Natural Highs

Hunting Natural Highs in the Mountains of Japan

Presenter Fernando Perez and a VICE documentary crew travels to Japan to learn about Shugendo, an ancient Japanese practice centered around finding peace through nature.

Our interconnected societies are becoming increasingly more chaotic by the day for the individual, and some people are searching for new ways to enjoy life’s natural highs. There are many ways to find natural highs, in this documentary however, VICE tests out Shugendo, a highly syncretic religion focused on becoming one with nature.

Based on the ascetic practices of En no Gyoja, Shugendo practitioners are known to wander through the forests of Japan for months on end, meditate under freezing cold waterfalls and to stand on the edge of vast cliffs.

The entire process is meant to slow things down by becoming a part of nature, and by doing so achieve a higher form of consciousness. From meeting the traditional monks of Sakuramotobou Temple to experiencing life with Kosho, a free monk in Kumano, VICE got a taste of what Shugendo can bring to daily life.

Natural Highs
  • Info
  • Release date2018
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Jordan debor
  • Production companyVICE