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Taking On the “Alps of the Ocean”

The On waterproof collection is engineered to get you out there even in extreme conditions. To prove there’s no rain-related excuse that can’t be beaten, we’re putting it to the test in the world’s wettest places. Like the mountainous island of Yakushima, Japan, where it rains “35 days a month”. 

 

Situated around 60km (30 miles) south of the southern tip of Japan’s Kyushu island, Yakushima is an island shrouded in mist and mystery. 

 

The wettest place in Japan, and among the most rain-soaked destinations the world over, Yakushima is hit by at least 250mm (9.8 inches) of rain every month. In the summer typhoon season this number can triple. Annual rainfall readings reach up to 10 meters (390 inches). 

 

The incessant rain has given rise to lush subtropical evergreen forests that lend the island a fairytale feel. Trees with warped trunks and hanging foliage seem straight from the imagination of the Brothers Grimm. Yakushima is home to some 1,900 species and subspecies of plants, including ancient specimens of the sugi (Japanese cedar). So special is its biodiversity, it has earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status. 

 

 

  

There are also over 40 mountains on the island, including Miyanoura-dake, which at almost 2000 meters is the highest mountain in southern Japan. It has earned Yakushima the nickname “The alps of the ocean and makes it a breathtaking place to explore, though the only real way to navigate the thickly forested landscape is on foot. Time to face the rain… 

 

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The lightweight, breathable trail shoe for off-road adventure in all weather conditions.
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Originally from New Zealand, Cameron Joyce is the founder and head guide at Yakushima Experience, and has been leading tours on the island since 2011.  The rain never stops him trekking the island to share its natural beauty with visitors.  

“Yakushima certainly gets its fair share of sky juice,” Cameron admits. “That makes running a guiding company interesting; we cater to the rain.”

 

Highlights include the granite mountains, trees that are thousands of years old and over 600 species of moss. “I guided for many years in New Zealand in UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Fiordland, Paparoa National Park and Nelson Lakes.  I am used to the rain.” 

 

“Without rain the moss would not be so prevalent.  Without the moss the forest would not be able to form the same way.  And without rain there are no rainbows…” 

A runner himself, having completed the Tokyo Marathon twice previously, Cameron advises Yakushima’s protected forests are a trekker’s paradise, but in many places are too dense and impassable for trail running. 

 

“Yakushima trails are mainly rough and wild with other people around. I used to trail run in New Zealand, and it’s harder to find good places here. 

 

"But if you like road running, there are some awesome roads to run in Yakushima, from steep hills to undulating coastal roads.”

 

The Cloudflyer Waterproof
Go the distance even in a downpour with this waterproof lightweight support shoe.
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Under a two-hour journey from Tokyo by plane, Yakushima offers a wild antidote to the furious pace of life that characterizes the cities of the Japanese mainland. The island’s largest community is in Miyanoura, which has a distinctly village feel. Situated on the coast, its traditional “Onsen” spa hotels and restaurants serving fresh local fish offer everything a rain-resistant explorer needs to recover from a day of adventure on this magical island. So you're ready to go again, whether the clouds clear or not.  

 

The Cloud Waterproof
For urban exploration in all weather.
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We are testing our new waterproof collection with runners in some of the wettest locations on the planet. We already eliminated excuses in Bergen, Norway, where it rains for up to 240 days of the year. Coming soon we’ll be braving the elements in Portland, Oregon, US. The On waterproof collection. No excuses.