Outdoor Japan’s core team is a group of passionate people that have dedicated themselves to sharing and developing Asia’s premier four season destination where every season is a new adventure. Outdoor Japan has a network of talented contributors and storytellers passionate about helping local communities share their stories, activities, destinations to the world.
Mike Harris has been involved in adventure tourism in Japan since the early 90’s. After graduating with degrees in business and Japanese from university in New Zealand he pioneered the canyoning industry in Japan and started Japan’s first canyoning company, Canyons. He has also been credited with introducing international safety standards and best practices for canyoning in Japan.
His 25 years in the Japan tourism industry at multiple levels have lead to a deep understanding of tourism marketing and management. He currently works at the national level for the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism, Cool Japan Awards and Japan National Parks League, advising in areas of tourism strategy, operations and marketing.
Mike joined Outdoor Japan in 2019 and works at the local level as a board member of the Minakami Tourism Association (DMO), chairman of the Minakami Outdoor Association, and also consults in many rural areas for adventure tourism, inbound tourism and destination development.
When he has free time you can find him exploring new canyons around the world, backcountry skiing or enjoying a few craft beers while watching the rugby.
Charles first came to Japan from New Zealand in 1994. Initially planning to stay for a year he became involved in the set up of Japan’s first bridge bungy jump operation in Yamagata Prefecture and was excited by the opportunities and potential of what was then the early stages of Japan’s outdoor tourism industry.
Charles spent a number of years thereafter working in the bungy jump industry in both Japan and New Zealand, learning best practice and safety standards and gaining his Jump Masters certificate from New Zealand Safety Standards Association. He moved to Minakami Gunma in 2004 and, working closely with the local tourism board, established the Minakami Bungy site and the Bungy Japan brand. Bungy Japan currently has 7 operations throughout Japan including the 100m jump from Ryujin Bridge in Ibaraki.
Charles joined Outdoor Japan in 2019 and works as a consultant for local and prefectural DMOs in Japan helping with Inbound specific marketing, promotional and operational strategies using best practices and standards from around the World to help create sustainable tourism and provide visitors the best possible experience.
Founding Director | Editor-in-Chief
Gardner Robinson was born and raised in Oregon and studied journalism and English at the University of Oregon where he joined and guided for Pacific Challenge, an adventure travel program in New Zealand and Australia.
Prior to the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, while writing for various international media about Japan, he reailzed there was a lack of coverage of off-the-beaten path travel and adventure travel in Japan, as well as options for travelers to connect with guides and tour operators. He started Outdoor Japan in 2000, the first media focused on travel, adventure travel and the outdoors in Japan. The aim was to connect travelers with local communities, outdoor operators and showcase the four seasons of Japan.
In 2005 he launched Outdoor Japan Magazine, the first bilingual publication on travel and outdoors in Japan. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami the magazine was renamed Traveler Magazine, continuing its focus travel and adventure while promoting inbound tourism in Japan as the country recovered from the disaster. Gardner wrote and co-produced a documentary on Tohoku recovery for NHK World and has served on tourism discussion panels for local and federal tourism boards, has been a consultant for outdoor and lifestyle brands entering the Japan market and worked with local and national tourism organizations.
Gardner is happiest when with his wife and two sons whether in Okinawa or Nagano where they welcome guests to Yoji Nozawa, their traditional 100-year old property in Nozawa Onsen renovated into private apartments. In 2011 Gardner combined three of his passions (snowboarding, hot springs and craft beer) and opened The Craft Room, a ski-in ski-out apres bar and cafe and the first craft beer taproom in Nozawa Onsen, a traditional hot spring and ski village in northern Nagano. In 2018 he and a friend purchased, renovated and opened Winterland Lodge and Taproom a boutique hotel, gyoza bar and craft beer bar in the center of the village. He continues looking for great stories, destinations and adventure in Japan and Asia while directing content for Outdoor Japan.
Born in Malaysia, raised in Japan and graduated from the University of Hawaii, Rie has been the creative force behind the multi-media production at Outdoor Japan both behind the camera and in front of the lens in many of the videos produced for our readers, sponsors and destinations.
Rie works closely with tourism organizations in Japan and overseas developing strategies to create exciting content to promote their destinations to our readers in Japan and round the globe. She also regularly works with outdoor and lifestyle brands and NPOs to provide video, photo and editorial content while supporting travel and tourism in Japan.
Rie has represented Outdoor Japan at conferences, panel discussions and on television, presenting in English and Japanese and works closely with local tourism organizations in Japan to tell their stories.
Correspondent | Tohoku Region (East)
Quinlan Faris is an avid hiker, coffee enthusiast who hails from Madison, Wisconsin. His journey took him to Japan 20 years ago after a ten-month spell in China where he was a student of Tibetan Buddhism and Classical Tibetan Language. After a decade in Tokyo, during which time he took multiple back-packing trips to India and Nepal, he moved north to Iwate in 2010.
You’ll most likely find him up a local volcano, hiking through a storm, fighting a bear (probably happened) or foraging for wild vegetables to feed his Airbnb guests and entertain his YouTube subscribers. Follow his adventures on his Youtube channel, Go North Japan.
Correspondent | Tohoku Region (West)
After college, Derek Yamashita followed his passion to connect with his Japanese-American roots by starting a life deep in the countryside of Yamagata Prefecture. Here he found joy in the trails, cycling courses, fishing and all that the countryside had to offer. He combines his love travel, storytelling and photography as he explores the hidden treasures of Japan.
In 2017 Derek co-founded The Hidden Japan, a boutique travel company promoting travel to both the deeper regions of Japan, particularly Tohoku, to help travelers explore beyond the big cities and well trodden tourist trails. He works closely with rural communities to create custom tours and experiences for travelers to enjoy alongside locals and foster a deeper understanding of their community.
Correspondent | Nagano Region
Daniel Moore move to Japan when he was just seven months old while his father attended graduate school. He grew up immersed in Japanese society and culture in Tokyo and Nagano, attending Japanese elementary and middle schools.
Daniel played collegiate-level tennis while earning a degree in international business at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles. Upon graduation, he traveled to Kenya with a social enterprise organization selling fuel-efficient cookstoves in Nairobi. After returning to Japan he worked in ski resorts in Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen and began his career as a professional pickleball player, winning multiple national championships, introducing pickleball to Japan and starting a pickleball travel business, Pickleball Trips.
Since then, Daniel has worked for various travel companies in Japan including Walk Japan, Oku Japan, Boutique Japan and Windows to Japan as a guide. An avid traveler, he has visited more than 50 countries but loves traveling around Japan and discovering its natural beauty, especially snowboarding and hiking in the mountains of Central Japan. He began Active Travel Japan in 2019 to share his knowledge and show people “The Japan they can’t find on their own.” He lives near Shiga Kogen’s famous snow monkeys in a house he removed and runs as an Airbnb and guest house.