the main obstacles until now; the area had just recently been reopened for tourists (with the right permit).

After obtaining the proper paperwork, we still had to find a way to get our gear in (and out). It took us five days just to drive the bus from Kathmandu. The river, no doubt, would present its fair share of challenges, but just getting to the put-in point for our rafts and kayaks seemed like an adventure in itself.

Vigilante Justice and a Lock Down
Soon after we picked up our crew from the airport in Guhawati, our first problems arose. Suddenly we were trapped behind a rioting mob that had blocked the road and, for two hours, we waited while they searched for a driver who had just hit and killed a pedestrian, then done a runner. The mob wanted justice.

Once the culprit was found, and negotiations on his fate were finished, the mob was satisfied and dispersed. And we were finally on our way to our first stop, the town of Tezupor.

After a five-hour, bone-rattling bus ride from Tezupor to the town of Seppa, the highest town in the Kameng Valley, we arrived to find the whole town celebrating Diwali, one of the biggest annual festivals on the local calendar. We located our hotel and were settling in when the authorities showed up and checked our papers. They informed us, for our own safety, we would be locked in our hotel and guarded. So, the rest of the night we all kicked back on the roof and watched the town party fiercely. There were gambling, drinking and fireworks on every street – as well as the occasional gunfire.

Stray Rockets

The next morning we shuffled our gear from the bus onto four jeeps we had hired to take us as far as the road would go, when the authorities returned and told us our permits were not in order for this area. They told us to drive all the way back to the entry point at Bhalukpong.

The rest of the day we sat and tried to negotiate a deal, so we could continue our trip. They agreed to let us stay one more night at the same hotel but, since it was totally booked, we pitched our tents on the roof of the hotel and camped. It was another night of chaos with fireworks going off everywhere. A few creative locals even tried throwing some onto the roof of the hotel.

Fortunately, the morning sun brought good news. The local authorities had contacted the Delhi office, and everything was approved. We were finally good to go and, once we were able to find our vehicles, we set off.
Eight hours and four flat tires later, we reached the end of the so-called road. It was as far as we could go, so we unloaded the vehicles in the dark and set up camp on the banks of the Kameng River.

 The Kameng Valley is spectacular. Virgin forests drip into the river from the surrounding mountains and hills. The first day on the water was incredible with white water around just about every corner. There were big grade three rapids and a couple of long grade fours. We also hit rapids at the confluence of a tributary coming in from our left, which doubled the size of the river.

We camped on a pristine white sandy beach as the jungle closed in around us. Out of nowhere a few Nishi tribes people appeared to inspect the strange flotilla that had just landed. The next morning we woke to a larger group of them; a few of the older men donned colorful headdresses. They had come down to view the collection of curious foreigners camping on their beach. After a few photos and many handshakes, we set off hoping to make some lost time by reaching the bridge we crossed near Seppa.

The Elephant in your living room
The next day was yet another great day of white water. There were a few long flat stretches, but the scenery compensated for any lack of excitement. We camped farther down from Seppa so we could stay away from the prying eyes of the town’s people there. The next few days we passed through a jungle corridor so dense, with terrain so steep, it was inaccessible to even the locals.

Exploring this wild place was amazing; huge bedrock canyons with waterfalls were cascading into the river from both sides nearly every 500 meters. Camp spots were rare so we stopped at any sandy beach where we could fit. While we were camping out at one such spot, a huge crashing noise roused us early in the morning. A couple of us got out of our tents to see what was going on and were startled by a big wild bull elephant that had came crashing out of the jungle to get a drink.

Still somewhat in a fog, we panicked and ran for the rafts, shouting to the others. Luckily, the elephant was more composed and simply headed back between the tents and into the jungle. The only damage was a trampled empty dry bag. We were now well into a tiger sanctuary, and the brush with the wild elephant had raised hope we might even see a tiger before the end of the trip. 

Icing on the Cake
The last few days provided more fantastic white water, complete with a few swims and some near flips on the raft. The pristine scenery and interaction with the local tribes just added the perfect balance to our time on the water. We all agreed it was a near perfect adventure.

Upon reaching our final take-out point, we loaded everything onto our waiting bus and settled back with a beer and a smile. All that was left now was getting everyone back safely to Guhawati Airport from where we’d be on to our next destinations.

With time to reflect on our journey, I concluded the Kameng was not nearly as technical, physically challenging or logistically difficult as other first descents we’ve done, although access and permission was a challenge. It was, however, a perfect blend of white water, natural scenery and cultural interaction. With any luck, we will be back to introduce another group to the splendors of the Arunachal Pradesh – sans the Diwali fireworks.

For more information on international rafting expeditions and first descents, contact Pat O’Keefe at Hokkaido Outdoor Adventures (www.rafting-hoa.co.jp) or Dave Allardice at Ultimate Descents (www.ultimatedescents.com).

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