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    • Spring
      • Onbashira Matsuri Japan Nagano Festival

        Onbashira Matsuri

        Watch one of Japan's most dangerous festivals in Nagano in 2022. The Onbashira Matsuri is an ancient festival dating back more than 1,200 years.
        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.
    • 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.
    • Winter
      • Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

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        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
        Protect our Winter POW Japan

        Protecting Japan’s Pow

        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
    • Near Tokyo
    • Near Kyoto
    • All Regions
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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

        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

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        Outdoor Japan Shimoda

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    • River and Lake
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        Iriomote Yamaneko Outdoor Japan

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        Iriomote Outdoor Japan

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        Niseko flying Hokkaido

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    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

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        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

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        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

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        Protecting Japan’s Pow

        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
    • Travel
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        Onbashira Matsuri Japan Nagano Festival

        Onbashira Matsuri

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        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
        Onbashira Matsuri Japan Nagano Festival

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        Watch one of Japan's most dangerous festivals in Nagano in 2022. The Onbashira Matsuri is an ancient festival dating back more than 1,200 years.
        Market Watch Onomichi Market

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        Discover Omicho Market in Kanazawa, Ishikawa for the best of seafood and local vegetables in Japan.
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        Sawa Nobori, High Above the Wakasa Waters

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawa nobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
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        Onbashira Matsuri Japan Nagano Festival

        Onbashira Matsuri

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We’ve Got a Jumper!

Generalists might say there are two kinds of people, those who would consider throwing themselves off a bridge, and good-sensed people who prefer their feet firmly on the ground. I unwittingly fell into that first group years ago.

I suppose it started in an open field outside of Dundee, Oregon, when my dad gave me a tandem parachute jump for my 18th birthday. After reluctantly getting on the plane, I survived butterflies the size of condors to discover the joy of the freefall.

In college, I heeded a gravitational pull down to New Zealand, the Mecca of bungy jumping, where I spent two seasons plunging off bridges in places such as Mangaweka, Kawarau, Skippers and Pipeline.

I even remember water skiing across the lake in Queenstown, looking up and seeing my buddy Justin bouncing up and down on a bungy from a helicopter. I vaguely recall being strapped into a vertical bungy in a pub but that’s another story.

Well, a lot of water has flowed beneath the proverbial bridge since those days, yet I recently found myself staring down from a massive suspension bridge at The Last Resort (www.tlrnepal.com), just outside of Katmandu, at the bequest of Pat O’Keefe, owner of Hokkaido Outdoor Adventures, and a partner in the jungle resort.

This 160-meter high bridge spans a narrow, tropical gorge with the Bhote Kosi River raging past boulders the size of buses. The familiar butterflies were backEnd then they fluttered awayEthree, two one. BUNGY!

BUNGY JAPAN

Fortunately, you don’t have to go as far as New Zealand or Nepal to experience a proper bridge bungy. Minakami, Gunma, Japan’s answer to Queenstown, is now home to Japan’s only bridge bungy, a 42-meter (137 feet) leap over the Tone River.

Bungy Japan’s Kiwi owner Charles Odlin has 13 years of bungy jump experience and is a qualified New Zealand Safety Standards-approved Bungy Jumpmaster.

Charles earned his chords working on six bungy sites in N.Z. and three in Japan. He and his bilingual team have been running bungy events in Minakami for five years, but 2008 is the first full season at the bridge.

With Bungy Japan joining the mix of companies in the area offering white water rafting, canyoning, canoeing, paragliding and mountain biking, Minakami has cemented its status as the adventure capital of Honshu. And it’s just 70 minutes from Tokyo.

CALCULATED RISK TAKERS

Still, the obvious question dangling in front of many readers is, why would I want to throw myself off a bridge?Perhaps for the same reason people watch horror movies. We like to scare ourselves, especially when there is no real danger. The difference between perceived risk and real risk is that with one you can actually hurt yourself, and with the other you are just tricking your body into thinking you can.

Yet, the most profound answer lies in that wonderful moment – not when you have faced your fear – but when you realize you have survived and overcome it in dramatic fashion. It is then the huge smile appears on people’s faces lasting all the way back up the long walk to the bridge – often lingering the rest of the day.

Of course, your jump makes for great conversation with friends, and you’ll find yourself reliving those moments for years to come. And if you just can’t muster up the courage to step out onto the ledge yourself, well, it’s almost as much fun watching your friends take the leap.

BUNGY JAPAN
Hours: Weekends: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Weekdays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Through Oct. 13. See Website for more details.
Price: 7,500 (first jump), 4,000 (second jump the same day). See Web site for adventure packages. Bookings recommended.
Tel: (0278) 72-8133       
Web: www.bungyjapan.com

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