Adventure Travel World Summit 2021: Pack Your Virtual Bags for Adventures in Japan

1 September 2021

The Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) is the largest annual event hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) in partnership with different host destinations each year.  Summit is known for bringing a community of adventure professionals and enthusiasts together to build business connections, hear from inspiring keynote speakers, and collaborate with peers on industry-relevant topics.

One of the many reasons Summit stands apart from other travel trade conferences is that it provides an opportunity to experience adventurous destinations through pre-arranged adventures, called Day of Adventure, which is included in the delegate registration price. Pre-Summit Adventures are also typically offered as multi-day, hosted or paid, opportunities to get familiar with the destination in the week before the event.

The upcoming Adventure Travel World Summit Virtual, 20-24 September 2021, will offer a virtual adventure experience and provide opportunities to discover all that Japan has to offer in an entirely new way. Adapting the planned Pre-Summit Adventures into virtual adventure experiences allows delegates to still experience the amazing multi-day adventures in Japan every day during the Virtual Summit. The ATTA storytelling team and host destination, Hokkaido, Japan, have collaborated with film crews across Japan to bring Summit delegates eight stunning virtual adventures. Read below to get a sneak peek of a few of the incredible natural, cultural, and active offerings that will be revealed during ATWS Virtual 2021.

1. Eastern Hokkaido — The Wild Frontier

© ATTA / Rupert Shanks

Through sea, river and land, welcome to eastern Hokkaido — a region that still runs wild. Join this virtual adventure and get transported through places like Shiretoko National Park and Abashiri Quasi-National Park and learn more about conservation, sustainability and wildlife that call these parts home. You’ll learn about the drift ice phenomenon along the Shiretoko Coast and how it's been interrupted recently from climate change. You’ll learn about the re-evolution of the crane and the protected wetland areas in which they are inhabitants as well as canoes of some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. This virtual adventure from top to bottom is abundant with water from the landscapes to the unique products created from it. It will be an unforgettable journey along Hokkaido's east from bottom to top and out to the far east in the wild frontier.

2. Mainland Japan’s Southern Islands

Journey through a variety of islands in Japan’s south getting a taste of each. Enjoy a variety of landscapes, activities, fresh food, and hospitality of the locals. The virtual journey begins on Kyushu Island, the third largest island in Japan. Explore the mythical volcanic mountain, unique local experiences, and outdoor adventures. Yakushima Island is a UNESCO world heritage site -- smaller, more remote, and otherworldly feeling. The island is renowned for its wildlife and thick cedar forests. While on Yakushima Island you can see Japanese monkeys, yaku shika deer, birds native to Japan, and fish as you stream climb into the clear Kurio River that flows from Mount Kuromi. The last stop on the virtual island-hopping adventure is Shikoku Island which is the smallest of Japan's major islands and a lesser-known gem for travelers to discover. You’ll cycle from suspension bridges where you feel like you’re flying, to climbing your way on the bike to Japan's tallest peak.

3. Southern Hokkaido

In Southern Hokkaido, national parks and nature are centered upon the volcanoes. With a history of eruptions, life here has learned to thrive. Our journey begins by telling the story of Hakodate Port, the birthplace of Western agriculture in Hokkaido. This birth of western culture brought to Hokkaido by interacting with the locals and nature. Hakodate Port was chosen as the first trading port to the world after long isolation. Throughout the film, the viewer will journey on adventures throughout Southern Hokkaido and throughout we will weave in the stories of agriculture and farming from land to sea.

4. Daisetsuzan National Park

Daisetsuzan National Park is the largest national park in Japan with a variety of adventures to be had, onsen culture from its history to etiquette and elements of the ancient Ainu language and culture along the way. Known as “the playground of the gods”, Daisetsuzan National Park is home to rare plants and animals as well. WIth impressive landscapes in every direction from towering peaks to crystal clear lakes, viewers will explore the park beginning near Lake Shikaribetsu. The Park is often called Roof of Hokkaido, in the Ainu world. It is also known as "kamuy-mintar" which means the Playground of the Gods.

5. Akan Mashu National Park & Beyond

All life is connected. And here in Hokkaido, we cannot talk about life without volcanoes. Join us on an adventure into Eastern Hokkaido to see Akan Mashu National Park and its surroundings. Primeval forests with coastline views, crystal clear lakes, natural hot springs, and wildlife from land to water, Eastern Hokkaido boasts a wide variety of things to experience. When looking at life on Hokkaido, Japan's Northernmost island, all life is connected through the volcanoes...from the fish to the way the Ainu have been able to coexist in history's past. Locals have overcome many hardships to live in harmony in this sulfuric volcanic environment. The harmony you will experience is prominently present through the way the locals interact with mother nature that surrounds them. From the coastline of Akan Mashu National Park to the Shiretoko coastline you’ll find abundant adventure in all forms. And traces of ancient Ainu culture too. This region has so much to offer even just a stone's throw from your hotel yet is still a place that feels worlds away. Let’s discover otherworldly landscapes and local culture as you trek, cycle and fish through forests, rivers, and lakes.

6. South & Central Hokkaido


In this virtual adventure, we experience both culture and nature from ancient monuments in the city of Sapporo intertwined with nature leading from the mountains to the sea and eventually learning in-depth about Ainu culture. We start our virtual journey in Sapporo -- the proximity between bustling cities and nature is rare in the world, and Sapporo is perfectly suited for the capital of nature-rich Hokkaido. Just a subway or streetcar ride will take you to Mt. Moiwa and Mt. Maruyama, both of which are home to virgin forests that have been designated as national natural monuments. We will visit a hunters camp and learn how to set up and will stay the night without gas, running water, or electricity. A true and unique Ainu camping experience with an Ainu-style ceremony.

7. Mainland Japan & Mt Fuji

Inward adventure and transformational travel take center stage in mainland Japan, where we meet locals making a real impact in their communities, encounter and learn about age-old spiritual traditions. We begin by forest bathing where the internationally renowned Japanese Haiku poet Matsu Basho was inspired to write. Learn about the Edo time period, sharing the styles of housing in the historical Nakasendo Walk Way. Discover several pilgrimage routes, their history, and the locals who are keeping these paths and communities well and alive today carrying traditions forward while also creating new ones. Continuing along the journey, we ascend and summit Mt. Fuji where our learnings of pilgrimages and cultural experiences culminate.

8. Northern Hokkaido

Dive deep into the culture by seeing first hand the sustainability efforts that are being enacted across Hokkaido through different ways locals have adapted to living off the land while also experiencing different adventures across Northern Japan. The virtual adventure consists of three different locations across Hokkaido, each offering its own unique cultural experience. Traveling to Shimokawa, a town considered one of the “Future Cities” by the Japanese government that is known for its forest resources, we learn how to sculpt chopsticks using timber offcuts and a “Kan’an”,  a traditional Japanese tool. Entering into the vast forest of Hokkaido, now it’s time to relax and find peace while forest bathing. Along the way to these paths, we’ll collect items such as twigs and leaves from the Sakhalin fir which they will then use to create our very own essential oils. Travelers will also meet Kaori Yamada who started a small business producing organic herbal cosmetics where travelers get to try their hand at making their own organic herbal soap which embodies the power of nature. And finally, we’ll also meet a local deer hunter who has found creative ways to sustainably use all parts of the deer. The viewer will see beautiful leather crafts from deer skin tanned by the woman herself and truly get to understand what living at peace with nature looks like.


Adventure Travel World Sumit Virtual 2021, 20-24 September 2021 is open. You can learn more and register here.