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One of my big passions is nature and mountains so I cannot express how happy I am of being in a country with a lot of respect for mountains and clean nature as Japan.
With this background you can guess that working as Mountain sport leader at Decathlon is a great pleasure and I take every chance I get to go out into the nature.
This year I wanted to enjoy autumn colors and asked for a nice place to do it to some other mountain lovers in the office. Tsutomu, our most passionate trekker, told me about Kamikochi in Nagano and how beautiful was there. Decision was instantly made and I planned to visit there the first weeks of October.
Shinkansen from Osaka to Nagoya. Express train to Matsumoto. Local train to Shin-shimashima and bus to Kamikochi station. The trip was long but just stepping of the train I was shocked by the Nature. The long trip was already paying off
Next day early morning we started our hike to Karasawa Hut, a not very demanding route with a good amount of beautiful spots. Weather was perfect, leaves in all colors from green to red, and the curry rice at Karasawa Hut was delicious.
In addition of enjoying the beautiful scenery I wanted to observe and research how Japanese hikers/trekkers enjoy mountain and how they are equipped.
As I have already observed on other hikes, Japanese hikers and trekkers seem to be a little over-equipped with high-end products which very often are not the most adequate for the activity they perform.
For example, let’s take mountain boots.
Mountain boots can be quite different depending the type of usage. For several days of trekking in a quite rocky and accidented environments it’s usually preferable boots with rigid sole and grooves to increase stability and traction, high ankle support (especially if you're carrying a heavy backpack), and some toe cap or bumpers for protection against rocks and wild vegetation.
Using these same boots for a leisure day hike on a mainly flat terrain wouldn’t be a good choice. Too heavy and rigid boots will make you more tired and probably to end up with sore feet and calves. Not to say that usually these kind of boots are a lot more expensive.
In Decathlon we have a moto, “the right product at the right price”. We always try to create the best cost/performance products and to provide a good and friendly sport advice.
With this simple strategy I believe that we have a very good opportunity to make even more people in Japan enjoy the pleasure of hiking and trekking.