水口 晶 Akira Mizuguchi
Representative of EARTHSHIP, Mogami City, Gifu Prefecture, "City of Water and Dance”
Born in Kyoto in 1972, Akira spent his university years residing in Minami-cho, Gujo City, Gifu Prefecture. It was during a memorable canoe trip down the Nagara River that he had a close call with a potential disaster. Fortuitously, he received assistance from a kind stranger, which became a turning point in his life. After completing his studies, Akira made the decision to relocate to Gifu. In 1997, he established EARTHSHIP, an outdoor sports experiential business. Currently, Akira focuses on organizing activities such as rafting and canoeing experiences on the Nagara River, managing a campground, and coordinating performances along the Kiso River. Akira's lifelong mission revolves around "the revitalization of people and nature." With Gujo City, renowned for its bountiful natural environment, as his base, he pursues a range of ventures centered around outdoor pursuits. Acting as a bridge between urban and rural areas, Akira aims to establish a sustainable economic model that not only promotes tourism but also leverages the natural resources of rural regions for energy, food production, and more.
Our specialty is the famous city of Gujo in the upstream area of Nagara River in Gifu Prefecture, known as the "City of Water and Dance." We offer various experiences such as rafting and kayaking on the Nagara River, SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboarding), shower climbing to the source, camping, and trekking. What we propose is to enjoy and spend time in the natural environment, feeling a sense of comfort. In other words, it means playing in nature. Through play, we invite you to experience the joy, comfort, and sometimes even the challenges that nature has to offer. We hope you can truly feel the kindness of nature, encompassing all of these aspects. By getting to know and experiencing these things, we believe that respect for nature naturally emerges as an extension.
Q: What is your most memorable experience in nature?
Including experiences abroad, various moments have left a lasting impression, but one recent memory stands out: backcountry skiing in Niseko, Hokkaido. Gliding down an untouched slope in a transcendent space filled with dancing diamond dust, leaving no trace behind, and at one point, parallel to a pure white snow hare.
Q: What does nature represent to you?
A space where joy, fun, kindness, and fear coexist.
Q: What has nature taught you?
I believe that most of the important things within myself have been learned from nature. Among them, one thing that I strongly believe in is my "role with the assumption of death."
Q: What do you hope that people will get out of experiences with you as a guide?
First and foremost, I would like you to fully enjoy that space and moment without any reservations. I believe that everything begins with enjoyment. What you will feel after that depends on the field and the activity. Of course, it is not all positive, but I would be happy if you can feel the negatives in nature and make a small impact on your own life.