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    • Spring
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        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.

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        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

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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

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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

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    • Near Kyoto
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    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
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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.
    • River and Lake
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        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” is about getting out of your comfort zone and into some exciting outdoor adventures and destinations in Japan.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
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        “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
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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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        Northern Shinshu’s Secret Stash

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    • Travel
      • Okinawa’s Treehouse Oasis

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        The Spirit of the Kuma Valley

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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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        In nearly e...

Seeking High Ground at Takamine Onsen

On the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures sits Mt. Asama, an active volcano still intermittently bellowing smoke. Looking up from the Nagano side of Mt. Asama is the Takamine Highlands, 2,000 meters above sea level. It is known for its grand variety of high altitude vegetation and has also gained notoriety as a hot spot for winter sports and year-round hiking. Two pleasant retreats can be found in the highlands, one of which is Takamine Hot Springs.

“Welcome!” shouts the staff, with smiles as wide as the welcome mat. During winter a natural gas fireplace flickers in the lobby and more than several exquisite lamps hang from the open ceiling, casting a warm orange glow throughout the lodge. Rooms are simple, but the windows act as picture frames for the scenic views provided to each guest. On a clear night, rooms on the “city-side” can look down upon the town of Komoro. Yet, considering the altitude, the view above the sea of clouds could be the more sought-after vista.

The viewing room “Morning Mist” has binoculars at every window for searching out wild birds and other animals. Feeders are set out in winter to draw close a variety of birds and squirrels, as well as the occasional Japanese mink, marten and antelope. The viewing room and the hot springs are open to guests even after check-out, a plus for those wanting to relax after enjoying the great outdoors or before boarding the bus.

Environmentally Friendly Water for the Next Generation

Each generation of inn keeper has added its own personal touch to the lodge’s operation since its beginnings in the Meiji Era.

The fourth, and latest proprietor, Hideo Goto, is putting great effort into making the business as “green” as can be. Part of that pledge is the decision not to use detergents or cleaning solvents, preferring instead “revitalized water” to wash away grime. Takamine asks all guests to refrain from using shampoo and soap and wash themselves in the heated “revitalized water.” I followed orders and found sweat and grime are no match for the revitalizing power of the highland spring.

It is said the cycle of waste water returning to the water basin and coming back to life in the hot springs takes 40 years.
   
Goto emphasizes this process in stating, “We want to leave pure water for the next generation.” Let’s do our best to follow his lead.

GETTING THERE

Three-Season Access By Car: From Tokyo get on the Nerima I.C. toward the Fujioka Junction to Komoro I.C. Follow the Asama Sunline. Pass through the Takatsuya Tunnel and take an immediate right on the Cherry Park Line continuing onto Takamine Hot Springs.
By Train and Bus: From Tokyo Station to Sakadaira Station via the Nagano Shinkansen. From there take the JR Takamine Highland bus (60 minutes). The same bus leaves from Komoro Station on the Shinano Train Line (45 minutes).

Winter Access (Nov. 21 to April 20)
By Car: Once in the Komoro area, take the road to Asama 2000 Ski Resort, park in the #3 Parking Lot and board the snow cat for Takamine.
By Train and Bus: Board the Asama 2000 Ski Resort bus at either Sakadaira or Komoro Station. At the resort board the snow cat bound for Takamine.

Essentials

Takamine Highlands
Address: Takamine Highlands, Komoro, Nagano 384-0041
Tel: (0267) 25-2000
Fax: (0267) 22-5331

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