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    • Spring
      • Eating Wild in Japan

        Eating Wild in Japan

        Winifred Bird's latest book is an introduction to the world of sansai (mountain vegetables) and foraging in Japan.
        Niseko flying Hokkaido

        Bird’s Eye View of Hokkaido

        Get a bird's eye view of Hokkaido with Ben Kerr, a Niseko-based pilot.

        Northern Tohoku’s Top 5 Spring Hikes

        Chase the cherry blossoms north and enjoy five of Tohoku’s best hikes this spring.

        Spring Escapes: Outdoor Activities in Japan

        Check out these spring escapes this season and enjoy outdoor activities throughout Japan.

        Haga Farm Spring Glamping in Tochigi

        Haga Farm and Glamping in Tochigi opened in August 2020, and it has quickly become a popular escape for Tokyoites.
    • Summer
      • Washi Papermaking Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
        Climbing Mt. Fuji Outdoor Japan

        Peaking in 2021: Climbing Mt. Fuji

        Thinking of climbing Mt. Fuji this summer? We talk to Mt. Fuji guides on best practices for scaling Japan's highest mountain.

        Japan Camping Guide

        Check out our picks all the way from Hokkaido to the Okinawa Islands and then plot your perfect Japan camping adventure.
        Japan's Digital Nomads Van Life in Japan

        Japan’s Digital Nomads

        Adventure couple Ruth Aisling and Bappa Shota explores Japan by van.
        Iriomote Yamaneko Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote’s Endangered Wildcats

        Iriomote Island, one of Japan's last untouched wild places, is home to the endangered yamaneko wildcat.
    • Autumn
      • Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

        Beyond the Brand: Pow Bar

        An interview with Megumi Scott, the founder of Niseko brand Pow Bar.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
        Mountain Biking in Japan

        Guide Lines: Autumn Mountain Biking in Japan

        Check out these mountain biking parks throughout Japan.
    • Winter
      • Early Bird 2021-22 Japan Ski

        Early Bird Ski Deals for 2021-2022

        Don't miss out on these early bird season pass and lift package deals for Japan's ski resorts.

        Pacific Solo

        Preacher-tu...
    • Near Tokyo
    • Near Kyoto
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
        Kaiyu Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Snorkeling, Surfing and Sustainability in Koch...

        Enjoy the clear waters of Kochi by snorkeling and surfing while staying at a refurbished hotel committed to sustainability.
        Outdoor Japan Shimoda

        Blue Waves and Black Ships in Shimoda

        Shimoda may be famous for its white sandy beaches and surfing, but it also played a major role in shaping the Japan we know today.
    • River and Lake
      • Iriomote Yamaneko Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote’s Endanger...

        Iriomote Island, one of Japan's last untouched wild places, is home to the endangered yamaneko wildcat.
        Iriomote Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote Activity Guide

        A guide to Iriomote's outdoors, hiking, diving, cultural experiences and accommodation.
        Niseko flying Hokkaido

        Bird’s Eye View of Hokkai...

        Get a bird's eye view of Hokkaido with Ben Kerr, a Niseko-based pilot.

        Spring Escapes: Outdoor A...

        Check out these spring escapes this season and enjoy outdoor activities throughout Japan.
        video

        Shikoku Road Trip: Kochi ...

        Mountainous forests and coastal towns dominate most of the prefecture, where visitors will find enterprising locals and nature guides working to revitalize their communities. Shikoku’s winding roads are best explored by car.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • Matagi Akita Tohoku Sustainable Living

        Tracking Akita’s Matagi Hunters

        Akita in the northern Tohoku region is home to the Matagi, hunters who follow an ancient and sustainable way of hunting, foraging and life.
        Early Bird 2021-22 Japan Ski

        Early Bird Ski Deals for 2021-2022

        Don't miss out on these early bird season pass and lift package deals for Japan's ski resorts.
    • Travel
      • Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
        Matagi Akita Tohoku Sustainable Living

        Tracking Akita’s Matagi Hunters

        Akita in the northern Tohoku region is home to the Matagi, hunters who follow an ancient and sustainable way of hunting, foraging and life.
        Washi Papermaking Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
        Kaiyu Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Snorkeling, Surfing and Sustainability in Koch...

        Enjoy the clear waters of Kochi by snorkeling and surfing while staying at a refurbished hotel committed to sustainability.
    • Food and Drinks
      • Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
        Matagi Akita Tohoku Sustainable Living

        Tracking Akita’s Matagi Hunters

        Akita in the northern Tohoku region is home to the Matagi, hunters who follow an ancient and sustainable way of hunting, foraging and life.
        Washi Papermaking Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
        Kaiyu Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Snorkeling, Surfing and Sustainability in Koch...

        Enjoy the clear waters of Kochi by snorkeling and surfing while staying at a refurbished hotel committed to sustainability.
    • Races and Events
      • Yuji Hirayama Urban Base Camp

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        One of Japan's top rock climbers Yuji Hirayama has opened Urban Base Camp, a new bouldering gym in the heart of Tokyo.
        Photo by Noriteru Ino

        2021 Summer Music Festivals in Japan

        Camp and listen to great music in the outdoors at these summer music festivals across Japan.
        Summer Events Fireworks Festivals in Japan

        2021 Fireworks Festivals in Japan

        Enjoy these fireworks festivals held throughout Japan this summer and autumn.
        Summer Festivals in Japan

        2021 Summer Festivals in Japan

        Enjoy these traditional matsuri festivals throughout Japan this summer.

Beyond the Brand: Pow Bar

Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

Growing up in Koshimizu, near the Shiretoko Peninsula in Eastern Hokkaido, Megumi Scott spent a lot of time outdoors hiking and camping with her parents and older brothers. As she became more serious about hiking, she started taking notes about her trail mixes, nutrition and the effects they had on her body.  This was the beginning of her journey to test the limits of “fuel for movement.”

She noticed a lot of foreign and domestic energy bars had too much sugar and processed foods, including dairy products. Combining her passion for the outdoors, literature and healthy food—and with help from Sam’s Bike Shop in Sapporo and their licensed kitchen—she set out to create a healthier alternative.

Brad Bennett: When did you discover your passion for food and the outdoors?

Megumi Scott: I was led to this path early. My father loves the mountains and from a young age we would spend weekends hiking and camping in Hokkaido’s mountains. My mother loves cooking and baking and by age six, I was helping her in the kitchen. She said I would sneak into the kitchen and try to make things on my own.

BB: And this continued as you got older?

MS: Yes, when I was young I could remember everything about any children’s book that had food in it. I studied Japanese literature at university and I kept getting drawn to books that mentioned food.  I started searching out old books that referenced food and diets. In my fourth year, I wrote my final paper on traditional Japanese diets and foods. My professor was surprised by the topic I researched, but I passed.

BB: Did this lead to work in food or nutrition?

MS: No, after university I worked for an outdoor company. There was a strong mountain culture and the staff were pros. When I first began hiking with these serious mountain people I was very tired and it was difficult to keep up. I wanted to increase my skills and knowledge of the mountains so I could enjoy it more and be better at my job. 

I set a goal to do a multi-day solo hike, focusing first on my gear and cutting weight with more technical (and expensive) equipment. After spending a lot of money on better, and lighter gear, I still wasn’t satisfied. Then I started thinking about my body, noticing how I was breathing while pushing hard. How was my body feeling? How did I feel after eating different foods—a rush of energy then a crash, even balanced energy? Was my stomach upset?  

BB: Searching for the perfect “fuel for movement.”

MS: Yes, while I was thinking about how food affects performance while being active, I remembered a story from 150 years ago. The Japanese government invited a German doctor to Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. On his first trip from Tokyo he was taken by horse-drawn carriage. The horses needed to be changed six times during the journey. The second trip, he was carried by messengers who traveled fourteen hours over mountain passes without stopping. He noticed they were only eating brown rice onigiri, sour plum, pickles—simple, whole food diets. 

He was amazed, but thought they could be even stronger if they ate meat. He asked if he could experiment with their diet. Once he introduced meat into their diet, they could no longer travel the same distance, so they changed back to their normal diet. I thought about the Japanese diet today compared to this simple diet of the past. We have so many choices, many with additives to help my performance. But, are they better than the simple, natural foods?

I started to test my body during hiking. What foods worked for long distances? Could I strip away unnecessary foods? I noticed I felt bad when I ate most energy foods available from outdoor shops (gels, energy bars, powders etc.) or sweets and normal snacks at the combini.  

BB: The beginning of the Pow Bar journey?

MS: Yes, I continued to study food, and learned about sugar balance in the blood. You also need good minerals and nutritional balance to perform well. I began looking at natural ingredients and noticed they naturally have this balance. You don’t need to add anything to get it. 

I began eating only natural products, like nuts, dried fruits and kombu while hiking.  I started feeling great; I didn’t get tired so easily and felt both mentally and physically more energized. At the same time my energy levels felt more stable and balanced, instead of having a big energy boost, then crashing. 

I also changed from sports drinks to water. If I eat weird and unnatural ingredients, I can sometimes get a quick boost, but afterwards my body must work hard to digest and break down these things. Once I noticed my body ran more efficiently with these natural ingredients, I started to test and refine the best combinations and ratios of these ingredients for hiking, while aiming for something convenient and easy to carry in the mountains.  

Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

BB: What were you looking for?

MS: I wanted to create a bar made with natural and vegan ingredients, something professional athletes would use—if pros would can eat it, then everyone would, I thought. I wanted it to be easy to chew and swallow while working hard (something that wouldn’t stick in your mouth and teeth or make my jaw hurt from chewing too much). And I didn’t want the bar to melt or get too sticky in summer or freeze and become hard in the winter.

BB: Was it difficult to find the right combination?

MS: First, I tried trail mixes with dried fruits and nuts. This worked much better than other mountain food available, but, to make it easier to digest, I tried grinding all the ingredients together to make a bar. This was better to chew and swallow while exercising, and also easier on your stomach. After making several flavors that performed well and tasted great, I began shaping them into bar sized portions so they were convenient to take into the mountains. 

BB: How were those initial Pow Bars received?

MS: Friends and acquaintances started asking for the bars and then some small specialized outdoor shops. Since then, we have been steadily growing, and hope to help many people find easily accessible energy food that is good for their body.     

BB: What flavors are available for people wanting to try Pow Bars?

MS: We developed four flavors, each distinct in taste to keep your mouth interested depending on your mood, season or preference.  

I’m very sensitive to how I feel while eating food, so Pow Bar flavors and packaging correlate to seasonal feelings while out in nature. Fruit & Nut crunch is like a sunset or sunrise in the mountains. Cacao & Coconut feels like a blanket of snow over the mountains—the rich chocolate taste is nice in winter. Tahini & Date is a fresh river in spring and blue sky in the mountains. Fig & Hazelnut feels like a lush green forest in summer (moss, ferns, trees). 

BB: What’s next?

MS: Our goal for the future is helping educate people about what they eat, how it affects their performance and how they feel. We would also like to be a path towards positive social change—natural ingredients that are ethically sourced, sustainable packaging (using less plastic) and an environmentally conscious manufacturing process.

Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

Pow Bar

The Pow Bar Cafe opened in Niseko Town in 2019, serving up tasty and wholesome food, using only the best natural ingredients. If you’d like to try Pow Bars, visit their website or look for them at your favorite outdoor shop or heath food store.

Address: 77-16 Aza Motomachi, Niseko-machi, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido 048-1511
Phone: (0136) 55-6739
E-mail: info@thepowbar.com 
IG/FB: @thepowbar

Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

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