Started by Takuya Miura in 2009 – the Shimane-based Hariyama Productions offers some of Japan’s most minimal, precisely crafted outdoor and everyday carry. Driven by an obsession to deconstruct and improve the products we’re given by bringing ideas to life with his own two hands, Miura has built a brand while establishing himself as a significant contributor in Japan’s “Make Your Own Gear” or MYOG community.

I first met Takuya in 2014 on a trip to Japan. I was new to backpacking, having only completed a multi-day trip in The Tetons of Wyoming the previous year. After researching the equipment needed and learning about the “ultralight” approach, I found various gear makers in Japan’s world of MYOG backpackers. Takuya’s Hariyama Productions was one of them (’Hari’ referring to a needle, and “Yama” meaning mountain). It makes him laugh when I admit I was brave enough to reach out to him via a simple photo of “Hiking in Japan” by Lonely Planet because of his “Buddha smile.” On this trip and many more, I learned that the smile was authentic and represented a kindness and generosity I had never expected. Through Takuya, I would make many friends, learn directly about daily Japanese life, and build a genuine connection to a place in a way I had never imagined.

In the following visits, we would continue to meet, hike, eat, drink, and soak in hot springs. I’ve seen Takuya grow his brand and product offering, design a backpack with Gregory for one of Japan’s top trail runners, and (just in time for the pandemic) open a brick-and-mortar in his hometown of Hamada. It’s always impressed me how dedicated to his passions he is. He’s a big part of why I finally found the courage to launch this project. I hope that by sharing a bit about him and his work, you might feel a bit of that courage yourself.
Takuya enjoying a 1 am izakaya trip straight from the airport with a complete stranger (me) – Tokyo, 2014

Sanpo Studios: Can you share a bit about yourself, your business, how you got started, and what motivates you?

Takuya, Hariyama Productions: After high school, I moved from my hometown to Tokyo for university, where I studied physical therapy. My interest in outdoor clothing and gear drew me to the mountains, wanting to use them in real situations. However, when I started using these items, I noticed a market gap for what I wanted. Finding products with the exact features I needed was tough, so I decided to create my own. I bought a sewing machine that looked almost like a toy and started making what I envisioned. That was how my brand began. 

SS: How do you approach designing a new piece of outdoor gear or a new bag?

Takuya: I create things that I wish to use in my everyday life or when I'm out engaging with the world. I aim to bring to life the ideas and feelings I experience day-to-day.

SS: I’ve seen how your every day interests and needs have influenced some of your experiments - a basketball shaped bag to carry, well a basketball, renewing a children’s carrier framepack with your signature ripstop, and creating covers for bike chains – It seems your inspiration can come from anywhere.

Takuya: I find inspiration strikes at the most unexpected moments. Ideas often hit me while I'm out in the mountains or simply enjoying nature. There's a real sense of joy when I bring these ideas to life and even more so when friends or customers resonate with what I've created.

SS: How do you balance functionality with aesthetic appeal in your designs?

Takuya: I appreciate simplicity. I believe in the importance of being straightforward and functional, without unnecessary complications.

SS: In your opinion, what is the most creative aspect of the “make your own gear” culture?

I believe it's crucial to get outside and engage in activities. After all, new ideas don't just come from sitting around and thinking.

SS: I think that’s true, using your own creations, and hearing from others who use them is critical to continuing the creative process – How do you incorporate customer feedback into your creative process for designing and improving your products?

Takuya: I'm truly thankful for the feedback from friends who test my products and share their thoughts. The input from customers, especially those who express their needs while conversing with me, is incredibly valuable. Having a physical store has made this easier!

SS: In addition to your primary work as a physical therapist, you’ve been balancing these multiple interestes, passions, and businesses. For folks who are considering starting their own business, or creative venture – any advice / thoughts you’d like to share?

Takuya: I believe you should just go for it. There's great joy in bringing to life what you envision for yourself.

SS: Your favorite US based outdoor equipment brands. Large and small.

Takuya: Patagonia, Light Foot Athletics

SS: Your favorite Japan based outdoor equipment brands. Large and small.

Takuya: Ogawand, Wonderlust Equipment, Great Cossy Mountain, Jindaiji Mountain Works

Thank you Takuya for spending some time sharing a bit about yourself, your experience, and your work. I’m personally grateful for our friendship and look forward to many more adventures outdoors together.

Sanpo Studios is excited to share that we will be offering a limited collaboration with Hariyama Productions in the shop in addition to a small selection of Hariyama equipment in the future. Stay tuned.
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