Hey there!

The International Outdoor Club is a group of people of different nationalities who regularly participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, weekend backpacking, mountain biking, cycling, skiing and take part in running events. All of the activities are organized by the members themselves.

We have activities for everyone from beginners to the more advanced members. You can easily find out if an activity is appropriate for your skill level by checking the Star Rating assigned to each activity. Check the Star Rating System.






The International Outdoor Club is a group of people of different nationalities who participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities. All of the activities are organized by the members themselves.

Indeed the club only exists because members do this, and it is hoped that everyone can put something into the club. The club regularly goes hiking, weekend backpacking, mountain biking, cycling, skiing, and takes part in running events. Some members have tried rock climbing, winter mountaineering and kayaking. Few people can be experts in all areas so the emphasis is on being willing to try something new.

We have activities for everyone from beginners to the more advanced members. You can easily find out if an activity is appropriate for your skill level by the Star Rating assigned to each activity.

Club history and affiliation

The IOC (formerly IAC Kansai) was set up in November, 1991 by a member of the Tokyo-based International Adventure Club (IAC).

In April, 1993, IOC became fully independent but continues to maintain a link with the IAC. Both clubs encourage their members to take part in the other club's activities and joint activities. Membership is transferrable between IOC and IAC in the event of a member moving.


You can find out about upcoming IOC activities from the 'Events' page.

If you are an IOC member, you can also view past events on the 'Events' page. Please send us your photos and stories so that we can publish them on our website. Send an email to the webmaster if you would like to contribute.

Membership types

Membership is available in the following categories. All membership periods run from the first of the month when the member signs up.

A 1 year single membership (April-March) costs 3000JPY.
A 6 month single membership (April-September, October-March) costs 2000JPY.

NOTE: The 6-month single membership is only available to new members joining the club after August, and present members who are going to be leaving Japan before September.

Non-member participation

1. Members are allowed to take part in all IOC activities and events
(except for a few events which require technical proficiency, whereby members are allowed to take part only if they meet the technical requirements).

2. Non-members may come to one event before joining the club. They are not allowed to take part in activities with a difficulty rating of more than two stars and must be at least 20 years old.

Members enjoy cheaper member rates for special events, while non-members will have to pay the (more expensive) normal rates.

3. Members may invite non-members to club activities as guests. However, the activity leader always has the final say whether a guest can join or not.

Kansai International Outdoor Club Website Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is the Kansai International Outdoor Club?

The Kansai International Outdoor Club is a group of people of different nationalities who participate in a wide variety of outdoor sporting activities. All of the activities are organized by the members themselves. As a member, feel free to join as many events as you like.


Who is eligible to join IOC Kansai?

You must be over 20 years old to join IOC Kansai.


How much does it cost to join?

A 1 year (Apr-Mar) membership costs JP 3000 yen.
A 6-month (Apr-Sep or Oct-Mar) membership costs JP 2000 yen.

NOTE: The 6-month single membership is only available to new members joining the club after August, and present members who are going to be leaving Japan before September.


Who is eligible to join events?

Most events are open to all members, but some events requiring more advanced outdoor skills may be limited. A minor (under 20 years of age) can only join an event under the assistance of the legal guardian and at the discretion of the event leader. The leader shall have the final say regarding who may join the event.

The Kansai International Outdoor Club uses a star rating system to indicate the level of difficulty and skill level required for the event. Please click here for more details: Star Rating System.


I am interested in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping and cycling, but I don’t have much experience. Are there any activities for me?

Yes! We regularly plan activities for all levels of experience and ability.


I want to join the outdoor club but I am worried about my English ability. Will I be able to participate in the club events?

During get-togethers and trip planning, members usually speak English.


How many people are in the club? What are the nationalities of the people in the club?

As of April 2014, the IOC has 53 members, 22/31 mixed male/female and 30/23 Japanese/international.


How are the events organized?

Events are planned by the members themselves. If you are interested in planning an IOC activity, you have to be a member and then submit your event plan through the dedicated page (member access only). The event is then uploaded on the IOC website Calendar and Club members receive notification of upcoming trips by email.


What to wear and bring on a hike?

There is a dedicated page in the "Events" section that give information about that.


Will I receive IOC emails ?

You will receive emails for new event announcements and sometimes for general IOC committee information. Be sure to check your email Junk Box if you do not receive any emails from IOC. If in doubt, please contact the IOC Secretary.


I’d like to change my e-mail address on IOC server.

It is possible to change your email address, login name and password on your control panel (Members>My information) after logging in to the website.


What should I do if I have joined the club and paid the registration fee but have not received any emails from the IOC?

Please contact the IOC Secretary if you have any difficulty. It is possible there was a misspelling or typing mistake when entering your information.


update 03/Sep/2016

The requirements to join the IOC are:

- A basic level of fitness
- To have access to basic outdoor equipment such as raingear, hiking shoes, headlamp
- Be able to understand simple English* (However, if you can't that does not prevent you from participating in IOC activities if you are serious about joining)

*The IOC official language is English as that is the common language used for all international members. The IOC is NOT intended to be used as a language exchange program.

IOC Constitution: see here

There are three ways to join:

1- Come to the IOC Monthly Get-Together.

It is usually held on the evening of the second Saturday of the month. You get to meet members and find out more about the Club. A registration form should be available at the meeting (you can also download it below), you can fill it in, sign it and hand it over to the IOC Secretary along with the fees (see below).

Please, check the calendar for date and place of the next IOC Monthly Get-Together.

2- Join an event.

As a non-member, you may join any IOC event* once to see if you enjoy our club atmosphere.
(*your first trial event must be 2 stars or below)

You get a real experience and learn more about how IOC events are organised. If you want to join IOC during your first event, you may download the registration form, fill it in completely, sign it on both sides and hand it over to an IOC Committee member along with the fees (see below).

Please, check the calendar for date and place of upcoming events.

3- If you are unable to join the monthly get-together or any upcoming event, you can contact the IOC Secretary to find another solution.

Registration form: see here


- 1 year (April-March) 3000 yen

- 6 months (April-September or October-March) 2000 yen

The 6-month membership is only available to New Members joining the club after September and Regular Members, leaving the country before October. Membership fees are not refunded or adjusted on a pro rata basis if the Regular Member leaves Japan during the membership year.

IOC Post office account information is available on the online registration form (see above). However, please confirm with the IOC secretary before depositing money into this account. Thank you!   

Feel free to contact IOC Secretary for more information.

Organizing an IOC Activity

To organize an event, please copy and paste below, fill the details, and send to Estella.
Event name:
Date & Time (duration):
Description of the event/course:
Meeting point and time:
Transportation & accommodation (including costs):
Requirements/What to bring:
Max # of participants:
Deadline for sign-up:
Cancellation policy:
Special note:
* Emergency contact list is required for any event rating 3-star or higher

If the event fulfils the IOC requirements, it will be published on IOC's calendar and an email will be sent to all the affiliated members. If it cannot be published, you will receive an email from the activity coordinator.

When the hikes are more demanding, at each starting point of the trails you may see some mountain boxes. In these boxes, you can leave detailed information about your trip in case rescue teams would have to intervene. Here is a template you can print and fill in. Later a better version will be available.

Cancellation Policy

1. Respect the event leader and apply to an event only if you are sure you will be able to participate. Cancellation at the last minute often causes a lot of trouble for the leader.

2. For events where prior payment is necessary (i.e. to rent a car, book flights or book rooms),
the leader has the right to ask for the money in advance.

3. For special events, any member who cancels after the sign-up deadline is responsible for paying
the activity fee to the club.

4. If non-members want to attend IOC special events (intended for members), we will require
payment of non-member participation fee which will be specified by the special event


How to Organize an Event

For useful tips on organizing an event, see the article below:


If you don't feel confident organizing an IOC activity, the best way is to talk to other IOC members who have experience. They can put your mind at ease and give you useful advice. You can also ask to be a co-leader to help you understand how to organize an event.

But you can still prepare your event by following these easy steps:

  1. Choose an Activity - This can be any outdoor activity that you are interested in, even if you are not highly skilled in the activity yourself.
  2. Choose a Date - If you are flexible, consult the Activity Coordinator to determine a day when no other similar event is taking place.
  3. Choose a Location
  4. Get a Map - Either borrow or buy one. Generally the blue ‘Yama to Kogen’ maps available at Kinokuniya and many book stores are suitable for most hikes.
  5. Study the map - If you are not confident with map reading, ask another IOC member to help you. Information to get from the map.
    a) how many hours for the hike (allowing spare time). Then decide what time the event should begin, in order to finish well before dark.
    b) Choose a convenient meeting point.
    c) Grade the event according to the IOC Star Ratings System.
  6. Get Transportation Information - schedules and fares. You can check this using the Internet. http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi or call up the local tourist information center (TIC). The Japan National Tourist Organization has a website, http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/, which provides useful information on interesting places to visit.
  7. Check Accommodation - (if applicable)
    a) Cost per night
    b) Availability and cost of meals
    c) Rules for making reservations
    d) Provision of towels/bedding etc.
  8. Choose Group Size - The size of group that you would like to lead (over 20 for a day hike can be logistically complicated)
  9. Check Weather Forecast - For English weather forecast, check the websites: http://weather.yahoo.co.jp/weather/, http://www.jma.go.jp/en/yoho/ and http://tenki.jp/mountain/. For recorded message weather forecasts in Japanese, dial:
    a) For 1 week forecast: area code ? 371 ? 9999
    b) For 3-day forecast: area code ? 177
  10. Equipment List - any special items required by participants e.g. helmet, crampons etc. 
  11. Give details to Activity Coordinator - fill in the Event Template with detailed information and send it to Activity Coordinator
  12. Problems? For example: -
    a) Can’t speak Japanese or English ? Find a co-leader who can!
    b) Can’t read a map ? Find a co-leader who can!
    c) Have no mobile phone ? Ask another member to act as contact only for your event.
    d) Bad weather ? Cancellation of an event is the decision of the organizer. If, however, all participants can’t be contacted beforehand, the leader is responsible for ensuring that someone goes to the designated meeting point to inform everyone.
  13. Responsibility - As leader of an activity, you are expected to do your best to make sure that information is accurate and that participants are not exposed to any danger. However, participants must realize that all kinds of unexpected hitches can occur, and ultimately each person is responsible for his / her own welfare at all times.

If you still feel insecure about leading an activity, speak to the Committee about the possibility of co-leading an event for your first time. You will find that it is really enjoyable and fun!


Update 28/April/2014

Star System

The IOC uses a Star Ratings System to indicate the potential level of difficulty of events.  Updated 01/April/2014.


Hiking and Cycling guide

All events are voluntarily organized by the club members themselves, none of whom are professional guides or leaders.

Participation is at your own risk and every participant is responsible for their own behavior and safety at all times. If you have any questions on the level of difficulty for an IOC event contact the organizer directly.

A hike is rated such that if it satisfies any main criterion (bulleted) completely, it receives that corresponding star rating. Note that only one criterion must be satisfied. The organizer may subjectively add or subtract 1/2 star.


Please note: This rating system is for ideal weather conditions only. The organizer must adjust accordingly, to account for expected weather.



Zero star |
• No danger
• Non-technical
Hiking boots not necessary. Path can accommodate automobiles.
• Negligible slope
• Total map time less than 4 hours in one day


One star | *
• Negligible danger
With adequate care by any person, a fall is highly improbable, and serious injury is almost impossible.
• Non-technical
Hiking boots not necessary, but recommended.
• Less than 750 meters climb in one day.
• Total map time greater than 4 hours in one day.


Two stars | **
• Slightly dangerous
With adequate care by any person, a fall is highly improbable, but serious injury is still possible.
• Slightly technical
Hiking boots strongly recommended.
Some rock scrambling, but hands are not required other than for balance.
• Greater than 750 meters climb in one day.
• Total map time greater than 7 hours in one day.


Three stars | ***
• Fairly dangerous
Lack of attention can easily lead to a fall.  If a fall occurs, serious injury is probable.
• Fairly technical
Hiking boots necessary.  Mostly rock scrambling.
Necessary use of hands other than for maintaining balance or holding chains or ladders (climbing on natural rock formations).
• Greater than 1500 meters climb in one day
• Total map time greater than 10 hours in one day
• Requires a Leader and Co-Leader who each have map and compass (names must be provided to Activity Coordinator)
• Event Leader will provide a list of names of all participants to the Activity Coordinator
• Event leader will promulgate an equipment list for that activity
• Event leader to have participated on a 3 Star event before being allowed to lead a 3 star event.


Four stars | ****
• Very dangerous
Special care required. A fall is almost always possible, even with normal care. The trail narrows to body width or less with fatal exposure on both sides.
•Very technical
Rock climbing and/or mountaineering experience becomes beneficial at this level.
Mostly climbing observing the “three points of contact” rule at all times.
• Requires a Leader and Co-Leader who each have map and compass (names must be provided to Activity Coordinator)
• Event Leader will provide a list of names of all participants to the Activity Coordinator
• Event leader will promulgate an equipment list for that activity
• Event leader to have participated on a 3 Star (or above) event before being allowed to lead a 3 star (or above) event.


Five stars | *****

• Extremely dangerous
Presents real danger to even the most experienced hiker.
Rock climbing and/or mountaineering experience is an absolute must.The trail narrows to where one cannot freely stand where protection (man-made holds) is absent, with fatal exposure.
Foot and handholds are unstable (very small holds or crumbling rock) where protection is absent, with fatal exposure.
• Requires a Leader and Co-Leader who each have map and compass (names must be provided to Activity Coordinator)
• Event Leader will provide a list of names of all participants to the Activity Coordinator
• Event leader will promulgate an equipment list for that activity
• Event leader to have participated on a 3 Star (or above) event before being allowed to lead a 3 star (or above) event.


Examples of Hike Ratings

Most of the trails on Mt. Rokko are not dangerous . The hiking does not require scrambling. Since Mt. Rokko is about 1000m, if the hike begins from sea level, then it would get 2 stars because of elevation gain; otherwise, if the elevation gain is less than 750m and map time is less than 7 hours, it is a one-star hike.
This is at least a two-star hike because there is  a 1200m elevation gain on the second day and there is some scrambling involved. There is some danger, but with normal care, a serious fall is highly improbable. Subjectively a 1/2 star would probably be added  because of the strenuous climb on the second day, making it a **+1/2 hike.

HAKKENZAN (***+1/2)
This is at least a three-star because there are a few tricky places where a serious fall could occur. In the recent past the condition of the trail has varied greatly. If the protection is dependable, then it is three-stars.  If the protection is rusting and/or the trail is not marked well, 1/2 star would subjectively be added. If the protection is completely unreliable, then special care will be required and it gets 4 stars. Before rating this or any other questionable hike, get as much information a possible about the condition of the trail.

The ascent of this mountain crosses the line between hiking and climbing. For most of the trail, it is necessary to have at least 3 simultaneous holds on the rock (3 points of contact). There is constant fatal exposure and serious accidents can occur here.
This is a four-star hike.

GENDARME (*****)
There are many narrow ridges on this route. One, in particular, narrows to a knife-edge, hence one cannot stand on it, but must traverse the side using the top of the ridge for handholds. The footholds are often not much more than toe-holds. There are many places without protection, where the rock is extremely unstable, so holds must be chosen carefully. The exposure is fatal along almost the entire route. Many experienced mountaineers have had serious accidents here. This is a 5-star hike.


Rock Climbing Ratings (U.S. SYSTEM)
1    Hiking
2    Hiking using some hands.
3    Requires three-point stabilization.
May be scary for beginners.
4    In principle it requires protection. For experienced climbers, not necessary.
5    Climbs requiring protection. Severe penalties for ground fall (injury/ death).
5.6    Beginner’s level rock climbing.
5.7    Advanced beginner
5.8, 5.9 Intermediate.
5.10, 5.11 Advanced
5.12, 5.13  Expert
5.14  Non-human

Route difficulties including and over 5.10 include a,b,c,d suffixes - additional subcategories of difficulty. e.g. 5.10d is more difficult than 5.10a.
Note: Japanese tend to overestimate the ratings of the routes, so a 5.10 rated in Japan, is probably considered a 5.8 to 5.9 in the U.S.A.



The following criteria are specifically  for off-road mountain biking. For road cycling, multiply  distances by 1.6.


One star | * -  Beginner / Novice

•    Almost entirely flat
•    Distance of up to 35 km (road 50 km).
•    Focus: Sightseeing


Two stars | ** -  Novice

•    Mostly flat. Some hills to 300 m. Climbs to 5%.
•    Distance of up to 50 km (road 80 km).
•    Focus: Sightseeing / touring.


Three stars | *** -  Novice / Intermediate

•    Rolling hills to 700 m. Climbs 8 - 9%.
•    Distance of up to 75 km (road 120 km).
•    Focus: Touring / exercise


Four stars | **** -  Intermediate / Advanced

•    Rugged hills to 1000 m. Climbs 10 - 12%.
•    Distance of up to 100 km (road 160 km).
•    Focus: Long touring.


Five stars | ***** -  Advanced / Expert

•   Mountains  of over 1000 m.
Climbs 12 - 20%. Downhills to 35%.
•   Lots of portaging. Demanding single track.
All day riding. Self-sufficient.
•   Distance of up to 90 - 120 km (road 160 km+).
•   Focus: Training / Racing.



Note : Members should always confirm with the event organizer or alternatively with the activities coordinator, that a certain event is suitable for their level of fitness and ability. "But it was only rated two stars" is no excuse !!


In joining the IOC or in taking part in it's activities and events, I understand and agree to that :
Many activities are dangerous
I alone will take the full responsibility for my own safety at or as a result of IOC activities
Activity organizers and committee members are lay persons and have no formal skills in relation to the organized activity, and in following their guidance, I do so at my own risk
I alone am responsible for assessing in advance all the risks pertaining to activities (including my own abilities) and in accepting information from activity organizers or committee members, I do so on the understanding that I must verify it for myself
The IOC is not covered by any general insurance policy against the loss of personal effects, injury or death, nor does it undertake to arrange such insurance for specific events.
Participants take part at their own risk and are very strongly encouraged to take out appropriate insurance on their own.


Safety and Insurance

We strongly encourage everyone to get his/her insurance plans for outdoor sports. There are many insurance plans out there that will be helpful in case of accidents.

For winter sport, a convenient way to get covered is to apply online the one-time ski/snowboard insurance plans offered by some companies. One example is here (only in Japanese)


A better option is to get covered on a yearly basis. Many companies offer sports insurance for outdoor activities. See example below. (only in Japanese)


Finally , there are also some insurance plans that are managed by non-profit organizations, which provide sufficient coverage at a reasonable rate. However a minimum of 5 people must enroll to be covered. More information can be found here (only in Japanese)


For any other information, contact the committee members.

Dear Members,

Thanks for filling in your Profile.

Currently, in the Active Members List, you can find email addresses all members after login.

IOC Secretary

In this section, you will find documents related to IOC organisation and Committee matters.

Equipment information table

When you want to use any of the IOC equipment,
1. notify equipment manager when you request equipment from the person who currently has it.
2. notify equipment manager when you receive it as well.

Category Object Photo Description User Reserve(date)
CAMPING Tent (3-4 people) Mont-bell 4 (2010) Weight: 3kg Colour:Yellow Components: 2 poles, 13 pegs and 4 strings Comments: Sterarige tent. Very good condition (last check 2015 June Get-together) Koji Otani


CAMPING Tent (2-3 people)

Mont-bell 3 (2011) Size: 210 cm x 180 cm Weight: 2.5 kg Colour: Yellow Components: 2 poles, 13 pegs and 4 strings. No ground sheet Comments: very good condition (last check  2015 June Get-together). For just two people if less than 160cm



CAMPING Tent (3-4 people) ARAI (2008) Weight: 3.5 kg Colour: Blue Components: 2 poles, 0 pegs and 4 strings Comments: Good condition (last check 2014 summer camp), serm coat Koji Otani NO
CAMPING Tent (4-5 people) Dunlop (2007) Weight: 6kg Colour: Yellow Components: 12 pegs, 6 strings in the cover Comments: Good condition but better to be used in summer Estella


CAMPING Tent (3-4 people)


very good condition (last check 2014 summer camp)

Components: 5 poles, 18 pegs and 10 strings

heavy so for auto camping advisable

Kazuhide Fujio NO
CAMPING Tarp(500x240) 2014 Weight: 3.6 kg Colour: Green Components: 2 poles, 6 pegs, Comments: recommended to use summer camp Estella No
CAMPING Camping Table 2013? Weight: ?.? kg Matrial: Aluminium Components: 2 poles, 4 pegs, Comments: recommended to use summer camp Kazuhide Fujio NO


Size: 100cm x 50cm x15cm

Kazuhide Fujio NO
CAMPING/ COOKING Pan 15 liter 15 liter Yuri Takakura NO
CAMPING/ COOKING Pan 14 liter 14 liter Fred Anderson  
CAMPING/ COOKING Pan 5.8 liter 5.8 liter Koji Otani


CAMPING/ PICNIC Plastic sheet no Good for BBQ/picnic Koji Otani NO
WATER SPORTS Aqua stroke light Aqua stroke light Koji Otani No
WINTER SPORTS Snow Shoes Large wine Tomoko Yoro (Tomo) No
WINTER SPORTS Snow Shoes Large green Pair with two lefts Kazuhide Fujio No
WINTER SPORTS Snow Shoes Medium blue Koji Otani No
WINTER SPORTS Snow Shoes Small size For a person up to 50kg Koji Otani No
WINTER Survival Shelter Capacity: 4-8 people Weight: 0.940 kg Sack dimensions: 30cm x 20cm x 15cm Colour: fuorescent orange Comments: Perfect condition Kazuhide Fujio No
WINTER Snow Shovel Portable shovel

Estella Dean

CAMPING Stove MSR Stove (Gasoline) Estella



Club Equipment Policy

  1. IOC equipment is for the use of all members.
  2. Members wishing to use club equipment should first check the Equipment Reservations and Conditions to see if anyone else has already reserved it.
  3. Events posted on the message board have priority as long as booking is made at least 15 days before the events.
  4. Use of club equipment is not restricted to events posted on the message board only. Any member can use the equipment at any time, provided they have reserved it with the equipment coordinator in advance. Club equipment booking for private events is however limited to 15 days before the event.
  5. If more than one group want to use the equipment on the same dates, the committee will make the final decision.
  6. If the equipment is available, members should make their own reservation with the equipment coordinator, who will update the equipment website accordingly.
  7. Once a reservation has been made, the reserving member should contact whoever has the equipment and arrange to collect it. If a parcel delivery service (Takkyubin) is used, the receiving member pays the charge (chakubarai). 
  8. After using the equipment, members should keep it until another member requests it, or return it to the equipment coordinator at a convenient time. Again, if a parcel delivery service is used, the charge has to be paid by the members requesting the equipment.
  9. Members should make sure the equipment is cleaned and dried after use. If the equipment has been damaged or lost, the equipment coordinator should be informed. 
  10. Damaged equipment or lost equipment has to be repaired or replaced by the member in charge. For these specific cases, costs have to be discussed with the committee.
  11. If members want to use the equipment with non-members, they may only do so with the permission of the committee.

2013 republished.

Visualize and download GPS tracks of past events.


Past events with GPS data: see here


Map of trips with GPS data:


IOC account on everytrail.com:

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