TIM BUNTING

KIWI YAMABUSHI

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山伏

キウイ

How Yamagata can Build Transformative Travel

The point of travel shouldn’t simply be seeing new places or meeting new people. Don’t get me wrong, these are both extremely valid aspects of travel. However, the point should really be about creating a positive transformation in not only the traveler, but the people and communities they come across as well.

You could argue that new places and people alone are enough to do this, but there also needs to be some context given. That’s where the people who create the experiences come in.

I was recently asked how best to communicate the charm of the spiritual aspects of Yamagata with the world, and my answer is by creating life-changing experiences for the people who come.

The cheapest and I think best form of marketing is word of mouth. With enough core fans, people who come to this region and have a positive transformation alone should be enough to build even more core fans who can also bring a positive transformation to the local community.

Therefore, it is up to us to build that context through the experiences we create, and the people of Yamagata are living proof that this stuff works.

Yamabushi is a simple example, undertaking arduous training on the Dewa Sanzan mountains for self-development, or the Yamabushi running Shukubo pilgrim’s lodges who have provided spiritual journeys on the Dewa Sanzan for a few centuries now.

But there are tons more.

The Samurai culture of Tsuruoka, the merchants of Sakata, who together fought off the Imperial Government in the Boshin War, or the local grandmother who passes down generations and generations of local knowledge to those wanting to learn how to best live off the land.

For starters.

When asked how best to communicate the culture, I assume most people would be thinking the likes of YouTube or TikTok. These are great at building awareness, but how great are they at building transformation? Transformation that builds more transformation without a need for an advertising budget.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.


I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.


On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.


Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.


Tim.

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CONTACT ME

Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

timb008@gmail.com

All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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