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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.

        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
      • 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.
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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

        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
      • 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.
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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.
    • 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.
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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.

        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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Catching up with Michael Baker

Owner, Powder House Lodge & Hakuba Real Estate

michael baker
Mick getting some air

Michael Baker arrived in Japan from his native Australia 12 years ago to pursue an interest in jujitsu. A cabinet maker by trade, he landed in the snowy resort of Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture, discovered snowboarding and left martial arts behind.

Slow and easy

The path of his career reflects how Michael Baker comes off as a person: low-key and easy-going. He began by working for a liquor store in Nagano, delivering alcohol to pensions and lodges and spending as much time on the slopes as possible. Riding quickly turned from hobby to habit. He chased winters, running a ramen shop in New Zealand during summertime in Japan.
After four or five years of this back-and-forth, then some time traveling and boarding in Europe and Alaska, Michael turned a corner. The relationship with his Japanese girlfriend at the time, now his wife, became more serious, so he decided to make Japan home.

(Michael Baker)

Building roots

In the post-Olympic lull in Hakuba, he took an opportunity to buy an old house, renovate it and turn it into a Bed & Breakfast. He transitioned smoothly back into his trade, garnering steady work as a free-lance builder. Though Japanese construction methods differ slightly from those at home, he’s learned to adapt. Although he builds his own way on his own projects, he’s comfortable observing local standards when sub-contracting.

Powder House

After seven solid years, he finally sold that first B & B and is putting the finishing touches on a new place he built aptly named Powder House. As if he doesn’t already have his hands full with the new accommodation, and his 2-year-old son, he recently teamed up with a Japanese partner to start Hakuba Real Estate, a small company from which he hopes will lead to more building and development work and expose the Hakuba area to a growing real estate market in Japan.

Ambitions for himself and the area appear fairly modest. He predicts Hakuba will remain a quiet hideout, but… “Deep down,” he laughs, “that’s fine with me.” He has carved a comfortable niche and made some long-term friendships in the process and is happy to keep it that way.

Aside from the small difference in building styles, Michael has had great experiences both personally and professionally. The folks from the liquor store of his early days remain friends, and the representatives in the town office have been nothing but encouraging of his current prospects, appreciating the quality work he does and the business he brings to the community. Michael is quick to offer thanks to helpful Japanese relations and spread credit for his success to friendly competition in a small yet open market.

Powder hound

Reliable sources claim Michael is a “wicked” snowboarder; no small word of praise in an area packed with great riders. When asked whether he ever considered going pro, he was typically understated. He downplayed his skills and then mumbled something about “a couple of knee reconstructions.”

In truth, personal and professional obligations always seemed to come to the forefront, he says, but his subdued demeanor most likely belies a craftsman as comfortable and confident on the hills as with a hammer.

Looking ahead

Moving forward, it is hard to imagine Michael being anything but happy and settled. His two businesses appear ready to take off and his curious young son will no doubt be accompanying dad on the hills someday soon.

“The snow is good here,” he said. “I love the food, and the people are nice.” Sounds like a man content. What more is there to say.

Michael Baker at a Glance

Home country: Australia
Age: 33
Years in Japan: 12
Trade: Cabinet maker, Builder
Martial Art: Jujitsu. Does snowboarding count?

Contact Information:

Powder House
www.powderhouse.jp
Tel: 090-8892-1224
Hakuba Real Estate
www.hakubarealestate.com
Tel: (0261) 75-3073

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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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