Video: Matt Hunter in Japan

Dec 24, 2014 at 16:50
by I Am Specialized  


Matt Hunter, professional mountain biker and adventure seeker, finds inspiration traveling the world, exploring new trails and having unique experiences that could only happen on a bike. Matt’s latest adventure brought him, along with photographer Sterling Lorence and videographer Matt Miles, to one of the most culturally rich and largely underrated riding spots in the world—Japan.

Music:
"Only for You," By Heartless Bastards

Featuring:
Matt Hunter
Jinya Nishiwaki
Sterling Lorence
Stumpjumper FSR
2FO Shoes
Swat Bibs

Special Thanks:
Jinya Nishiwaki
Paul Chetwynd

Production:
Directed by: Matt Hunter & Matt Miles
Filmed/edited: Matt Miles
Audio: Grind Music & Sound Inc.


Mentions @Specialized @munter @sterlinglorence




94 Comments

  • + 169
 "Its not luck, I moved here because of the trail"
-legend
  • + 20
 It's clear that one of the most important factor if one day I buy a house, it s 1) the dirt quality in the backyard, and 2) the trails nearby, the House is actually the less important thing Big Grin
  • + 28
 The foundation is cracked. The basement has mold. The tiles are asbestos. The roof leaks. And the plumbing don't work.

"Yeah, but how's the dirt?"
  • + 22
 I bought my home based on it's proximity to trails. Best thing I ever did.
  • + 1
 Whats your best offer? Lol
  • + 69
 Should you wish to come to Japan and ride such trails, the advisable thing to do is to contact such organizations such as Trail Cutter or Freeride Adventures.

Land access in Japan is very different to the Muir inspired North American dream of unrivalled access for all to wilderness. Everywhere here, and that means "e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e" (think Gary Oldman in Leon) is someone's land and for the most part people do not take kindly to finding people riding their bikes on the trails.

Instead, land access needs to be negotiated. There are plenty of examples of people / organizations who negotiate land access for MTB riding, including the above two I mentioned as well as others, including people on PB.

Should you go trail hunting (if you can read Japanese you can very easily find out whereabouts these trails are), find them and then ride them without permission you could possibly screw up years of negotiations on the part of local organizations. So please, check first before you search them out and track them down.

The best trails I have ridden here are without doubt those cut by the "Trail Cutter" on the lower slopes of the Southern Alps; yet they explicitly ask that you do not give details of access. The access has been painstakingly negotiated with the local villagers, who get to see increased revenues at their cafes and restaurants, so please do not put that at risk people. Thanks on behalf ot all trail rights negotiators here.
  • + 2
 Aren't mountains also somewhat revered spiritually in Japan, as well? That would add an extra layer of complication, I would think.
  • + 8
 Some are still very restricted in terms of access for religious reasons yes. Rightly or wrongly, there are some mountains that women are still not allowed to enter for the same reasons, so yes, sometimes it does add a layer of complication however I would say that, in my experience, other hurdles are a little higher.
  • + 13
 trail-cutter.com
freerideadventuresjpn.com/829-2
www.facebook.com/YufuneMtbProject?fref=ts
www.facebook.com/MTB.STRAIL
www.26ism.com
yamabushi-trail-tours.jimdo.com

These are just some of the places near where I live that have negotiated trail access and therefore need all of us to respect the restrictions that are part of the access rights. Enjoy any or all of these should you come here! Youkosou!
  • + 8
 @orientdave thank you so much for that info. One day it would be great to come to check out the trails and perhaps a story about the trails. In doing so it would be even better to respect the locals and the trail organizations and you've done all readers a service by pointing this out.

@bryce borlick this is the info you were trying to find
  • + 5
 Japan is absolutely an awesome place! Still, I was seriously surprised by how small and 'underground' the MTB scene is in Japan, the country that gave us Shimano. I honestly do not see how someone visiting (who does not speak Japanese) can actually find trails there- god knows i've searched Smile

On the flip-side, this forces you to gang up with the locals, which is a HUGE part of the experience. Of all my time spent in Japan, nothing comes close to the hospitality and fun i've had riding and hanging out with you guys!

One word of caution though - i'd try to avoid bad crashes in Japan (in particular). Medical services are good, but the language barrier and the local "understanding of human anatomy" had me a bit worried... This kid, riding in front of me, crashed at warp into a berm- he could hardly stand and was losing consciousness. His friends grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him frantically - absolutely THE worst thing to do. when he collapsed, instead of lifting his legs, they again grabbed his head and tried to lift him up. needless to say - on my next run, i was WAAAY more cautious Smile dont mean to dis the nice people of Japan, just that i've seen a lot of people crash in a lot of places worldwide, and this was quite unusual and a bit alarming).
  • + 2
 You are always welcome L. You wouldn't believe how the trail park you came digging at looks these days....should work ever bring you back out here.....you know who to call, it would be great to see you (and that Trek!) again.
  • + 2
 @leelau, Should you ever get the chance, look me up and I'll see if I can put you in touch with people who know a lot more than me!
  • + 2
 @orientdave - might be interesting to have a whole article on trails in Japan. Sounds like an interesting and different perspective to land access elsewhere.
  • + 39
 Not to take anything away from Matt and/or other riders in the video but it's always such a treat to see Jinya rip through singletrack. I sure hope that was a Chromag Samurai he was on as it would be wildly appropriate
  • + 11
 Jinya is extraordinary.
  • + 2
 That was excellent.
  • + 10
 Take note of the speed he maintains. On a hardtail. Skills
  • + 1
 Jinya was actually riding a Gypsy.
  • + 4
 Its not really that hard to maintain speed on a hardtail, i ride XC.
  • + 25
 I only ride park
  • + 15
 In Imperial Japan, park ride you.
  • + 1
 Touché otty!
  • + 5
 Every time I see Jinya in a vid I wonder why anyone needs a full suss bike to ride some trails.
  • + 1
 JInya is definitely one of the mtn biking legends
  • + 2
 Prime riding indeed, i'll give you that... However, i dont see any disadvantage for a hardtail on this kind of flowy, non technical trail. none at all.
  • + 2
 perhaps you haven't seen Jinya shred his hardtail on whistlers techiest trails
  • + 1
 Don't overlook the fact that not only was Jinya on a hardtail, but he was also on flats.
  • + 28
 Wow do those trails look fun.. Matt Hunter vids always send some awesome vibes!
  • + 21
 Matt Hunters vids truly capture the vibe i'm looking for! I wish more content would aim for the positive vibes of this vid and the rad trail shredding. Thank you specialized.
  • + 12
 You'd think high tech cycling would be bigger in Japan and more of them would compete at the professional level (besides keirin) since Shimano is everywhere in professional cycling. Even their road brake levers are built around the bigger hands of Americans and Europeans. I'm Asian and have always had problems reach on shimano road levers, but both the reach adjustment and the presence of Japanese cycling seem to be on the way up, as evident in this video.

Imagine if there was a stop in Japan or China for the World Cup DH series... like in F1.
  • + 2
 There was once; 1998, Aria City Japan
  • + 2
 Arai has bee closed (bankrupt) for a few years now, there are some great grass roots building places going on. Sadly most young men in Japan are more intent on living a virtual life event giving up finding a girlfriend Google (Japan herbivore men)
  • + 7
 I live in Yamaguchi Prefecture right now and here is some riding we do. I am making an epic film right now..
www.pinkbike.com/video/387212
www.pinkbike.com/video/341754
  • + 8
 SSSOOooooo muuch flow on that trail!
  • + 3
 There a many trails around where I live in Nagano most trails are "secret" that I see other riders on, others I have found myself and have built drop offs and jumps on and they have been left alone. Currently it is snowing so I have been digging a jump line inside a tunnel that was made for the emperor of Japan to use to escape the allies in WW2. I figure he is not using it so why not?
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsushiro_Underground_Imperial_Headquarters#mediaviewer/File:Matsushiro2006_1111.jpg
  • + 1
 Headroom?
  • + 3
 The most trails on this video are very historical. They were used for commuting, going to school, forestry and sleding charcoal. Some of the trails on this video are those which our organisation have been negotiating and reviving. They are still not allowed that everyone can ride on, but we are making much effort for that everyone can ride. So, please look forward to openning the trails in the future. Thank you for your appreciation!
  • + 1
 i have been here in japan for 7 years now the first 2 years was spent in yokohama city good thing our company opened a new branch in yamakita and i volunteered to move up there where all the trails are endless.... those trails in the video are 1 - 2 hrs aways from my place i think im lucky
  • + 3
 Looks like Matt's on a trip of a lifetime. Strong work! Love the vibe of this series. And for the record, the dude on the yellow hard tail SLAYS it!!!
  • + 5
 Good to see Sterling Lorence in a video
  • + 5
 Looks like a Hot Wheels track or someting like that, awesome flow yeah \m/
  • + 1
 Unbelievable! In my home town such natural or even man made (logging) gutter would always be full of mud, rocks and tons of other crap. I wonder if it was the case here as well and they put sht loads of work to clean it.

Merry Christmas!
  • + 2
 Exactly Waki, there are so many people here squashed into a small space that everywhere is "managed" somehow by someone or some organization; that is why trail access here needs to be negotiated carefully. People invest a lot of time into their land, and I am not talking about MTB trail cutters, but the land owners, and they do not want to see people "getting creative" with their land unless they know who it is, what they want to do, what for and how it will benefit the locals.
  • + 1
 I think it is a quite fair arrangement. How do you experience the impact of such land ownership system on broadly understood well being of nature?
  • + 8
 Waki, that is the question of the year IMO; this could get long, sorry. I started out teaching Environmental Philosophy 20 years ago and have been fascinated by the concept of "nature", "environment" and "society" since. The "broadly understood" well being of nature was, I thought, universal, yet, having been here for decades, I now know that is not the case. The idea we have in the west, influenced by thinkers like Muir, Thoeeaux and others, that nature is some kind of wilderness is very different from here. Unmanaged nature here is a rarity; just go to any garden in a temple in Kyoto and you will see a very contrived human version of what nature is seen to be. The bottom line? Nature needs to be respected but not left to itself otherwise it will kill you in the form of a disaster..... thus, everywhere is managed.
  • + 2
 You could ride that trail with a different bike every week for a different experience. MTB, Cyclocros, BMX, Trike, soapbox car...... beauty..
  • + 4
 dude is just killing it on that hard tail!
  • + 4
 Merry Christmas!............
  • + 3
 congrats matt hunter you have the best job in the world
  • + 3
 That's a perfect trail to me. Flow and more flow.
  • + 2
 This vid was my Christmas present. Nice people, beautiful country, good song and a roller coaster on wheels!
  • + 4
 heavenly trail.
  • + 3
 If I could only ride one trail for the rest of my life..........
  • + 1
 That looked so wonderful to ride on. All the more reason to live in Japan for me.
  • + 2
 Jinya on his hardtail...always so sick!
  • + 1
 Who would've known?? They build the best cars & motorbikes in the world, and nice trails too!!
  • + 1
 amazing trails! Anybody knows the trail location near the end of the video?
  • + 3
 Looks all time
  • + 1
 I need to find out more information about this and make sure I have a 1 week layover on my next trip to Thailand!
  • + 1
 I think Matt said Munami prefecture, but I have never heard of it. Where exactly in Japan is this place Matt?
  • + 2
 Looks like captain jack's and the chutes in Colorado Springs except better
  • + 1
 That's like CJs and the Chutes on straight ROIDS!
  • + 2
 Dat stumpy !! Best bike ever !!
  • + 1
 Great riding, editing and music choice. what town/city is this near? I want to go!
  • + 2
 Flawless placement of flow and elegance.
  • + 1
 Photo Epic story Please !!!!!! Smile By sterling Lorence.
  • + 1
 Pure class. What an amazing video. VOD!!!
  • + 1
 Why can't I favorite this?!
  • + 1
 Just skip to minute 4! Nice!
  • + 1
 Best POV footage ever. Great music too.
  • + 1
 How do you say 'Endero' in Japanese?
  • + 1
 That flow, dude!!

@dirtybikejapan do you know where is that trail?
  • + 1
 Even better with this song:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg6rp20OGLo
  • + 2
 Sick SIck TRAIL!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Jinya rides a Gypsy........
  • + 2
 He's on a Stylus now according to his page on Hardtail Nation
  • + 1
 Nothing better than a well placed chesty cam!
  • + 1
 Talk about dream crew for a trip. Awesome video!
  • - 2
 sooo cool.. would love to have Matts Job... I even ride almost have as good as him and have a quater of one of his balls... Though those vids are so epic.. I would love sseing him back on a downhill bike.
  • + 1
 Exceptional production and content.
  • + 1
 Never thought JAPAN can be this amazing!
  • + 2
 Awesome!
  • + 1
 2:08-2:28/4:17-5:03, are you kidding me? #dreamtrail
  • + 1
 Happy holidays...on your bike of course
  • + 1
 So sick! Matt is the raddest
  • + 1
 endless flow,awesome
  • + 1
 What a life!
  • + 1
 Wow! Speeeeeed!!!
  • + 1
 Perfection.
  • + 1
 Trail of my dreams
  • + 0
 Next stop Jaaapan!
  • + 0
 Soooo smoothhhh

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