Introducing Canyons' CEO, otherwise known as the Chief Refreshing Officer Mike Harris:
Harris is originally from New Zealand, an 11-hour flight to the south of Japan.
He first set foot in Japan in 1994, after he graduated from Otago University and headed to Japan to chase its famous powder snow on a working holiday visa.
For more than 20 years since, he's been living in Minakami with his wife, human resource extraordinaire and former snowboarding champion, Akie Harris.
Once he arrived in Japan in 1994, he worked in Hakuba and heard about another Kiwi running a rafting business in Minakami.
He headed to the village, started raft guiding and met Akie.
Four years later, Harris, having recently learned about the sport of canyoning on a trip to Nepal, thought why not bring canyoning to Japan!
Harris was the first person in Japan to offer canyoning tours.
Canyons, Harris' fourth child, was born out of a garage with his friend in 2000!
~ Read on for a chat with Mike ~
When was your first-ever canyoning trip and where?
I was canyoning without knowing it when I was a kid in NZ. Climbing down steep creeks, jumping and swimming. My first official canyoning trip was in Nepal when I was helping the European guides to set up Nepal's first canyoning courses.
What inspired you to bring canyoning to Japan?
When I was canyoning in Nepal I thought about the canyons I had seen around Minakami and that it would be the perfect adventure for rafting in the low-water season. A way for adrenaline junkies to get their thrills even if the water is low.
How did your first-ever rafting trip feel? Were you scared?
I first rafted when I was about nine years old in NZ. I had always loved water and adventure, so the thrills and feeling of uncertainty made me feel alive.
Why should people give canyoning or rafting a go?
In a catchphrase:
Refresh your mind, body and soul.
Different people come for different reasons. Some come to immerse themselves in nature. Science now tells us that this reduces our stress and creates a more healthy mind. Others enjoy the thrills and physical aspects that create a healthy body. Or you may want to reconnect with friends or make new ones.
Whatever your reason, we're 100% sure you will feel more refreshed than when you started.