Biwa Lake, Japan

By Charissa Hipp

Kohei Yamamizu is most likely the competitor traveling the farthest to participate in this year’s Luray Triathlon. He is from Shiga, a Japanese prefecture situated between Tokyo and Kyoto. Kohei has completed his first triathlon in July of 2018 and has done two more since then – the Biwako Triathlon in Takashima, the Sakuraorochiko Triathlon and the Biwako Triathlon in Oumihachiman  – all in Japan. The Luray International Triathlon will be his fourth, and also marks his first time doing a triathlon outside of his home country.

Kohei Yamamizu racing in Japan

Though it will be Kohei’s first time participating in the Luray Triathlon, he’s actually quite familiar with the area, in fact he’s looking forward to returning to Luray. Kohei worked in the United States for two and a half years, and became very fond of the area when he was here. “We have great memories of Shenandoah National Park and Luray,” he says. 

This time, Kohei and his family will be spending their summer vacation in Virginia while his wife works at The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal for the month of August. He is already anticipating some time for relaxation in “beautiful Virginia” this summer. “I will go to Shenandoah National Park and go fruit picking, to the Shenandoah River and so on,” he says. “We are looking forward to hiking the nice trails in Shenandoah National Park.”

Kohei lives on Japan’s Hieizan Mountain, part of Kyoto’s eastern mountain range, which happens to be a great location for triathlon training. “Triathlon for me is a part of my life,” Kohei says. “I enjoy training for triathlon.” Biwa Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, is where he trains for the swimming portion of the triathlon. “Shiga has Biwa Lake,” Kohei says, “which is the biggest, most beautiful lake in Japan.” In fact, two of the three triathlons he completed in Japan had the swimming portion at Biwa Lake.

Hieizan Mountain, Japan

Luray is quite different from Kohei’s home in Japan. “Luray is my favorite place,” Kohei says. “I like to drive the car on beautiful field and hill, and feel the pleasant breeze in Luray. It is a big difference in Japanese mountains.”

Kohei is glad he heard about the Luray Triathlon online. “I am very lucky to join Luray Triathlon,” he says. “I want to share the time and the atmosphere at your beautiful race and communicate with athletes and staff through the triathlon.” Though he may be far from home, it’s obvious Kohei feels quite at home in Luray.

Register: Luray International Triathlon
Register: Luray International Duathlon
Register: Luray International Aquabike
Register: Luray Sprint Triathlon
Register: Luray Sprint Duathlon
Register: Luray Sprint Aquabike

What Else To Do in Luray

We are certain that you will find Luray and surrounding Page Valley communities to be some of the most welcoming and beautiful places that you will ever visit!

Luray is home to the world famous Luray Caverns and the central entry point of the Shenandoah National Park and scenic Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just a few miles in any direction offers you a chance to enjoy the abundance of our natural resources and a range of activities including, camping, canoeing, cycling, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, photography or simply marveling at the scenery!

Any season is a great time to visit; each is unique and beautiful. Be sure to visit downtown Luray and stop in at any of the number of excellent restaurants and boutique stores.

More information about the area: Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce.