Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) down the Shiribetsu River in Hokkaido
Japanese culture is characterized by a deep reverence for nature and the natural world, emphasizing the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Nature is considered sacred and is believed to be inhabited by various “kami", or spirits, which can be found in natural elements such as mountains, rivers, trees, rocks, and animals. Japanese animism has been popularized through the films of Hayao Miyazaki and his signature films “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke” and, while 70% of the Japanese may not be part of institutional religion, there remains a deep spirituality in Japanese society. Japan is currently one of the hottest destinations for travel, however, the incredible nature offered by the country is as yet largely undiscovered. Within an hour or so of Tokyo, lies tropical islands of the south and snowy peaks of the north, and the opportunity to tap into Japan’s relationship with nature.
Kammui is a platform that provides direct and seamless access to Japan’s nature through the country’s top guides, curating authentic nature-based experiences that span a wide range of activities, including meditation, yoga, backcountry skiing and snowboarding, surfing, SUP, and various other immersive escapes into nature.
With the rise of the digital world, Kammui believes there is a need to reaffirm our connection with nature. Scientific research continues to support that a connection with nature yields significant physical and mental health benefits. Kammui’s mission is simple: to forge authentic pathways back to nature, fostering well being, spirituality and sustainability.
Kammui was launched by Japanese-British entrepreneur Max Mackee in 2022, inspired by his love for backcountry snowboarding. Max originally discovered Japan’s mountains while working as a lawyer in the high pressure corporate world, where his time in nature was critical in dealing with stress and achieving balance.
Japan’s mesmerizing natural landscapes are amongst the world’s finest, and Kammui.com capitalizes on this in a genuinely authentic way, matching global adventure seekers with intentional and authentic experiences that are beautifully blended with Japanese culture.
Selected Kammui Experiences and Guides
Zen Buddhist monk, Toryo Ito, leading a 'zazen' mediation experience at Ryosokuin Temple, Kyoto
Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. Toryo Ito is a Zen Buddhist monk residing at Ryosokuin, a small temple in the pagoda of Kenninji in Kyoto, Japan and offers meditation in the beautiful garden and surroundings.
Through Kammui, Toryo offers private Zen meditation experiences in the incredible Ryosokuin temple with its beautiful Japanese gardens. His easy-to-understand explanations make it easy for first-timers to experience zazen meditation.
The Shiga prefecture is a stone's throw from Kyoto and surrounding Japan’s largest lake, Shiga is full of ancient festivals and outstanding nature. Hiromichi Murata is a mountain guide and Zen monk offering unique outdoor experiences combining outdoor nature activities with an authentic Zen meditation experience.
The interior of Seiryo-ji Temple in Hikone, Shiga prefecture
For this two night experience, travellers stay at Hikone Seiryo-ji Temple, an ancient Zen temple where the great Zen master Ii Naosuke visited, and experience authentic Zen meditation. In the spring and summer he combines activities like river climbing and canyoning, highlighting the spiritual relationship Japanese have with nature.
Found near the historical area of Kamakura, Hayama is an idyllic seaside retreat that is popular with Tokyoites during the humid summer months. Yuki Muto is based in Hayama and represented Japan in worldwide freediving competitions from 2011 to 2021 and holds an official depth record of -62m in CWT freediving. Through her freediving and skin diving school in the Miura Peninsula, about an hour from Tokyo, she works to promote the wonders of freediving and the aquatic world with her diving experiences.
Encounter dolphins and other aquatic animals through a skin diving experience in the seas around Miura Peninsula, Kanagawa
Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido is home to the Ainu, indigenous people who have a deep respect for nature and believe God is found everywhere. Masao Okumoto is a self-proclaimed leading "trout bum” based in Hokkaido, who has been fly-fishing since the age of 27, traveling back and forth between overseas and Hokkaido for many years. He contributes to magazines, writes serials, and produces videos to raise money and experience the best of the local fly fishing scene. Hokkaido is on the bucket list of flyfishers around the globe and his two day fly fishing and camping experience is a must for serious flyfishers.
Masao Okumoto fishing in the rivers around Daisetsuzan and the Hidaka Mountains of Hokkaido
Kenta Yamada is a Japanese National SUP Champion, also based in Hokkaido, who guides visitors around the incredible beauty of Hokkaido's lakes and oceans by SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard), an activity that can be enjoyed at all levels.
Japanese National SUP Champion Kenta Yamada
Japan's southernmost prefecture, Okinawa is a chain of islands with its own history as an independent kingdom and a distinctly subtropical climate. Teppei Hentona was born in Okinawa and decided to become a shipbuilder after encountering a traditional wooden sailboat, Sabani, on Ishigaki Island when he was 33 years old.
Teppei Hentona on a traditional Sabani wooden sailboat
Teppei aims to convey the charm of Sabani wooden sailboats to the wider world and to different generations. With this goal in mind, he builds ships as a shipbuilder and also operates a Sabani sailing tour as a captain's guide using a ship he built himself.
A snowboarder carving down slopes made from Japan's famous powder snow
In the winter months, Kammui works with Japan’s leading backcountry ski and snowboard guides in Japan to offer incredible experiences in Japan’s famous powder snow.
For those seeking an even more curated and personalized experience, the company now offers Kammui+. The centrepiece of Kammui+ is the concierge service where members access a dedicated team of experts creating tailor made itineraries.
Kammui+ members can also access a number of exclusive member-only properties, such as Tokyo Classic Camp and Sunset Park Club, and are eligible for discounts from a large selection of outdoor brands, hospitality providers and service providers (e.g. van camping rental).
Camping in the forests of Japan
James Beard award winning chef, Stuart Brioza, State Bird Provisions San Francisco, is the first Kamumui+ ambassador, who worked closely with the Kammui+ concierge team to create an outdoor adventure and culinary exploration throughout Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. This itinerary includes visits with local farmers, hunters and fishermen, cheese makers, chefs and leading wineries and distilleries, while including outdoor nature experiences such as cycling, hiking and canoeing through the islands vast wilderness experience of Hokkaido.
The Kammui Team
Kammui is proud to be backed by a number of influential individuals in the Japanese culture scene, including designer and artist Hiroshi Fujiwara, soccer star and investor Keisuke Honda, renowned product designer Ian Spalter, notable economist Jesper Koll and many more.