Outdoor Japan Traveler | Issue 68 | Summer 2018

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Niseko Untapped 24 Tokyo Escapes: Summer Camping 28 Trail Runs, Races and Tours 34 Kamikochi: Into the Mystic 40 Local Mediterranean



6 . . . . From the Editor

13. . . . . Local Brew

8 . . . . Events and Festivals

14. . . . Cycling Japan

11 . . . . . Outdoor Japan Adventures

15. . . . . Market Watch

12. . . . . Beer Buzz

46. . . . Travel & Adventure Directory


FROM THE EDITOR Published Seasonally


here are plenty of ways to beat the heat and have some affordable fun this summer. Check out our Camping Special with some cool ideas for roughing it, “glamping” it or kicking back in the backyard of one of Japan’s finest breweries. Nearly every weekend from July to September there are outdoor music events, traditional matsuri, races and outdoor festivals throughout Japan. If you are feeling stifled in the city and enjoy running trails, you are in luck as our trail running guru Pauline Kitamura shares some of the best locations, groups and events to join this summer. If you really want to head for cooler climes, you can’t beat Hokkaido. Back in the summer of 1999 a friend and I took the car ferry from Niigata to the port town of Otaru. We hiked, cycled and explored the mountains, lakes and rivers of Hokkaido (and enjoyed the famous summer beer gardens in Sapporo’s Odori Koen. On our way down to Hakodate to catch the ferry to Aomori we swung through a little ski resort town called Niseko. The Olympics had recently come and gone in Nagano and there was a lot of buzz about Niseko. The resort area got a lot of snow, had some great terrain, and was attracting scores of Australian snow lovers who were buying up property. Ross Findlay, the founder of Niseko Adventure Centre, was one of the first to set up shop and also, one of the first people I met there. He had pioneered whitewater rafting in the area before the snow boom and was expanding to offer a number of other outdoor adventures. When the direct flights from Australia started happening regularly, the momentum began to build and investment started rolling in. The secret was out about Japan’s incredible snow and Niseko became ground zero for the “Japow” revolution. Ben Kerr had been in Niseko since 1997 and saw the writing on the wall. We met just before he started Niseko Real Estate in 2002. “I first arrived in Niseko mid-winter, so my first impression was the sheer volume of snow—I was blown away—it still amazes me. It’s been cool to watch Niseko develop over the years; there’s now world class eateries, fantastic places to stay, and a constantly expanding selection of year-round activities. Hokkaido’s summer cycling and golf are really booming now!” he says. Today Niseko is hands down Japan’s most international ski resort and all the infrastructure and creativity is spilling over into the green season. Check out Niseko Untapped for what’s cool this summer up north. Last autumn I received an e-mail out of the blue from Piergiorgio Castellani. He had recently met Steve and Debbee Pezman, the founders and publishers of The Surfer’s Journal in California. Outdoor Japan publishes the Japan edition of the iconic surf magazine so Debbee had put us in touch. He was coming to Japan to promote Ziobaffa, a surf lifestyle-related wine project and in a strange twist of events we found ourselves involved with the Tokyo launch, while our roving editor Rie Miyoshi had randomly joined a culinary tour to Italy where she met Piergiorgio. Enjoy her Mediterranean adventures as she eats and plays her way through Greece and Italy. There’s a little something for everyone this summer, so get out there and enjoy the season!

て今号は暑さをぶっとばして夏を楽しむ方法をいっぱいアドバイスしようと思う。キャンピングスペシャルをチェックして冒険たっ ぷりに、もしくは「グランピング」でゴージャスに、それとも日本でいち押しブリューワリー(地ビール)の庭でまったりするなんてど うだろう? 日本の 7 月から 10 月にかけては、毎週末のようにアウトドアでのミュージックイベントや、伝統的な日本の祭りと野外でのフェスティバ ルが盛り上がる。でも都会から動きたくないという人にはトレイル・ランニングで夏を楽しむという方法もある。だからトレランの達人、ポーリ ン・キタムラのアドバイスは外せない。彼女がお勧めする夏のトレランのベストロケーションや、グループのイベントをチェックしておいても損 はないはずだ。 もし、マジで涼しい気候を求めるならば、北海道は外せない。1999 年の夏、私は友人と新潟からカーフェリーに乗って港町小樽を訪れ たことがある。そこから北海道を巡る旅がスタートした。ハイクしたり自転車に乗ったり、山や湖や川を走破した。もちろん札幌大通公園のサ マービアガーデンでも美味しいビールを楽しんだ。 そして青森行きのフェリーに乗るために函館へ向かう途中で、当時はまだ小さなスキーリゾートだったニセコにも立ち寄った。長野オリ ンピック直後の時期だったこともあり、ニセコはすでに話題になっていた。このリゾートエリアには雪も多く、すばらしい山の地形がある。オー ストラリア人で雪が好きな連中はここに目を付けて不動産の事業に乗りだした。ニセコ・アドベンチャー・センターの創立者であるロス・フィ ンドレーはニセコにショップをオープンした第一人者で、私が初めてそこで出会った最初の外人でもある。彼はスノーブームの到来の前にリ バーラフティングをはじめたのを皮切りにいろいろなアウトドア・アドベンチャーを提供した。その後、オーストラリアからの直行便が運航する と、不動産投資が活発となった。日本のすばらしい雪のことはもう秘密にできなくなり、ついに「ジャポウ:Japanese powder」の大ブレーク が起きた。ベン・カーは 1997 年からニセコに住んでいたから、その前兆に気づいていた。彼がニセコ・リアル・エステートを 2002 年にスター トした頃に私は彼と出会った。 「ニセコに最初に来たのは真冬だった。印象に残っているのは雪の量だった。吹っ飛びそうなくらい驚いたよ。ここ数年のニセコの開発 は見ていて順調だと思っている。レストランはワールドクラスだし、宿泊施設も良い、アクティビティーも通年を通して楽しめるし、選択肢も増 えている。北海道での夏のサイクリングやゴルフに関してはブームが到来したという感じだね」と彼は語った。現在のニセコは日本を代表する 国際的なスキーリゾートになったというだけでなく、インフラの充実だけでなく、リゾートとしての創造性は新緑の季節にまでおよんでいる。だ から今夏は北をめざすのも悪い選択ではない。夏のニセコにはどんなすばらしいものがきみを待っているかチェックしてはいかがだろう。 さて、昨年の秋、私は思いがけないメールを受信した。差出人はピエール・ジョージオ・キャステラーニという人物だった。彼は、 『ザ・サー 『ザ・サーファーズ・ジャーナル日本版』 ファーズ・ジャーナル』誌の創立者で発行人のスティーブ & デビー・ペズマン夫妻と知遇を得ていた。 を発行している弊誌との縁で、デビーが私たちを彼に紹介してくれたのだった。サーファーである彼は「ジオバッファ」というワインをサーフィ ンのライフスタイルとリンクすべく、日本でプロモートを考えていた。そんな流れで私たちは東京でのローンチに参加することになった。弊誌 のさすらいのエディター、三好利恵はイタリアの食ツアーに参加、そこでピエール・ジョージオと再会することになった。ギリシャからイタリア へと食の冒険に出かけた彼女の顛末記をお楽しみいただければと思う。今号をチェックさえすれば暑い夏を思いっきり楽しめるはず!さあ入 道雲に向かって飛びだそう!

Publisher Outdoor Japan Media Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson Editor Bill Ross Media Coordinator Rie Miyoshi Design Mojoworks Contributing Editors Rie Miyoshi, Shigeo Morishita Translators Yoshine Lee, Eri Nishikami, Lana Sofer Contributors Gint Atkinson, Joan Bailey, Amy Chavez, Lee Dobson, Bryan Harrell, Neil Hartmann, Yuske Hirota, Abdel Ibrahim, Pete Leong, Pauline Kitamura, Takashi Niwa, Tim Rock, Justin Stein

Outdoor Japan Media 8782-2 Toyosato Nozawaonsen-mura Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken 389-2502

Sales & Marketing media@outdoorjapan.com Editorial editor@outdoorjapan.com www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan www.instagram.com/outdoorjapan

—Gardner Robinson


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Cover Photo: Mt. Yotei in Niseko



©2018 OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views expressed herein are not necessarily those of OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. Printed in Japan.

Photo: Aaron Jamieson

mer Events m u S

Beppu Fire Sea Festival


26-2 8

Summer is a magical time in Japan as ancient festivals breathe life into rural villages and fireworks light up the skies. Whether you’re out in Japan’s green mountains or enjoying the coast, there’s something for everyone this season. Nagaoka Festival

Higashi Izu Adventure Rally

Enjoy watching portable shrines floating in the Shinano River, folk dancing, a massive fireworks display and traditional local cuisine including kanzuri ( yuzu salt seasoning made with chili peppers), hegi soba (buckwheat noodles with a special type of seaweed) and sasa dango (Japanese rice cake with red bean paste and mugwort wrapped in bamboo leaves).

This running and cycling challenge through Hosono Highlands and up Mt. Misuji spans 3.5 kilometers and is great for beginners and travelers exploring Izu Peninsula. Mountain bike rentals are also available.

Aug. 1-3 Nagaoka, Niigata

Nebuta Festival

Beppu Fire Sea Festival After soaking in Beppu’s famous onsen , enjoy one of Kyushu’s largest fireworks displays. This annual festival features a yataimura (openair street food village), art markets, dancing and local music at the oceanfront Beppu Station. July 26-28 Beppu Station, Oita

The 40th Japan International Birdman Rally Be entertained by mad geniuses as “bird men” attempt to fly as far as possible into Lake Biwa using human-powered flying machines. All contestants jump from a jetty built solely for this event. July 28-29 Birdman Jetty, Shiga www.ytv.co.jp/birdman

Nagasaki Minato Festival The night view of one of Japan’s most picturesque harbors becomes even grander as 15,000 fireworks light up Nagasaki Seaside Park. During the day, there are music performances and food stalls. July 29-30 Nagasaki Seaside Park, Nagasaki



Crowds converge in the northern prefecture of Aomori for the annual Nebuta Matsuri. Large floats depicting kabuki (traditional Japanese plays) are wheeled around wildly across the Tsugaru Plain. The festival closes with a grand finale of fireworks. Aug. 2-7 Aomori City, Aomori

Kanto Festival The Kanto Festival celebrates Akita’s abundant harvest with an impressive sight: kanto, 100-lb. bamboo poles holding up many lanterns, illuminate the streets as pole bearers precariously balance them on hips, shoulders and even foreheads. Aug. 3-6 Kanto O-dori, Akita

Ikiiki Toyama Triathlon This 50-kilometer triathlon takes place between the sea and mountains in Toyama, starting along the Iwasehama Coast and ending at Tateyama Mountain Ski Resort. Originally launched in 1987, the triathlon made a comeback after a short break after the Hokuriku Shinkansen expanded in 2015. Aug. 5 Iwasehama Beach, Toyama www.ikiikitoyama.wixsite.com/ikiikitoyama

Aug. 11 Hosono Highlands, Shizuoka www.a-extremo.com

Tokushima Awa Odori Festival Rated by many as Japan’s best summer festival, this four-day celebration on the island of Shikoku rings in the Japanese obon holidays with a distinct awa odori dance. It attracts nearly 1.3 million spectators, so be sure to book early. Aug. 12-15 Tokushima City, Tokushima

Earth Celebration Sado Island, just off the coast of Niigata, hosts this international music festival with three days of powerful performances, art and culture. The festival is headlined by Kodo, a worldrenowned Japanese taiko drum performance group based in Sado. There are performances every evening at the main hub in Ogi Town. Other attractions include dance and taiko workshops, stalls selling goods from around the world and local handmade crafts. Aug. 17-19 Sado Island, Niigata www.kodo.or.jp Earth Celebration



July to Sept

Sea to Summit

Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival

Extreme Series 2017: Okuoi

One of Japan’s most recognized torii gates becomes even more stunning as fireworks illuminate the water around the shrine. Catch the JR ferry from the mainland to Miyajima to view the fireworks (¥180 one-way).

This Extreme Series finale is a MTB, trekking and Canadian canoeing race in Kawane Honcho, just a few hours drive from Tokyo. The 35 to 45-kilometer race is recommended for intermediate racers.

Aug. 25 Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima

Nippon Domannaka Festival The largest team dance festival in central Japan performs over two days in Nagoya, featuring 23,000 dancers from Japan and overseas. All dance teams are clad in costumes reflecting their local tradition and carry a naruko (small clapper). Late August Hisaya Odori Park, Aichi Minakami Spartan Race



Sept. 8 Kawane Honcho, Shizuoka www.a-extremo.com

Satoyama Run in Hida Takayama Satoyama refers to the area between mountain foothills and farmland in the Japanese countryside. These half and quarter marathons start at the Nyukawa Branch of Takayama City Hall and through Hida Takayama’s natural landscapes. Immerse yourself into the Japanese countryside and meet locals, try authentic food and discover a non-touristy side of travel. Sept. 9 Hida Takayama, Gifu satoyama-run.com

Sea to Summit

Minakami Spartan Race For the first time, UNESCO Geopark Minakami will host three Spartan Races. The Spartan Super is the series’ middle-distance course, testing endurance, perseverance and grit through more than 25 obstacles across eight to ten miles. The shorter five-kilometer Sprint and Kids courses are also available. Sept. 8 Minakami Hodaigi Ski Resort, Gunma www.spartanrace.jp

Montbell’s challenge series continues throughout the summer. Begin by kayaking to shore, followed by biking and hiking to the summit. There are 12 events held all over Japan until November; it’s a great way to experience local areas while joining a fun event. Although challenging, this race is open to everybody. July 21-22: Mt. Myoko and Lake Nojiri, Niigata/ Nagano August 18-19: Daisetsu and Mt. Asahidake, Hokkaido August 25-26: Mt. Chokai, Akita/Yamagata September 1-2: Seiyo, Chime Sept. 29-30: Yura River and Mt. Oe, Kyoto Web: en.montbell.jp





estival Picks F c i s Mu in


Rising Sun Rock Festival

Sunset Live 2018

Camp out in the port city of Otaru for two days of non-stop music by local artists including Orange Range, UVERworld, Ego-Wrappin’ and Okamoto’s. There is also a wide selection of booths selling Hokkaido’s famous local produce, delicious seafood and craft beer.

It may be September but you can still enjoy summer vibes down in Kyushu! Kyushu’s most popular outdoor festival is held next to the beach with campgrounds and play areas for kids.

Aug. 10-11 Ishikari Bay New Port, Hokkaido http://rsr.wess.co.jp

Summer Sonic

This Tokyo music festival hosts local bands including Ajisai, Civilian and Bentham for a full weekend of rock ‘n’ roll while overlooking Odaiba’s harbor.

The urban alternative to the Fuji Rock Festival features some of the world’s top pop and rock bands. This year’s international lineup includes Chance the Rapper, Beck, Marshmello, Shawn Mendes, Paramore, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Queens of the Stone Age, Walk the Moon, Nickelback, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and more.

July 21-22 Odaiba Outdoor Special Venue, Tokyo www.murofes.com

Aug. 18-19 Makuhari Messe, Chiba and Maishima, Osaka www.summersonic.com

Fuji Rock Festival

Tokyo Jazz Festival

Japan’s most famous summer music festival invites world-class artists of all genres in the mountains of Niigata; this year the lineup includes Bob Dylan, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Odesza, Years & Years, MGMT, Jack Johnson, N.E.R.D. and Kodo.

Attracting world-famous jazz artists, this festival has grown to become one of Japan’s largest international festivals. The event is held at two venues in Tokyo. Check out the website for details.

Muro Festival

July 27-29 Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Web: www.fujirockfestival.com

Rock in Japan Festival Not one, but two, weekends of Rock in Japan Festival, a popular rock and pop concert, will be held at this breezy seaside park. Aug. 4-5 / Aug. 11-12 Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki www.rijfes.jp

Aug. 31, Sept. 1-2 Yoyogi Park and NHK Hall, Tokyo www.tokyo-jazz.com

Sept. 1-2 Keya Itoshima, Fukuoka www.sunsetlive-info.com

New Acoustic Camp Th i s a co u st i c- o n l y m u s i c fe st i va l i n Gunma’s mountains is ideal for families, with plenty of craft and outdoor workshops and kid-friendly activities. Sept. 15-16 Minakami Kogen Resort 200, Gunma www.newacousticcamp.com

Labyrinth Japan’s pre-eminent outdoor techno event features a “DJ teepee” and an impressive sound and light system. Tickets are limited and go quick for this epic dance party in Niigata’s mountains. Sept. 22-24 Naeba Greenland, Niigata www.mindgames.jp

Asagiri Jam Nicknamed the “real Fuji Rock” for its idyllic location at the foot of Mt. Fuji, this music festival is a laid-back two days of camping, rock, Indie and dance music by international and local artists. Workshops, morning yoga and activities for children are held around the two main stages. Oct. 6-7 Asagiri Arena, Shizuoka Web: asagirijam.jp


Asagiri Jam Photo Courtesy of Uchu Taishi Star



6 -7

Hidaka Canyoning

Cool off on a hot summer day in Hokkaido’s natural waterfalls and creeks. Hokkaido Outdoor Adventure (HOA) will suit you up for a half day of fun as you leap from boulders, splash through chutes of bubbling whitewater and drift along a crystal clear stream. Canyoning gear and insurance included. Relieve stress and face your fears by bridge swinging over the Saru River with HOA’s professional staff. Bridge swingers are secured in a safety harness as they free fall from a 20-meter bridge, swing out into a pendulum and soar side to side over the river.

Wildlife Photography in Hokkaido

Discover Hokkaido’s wild nature through the eyes of a professional photographer. Combine travel and art on a tour with Niseko Photography & Guiding to Japan’s northernmost island’s most scenic areas. Return home with beautiful memories and photographs of wildlife, volcanic mountain ranges, dense forests, tranquil lakes and offthe-beaten-path nature spots.

Hidden Trails in Kamakura

Just under an hour away from Tokyo is the ancient city—and former capital of Japan—Kamakura. Famous for shrines and a bustling surf scene, Kamakura also features lesser-known hidden trails in the surrounding hills. Join Feather Legs Outdoors on nature day hikes combining hiking to caves, waterfalls and ruins, outdoor yoga and visiting local temples and historic sites. If you’re lucky, you might encounter local wildlife like boars and anaguma (Japanese badgers).

Hiking for All Levels at Yuzawa

Enjoy hiking through Yuzawa’s countryside with Hop Step Japan. Although known as “Snow Country,” Yuzawa is beautiful and cooling in the summer. The beginner hike is a three-hour walk around the top of the ropeway or another trail deeper in the mountains. The more intense hike from Tenjindaira to Tsuchitaru starts off easy with a ride up the ropeway to Tenjindaira. From there, summit two peaks and finish at Tsuchitaru Station. This course takes six to eight hours. Transportation from the station, snacks, ropeway tickets and experienced guides included in the tour.

Mountain Climbing Adventures

Summer is peak climbing season as Japan’s mountainside remains a comfortably cool temperature ideal for intense hiking. Kanto Adventures climbing tours are held every weekend and vary from easy to advanced, beginner-friendly overnight hikes in the Northern Alps to tackling extreme ridges in the Hotakasan Region. They also run Hiker’s B&B, a backpacker lodge in the mountains of Hanno, Saitama.

Traditional Culinary and Cultural Adventures

Experience authentic Japan in the historical district of Yanaka Ginza in Tokyo with Arigato Food Tours. Yanaka was one of the few areas that survived the Great Kanto Earthquake and Fire of 1923 and bombings during World War II. Today, stroll the shitamachi (downtown) filled with rustic cafes, local temples and traditional craft stores, enjoying street snacks, a tea ceremony and delicious teishoku (lunch set) along the way. If you are visiting Kyoto enjoy a three-hour tour of Kyoto’s Fushimi District, including two breweries and a guided museum tour—the nearly 400-year-old Gekkeikan Okura sake museum is a highlight—traditional lunch and sake tasting. For matcha lovers, the quieter Uji District, home to some of Japan’s finest green tea, is a must.

nadventures.com www.outdoorjapa SUMMER 2018


Craft Beer By Justin Stein


wasn’t planning on discovering great craft beer while I was in Taiwan for Lunar New Year. I was visiting a friend and expected to do some sightseeing, hiking, hot springs and eat a ton of delicious inexpensive food—in general have a subtropical getaway from the kotatsu where I’d been parked all winter. I was pleasantly surprised to see a happening craft beer scene in Taipei that rivals—if not surpasses—that in most of Japan. Tasty local brews, funky craft beer bars, and an extensive import selection from North America, Europe, and Australia (as well as a few Japanese choices) help make Taipei an even more amazing city, which can also be a launch pad for outdoor sports in Taiwan’s mountains, rivers or coastline. Beer (and alcohol more generally) does not play as large a part in Taiwanese culture as in Japan, but all the establishments I visited had a clientele of younger locals as well as foreigners, suggesting that craft beer is quickly becoming part of life for many Taipei twenty-somethings. Brett Tieman, co-founder and brewer at 23 Brewing Company, whom I met at their sleek taproom in Da’an District near National Taiwan University, said that is something that has really changed in the last two or three years.

“When I first arrived in Taiwan [in 2010], the beer scene was underdeveloped. Most people considered beer as an accessory for a meal. We had many shades of Asian lager and a handful of Belgian bottle shops. Now, consumers are pursuing beer as an activity and a passion—it’s not uncommon for Taiwanese consumers to go to a pub or a taproom to enjoy a beer with friends.” With nine of their own beers on tap and three guest taps, 23 Brewing’s taproom offered several American-style pale ales and IPAs, which had lots of fresh, fruit-forward hop flavor without much bitterness. I also tried their refreshing sour wheat ales (a cucumber and a delicious passion fruit) and enjoyed their dark lager, dedicated to the writer Charles Bukowski. Nearby, Eleven Beer House offered an impressive lineup of mostly American and Scandinavian beers. Café Bastille is a cozy destination for Belgian beer fans (with hundreds of bottles). Local favorite Something Ales was closed during my trip, but I hear they offer a great selection of local beers. In the central Zhongzheng District, Revolver is a funky spot just across the street from Liberty Square with the monumental National Theater, National Concert Hall, and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. Its outdoor patio, grungy décor, live

bands upstairs, and a rotating list of taps with some local selections (and more as packaged bottles and cans) make this a must visit. It’s also worthwhile taking some cold ones across the street and drinking in the presence of the Generalissimo’s looming, surreal memorial and the site of the mass protests that prompted Taiwan’s transition to a democracy. Further north, the Shilin Night Market offered (along with unforgettable street food) a few of the most interesting craft beer destinations I found in the city. Funky Fresh, with six taps creatively mounted on silver and gold nude mannequins, is a great place to duck out of the market madness, and Craft Young, a few doors down, is another chill spot with four local taps and a fridge full of interesting imports. Probably the most unique spot, however, is a combination tropical fish store/liquor store, where you can choose from hundreds of (mostly imported) bottles and cans to enjoy among the aquariums. Thanks to the local breweries (too numerous for me to do justice here), beer bars and growing consumer base, add craft beer to the stinky tofu, oyster omelets, and soup dumplings as must-try items when in Taipei!

FESTIVAL ROUNDUP JULY 7-8 Sapporo Craft Beer Forest 13–15 Osaka BeerFes 13–22 Hibiya Oktoberfest (Tokyo) 14–15 Tsukuba Craft Beer Fest (Ibaraki) 20–22 9th Craft Beer Fest (Utsunomiya, Tochigi) 28–29 Okinawa BeerFes 12


AUGUST 4–5 Nagoya BeerFes 9–12 Belgian Beer Fest Tokyo 18–19 Craft Beer Festival, Akita 24–26 Ji-Beer Festival (Ichinoseki, Iwate) 29–Sept. 2 Belgian Beer Fest Kobe

SEPTEMBER 13–16 International Beer Cup 2018 (Yokohama) 15–17

Yokohama BeerFes

By Bryan Harrell


Brewery U Taproom


t shouldn’t come as a surprise that a popular outdoor resort town with a glacier-fed river running through the center is home to a good microbrewery. What is surprising is Minakami—the traditional hot spring resort, and now ground zero for outdoor and adventure in Japan—hasn’t had its own microbrewery and taproom, until OCTONE Brewery recently opened. Minakami is an ideal place for this creative craft brewery founded by Yasuharu Takeuchi. It is his first entry into the beer business after leaving the world of publishing. Not only was he born in the area, he also chose it because of the famed quality of the water. The beer brewed here certainly benefits from it. In addition, there are quite a number of tributaries that come together in Minakami to create

the Tone River (pronounced “to-nay”), which flows all the way down to Tokyo Bay. The brewery’s n a m e O C TO N E (pronounced “O-ku-to One”) originates here at the source of the Tone River. The beers, unsurprisingly, are quite good. The American Style Wheat Ale (5%) is light and refreshing yet not short on flavor. The Yamabito Pale Ale (5.5%) has a deeper, richer taste with more aggressive malt, while the Mori-No-Porter (4.5%) has a good share of dark malt, but is far from heavy or overly roasty. It is interesting that all three of these beers contain honey, but only small amounts since there is practically no honey flavor. My guess is that the honey is used in very small amounts to tweak beer flavors slightly to achieve a good balance. However, in the Upstream IPA, noted as a “Juicy IPA,” the stronger 6.5% ale is given a bit of oatmeal in the mash to achieve a lush smoothness to balance the strong hopping. The result is a highly drinkable brew with a refreshingly bitter flavor. At present, other Octone beers also include a Koelsch and an Amanatsu (summer orange) fruit ale and future seasonal beers will undoubtedly be on tap soon. Minakami can be done in a day if you need to get back to the grind, but as with enjoying your favorite local brew, it’s best to take your time, slow down and enjoy the refreshment while there.

Octone Brewing and Taproom www.oct-1.com 702-2 Yubara, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun,  Gunma-ken 〒379-1617  (0278) 25-4520 2 - 8 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays;  4 - 8 p.m. weekdays; Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.



Ta k a s h i N iwa By


北海道・ニセコを ベースに 周辺をサイクリング

Niseko N

iseko is such a popular destination for visitors to Japan that you often go into restaurants and shops to find more foreigners than Japanese people. Several times, I’ve walked into a convenience store and to find myself the only Japanese customer in the shop, I almost lost sense of where I was. Because of high gaijin density in the area, non-Japanese speakers are less disadvantaged and many restaurants and hotels have English services available. While there are many great places to choose from, I’d recommend staying in one place, using it as a hub, and cranking around the Niseko area each day. Now, let’s enjoy some wonderful Niseko cycling! Mount Yotei is also known as “Ezo Fuji” as “Ezo” is the ancient name for Hokkaido and the striking mountain you see from Niseko on clear days resembles it’s more famous (and larger) mountain to the south. Yotei-san and the Niseko mountains rise above gently rolling hills, which make for great cycling. Riding in the fields covered with potato blossoms or ears of wheat blowing in the wind is like a dream come true for cyclists. And a cold beer after an onsen (hot spring bath) then topped off with a great dinner makes for an unforgettable day. For bilingual route information about cycling in the Niseko area, please visit the Kutchan Toursim Association (www.niseko.co.jp/en/ things-to-do/cycling). The Niseko Promotion Board also has information in English on activities and lodging in the area.

Potato flowers are in bloom in July. ジャガイモの花が咲くのは 7 月前後



You can enjoy a wide variety of green season outdoor activities including hiking, rafting, canoeing and fly fishing. ハイキングやカヌー、フライフィッシングなどを組み合わせた欲張りプランも可能だ

日外国人観光客の割合がもっとも多いエリア のひとつが、北海道のニセコである。 日本人の 筆者がニセコでコンビニに入って、 まわりを見 渡すとすべて外国人で、 「ここはいったいどこの国だ?」 と 驚いたことが何度もあるくらい。 ということは日本語を話 さない訪問者にとって、不自由はとても少ないといえる。 レストランやホテルなどは、かなりの割合で英語対応し ている。 さてニセコのサイクリングであるが、これまたすば らしい。 ここでのサイクリングは、毎日宿泊地を変えて進

1 カ所の宿をベースに、毎日コースを んでいくのではなく、 変えて楽しむのがよい。 え ぞ ふ じ ようていざん 蝦 夷 富 士ともい わ れる 羊 蹄 山 や、ニセコ 連 山 が そびえ、 山麓には緩やかに起伏する丘がつづく。 ジャガイ モの花や、風に揺れる麦の穂などのなかを、 サイクリング するのは夢見心地だ。 そうなれば湯上りのビールと、 その 後の食事は美味くないわけがない。 サイクリングのコース情報は、 こちらのサイトが詳しく 紹介している。 (日本語 / 英語) 倶知安観光案内所(Kutchan Tourism Assosiation) www .niseko .co .jp/en/things-to-do/cycling


ARK HILLS MARCHE T ucked away in Roppongi, a part of the city known for nightclubs, expensive hotels and high-end dining, is the Ark Hills Marche. This weekly market pulses with the beats of the seasons as nearly fifty farmers and vendors from as near as Kokubunji and as far away as Hokkaido arrive with their wares. Throw in the occasional concert or holiday festivities, and it’s easy to see how the market turned into a hub of community and good food. Going strong for 15 years, the Ark Hills Marche took root when a small group of farmers from Ibaraki began bringing in their produce to sell to residents. In 2009, the Mori Corporation offered them the use of the courtyard of the Karajan Plaza. Residents of the then-recently completed residential building soon flocked to the market at their center. The market has proven popular enough that a weekly Tuesday market has been added to take care of middle-of-the-week needs, too. Visitors will find Amya Miller (a.k.a. The Pie Queen) on hand with her various pies that showcase whatever fruit is in season. An American perhaps best known for her work in Tohoku and the city of Rikuzentakata, Miller turned to pie as a way to bring balance back into her life. “I needed something a little less intense,” she said one Saturday morning between customers. For those wanting a classic American treat, Miller’s table is the place to go.

Kosaka Farm is also on hand with fruits and vegetables direct from their Kokubunji fields. A functioning farm since the Edo Period, Kosaka Farms offers a selection of Japanese heirloom as well as modern vegetable varieties. Stop by for a sample or two, especially in summer when white sweetcorn is available and as tasty as one of Miller’s pies. Sakamiko Organic Farm in Sagamihara, Kanagawa and Tan Farm from Chiba also come bearing their seasonal vegetables throughout the year, but summer is a perfect time to hunt for peaches, blueberries, and more. Nozawa Farm in Yamanashi charts the course of the season with cherries, plums, peaches, and grapes. However, visitors looking for jams, pickles and unique spice mixes will be pleased to see an excellent selection of creative concoctions available year round. Food carts are also sandwiched here and there around the market giving shoppers a chance to reenergize between rounds of the stalls.

Ark Hills Marche Open: Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Nearest Station: Tameike Station, Exit 13


Morning Tour


Afternoon To

9:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. Illumination

1:30 — 4:30 p.m.

Tour (Seasonal)

5:30 p.m. — 8:00 p.m.

Price: ¥6,700 + 8% tax

info@cyclingholiday.tokyo http://cyclingholiday.tokyo



Niseko Untapped

By Rie Miyoshi



Niseko draws thousands of visitors each year to Japan’s northernmost island in search of the steep and deep. Yet when these famed slopes turn from white to green, the untapped potential as a summer destination is on full display with outdoor activities, art, great food and top-notch accommodation.


oday Niseko’s streets, usually packed with skiers and snowboarders walking to and from the numerous luxury apartments and restaurants, are eerily quiet. Yet, peer a little closer and you’ll see a buzz of

activity and anticipation as the town ramps up for summer. H o k ka i d o ra re l y exce e d s 3 0 d e g re e s Celsius—even in the peak of summer—making it ideal for hiking, cycling, lake and ocean sports.

Instead of going into reverse hibernation when the snow melts, several businesses have ventured to stay open year round in hopes that Niseko will follow Whistler and Queenstown’s footsteps and become a major all-season outdoor destination.



Treetop Adventures

NAC Adventure Park, located at the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu’s ski lifts, is the nation’s largest tree trekking course. It boasts 100 obstacles including ziplines, climbing nets, bridges, swings, vertical drops and unusual features connecting you from tree to tree— including a snowboard ride. Opened in November 2017 by Niseko Adventure Centre (NAC), this all-season park covers nearly one hectare of pristine forest. “It’s set up like a ski resort, where you have beginner courses, challenge courses and then black courses,” says NAC founder and long-time Niseko resident Ross Findlay. NAC brought in a tree-trekking course builder from Estonia to create this adventure park. “We’re introducing some new ideas to

Japan, lots of fun stuff people haven’t seen before,” he adds. Although the obstacles are set between five to thirteen meters above ground, the park is very safe and monitored by professional instructors. Visitors have to be at least six years old and taller than 115 cm. for the standard courses and 140 cm. for advanced. The park is expanding to include a children’s and beginner-specific area where 16 obstacles will be built two to three meters off the ground. When you visit, try Ross’ personal favorite: the red course, which features a trapeze bar/zipline you can only reach if you jump off a 13-meter-high ledge. If you manage to grab on to the trapeze bar, it’ll zipline you 70 meters through the forest.

Ross Findla y, owner of Nisek o Advent ure C ent re



Summer Paddling

While early May is peak whitewater season in Niseko with rapids reaching up to grade 3, the rivers quiet down to grades one or two heading into summer, which makes it a great time for family rafting and relaxing floats. Aside from building tree trek parks, NAC made its mark over two decades ago as Niseko’s first rafting company and continues to guide people down the great local rapids. “During the economic recession in the early 90s, Niseko started to lose its customer base,” Ross recalls. “Pensions and hotels were concerned and wanted to do something in summer. So I bought one rafting boat and launched NAC—now we have 50 rafts. It turns out rafting was it.” Depending on the day’s conditions, NAC’s trained guides will choose a course on the Shiribetsu River. The trip usually is about 12 kilometers long in spring and seven kilometers of whitewater action in summer including river jumps and swimming in calmer spots. While spring and early summer air may be warm, the water is still chilly so you’ll be given a drysuit. If you are looking for more of a thrill try Hanazono Niseko’s guided ducky tours. A “ducky” is a cute term for a two-person inflatable raft you can also paddle solo. It’s easy to maneuver and you have the freedom to ride whatever waves you want to catch. Duckies are closer to the water surface than a raft so you can feel the rapids more directly, but they also sit higher on the water compared to traditional kayaks and thereby are more stable and forgiving to most water conditions. They don’t capsize easily, but they’re still a fun work out especially if you’re paddling alone.



Niseko’s variety of flat and hilly terrain has made it a prime cycling destination, with numerous cycling races between June to September. Local passionate cyclists are also constantly building bigger and better mountain bike trails. On the eastern edge of greater Hirafu Village is Ginto Trail, a community effort spearheaded by Ashley Nicholls of Holiday Niseko. This MTB trail was crowdfunded by the community and businesses. “Looking at all the major outdoor destinations around the world, I found mountain biking is the number one business in summer,” says Ashley, who usually goes for a few laps around Ginto Trail in the morning with his black lab Ryder. “It’s a healthy sport, it brings in mountain bikers from all around the world and it’s fun. We hope we can expand not just this trail, but more MTB trails around this region. Maybe even one looping around Mt. Yotei.” Ginto Trail is an easily accessible 1.8-km. flow trail weaving through designated green zones around Pavilions hotel and residences, which are currently under construction. The trail is built on relatively flat terrain but features several bumps, jumps and banked turns which you can attack



depending on your skill level. Best of all, it’s free to the public. Just a few blocks away is Rhythm Japan. Starting off as a small ski rental shop, Rhythm grew to be a one-stop shop for cycling, hiking gear and SUP guided tours and rentals. During the winter, they’re Niseko’s biggest rental business for premium skis and snowboards. “There’s already a lot of potential for Niseko, with increased investment in accommodation and infrastructure. The next obvious step is for green season to take over,” says Rhythm Japan owner Djan Aston. This year, Rhythm Japan is building a pump track using parts imported from the Czech Republic. The modular pump track will be set up at the local park for the community to use and also at Niseko’s summer festivals. To combine cycling with travel, Rhythm Japan offers half-day and full-day tours to enjoy Niseko’s natural beauty and neighborhoods on wheels. Depending on your level, you can cycle a generally flat course stopping at mom-andpop bakeries, Niseko Gelato and even an ostrich farm or challenge yourself to grueling hills with rewarding views of Mt. Yotei. Rhythm Japan has its two-story headquarters at the base of Hirafu Zaka, the street leading up

to Niseko Grand Hirafu. After a day outside, stop by for New Zealand Allpress coffee at Rhythm’s in-house café, Gloorious Coffee (that’s “Glorious” with two o’s) and say hi to their shop dog, Marlo the French bulldog. As you explore Niseko town and talk to the residents, you’ll definitely run into a few people training for one of Niseko’s many cycling races. The biggest one is the Niseko Classic which will be held on July 7-8. Part of the international UCI Gran Fondo, the amateur cycling world tour, the Niseko Classic is one of only two Asian destinations on the tour and attracts more than 1,000 people from all over the world. The race features 70-km., 140-km. and, from this year, 3.4-km. time trial challenges. Amateur riders of all abilities are welcome. For a milder, noncompetitive ride, the 64-km. Niseko Yotei Circuit Fun Ride will be held that same weekend. The 9th annual Hanazono Hill Climb held Aug. 5 will give you a chance to explore the area as you cycle from Kutchan Community Hall to Goshiki Onsen. This bike race is 16 kilometers long and ends at the onsen 796 meters high on the northern base of Mt. Annupuri. Racers will have the chance to ride through the annual Kutchan Potato Festival as well.

Mt. Annupuri (1,304 meters) is a quiet hiking spot in summer and an idyllic spot to catch the sunrise over Mt. Yotei (1,898 meters), a.k.a. “Ezo Fuji” for its resemblance to Mt. Fuji. Enjoy the striking 360-degree vistas from the top of Mt. Annupuri with Mt. Yotei to the south and the ridge trail leading to the Sea of Japan to the north. The easy hike takes roughly one hour from Goshiki Onsen to the summit. Don’t be surprised to find snow still covering many parts of the trail even in late spring.

Part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Lake Toya is a freshwater caldera lake formed by an eruption from the still-active Mt. Usu and is the third largest of its kind in Japan. In midsummer, the lake warms up making it the perfect swimming pool and campsite location. Rhythm Japan operates SUP tours on this lake, going past Ukimido Park, which overlooks the lake with a small double tower monument built for Japanese Prince Shotoku. Perhaps most characteristic of the lake is its iconic Nakano Island. Daily ferries operate to this lake but you can also SUP there from the north shore (takes roughly two hours). “I grew up in Canada and I’ve always loved going to lakes,” says Black Diamond and Hokkaido Backcountry Club owner Clayton Kernaghan. “Many years ago, I bought a small boat and got her on Lake Toya. The first day on Toya…wow, it blew my mind. I’ve seen great lakes back home but the water here is so clean, clear and warm in July to September.” What started off as a hobby became part of Clayton’s business, and now he offers wakeboarding and wakesurfing tours in summer. While Black Diamond and Hokkaido Backcountry Club has made its name as a

world-famous extreme backcountry, heli and CAT skiing operation, they also run Black Diamond Lodge, year-round budget accommodation at the base of Niseko Village. Additionally, they rent out eight-passenger vehicles which can be converted into camping vans for adventurous travelers wanting to explore Hokkaido on their own. “One of the unique things about Japan is each town has a michi no eki (roadside station). It has bathrooms, markets and big parking areas where you can park your van for free and even overnight,” says Clayton. “On weekends you see lots of camping vans parked at these stations: Japanese people exploring the country on their own with their family or friends. We want to offer foreigners this same experience.”

The NAC Trail Run was Hokkaido’s first trail run. The 30-kilometer run tackles uphill mountain and forest trails, log hopping and creek crossings, and even summits Annupuri twice. A shorter 10-km. course and 5-km. forest trail course are also available. It will be held on Sept. 9. As Niseko cools down in September, the 36th Niseko Marathon Festival, held on Sept. 16, is a refreshing run through Niseko’s hills. This event will host a 21-km. half marathon and 5-km. and 3.5-km. fun runs.



Local Art

Niseko gives off an artistic vibe with many residents being talented craftsmen, entrepreneurs and designers. With few places in Hokkaido focused on supporting young artists, Hokkaido native Kiyoe Hosokawa opened Kiyoe Gallery on the second floor of Aya Niseko Hotel. Kiyoe Gallery displays a stunning variety of ceramics, paintings, sculptures and installation art, mainly by Hokkaido artists. “Niseko is such an international location,” says Kiyoe. “I want to introduce our international visitors to the local art scene and Hokkaido culture, and have something they can look forward to when they’re here in summer.” Kiyoe Gallery will be hosting its second Aya Niseko Summer Art Festival from Aug. 3-13. This year, the festival will be themed “Nature” and feature artists including Kineta Kunimatsu. Aside from the festival, the gallery regularly holds artist workshops and koto concerts.

Somoza is a feast for the eyes. More gallery than restaurant, this Japanese-style cultural space designed by Shouya Grigg is a fusion of Japanese art, Ainu and northern Japanese culture and international elements. Built by elements from a 150-year-old farmhouse, Somoza sits on a cliff in the Hanazono area and guests are treated to a panoramic view of the valley and river below. “I came to Japan 25 years ago and went straight to Hokkaido,” Shouya remembers arriving with his bicycle and panniers. While studying film and photography back in Australia, Shouya learned about Japanese cinema and was awestruck by nature photographs taken in Hokkaido. “I knew I had to go there. I arrived in Hokkaido, didn’t know anybody, didn’t speak Japanese…so I just cycled.” While Shouya never felt at home in Western Australia, he immediately felt comfortable during his four-month cycle around Hokkaido, which

reminded him of his original home in Yorkshire, U.K. Today Shouya’s work reflects his first love for Hokkaido especially through his paintinglike photographs printed on washi paper and architectural designs at Somoza, where every nook and cranny is built with intention. Somoza is a three-story building with tearooms on the top floor, the main dining area on the first floor and Shouya’s studio downstairs. During the day, the venue serves lunch and tea and at night it is a fine dining establishment. Guests are given a tour of Somoza and its art collection. “I found designing Somoza similar to making a film, because I wanted to tell a story,” says Shouya. “First, you find a location, build a set— the building—then create the atmosphere using lighting and furniture. Then you have the crew, the staff, who helps you make the film happen. The cast is made up of guests who dine here. It’s a living film.”

d photog rapher an Shouya Grig g , a owner of Somoz




While the green season is quieter than winter, it’s still best to book ahead as hotels can get fully booked with international group tours or school groups. The more convenient parts of town to stay are near Niseko Village or Hirafu resorts. Closer to Niseko Station, Niseko Village is made up of three hotels: Kasara townhouses, the Hilton and Green Leaf. The Hilton and Green Leaf are convenient if you want to soak in a hot spring, as they both have in-house onsen baths. You can also go for a swim in Green Leaf’s yearround thermal pool. For bigger groups, Vacation Niseko manages luxury apartments, houses, townhouses and budget-friendly apartments in the heart of Hirafu. MUSE Niseko is a sleek, minimalist accommodation looking out towards Mt. Yotei. The more casual Kizuna a few blocks away is on Hirafu Zaka slope and close to NAC Adventure Park and Hirafutei if you want to have a drink at Toshiro’s Bar or take a dip in the hotel’s onsen.

Getting There

If you’re flying into Hokkaido, chances are you’ll be arriving at New Chitose Aiport, Hokkaido’s biggest airport. The best way to get to Niseko during the green season is to take the JR Rapid Airport line from the airport, change trains at Otaru Station and take the JR Hakodate Line to either Niseko or Kutchan Station. Most accommodation offers shuttle pick-up services from these stations.

Summer Events

Aug. 4: Niseko Town Tanabata Fireworks Festival Aug. 4: Kutchan Jaga Matsuri (Potato Festival) Aug. 18: Hirafu Festival Aug. 25: Niko Niko Niseko Village Festival September 13: 2018 Niseko Autumn Food Festival For more information on activities, accommodation and events, check out Niseko Tourism at www.nisekotourism.com or download their official app, “Niseko.” 



capes: s E o y k To

ummer S Camping Tokyo summers can be stifling—luckily it’s easy to escape the city for a cool break from the heat. Check out these great options in Shizuoka and Yamanashi that feature fun outdoor activities, stylish camping options, craft beer and some tasty outdoor cooking.



Camp or Glamp? Combining traditional camping and the recent trend of “glamping,” PICA Fujiyama has opened a brand new campsite for both outdoor enthusiasts looking to get closer to nature and those whose needs are more on the luxury end of the scale. Built right at the base of Mt. Fuji, the campsite spans 50,000 square meters with several accommodation options: a tent site, trailer cottages, luxury cottages and stylish glamping dome tents. With stunning views of Mt. Fuji, this campsite is also a short drive from the Fuji Five Lakes making it ideal for canoeing, kayaking, SUP and other refreshing water activities. Tours are also available, from easy walking trails around Mt. Fuji to self-guided hiking and lava cave adventures you can sign up for on Asoview (www.asoview.com).

Being nestled deep in the forest, PICA Fujiyama is also a perfect place for stargazing. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch the Perseid meteor shower on August 12. While campers can enjoy cooking at one of the barbecue stations outside, the on-site restaurant is also an option if you don’t have the energy. Inspired by “fire,” this Italian and French fine dining restaurant serves full course meals. Aside from Fujiyama, PICA Resorts also operates campsites across Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Kanagawa and Chichibu (Saitama) and owns a campsite on Hatsushima, an island off the coast of eastern Izu.

P ICA Fujiyama 6662-10 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-cho, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi-ken www.pica-resort.jp/fujiyama



Craft Camping Craft beer and the outdoors go hand in hand. When Baird Beer moved its brewery from sleepy Numazu to the more spacious grounds of the old KOA campground in Shuzenji four years ago, they always had it in their plans to revive the campground and cabins. A short drive away from the famous hot spring town of Shuzenji, Baird Beer stands on the banks of the Kano River, surrounded by hills and rice fields. Originally a small brew pub in coastal Numazu, Baird Beer outgrew itself in 2003 after turning on the Tokyo market to craft beer. Today Baird has several taprooms in Tokyo, Yokohama and Hakuba (Nagano), and has expanded to resort destinations such as Niseko and Nozawa Onsen, as well as recently opened its first overseas taproom in Los Angeles. This year, the brewery started operating Camp Baird outside their main building. Following their motto, “Celebrating nature,” Camp Baird encourages campers to embrace the region by going hiking, cycling, fishing and bird watching during the day then barbecuing and enjoying Baird beer at night. Even better, it’s just a few steps to sleep beneath the stars rather than having to trek all the way home. An easy trail hike connecting Izu’s Shizuura peaks, Mt. Hottanjoyama, Mt. Katsuragiyama and Mt. Joyama, is a half-hour drive away or a few stations from central Shuzenji. Mt. Hottanjoyama and Mt. Katsuragiyama

Camp Baird 1052−1 Odaira, Izu-shi, Shizuoka-ken camp.bairdbeer.com



offer spectacular views of Mt. Fuji and Suruga Bay, while Mt. Joyama’s cliff is popular for rock climbing. Single tent and camping van sites are available for ¥3,500 per night and ¥1,000 is charged per adult (20 years or older). This includes one Baird Beer drink from the taproom on the brewery’s third floor and access to shower facilities. All sites are close to grilling spaces, utensil cleaning areas, a central campfire, restrooms and Baird Beer dispense and enjoyment stations. The camp also hosts craft beer and autumn harvest festivals as well as events promoting local artisans and craftspeople. Camp Baird is open everyday except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. As Camp Baird is in its first year, the Baird Beer team is raising funds to improve the campground. This includes building The Outpost, a food and beer dispense cabin which will have a beer deck and men’s and women’s showers. They’ve started online crowdfunding, and depending on the amount donated, supporters will receive benefits including Camp Baird and beer vouchers and discounts and even a limited edition beer specially formulated for donators. To get involved, go to http://a-port.asahi.com/ projects/camp-baird.

Picnic in Style

Usami, a sleepy onsen and seafood town located on Izu’s northeastern coast, is home to Grand Cereus Village, Japan’s first “outdoor theme park” focused on picnicking. Launched by Gunma-based outdoor select shop Purveyors, this park serves up bento (Japanese lunch boxes) for visitors (although you are welcome to bring your own food). While their primary focus is eating al fresco, this pet-friendly park also has

a campsite with bathrooms located nearby. Rentals for tents, tarp and picnic supplies are also available. Their other fields overlook the ocean and Usami town. Also on site is Usami Craft Brewery and BBQ garden. During the harvest season, you can sign up for tangerine, blueberry and bamboo shoot picking. 

Grand Cereus Village 3506-2 Usami, Ito-shi, Shizuoka-ken grandcereusvillage.com




夏におこなわれるトレランのレ ース、ランズ& アーズ ツ

By Pauline Kitamura


en years ago, if you mentioned the word “trail running” in Japan, you probably would have received a blank stare. And if you tried to explain that people actually run up in the mountains, you would most likely have been called “crazy” or something similar. But today, there are trail running races, tours and clinics almost every weekend in Japan. With more than 400 races a year, and many new ones regularly popping up, trail running has become accessible to everyone (not just the crazy ones!) and has quickly grown in popularity.


年前に「日本でトレイル・ランニング」 という言葉を口にしたら、おそらく周 囲の人はあなたを驚いて見つめたかも しれません。さらに「山を駆け登る楽 しさ」をいくら説明してもきっとだれも理解しようしない で「狂ってる」とつぶやくか、それに類した言葉を発した ことでしょう。ところが、現在の日本では毎週のようにど こかでトレイル・ランニングのレース、ツアーやクリニッ クがおこなわれている盛況ぶりです。なんと年間で 400 レース、しかも新しいレースは増えつづけています。だれ にでもはじめやすいこのトレイル・ランニング(過酷なレー



Trail running is a great way to explore the beautiful nature of a country while getting away from the usual tourist spots. It’s a deeply moving way to experience the culture and genuine hospitality of rural Japan while meeting some like-minded people. Here are three popular races of varying distances and difficulty. All have website and race registration information in Japanese and English and even special slots allocated for international racers coming from overseas. We’ve also included a few trail running tours, seminars and clubs that

are another fun way to get to know other trail runners and join the trail running community in Japan. For those who are looking for an easy, fun summer trail to run without technically leaving Tokyo, we’ve even included a short trail guide to the Mitake area. Keep in mind summer trail running in Japan can be hot and humid even up in the mountains, so remember to bring lots of water with you—and jump in lots of water to cool off!

スは除く)はまたたくまに人気のスポーツとなりました。 トレラン(トレイル・ランニング)の魅力は、おざな りな観光スポットから離れて日本の自然の美しさを味わ えるところにあります。さらに日本の里山のような古い 文化や、そこに暮らす人々とも触れ合うこともできるのが 通常のマラソンなどとは違う魅力でしょう。 ということで距離や難度の違う有名なレースを 3 つ ほど紹介しましょう。どれも専用のウェブサイトが用意さ れていて、日本語と英語でエントリーもできるようになっ ています。また海外から訪れる選手のための特別枠も用 意してあります。さらにレースだけでなく、トレランのツ

アーやセミナー、そしてクラブなども紹介しています。日 本のトレイル・ランナーとの交流もまたこのスポーツの別 の楽しみ方といえるでしょう。 さらに東京からあまり離れたくないけれど、入門し ながら楽しめるトレイル・ランを探している人のために御 岳(みたけ)エリア(東京都青梅市)のトレイル・ガイド も含めました。このエリアは夏のトレランを楽しむのに最 高の場所です。ただ注意したいのは日本の夏のトレイル・ ランは高所でも蒸し暑いということです。だから水分補 給の水はかならず用意し、おもいっきり汗をかいたら川 に飛び込みましょう!

Kirishima Ebino-Kogen Extreme Trail

第 6 回 霧島・えびの高原 エクストリーム・トレイル

Southern Kyushu is well known for beautiful hot springs but also is a hidden gem when it comes to trail running. Deep within the Kirishima National Park lies peaceful, uncrowded trails, beautiful old-growth forests and, as you come out of the mountains and on to the hilltops, expansive jaw-dropping scenery that will stun even the most seasoned trail runner. The Kirishima EbinoKogen Extreme Trail is a fantastic summer race good for experienced runners, but welcomes trail running beginners with its generous time limits for both the short and long courses. Of course you’ll want to combine this race with a side trip to the area’s famous onsen hot springs for a perfect Kyushu trail running vacation!

南九州はすばらしい温泉で有名ですが、美しいトレ イル・コースがあることはまだあまり知られていません。 きりしま 霧 島国立公園の奥深くには静かで人の少ないトレイル があります。時間の長さを感じさせる美しい森、山や丘 を駆け登って眺める風景は四季を通して感嘆のため息 がでるほど雄大です。霧島・えびの高原エクストリーム・ トレイルは夏におこなわれる手応えがあるレースで、経 験をじゅうぶんに積んだランナー向きといえるでしょう。 もんこ しかし経験の浅いランナーにもこのレースは門戸を開い えんしん ていて、コースの長さに応じたタイムリミットの延伸が採 用されています。もちろんこのレースに合わせて九州を訪 れて有名な温泉を楽しむのも魅力です。パーフェクトな 九州トレラン旅行となるでしょう。

 July 21-22 (July 21: Race check-in and pre-race party; July 22: Race start)  E b i n o ( M i ya z a k i ) a n d K i r i s h i m a / Yu s u i (Kagoshima)  Long course: 63 km. (Elevation gain: 3,059m/ Time limit: 14 hours); Short course: 37 km. (Elevation gain: 1,900m/Time limit: 8 hours); Kids course: 3 km. (primary school students and younger)  Re g i st rat i o n : Fro m Fe b. 2 1 (ove rs e a s / international registration) http://universal-field.com/event/ kirishima-ebino-extr/en

 7 月 21 ~ 22 日(7/21 はレースのチェックインと前夜 祭;22 にレース開催)

 えびの高原(宮崎県)霧島/ゆすいん(鹿児島県)  ロングコース:63km(高低差:3059m /タイムリミッ

ト:14 時間);ショートコース:37km(高低差:1900m /タイムリミット:8 時間);キッズコース:3km(資格 小学生以下)  参加申込:2 月 21 日より(海外/外国人)

http://universal-filed .com/event/kirishima-ebinoextr/en



Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail The Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail (SFMT), also referred to as the “Shinetsu Gogaku” in Japanese, is now in its 10th edition and is one of the country’s most popular and iconic long distance trail races. Race producer Hiroki Ishikawa is a famous and well-respected trail runner who has played a pioneering role in establishing the sport of trail running in Japan. Hiroki is in charge of producing every inch of the race course and with over 90% single and double track trail and forest roads, he has been adamant in making it a trail runner’s ultimate dream course! The SFMT is considered by many to be one of Japan’s best trail courses and sells out within minutes every single year. Starting last year, a long-awaited 100mile category was added, making it one of the precious few “100 milers” in Japan.  Sept. 15-16 (Sept. 15: 100 miles; Sept. 16: 110 km.)  Myoko (Niigata), Shinano, Iizuna, Iiyama (Nagano)  100 miles (Elevation gain: 6,500m/Time limit: 32 hours); 110 km. (Elevation gain: 4,670m/Time limit: 22 hours)  Registration: June 6 (domestic and overseas/ international registration) www.sfmt100.com

Izu Trail Journey 2018 As the name suggests, this is not just a race, but a journey as well. A very long and tough but incredibly rewarding journey from sea to sky: 72 kilometers up and across the Izu Peninsula. The race has a dramatic start at the ocean, complete with the sound of waves crashing in the background. From there, it’s a patient and lungtesting upward grind. If you can make it past the cut-off points, you’ll then find yourself atop a high ridgeline looking way down at the ocean below. At this point, you’ll be tired but proud and satisfied knowing you’ve climbed more than 1,000 meters up sea level. The ridgeline trail is stunning with grand views of Mt. Fuji and the ocean. This race is the final championship for the Asia Trail Master series.  Dec. 8-9 (Dec. 8: Race check-in and briefing; Dec. 9: Race start)  Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka  72 km. (Elevation gain: 4,408m/Time limit: 14 hours)  Registration: June 10 (domestic and overseas/ international registration) www.izutrailjourney.com



長野/妙高 しんえつごがく 信越五岳トレイル・ランニングレース 信越五岳トレイル・ランニングレース(SFMT)は、 日本では「信越五岳」という呼び名で知られています。 この試合は今年 10 周年を迎えて、その意味でも日本で 知られる長距離レースのアイコン的な役割も果たして います。レースのプロデューサーである石川弘樹氏は日 本のトレイル・ランニングの草分けとして有名であるばか りでなく、多くの人々から深くリスペクトされています。 石川氏はレースコースの 90% 以上を細かく吟味し、トレ イル・ランナーならばだれもが夢見るようなコースをプロ デュースしています。したがってこの SFMT のレースは日 本のレースでベストのひとつに数えられ、出場参加の申 込は毎年数分でいっぱいとなります。昨年からは 100 マ イルのカテゴリーが設けられ、日本の希少な「100 マイ ラー」としてその地位を誇っています。 マイル、9/16 110km)  9 月 15 ~ 16 日(9/15 100 いいずな  妙高(新潟県)信濃町、飯綱町(長野県)  100 マイル(高低差 6,500m /制限時間 32 時間)、

110km(高低差 4,670m /制限時間 22 時間)  参加申込 : 6 月 6 日 (国内、海外、外国人) www .sfmt100 .com

静岡 伊豆トレイルジャーニー

その名称が示すとおりこれは一般的なレースとは 趣 が少し異なっています。つまりちょっとした旅気分が 味わえるといえるでしょうか。距離もあるタフなレース ですが、海から空へと向かって旅立つような気持ちが味 わえるのです。それは伊豆の山脈を 72km も走破するか らです。このレースは海の波が砕け散る音を背後に聞き ながらスタート、そこからは肺活量をテストされるよう りょうせん な登りの忍耐が待ち受けます。だが稜線にたどり着き、 太平洋を眼下に見たときには海抜 1,000m 以上も登り きった充足感に満足することでしょう。さらにそのトレイ ルからは富士山も眺めることができ、雄大さには圧倒さ れます。さらにこのレースはアジア・トレイル・マスターシ リーズの最終戦としても知られています。 おもむき

 12 月 8 ~ 9 日(12/8: チェックインと事前説明;12/9 : レース・スタート)  西伊豆(静岡県)  72km(高低差 4,408m /制限時間 14 時間)  6 月 10 日(国内、海外/外国人申込)

www .izutrailjourney .com

Other Races


While there are many other races in Japan, the above three races welcome international entries and have websites and registration available in English. Here’s a list of other trail running races in Japan (in Japanese only): http://trailrunner.jp/taikai.html

上 記 3 つのレースは海 外からのエントリーにも 寛容で、そのための英語のウェブサイトも用意されて います。もちろんそのほかにもたくさんのレースが日本 にあり、下記のウェブサイトから参照いただければと思 いますが、残念ながら日本語だけとなってしまいます。 http://trailrunner .jp/taikai .html


Mitake, located in the Okutama area in northern Tokyo, is an easily accessible area providing fun summer trail running. Here are a few courses suitable for beginners to intermediate trail runners. 東京の北部、奥多摩にある御岳はアクセスも楽で夏のトレイル・ランニングには最 高のエリアです。ビギナーから中級クラスのトレイル・ランナーが楽しめるコースがいく つかあります。

Mt. Mitake to Tsuru Tsuru Onsen Hot Springs  8 km. (approx.)

 3-5 hours

御岳山からつるつる温泉のコース  8km  3 ~ 5 時間 難度:初級者

Difficulty: Easy

Get off at JR Mitake Station (Ome Line) and take the bus from across the street (beside the Seven Eleven convenience store) to the bottom of the Mitake Tozan Railway (cable car) Station. From there you can walk—or take the cable car up to Mt. Mitake(御岳山)to save you from a very steep climb. Stop by the visitor center to pick up maps, then make your way to the sacred Mitake Shrine. From there, loop around the lovely “Rock Garden” trail and/ or head east towards Mt. Hinodeyama. Follow the trail signs towards Tsuru Tsuru Onsen. “Tsuru tsuru” means “silky smooth” and is how your skin will feel after taking a dip in this great onsen. http://mitaketozan.co.jp/eng2014  Yamato Kogen Map #23 - OKUTAMA


青 梅線 JR 御岳駅で下車し、道路向かいのコンビニ横からバスに乗り、御岳登 山レールウェイ駅(ケーブルカー)へ向かいます。そこから徒歩か体力温存でケーブル カーに乗車して御岳山頂上へ。ビジターセンターで地図をもらってから御岳神社にて 安全祈願のお参り。そこから愛らしいロックガーデンを巡り、東にある日の出山をめざ します。そこからはつるつる温泉の標識を頼りに進みます。ちなみにつるつるとは「肌が シルキーのようにスムース」という意味です。つまりここの温泉に浸かると肌がそんな感 じに美しくなるということです。 御岳登山レールウェイ http://mitaketozan .co .jp/eng2014  Yamato Kogen Map #23 - OKUTAMA


Nagaodaira Fork


Mt. Hinode 902m



Tsuru Tsuru Onsen

Mt. Mitake

SRTM Elevation (m)

Mt. Mitake





Mt. Mitake

Mt. Mitake

Mt. Hinode

Tsuru Tsuru Onsen

1000m 800m



600m 400m 200m 0m 0km






Distance (km)


たかみずさん Nagaodaira Fork

Mt. Takamizu to Mitake  3-5 hours

Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate SRTM Elevation (m) SRTM Elevation (m)

 11 km. (approx.)


Mt. Mitake


Get off at the JR Ikusabata Station (Ome Line) and head800m north along 600m the road. Follow the trail signs until you reach the trailhead for Mt. Takamizu, which heads steadily upward. At Mt. Takamizu, you’ll see an old400m shrine 軍畑駅 called 200m Ikusabata Sta. Takamizu Fudouson. From there, it’s just another half-hour climb0m to the top of Mt. Iwatakeishi at an elevation of 793 meters. Take the trail heading 0km south 1000m towards Mt. Sougaku and back down to the JR Mitake Station. After 800m reaching Mitake Station, cross the road for the foot bath just behind the600m convenience 400m store down to the river—a fantastic place to take a quick dip after a hot 245m 200m summer trail run!

高水山から御岳のコース 御嶽山



11km  3 ~ 5Mt. 約 Mitake 時間 Hinode難度:初級者~中級者 Tsuru Tsuru Onsen  Mt. 馬仏山

Mt. Mabotoke


JR 青梅線の軍 畑駅で下車し道路を北に向かいます。 標識を頼りに進むと高水山 惣岳山 常福院 902m 馬ぼとけ峠 の登山道入り口に着きます。 登山道はやや勾配があります。 Jyofukuin Temple Mabotoke ridge Mt. Sougaku高水山には古い神社、高 じょうふくいん りゅうがくじ ふどうそん まつ 御嶽駅無料駐車場 30 分ほど登 動尊)が祀られています。そこから 水山常 福 院 龍學寺(通称:高水山不 高源寺 岩茸石山 いわためいしやま そうがくさん Mitake Sta. Parking Kougenji Temple Mt. Iwatakeishi 793m の岩茸石山の頂上に着きます。 そこから進路を南に向かって惣岳山を ると標高 駅に着いたら近く のコンビニの裏側に川が流れてい めざし、 2km JR 御岳駅まで下山します。 4km 6km 8km 10km 御嶽駅 759m Distance (km) るから、そこで疲れた脚を冷やすといいでしょう。 夏のトレランのあとには最高ですよ。 929m



Mitake Sta.

723m 756m

Map #23 – OKUTAMA  Yamato Kogen Mt. Takamizu






 Yamato Kougen Map #23 - OKUTAMA Mt. Iwatakeishi 793m

Mt. Mabotoke


Mt. Sougaku

Kougenji Temple START

Ikusabata Sta.

Mitake Sta. Mitake Sta. Parking



Jyofukuin Temple

Mabotoke ridge



Ikusabata Sta.

Kougenji Temple


Mt. Sougaku


400m 200m



800m 600m




Mitake Sta. Parking

Mt. Iwatakeishi



Mitake Sta.

723m 756m

Mt. Takamizu

0m 0km




Mt. Takamizu Jyofukuin Temple

SRTM Elevation (m)

Mt. Mabotoke


Distance (km)






Distance (km)



Races are exciting and fun but if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing—or if you want to brush up on your trail running footwork and running endurance—join a trail running tour or seminar. Trail running clubs and groups are also a great way to meet new people and join the trail running community in Japan. レースはエキサイティングで楽しいけれど、でももっとリラックスして楽しめるものがあればもっといい。もし くはトレイル・ランニングのテクニックを磨くかエンデュランスを高める方法を知りたい。そんなふうに感じている 人がいたら、トレイル・ランニングのツアーやセミナーに参加してみるのはいかがでしょう。日本のトレイル・ラン ニングのコミュニティやいろいろな人と出会うには最高のチャンスです。

Fun Fun Trail Run


These trail running tours are open to women and men. Bilingual staff (Japanese/English) make it easy for anyone to join.

この楽しそうなトレラン・ツアーは、男性でも女性で も参加できます。またバイリンガルスタッフ(日本語/英 語)もいますから外国の方も安心して参加できます。

 July 7: Escape the summer heat with a trail run in Karuizawa, Nagano (22 km., intermediate)  July 29: Waterfall jump trail run in Okutama, Tokyo (10 km., beginner/intermediate)  Aug. 11-13: Mt. Fuji area 3-day trail running camp at Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi (10-15 km/ day, beginner/intermediate)  S ep. 9: Wine & Grapes Galore Trail Run in Katsunuma, Yamanashi (14 km., beginner/ intermediate)

7 月 7 日:長野県の軽井沢で夏の暑さから逃れよう!  (22km /中級者向き) 7 月 29 日:東京奥多摩で滝壺にジャンプ・トレイル・ 


(14km/ 初級・中級 向き )

Cinderella Trail Run


Check out these women-only trail running clinics.  Aug. 4-5: Coach Midori Hoshino  Sept. 29-30: Coach Corrine Williams  Nov. 3-4: Coach Chiyuki Mochizuki

女性専用のトレラン・クリニック 8 月 4 ~ 5 日:星野緑(ほしのみどり)コーチ  9 月 29 ~ 30 日:コリーン・ウィリアムス・コーチ  11 月 3 ~ 4 日:望月千幸(もちづきちゆき)コーチ 

Adventure Divas  (03) 6903-2577  info@adventure-divas.com www.adventure-divas.com


ラン(10km 初級/中級向き) 8 月 11 ~ 13:河口湖(山梨県)、富士山エリア 3 日  間トレラン・キャンプ(10 ~ 15km /日、初級・中級 向き) 9 月 9 日:ワイン&グレープトレラン、勝沼、山梨県 

Adventure Divas  03-6903-2577  info@adventure-divas .com www .adventure-divas .com

Runarx Running Company This running shop located in Kawaguchi, Saitama holds road running and trail running group clinics on both weekdays and weekends. Clinics are led by professional trail runner, Sota Ogawa and Team Salomon’s Kazumi Sugaya. Check the event calendar for the most recent clinic dates. Shop discounts are also available for clinic participants. Runarx Running Company  11:00-20:00 (closed on Mondays)  3-9-26 Saiwai-cho, Kawaguchi-shi, Saitamaken (a 15-minute walk from JR Kawaguchi Station)  (048) 235-0817  info@runarx.jp www.runarx.jp


埼玉県の川口市にあるこのランニング・ショップは ロード・ランニングとトレイル・ランニングのグループ・ク リニックを毎週開催しています。クリックを指導するのは プロトレイル・ランナーの小川壮太とチーム・サロモンの すがやかずみ 菅谷和巳。クリニックの開催日はイベントカレンダーをご 覧ください。さらにクリニック参加者は当店で買い物をさ れると特別割引が受けられます。 ルナークス・ランニング・カンパニー  11:00-20:00( 定休日月曜 )

 埼玉県川口市幸町 3-9-26(JR 川口駅から徒歩で 15 分)

 (048) 235-0817  info@runarx.jp www.runarx.jp


ウイメン・アウト・オン・トレイルス (WOOT)

The Okinawa chapter of WOOT is quite active and gets together on weekends and for races. It’s a great way to meet other trail runners and explore the trails in Okinawa. 

日 本 のトレラン・コミュニティとつながる方 法 としては、グループやクラブに参加するというのもあ ります。沖縄にある WOOT はメンバーと週末のレースな ど精力的に活動をおこなっています。沖縄でトレラン仲 間と出会いを求めていたらお勧めかもしれません。

www.womenoutontrails.com/okinawa  @wootrunning

www .womenoutontrails .com/okinawa/  @wootrunning



While you probably won’t encounter an elusive river sprite in the highlands of the Northern Japan Alps, you may feel a bit lightheaded from the refreshing thin air, remarkable vistas and mystical aura of the mountains and valleys in Kamikochi. 上高地と呼ばれる美しい高原を訪れれば、あの伝説の動物と出会うことはお そらくないだろうけれど、新鮮な空気で気分をリフレッシュできることだけは お墨付きだ。




ne of the joys of living in Japan for me at least is the array of literature one can consume. Over the years, Japanese writers have managed to immortalize in words almost the entire country, from the remotest village to the largest metropolis. The early chronicles of Japan, The Kojiki or Nihongi, have served as a kind of travelers’ guide for those with the patience to wade through the heavy text woven with myth and folklore. I love the writers of the Taisho and early Showa eras. They shed a light on the country’s struggle to meld modern western ideals with millennia of tradition as foreign to the Japanese, as the “barbarians” themselves. A master of using words to show the absurdity of the times, it was Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s book “Kappa” that first drew my attention to Kamikochi (upper highlands), nestled in the Hida mountain range in western Nagano. The story is a satirical look at life in Japan in the 1920s, seen through the eyes of a hiker who stumbled upon the dwellings of a kappa population while attempting to climb the peaks of Hotakadake (Northern Japan Alps). The hiker is in fact a patient in a psychiatric facility, that recanted his adventure to anyone who’d listen. The story goes into great detail to disclose the daily shenanigans of the kappa whose lifestyle seemed uncannily familiar.

本に住む私の楽しみのひとつは、この国の さまざまな文学作品に浸ること。長い年月 をかけて日本の作家たちは、人里離れた寒 村から大都市まですみずみにいき渡ったこ の国の文化を文字にして、永遠性を与えようと取り組ん できた。日本の初期の年代記としては、古事記や日本書 記がこの国の重層的な神話や民俗伝承を忍耐強く調べ ようとする者にとっては、さながら旅行ガイドブックのよ うな役割を果たしてくれた。 私が個人的に好んでいるのは大正時代から昭 和の初期の作家たちだ。彼らは数千年の伝統がある西 洋の観念が流入し苦悩する日本に光を当て、彼ら自身を 『無教養な人々』とした。 この不条理な時代を言葉で的確に表現したのが あくたがわ りゅうのすけ 文豪 芥 川 龍 之介だ。彼の代表作のひとつに『河童』 がある。この文学作品と出会った私は、上高地という高 ひ だ 原の存在を知った。そこは長野県の飛騨山脈にある。 さて、この小説はある登山者の目を通して語られ ほだかだけ ていて、1920 年代の日本を風刺している。穂高岳をめざ していた主人公である登山者が偶然に河童の住む集落 に紛れ込んでしまう、しかし登山者は精神病院の患者で あるため、彼の体験をだれも信じなかったというのがあ らすじである。この物語は 河童のいたずらなどの 日常の生活をきわ めて詳細に書き 表している。



A kappa is a kind of river sprite described as a turtle-like human with a beak and webbed feet. They have a small bowl on the head which must be kept moist at all times to ensure survival. They walk upright. They are experts in medicine and have known to extinguish fires in cases of emergency. They are not above eating us, so it is best not to actively seek them out. Every year, from late April until the end of October, Kamikochi teems with visitors from all over Japan—and the world—looking for respite from their daily drudgery, or simply to enjoy one of the nation’s most picturesque vistas. From the entrance near Taisho Pond, you can almost follow by eye the Azusa River with its brilliant blue waters, as it winds its way up to the Hotaka Range smattered with ever-present snow much like icing on a cake. In autumn, clouds lazily hang just above the valley, seemingly separating it from the mountains, giving the impression the peaks may well be home to the gods. During the warmer months, in the morning you are often greeted by a mist, slithering its way through the valley, adding mystery to every step you take and enticing you to see something in the shadows: a kappa perhaps. If you want to do nothing more than soak up the ambiance while enjoying the view with good food and friends, then you need do little more than get off the bus at the terminal near Kappabashi (Kappa Bridge). From there you can enjoy the quintessential view while sipping on a local brew and munching down some firegrilled trout or sanzoku-yaki, a kind of crunchy fried chicken that goes down really well with beer. On the other hand, you can follow the trails up to camping grounds and lodges closer to the mountains, eventually trekking and climbing the peaks. Kappabashi is the centerpiece of the Kamikochi experience. There are numerous hotels, a camping ground, and eateries. Day trippers can enjoy a bath at a number of hotels before leaving in the evening. Prices range from ¥600 to ¥2100, so choose carefully. The Alpen Hotel is the cheapest and closest to the bridge, so it might be your best bet if you’re on a tight schedule and budget.



さて河童とは川に住む妖精のような存在で、亀人 間とでも表現できるくちばしや水かきがある想像上の 動物だ。頭上にはくぼみがあり、そこをつねに湿らせて おかなければ生存できない。人間のように二足歩行もで きる河童は薬草にも精通し、不測の火事が起きたときの すべ た 消化の術にも長けている。その気になれば人間を襲って いと 食べることも厭わないから、彼らをむやみに捜しだそうと はしないほうがいいと伝えられている。 毎年 4 月から 10 月にかけて、日本だけでなく世界 中からの観光客が上高地を訪れる。彼らは日々の生活 め から逃れ、世界にも誇る上高地の美しい自然を愛でて、 いや 日々の生活で溜まった疲れを癒す。上高地への入り口 たいしょういけ 近くには大正池があり、その美しさには思わず目を奪わ あずさがわ れてしまう。池に流れ込む梓川の青く透きとおった美し い清流、見上げれば粉砂糖のような万年雪を蓄える穂 高連峰がそびえ立っている。秋が近づくと渓谷には雲が 居座って下界とを隔てるために、頂上はまるで神々の住 処であるかのような雰囲気を醸し出す。温暖な季節の朝 は霧に包まれ、渓谷につづく山道は滑りやすくなるだけ でなく、一歩一歩進むたびに物陰に河童が潜んでいない かと不安な気持ちにさせる。 もし上高地で仲間と日光浴や食事を楽しみたいと 思っているならば、バスで河童橋まで足を伸ばしてみる といい。そこでは、まさに高原と呼べる風景を愛でなが ます にわとり ら炭火で焼いた鱒や海賊焼きという鶏の唐揚げを地ビー ルとともに賞味することができる。さらに山道を進むと キャンプ場や山荘も完備していて、河童橋はトレッキング や山の頂上をめざす登山者の玄関口になっている。 つまり河童橋は、上高地を楽しむためのいわばラン ドマークのような存在だ。有名なホテルやキャンプ場や 軽食堂の施設も周辺にある。日帰りで訪れてもホテルの 温泉を楽しんでから夕方家路につくことができる。入浴 料は 600 円から 2100 円といろいろあるから、事前の確 認をしたほうがいい。ザ・アルペンホテルは手頃な料金 で河童橋からも近いから、予算や旅程に余裕がない人 にはお勧めだ。

Local maps can be picked up from the visitor center near the bus terminal. They have good information on routes and can give you a heads up on any wildlife you may encounter. The area is alive with Japanese macaques. They aren’t shy and will go about their business for the most part, even venturing pretty close to people. Please don’t let your desire for a good Instagram shot overrule common sense. They are wildlife and should be treated with respect, particularly when carrying young. They can be aggressive and defensive when provoked. The main hiking trails are a good two-hour round trip by foot either heading towards the mountain range or back to the Taisho Pond (you’ll pass it on the way in). There are routes that follow the river, or weave through the forest and former grazing fields. While the cattle have long since left, the paddocks become a fiesta of flowers in the summer months of June and July. They are easy trails and not taxing on kids or elderly visitors. Pack yourself lunch and spend the day strolling the routes, giving yourself plenty of time to fully relish the experience.

バ スターミナル の 近くにはビ ジター センター が あり、そこで 上 高 地 の 地 図 を 手 に 入 れることが できる。そのスタッフは上高地に詳しく、山道のルートや 遭遇する自然についてもいろいろアドバイスしてくれる。 さらにこの地域は日本猿の生息地でもある。猿たちは 臆病ではなく人間が近づいてきても平気だが、だからと いってむやみに接近してインスタグラムのための写真を 撮ろうとはしないでほしい。彼らの生態を尊重し刺激を 与えないようにしたい。とくに子供を抱いた親猿は神経 質になっているから注意してほしい。子供を守ろうと過 激な反応を示すときがあるからだ。 ハイキングのトレイルで代 表 的なのは山間 部に 向かうか、もしくは大正池に戻る徒歩で往復2時間の コース。道筋は川に沿って歩くか、かつては牧草地だっ た林間を抜けるコースがある。牧場が閉鎖し、長い時間 が経過したおかげで初夏には花が咲き乱れる。このトレ イルは歩きやすく、子供や年配の人にも優しい。昼食を 携行してこのトレイルを、時間をかけて一日楽しむのもい いだろう。



Taishiro Shitsugen on the way to or from the Taisho Pond is a small marshland alive with flowers during the summer. Taisho Pond is a result of Mt. Yakedake erupting back in 1915. This led to a natural damming of the river which in turn led to a forest swamp. It is closest to the Kamikochi entrance and affords a spectacular view of the valley in its entirety. When the sky is reflected off the waters, it can take your breath away.


田代湿原 田代湿原は田代池がある湿原で夏は さまざまな花が咲く。


田代池 やけだけ 1915 年 の 焼 岳 の 噴 火 に よ っ て で きた池。自然のダムによって川の水が 溜まり沼地となった。上高地の入り口 から近く、すばらしい景色がこの付近 の渓谷全体に広がっている。ここの水 面に青空が映ったときの光景は息を飲 むほどの美しさだという。



Myojin Pond in the opposite direction is a solid 70 to 80-minute walk from the main visitors area. It is much more solemn and tranquil as it is right at the feet of the mountain range, hence darker. It is home to a shrine, and the pond sports a jetty and a small boat that is used in Shinto festivals in October. The waters are pristine, and you can easily see the trout that will most probably be caught and served up at the small outdoor eatery nearby. This is the best place to eat trout freshly grilled on open fire. To really enjoy the magic, stay overnight and soak up the stars and the moonlight. The view takes on a new character that can only be enjoyed after the hordes have left and the dust settles. The weather changes quickly. Wear layers that can be quickly removed and added and wear strong walking shoes and carry rain gear as rainfall is a frequent occurrence.


明神池 明神池へは観光客が集まるエリア から 70 ~ 80 分の登山が必要。 その代わりに静かで暗く、荘厳さ しんとう が保たれている。ここは神 道の神々が 宿る場所でもあるが、桟橋やボートで遊ぶことができ、 10 月には毎年神道の祭りが催される。池の水は澄ん でいて、鱒が泳いでいるのも見える。鱒は近くの食堂で 賞味できる。炭火で焼く新鮮な鱒を食べるならばここが ベストだ。圧巻なのが夜空の満天の星だ。しかし最近、 この星空が有名になりすぎて、静かに満喫できないかも しれない。天候は変わりやすいから丈夫な登山靴とレイ ンウェアなどの携行はかならず準備したい。

Getting There Main access is by bus from either Takayama or Matsumoto. From Takayama Bus Center take the bus bound for Kamikochi. You’ll transfer to a special bus at Hirayu Onsen, which takes you to the Kamikochi Terminal (¥5,190 return/¥2,730 one-way) From Matsumoto you can take e i t h e r t h e t ra i n o r a b u s ( ¥4 , 5 5 0 return/¥2,450 one way). There are ticket machines at Matsumoto Station with English instructions. If you drive, cars can be parked at either Sawando or Hirayu (¥600/day), and you can take a bus from there. The bus costs anywhere from ¥800-¥1,250 depending on where you get on/off. Buses run every 30 minutes subject to seasonal changes. Buses also run directly to Kamikochi from many major cities. Accommodation prices vary throughout the year, so check the booking sites to find the best time to fit your budget. 

上高地へのアクセス たかやま

高 山 市 か 松 本 市 か ら の アクセ ス が 一般的。高山市からはバスセンターで上高 ひ ら ゆ 地 行きに乗る。平 湯 温 泉で 特 別 バスに乗 り換える方 法もある( 往 復 5,190 円 /片道 2730 円)。松本市からは電車かバスがある ( 往 復 4,550 円/片道 2,450 円)。松 本 駅 に券売機があり、英語の説明もある。 車でむかう場 合は、沢 渡(さわんど) か 平 湯 に 車 を 駐 車(1 日 600 円 )して、バ スに乗り換える。バスの料金は 800 円から 1,250 円で、乗った距離による。バスは 30 分 おきに循環しているが、季節で異なる。大都 市から上高地への直行バスもある。宿泊は値 段が季節によって異なるから、事前のチェック をして予算を考慮に入れよう。



By Rie Miyoshi


s summer rolls in, holidaymakers from the world over flock to the Mediterranean—particularly Greece and Italy—for sun, sea and sand. The region has a rich history that spans more than 3,000 years and terrain ranging from jagged mountains to rolling plains to arid islands—and some of the world’s finest wine and cuisine. It’s no wonder the area thrives on tourism. Anyone who has visited will tell you it’s nearly impossible to take in Greece and Italy in one trip. However, many do and end up battling crowds at famous landmarks and spending nights at the same trendy spots in town. Veer off the path and you’ll discover it’s not hard to find some great adventures and the real Mediterranean experience.

Aegean Adventures

The isolated island of Folegrandros is a great starting place to find an authentic Greek experience. The charming, laid-back island is home to just over 700 residents. Lying on the southern edge of the Cyclade Islands, it has no airport and its one port at Karavostasi only welcomes ferries; no major cruise ships stop here. Like many remote villages, Folegandros has had its share of young adults leaving to chase their dreams in big cities on the mainland. Yet for a handful of outdoor enthusiasts, divers and tour operators—including Aegean Outdoors— Folegandros is home sweet home. “Being Greek, and growing up in Greece, you see more of what this country has to offer than the standard recipe of sun, sand and beaches,” says Epameinondas “Nondas” Iliadis, founder of Aegean Outdoors. “I want people to see both the



touristy and non-touristy spots from the eyes of an adventurer. At hidden gems like Folegandros, you can feel the energy of our country as you discover history while doing your favorite outdoor activities. We hope travelers can pass on this energy to their families and friends back home.” A passion for the outdoors and a strong commitment to sustainable tourism is at the heart of Aegean Outdoors. Working with local small businesses, guides, hotels and eateries, they promote Greece as a year-round outdoor destination and offer sea kayaking, rafting, hiking, cycling, diving and sailing day trips and multi-day tours. These experiences are made more special by the guides, who not only share an insider perspective but also stories of ancient Greek history and mythology you might otherwise miss. The journey through Folegrandos follows

the one road across the island. The first stop from the port is the main hub of Hora. This settlement is a photographer’s dream with its quintessential Cycladic, whitewashed buildings and bougainvillea spilling out of windows. Meandering alleys lead to open-air squares and cobblestone streets made out of Folegandros shale give off a sea green sheen. Most of the island’s accommodation and taverns are based here. The zigzagging trail leading up to the Church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) perched dramatically on a hill is an iconic image of Folegandros. This trail starts from Hora and is an easy 15 to 20-minute walk up. Head back down into Hora and continue north along the road to Ano Meria. During the 1930s when Greece was under dictatorial rule, exiles found and settled on this island,

taming Folegandros’ rugged soil and braving minimal rainfall and harsh winds by building terraced farmland lined with strong stone walls. Hidden within the rocky terrain are trails leading to beaches, anemomilos (windmills) and one-room churches. Stop at Irini—a mini grocery store and restaurant. The shop owner, Irene, welcomes guests while sitting at one of the tables cutting grape leaves. It feels like you’ve stepped into someone’s kitchen for a home-cooked meal. Matsata (Greek pasta ribbons) with lamb and tomato-based sauce and stuffed bell peppers are Irene’s trademark dishes, flavored by the island’s sage, thyme, oregano, capers, olives and lemons. The meal ends with complimentary Greek yogurt topped with honey-soaked raisins.



Folegandros may only span 32 square kilometers, but there’s still plenty to explore if you take a boat along the coast, where you’ll often have beaches and snorkel spots all to yourself. Don’t miss the caves, which are only accessible by sea. From the outside, Georgitsi looks like a regular cave, but dive beneath and you’ll find rich underwater flora, small groupers and crabs at the entrance. Inside, stalactites thousands of years old hang low from the ceiling. The cave water has a luminescent azure glow similar to Italy’s Blue Grotto (minus the long wait and crowds).



Tucked below the sea cliff where the Church of Panagia stands is Chrisospilia (Golden Cave). Shrouded in history and mystery, and covered in ancient engravings, Chrisospilia is said to be one of the oldest and largest caves in Greece. The only way to reach Chrisospilia is by swimming from the boat to the base of the “Hellenic Steps,” an archaic stairway leading 30 meters up to the cave entrance. This short swim is easy when calm but can be dangerous if the north wind is blowing, as strong currents push you towards jagged rocks.

Unless you have special authorization to this protected archaeological site, this is as far as you are allowed to go. But gazing upon the crumbling steps is worth the effort. Archaeologists have unearthed Roman cisterns and human bones in Chrisospilia’s first chamber. The second chamber contains stalactites and engravings dating back to 400 B.C. The names belong to young men who, as part of a religious coming-of-age ceremony, proved their bravery by reaching the cave, then carved their names into the ceilings and walls. There are about 400 names recorded here.

For first-time travelers to Greece, Aegean Outdoors arranges a well-rounded yet unique view of the country that includes Folegandros, Athens and Santorini. Instead of your typical Athens bus tour and rushed gawking at the Parthenon, soak in this Hellenic city with some urban hiking up Athens’ undisturbed hills for varying views of Acropolis. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a wedding at a local Greek Orthodox church. While luxury travel magazines and Instagrammers have overly hyped Santorini, the picturesque island and romantic sunset views from Oia make it well worth the visit. During the day, kayak along the southern coast to gaze upon sheer white marble cliffs. Popular stops only accessible by boat include Red Beach, White Beach and Black Beach. After working up an appetite, join a cooking course at a local home to make kitchen favorites like tzatziki yogurt sauce, eggplant moussaka and shrimp saganaki . For more information visit www.aegeanoutdoors.com.



The Mediterranean Diet

While most visitors to Italy flock to Amalfi and Capri, locals escape to the quieter mountain villages and seaside towns of Cilento National Park, a two-hour drive from central Naples in southern Italy. In 2010, Cilento was recognized as home to the Mediterranean Diet, a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage. This diet was named by American physiologist Ancel Keys, who was studying the correlation between dietary patterns and heart disease. He eventually settled in Cilento after discovering the locals’ longevity and high quality of life due to their healthy diet and lifestyle choices. To introduce the region’s outdoors and cuisine, Cilento native Luisa Cavalier started La Giacaranda, a bed-and-breakfast located in the national park. Standing little under five feet tall while filling up your plate with more pasta, Luisa Cavaliere may seem like your typical Italian aunt. But this enterprising 70-year-old is a renowned feminist columnist and a chef incorporating French recipes to Campania cuisine after training under famed French chef Alain Ducasse. Named after the giacaranda tree in the middle of the courtyard, this B&B combines the



best of Cilento. Located in Castellabate with its close proximity to the mountains and ocean, the B&B features a wide variety of programs primarily focused on farm-to-table experiences: cooking courses, guided hiking, olive picking (for olive oil), organic farm visits and sailing. Genuini Cilento is located in the mountaintop town of San Mauro, just a 30-minute drive from Castellabate. It operates cooking and pasta-making classes out of a castle, making you feel like royalty as you sit down to eat your well-deserved meal. On special mornings, Michelin-star chef Renato Martino may take you to the fresh market. After selecting the catch of the day and local produce, he’ll teach you to cook a full-course meal back at La Giacaranda. The B&B is also close enough for day trips to World Heritage Sites Paestum, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast. To get to Cilento, you’ll probably fly into Naples, which has the region’s biggest airport and train station. While well-meaning relatives may tell you to beware of pickpockets and muggings, the reality is Naples is a bustling metropolitan town attracting artists and students. The food choices are endless, with stand-up bars serving espresso strong enough to keep you

running all day, bakeries on every corner and— as the birthplace of pizza—restaurants serving thin-crust pizzas oozing with fresh tomatoes and melted Mozzarella. The densely populated neighborhood of Rione Sanità is said to have some of the most authentic Neopolitan pizzas. Pizzerias like Ciro Oliva Concettina ai Tre Santi maintain tradition and quality, only using ingredients approved by Presidia, the international slow food association. But more than that, it is part of its local community movement to gentrify Rione Sanità. Like any major city, Naples has low-income neighborhoods where juvenile crime and drugs are a reality. The Cooperativa La Paranza project was started in 2009 to help struggling youth. Since then, it has created 50 jobs, social services and recreational facilities, run by the youth of Rione Sanità. Part of this program is the restoration of the Catacombs of San Gennaro and San Gaudioso, a major religious and archaeological site dating back to the fourth century. The catacombs can be accessed from the Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità, the district’s main cathedral. Travelers will be contributing to this project by visiting and can also choose to donate.

Wine and Waves

No Italian journey is complete without wine. Take a high-speed train from Naples up to Florence—the main hub of the Tuscany wine country— then jump on a local train to Pontedera, home of Castellani Vineyards. Family-owned since 1903, the vineyard and winery owns six estates across Tuscany. Fifth-generation owner Piergiorgio Castellani is a tanned, humble man of many hats: vintner, actor, traveler, producer and surfer. While the Italian surf scene has gone mostly unnoticed, in 2012 environmentalist/artist Chris del Moro and filmmaker Jason Baffa flew to Italy to document Chris’ story as a surfer growing up between California and Tuscany. The next year, they released the travel film Bella Vita (“Beautiful Life”). The film blends surf subculture in its adolescence with Italian craftsmanship, family ties, art and wine. As one of the producers, Piergiorgio appears in the film introducing Tuscan wine culture during harvest season. Surfing, wine and art

connect him with Terra Mater and he keeps his vineyards as environmentally friendly as possible, adopting ways to minimize chemical usage. Wires laced with a natural “pesticide” from Japan (pheromones to disrupt insect communication) are placed along vines. Another vineyard thrives because it is built on land rich with calcium from natural shell fossils in the soil—even though the land is miles away from the ocean. He has also applied his personal passion for surfing and art to modernize the Castellani brand and his neighborhood. A friend of the late mural artist Keith Haring, Piergiorgio collaborated with Keith to create Murale Tuttomondo, now the second most popular attraction at Pisa after the Leaning Tower. He also launched an artist residency program at one of his villas, where artists can stay for free, create artworks and hold an exhibition at the end of the stay. “We wanted to keep the Bella Vita project living, to celebrate our friendship…so we decided to make Bella Vita in 4D!” laughs Piergiorgio. Named after Jason Baffa’s on-set nickname,

Ziobaffa is an Italian-Californian collaboration between Jason Baffa and Castellani Vineyards. Inspired by surf and the environment, they currently produce a Toscana Rosso, Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. Crafted in a zero-waste facility, this organic wine maintains the region’s wine standards while staying affordable. “We want this wine to be for everyone—and for people to think about the environment while drinking it,” says Piergiorgio. Ziobaffa’s main consumers are from the United States, but it has started hitting stores and the surf scene in Japan especially after the team visited Tokyo, Kanagawa and Osaka during the Bella Vita tour last autumn. Visitors can follow Chris’ footsteps when they visit Pontedera by joining the exclusive Bella Vita tour, led by Piergiorgio himself. You won’t find this information online. To arrange a Bella Vita tour or stay at La Giacaranda, contact Sayaka Maniwa who organizes tours in September and October. If interested e-mail sayakamaniwa0831@gmail.com. 



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