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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
      • 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 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

        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.
    • 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...

Agony in the Land of Oze

The mizubasho (Japanese skunk cabbage) blooms across the marshland as tourists snap their shutters along the paved forest road. Similar to a sightseeing stop, Oze remains perpetually crowded. However, for half of the year Oze is covered with snow and free of people.

We had parked our car in Togura and walked the 10-km. road to Oshimizu. Starting in late spring climbers would zip by, but the road still remained closed for the winter, and we were unable to get any vehicles through. However, the path was plowed, most likely by Oshimizu innkeepers who had come to clear snow. We finally arrived at the town of Oshimizu, one of the base camps surrounding the normally crowded Oze area in Gunma Prefecture.

It was the real deal from here on in; a journey which would take us into the heart of Oze’s heavy snowfall. I strapped up my snowshoes, grabbed my poles and said to Akira Satoh, “You ready to go?” He replied, “Let’s hit it!” The road from Oshimizu was covered in snow, and we started marching our way deeper into the hills. Normally the gravel path leading to a rest house at Sanpei-hashi Bridge is quite monotonous, but today it provided a perfect warm-up. After we passed this landmark, things changed quickly and we started up the climbing trail.

We traversed the “Fuyumichi-zawa,” a name which literally means a “winter road along the swamp.” We then pushed our way through some deep snow and cleared the swamp, only to find ourselves crawling up a steep slope. The inside of my jacket was covered in sweat and I began to breathe heavily.

(Commanding view of Ozegahara from the top of Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take.)

This continued until nightfall, the sun setting in less than an hour. Having risen early and arriving on little sleep, we decided to call it a day and pitch the tent. To tell the truth, we had become somewhat lost along the road and were glad to find such a suitable campsite.

Blue-bird skies greeted us on our second day and, as we trekked on the frozen white marshlands, Ozenuma suddenly appeared before us. Our next climb took us to the top of Mt. Hiuchi-ga-take where we set up camp overlooking the marsh. Today we had again continued hiking right up until sunset.

Our Oze expedition had gone smoothly thus far, but things got hairy in the afternoon of our third day. We had traversed along the valley where the Numajiri River flows from the Ozenuma marshland and finally arrived at the Shimo-tashiro crossing in Ozegahara. It was here where we spoke with the Hagiwaras who manage the Hinoemata Hut, and began to blaze our trail toward the peak and our next campsite. We assumed the campsite would be reachable in about an hour.

(Camping at the frozen Ozenuma Marsh and Ozejiri.)

“What?! The bridge collapsed?” I yelled.

We staggered and came to a standstill. Up to this point our trek along the woodland path overlooking Ozegahara’s marshland had gone just as planned. Everything changed when we noticed the bridge that should have been there had collapsed and sunk to the bottom of the river.
The river boxed us in to the north, south and east, meaning there was nowhere to go besides west from which we had just come. Both banks of the river were covered in deep snow, and the current had picked up considerably with the snowmelt, thus making crossing the river an unattractive option. If we fell in, there would be no escaping.

After some deliberation, we set out along the river to the south to search for a crossing, but no such place presented itself. Thinking there might be a new bridge to the north of the crumbled girder, we then trekked in the opposite direction. As you can imagine, nothing was there. The Ryugu Hut was within sight, but just outside our reach. This situation carried on until almost 3 o’clock. If something wasn’t done now, even tomorrow’s hike down would become difficult.

The destroyed path to the hut had me at wits end, and I pondered making a quick retreat to the Shimo-tashiro crossing where the Hagiwaras were. There might be a separate route available, or at the very least we could get a snowmobile ride to the top. It would be best to get to them before they headed back down the mountain.
Just then I heard Satoh yell, “Aren’t those snowmobile tracks over there?”

We saw two lines extending out into the distance and, although on top of each other, it certainly appeared to be two sets of tracks. These had to be the Hagiwaras. From the looks of the snowmelt surrounding the tracks, we guessed they had come through not in the morning but some time in the afternoon. We assumed that if we continued on in the direction of the peak, we would eventually run into the couple.

(The Hagiwaras taking off in their snowmobiles. These Oze “pros” know just where to pass through the snowfields, and their tracks brought great comfort.)

We made it past the snow bridge that spans the Numajiri River and crossed over a hill, at which point we heard engine sounds from behind.

“We thought it was strange that along the way your tracks came together. Where were you going?” asked the Hagiwaras. We told them of the fallen bridge and the wandering about and then confirmed their route. Our eyes met and without a word the offer was made to give us a ride on the snowmobiles. I informed them we were OK and expected to reach the peak by sundown. We let them know we’d appreciate their help if we couldn’t get back tomorrow. They mentioned they would return to clear more snow tomorrow and then sped off down the path to home.
Day Four. Yesterday we had arrived at Yamano-hana just before sunset. Heavy rain continued until the morning and a strong wind was still blowing with no sign of letting up. Thanks to some pesky crows on the way up, our food supply had dwindled considerably and all that remained were some trail snacks. The crows had actually worked the zippers open on our backpacks.

With weather conditions worsening, we made the decision to hurry down the mountain. Together we trudged down the long, winding path through the Hatomachi Pass and back down to our car in Tokura.

Special Thanks to BE-PAL Magazine

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