In 2006 I returned from London to Tokyo and fell in love with backcountry snowboarding. I did not know it then, but that moment started me on my long path to Kammui.
Japan has the most incredible backcountry snowboarding in the world. Climbing these mountains in the silence of winter was a form of meditation before I had understood what meditation was. Riding down the mountains was a form of mindfulness before I had heard of that term.
My love for backcountry snowboarding helped me realise how important nature was for both my body and mind. When I was working as a lawyer on intense deals, being in nature helped me manage my stress and anxiety. When my marriage fell apart, nature helped keep things in perspective. Now the time I spend in nature has become an integral part of my life. When I get distracted by the digital world, nature returns me to what is real. My time in nature is now the most important element of my life for health, happiness and spirituality.
This discovery is not particularly new.
According to both Shinto tradition and indigenous Japanese culture, divine spiritual power infuses animate and inanimate objects, from humans and trees to rivers and rocks. Our relationship with nature is also an integral part of Zen buddhism. A growing body of scientific evidence reveals that our physical and mental health are both dependent on maintaining connection to the outdoors.
I consider myself extremely lucky to live in Tokyo. Not many people realise that Tokyo is one of the greatest cities in the world to access nature. We have nearly everything we need in close proximity, from the tropical islands of Okinawa to the mountains of Hokkaido.
But despite this proximity, I was surprised to see many of my friends fail to take advantage of these opportunities. I realised I was in a fortunate small group of people who had access to life-changing and awe-inspiring experiences. Who doesn’t want to share a sunset like this, with the moon rising over Mt Fuji, with friends ?
Giving others access to these awe inspiring experiences I enjoyed became the founding inspiration for Kammui.
Throughout my journey, I met a wide range of inspirational guides including snowboard guides who taught me how to survive avalanches, but also had an inspirational outlook on life in general. No service existed that featured and introduced them properly, with the guides at the centre. So I decided to build this service: Kammui.
At Kammui, I am honoured to be working with an incredible team and the most inspirational guides and operators in Japan. We’re working with them to offer you the best experiences in nature and, over the longer term, create a more sustainable ecosystem in this space.
Put very simply, Kammui is about our love for nature and using technology to connect more people to awe-inspiring, life affirming experiences in the outdoors. I hope we can inspire many people to experience nature in ways that they didn’t realise they could.
The Zen Buddhist Monk, Toryo Ito, is interviewed by Max Mackee from Kammui
Having an experienced friend as a guide, I started my life in the backcountry. Instead of meeting in the city, I wish I could ask my friends to come to the snowy mountains.
Actor Shota Matsuda, who grew up skiing as a child, talks about the allure of the backcountry and why he skis and climbs. From his relationship with nature to his favorite ski gear. Interviewed by backcountry buddy, Max Mackee from Kammui. (Part.2)
Actor Shota Matsuda, who grew up skiing as a child, talks about the allure of the backcountry and why he skis and climbs. From his relationship with nature to his favorite ski gear. Interviewed by backcountry buddy, Max Mackee from Kammui. (Part.1)
The interesting aspect about the wilderness is how you control risks - Kazue Oshiro, International Mountain Doctor
Interview with Dr. Kazue Oshiro, international mountain doctor, the positive impact of nature on humans.
The report of Kammui launch event in Nozawa Onsen, September 2022.
Swimming freely through coral forests with sea turtles, reaching depths of up to 100 metres in the ocean, Tomoka Fukuda is based in Okinawa. We talked to her about the charms of Okinawa and freediving as a form of meditation.
Outdoor in nature to take my kids with. Small mountains, forest trails, the hills near us. Pleasure of seeing places from a different perspective.
"Don't be surprised when a dead tree blooms, be surprised when a fresh tree blooms"—Takuya Tabira, Yakushima Island
Guide through deep in the heart of Yakushima, World Natural Heritage Site, the Jomon cedars, moss-covered forests and mountains rising high above the sea.
Backcountry snowboarding, mystical mountains, the tropical islands around Okinawa. We have everything we need in close proximity to Tokyo. My path to finding Kammui.