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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.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        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
      • the nomad pasche family

        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.
        adventure travel world summit in hokkaido

        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.
        mead brewing in japan

        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.
        sea to table yamagata

        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
      • 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.
        ainu tour daniel moore outdoor japan hokkaido

        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.
        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.
    • Near Tokyo
      • 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.
    • Near Kyoto
      • Kumano’s Path Less Traveled

        A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

        Protecting the Sacred Trees of Koya-san

        Within the misty mountains of Japan's Kii Peninsula, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), stands as a sacred realm of tranquility, history, and spiritual significance. This awe-inspiring mountain has been revered for centuries and is home to a unique collection of trees known as the rokuboku, or The Six Trees of Koya-san.
    • 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.
        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.
        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 Blue Zone —A Lifestyle for Longevity...

        Dan Buettner’s bestseller, “Blue Zones,” which was also adapted into a hit series on Netflix, identifies five regions with a high number of centenarians. One of these zones is Yambaru, in the north of Okinawa Island. A rich cultural and natural heritage remain in this region, holding the secret to the longevity of the communities living there.

        Kumano’s Path Less Traveled

        A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

        Okinawa Forest Adventure

        Holiday-goers lounging on Onna’s white sand beaches are no doubt unaware of what’s going on high in the jungle as creatures climb above the forest canopy and zip or swing from tower to tower. Curious travelers will discover a new side of Okinawa’s tropical paradise if they take the leap into a Forest Adventure.

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        Okinawa attracts hordes of travelers to its sandy beaches and warm, clear water with divers and snorkelers often posting images of the majestic local sea turtles. The interior forest and rivers, however, are home to another Okinawa turtle also in need of protection—the small, reclusive, but equally beautiful, yamagame.

        Protecting the Sacred Trees of Koya-san

        Within the misty mountains of Japan's Kii Peninsula, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), stands as a sacred realm of tranquility, history, and spiritual significance. This awe-inspiring mountain has been revered for centuries and is home to a unique collection of trees known as the rokuboku, or The Six Trees of Koya-san.
    • Food and Drinks
      • Okinawa’s Blue Zone —A Lifestyle for Longevity...

        Dan Buettner’s bestseller, “Blue Zones,” which was also adapted into a hit series on Netflix, identifies five regions with a high number of centenarians. One of these zones is Yambaru, in the north of Okinawa Island. A rich cultural and natural heritage remain in this region, holding the secret to the longevity of the communities living there.

        Kumano’s Path Less Traveled

        A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

        Okinawa Forest Adventure

        Holiday-goers lounging on Onna’s white sand beaches are no doubt unaware of what’s going on high in the jungle as creatures climb above the forest canopy and zip or swing from tower to tower. Curious travelers will discover a new side of Okinawa’s tropical paradise if they take the leap into a Forest Adventure.

        Ryukyu’s Mountain Turtles – Interview wi...

        Okinawa attracts hordes of travelers to its sandy beaches and warm, clear water with divers and snorkelers often posting images of the majestic local sea turtles. The interior forest and rivers, however, are home to another Okinawa turtle also in need of protection—the small, reclusive, but equally beautiful, yamagame.

        Protecting the Sacred Trees of Koya-san

        Within the misty mountains of Japan's Kii Peninsula, Koya-san (Mt. Koya), stands as a sacred realm of tranquility, history, and spiritual significance. This awe-inspiring mountain has been revered for centuries and is home to a unique collection of trees known as the rokuboku, or The Six Trees of Koya-san.
    • 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...

Kakegawa – More than Just a Rugby Town

With the Rugby World Cup approaching in 2019, twelve venues across Japan are gearing up to welcome fans of international rugby. While the big venues in Tokyo, Yokohama and Nagoya are part of the line-up, other stadiums are located in more rural areas in Hokkaido, Iwate, Saitama, Oita, Kumamoto, Fukuoka, Kobe and Shizuoka.

Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, located a couple hours southwest of Tokyo, seats nearly 51,000 spectators. The stadium design is inspiring the new stadium being built for the Summer Olympics coming to Tokyo in 2020. “Ecopa,” which hosted several matches during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, is the primary venue for major sporting events in Shizuoka including rugby, football and track and field. In June, a warmup match between Japan and Ireland’s national teams was held here; interestingly, both teams are in the same pool for the Rugby World Cup. Although technically part of Fukuroi City, Ecopa is the main structure of Ogasayama Sports Park, which extends into neighboring Kakegawa. Unlike the other stadiums, Ecopa is surrounded by lush green forests instead of high rises usually associated with large stadiums.

Most travelers view Kakegawa as a quick stop or overnighter on the way to or from other destinations, but what they overlook is the hidden, cultural charm found all around this sleepy Shizuoka city. If you plan to visit for the Rugby World Cup or are simply looking for a cool new area to explore, here are a few must-see spots to add to your itinerary.

Highland Tea Farms

If you are a fan of green tea you’d know that Shizuoka is famous for producing some of Japan’s top strains. Kakegawa tea is enjoyed for its traditional, deeply steamed flavors and aromas. Apart from the tea itself, the city introduces tea culture by carefully manicuring the landscape at the foot of Mt. Awagatake, where rows of neatly trimmed tea bushes line the hills.

Mt. Awagatake is easily noticeable from afar as cypress trees shape the massive Japanese kanji character, “cha” (tea). Using the chagusaba farming method, the leaves are prepared in the traditional technique of tenomi (hand rolling) and can be tasted at traditional tea houses. Travelers can experience the leaf-to-cup process at Kiwi Country Japan during the tea harvest months of April to October. To reserve, call (0537) 22-6543 or email wbs02626@mail.ne.jp.

Higashiyama Hiking

The hilly region of Awagatake is part of Higashiyama, where hikers can explore ancient forests and spiritual “power places.” The main hiking trail starts from Higashiyama Ippukudokoro and takes about an hour to ascend Mt. Awagatake (532 meters). On the way up, the Awawa forest specifically holds religious significance with the Awawa Shrine at the summit and nearby Iwakura, which holds the remains of an ancient place of worship.

Relax in Natural Hot Springs

For post-hike relaxation, head to Kurami and Narakoko-no-yu hot springs. Kurami Onsen is famous for Masagokan, a traditional inn rich with history. The ryokan is located only a 15-minute drive from Kakegawa Station or a 25-minute drive from Kakegawa IC. If you are arriving with eight or more people, you will be picked up by a retro-style bus from the station.

Narakoko-no-yu to the north of the Ijiri Campsite is surrounded by forests and clear streams. The campsite also offers rental bungalows, cottages and even has a tennis court. For more information or to book your stay, email narakoko@r.narakoko.info.

Experience Feudal Japan

The impressive Kakegawa Castle was the seat of various feudal lords who ruled over Kakegawa during the 1400s. The castle has a long, arduous history, ultimately falling to Tokugawa Ieyasu’s army before being damaged twice by massive earthquakes. In 1994, it was restored to its original state and is the first wooden castle tower in Japan of its kind. The four-story castle offers a view of Kakegawa City from the attic lookout. After exploring the castle and its surrounding grounds, visit the Ninomaru traditional tea house for Kakegawa tea. The castle is a 7-minute walk from Kakegawa Station.

Kakegawa by Bike

The Japanese word yuttori means relaxed, and what better way to discover this laid-back city than by bicycle? With Kakegawa’s Hitotabi Futatabi tours, travelers can get a glimpse into Japanese countryside life as well as Kakegawa’s cultural history and agricultural treasures.

Half-day tours led by local guides generally cover 30 kilometers by bicycle starting at Kakegawa Station with stops at rice and tea fields, local eateries and the castle. Walking and trekking tours also available. To sign up, call (0537) 24-8711 or email info@kakegawa-kankou.com.

Getting There

Kakegawa Station is an hour and 50 minutes by bullet train from Tokyo Station or an hour bullet train ride from Nagoya. If you are coming by car, it is approximately two hours and 40 minutes from Tokyo IC on the Tomei Expressway. Aino Station is a 15-minute walk from Ecopa Stadium and is four minutes west of Kakegawa Station, the nearest shinkansen station to Ecopa. Shuttle buses are also available between Kakegawa Station to the stadium during major international matches. For more information, visit Kakegawa Tourism’s official website

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Okinawa’s Blue Zone —A Li...

Dan Buettner’s bestseller, “Blue Zones,” which was also adapted into a hit series on Netflix, identifies five regions with a high number of centenarians. One of these zones is Yambaru, in the north of Okinawa Island. A rich cultural and natural heritage remain in this region, holding the secret to the longevity of the communities living there.

Kumano’s Path Less ...

A forgotten pilgrimage trail, ancient power spots and authentic rural communities are waiting to be explored this hiking season on the Iseji Trail. Stretch your legs and tickle your spirit to welcome the green season on one of the Kumano Kodo’s finest routes, minus the crowds.

Okinawa Forest Adventure

Holiday-goers lounging on Onna’s white sand beaches are no doubt unaware of what’s going on high in the jungle as creatures climb above the forest canopy and zip or swing from tower to tower. Curious travelers will discover a new side of Okinawa’s tropical paradise if they take the leap into a Forest Adventure.

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