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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
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    • 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

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        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

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

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        Iriomote Outdoor Japan

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        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...

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        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.
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    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • Matagi Akita Tohoku Sustainable Living

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        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

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        Don't miss out on these early bird season pass and lift package deals for Japan's ski resorts.
    • Travel
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        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

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        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

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        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
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        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

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        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

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        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

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        Enjoy the clear waters of Kochi by snorkeling and surfing while staying at a refurbished hotel committed to sustainability.
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        2021 Summer Music Festivals in Japan

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        Summer Events Fireworks Festivals in Japan

        2021 Fireworks Festivals in Japan

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        Summer Festivals in Japan

        2021 Summer Festivals in Japan

        Enjoy these traditional matsuri festivals throughout Japan this summer.

Kayak Fishing 101

Ask any serious anglers, and they will tell you they have an unconscious habit of immediately sizing up any body of water they come across for its “fishability.” However briefly we lay eyes on a given water front, stream, or even a man-made canal, for a few fleeting moments we find ourselves running down a checklist of questions in our mind.

Is the water clean? Are there likely to be fish I want to catch? Is the area pressured? Are the fish accessible?

That last question is usually the one that causes the most headaches because fish often congregate in areas too shallow for motor boats, or near shoreline too treacherous to access by foot. Fortunately, anglers worldwide have come to recognize the option of using purpose-built fishing kayaks to overcome this hurdle.

The sport has been slow to take off in Japan, but an increasing number of fishermen are discovering just how good it can get. We recently spoke with Kenji Watanabe of Montbell, an avid angler and pioneer of kayak fishing in Japan.

Can you give us some examples of popular kayak fishing areas?

Most kayak fishing in Japan is happening in saltwater locales. In the Kanto area, there are good points on the Chiba side of Tokyo Bay such as Kisarazu, all over the Miura Peninsula, as well further south in the Izu Peninsula.On the Sea of Japan side of Kansai, the waterfronts of Wakasa Bay (若狭), Maitsuru(舞鶴)and the Tango Peninsula (丹後半島) are popular, while the Mie coast offers plenty of action on the Pacific side.  Further west and south, there are good points all over Shikoku and Kyushu.

Bass anglers have many options too, such as Lake Biwa near where I live.

What methods do you recommend for targeting fish?

You can do pretty much anything, but recently the most popular methods are light jigging for sea bream, yellowtail and sea bass, as well as “egging” for squid. You can also do traditional sabiki or komase pattern bait fishing for blue runners such as horse mackerel, chub mackerel and jacks.

What are the advantages of kayak fishing?

  • First, you can catch a lot of fish.
  • Kayaks have exceptional maneuverability.
  • Compared to rubber boats, there is very little wind resistance.
  • Kayaks are quiet and have little impact on the environment.
  • Beginners get used to kayak fishing easily.
  • Kayaks are just a lot of fun.

I started boating trophy sea bream and sea bass from kayaks because I can access areas quietly and stealthily. Among kayak anglers, there is a sense that we are pioneers because we are finding previously un-fished points and freely developing new methods and styles to catch fish without the assistance of boat captains. There are few spatial constraints; for example, fly anglers and beginners need not worry about what is in their blind spots as much when casting.

Offshore we can do incredible things such as paddle into frenzying fish without spooking them. If we have a dorado, on the line we can enjoy seeing them leaping out of the water right in front of our eyes.

Do you have any advice for newbie kayak anglers?

Saltwater anglers especially should not go out by themselves, take weather conditions into consideration and make sure you are not going so far out, you don’t have the energy to paddle back to shore. There are also the common sense things such as always wearing a personal floatation device, making sure you’re dressed for the elements and securing your gear with tie-ons.

The Japan Recreational Canoe Association regularly holds seminars on paddling and self-rescue techniques.

Montbell also holds kayak events for beginners.

What precautions, rules or regulations should you be aware of?

The biggest precautions have to do with unloading and launching. Try to unload your gear away from other people’s vehicles and be sure to launch in an area out of the way of motor boats. Be especially careful around ports and don’t assume you can freely launch without permission. Once you’re on the water, it’s best to use a kayak flag, so other boaters can see you.

As far as regulations, talk with local fishing or boating shop staff to see if the area you want to fish is off limits or if there is any other essential information you need to be aware of. There is usually information available by phone or through local Websites.

Interested readers can visit the nearest Montbell shop for more info on kayak fishing in their area or check out the range of kayaks available in Japan.

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