CEO changes company retreats from golfing to mountain climbing

CEO mountain climbing Rakuten Mount Tanigawa
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani never misses a chance to take his fellow executives mountain climbing up Mount Tanigawa. Photo: Hiroshi Mikitani
For many people working for large businesses, corporate retreats often entail long days on cushy golf courses and a few too many beers. For employees of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, they entail something entirely different: mountain climbing up Mount Tanigawa, a peak on the western coast of central Japan that has claimed the lives of more climbers than Mount Everest.

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As originally reported by Business Insider, roughly seven years ago Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, following a hike with his son, decided to change the location of his company’s offsite executive retreat from a luxurious golf resort to the imposing slopes of Tanigawa.

Mikitani claims that the challenges of the climb up to the 6,486-foot summit help to not only bring the executives of the business closer together, but to also drive home a fact about the company. That fact?

“Rakuten always goes to the peak,” Mikitani told Business Insider.

CEO mountain climbing Rakuten Mount Tanigawa
Like any good mountain climber, Mikitani couldn’t resist snapping a selfie following the climb last year. Photo: Hiroshi Mikitani
Employees told the website that some of the more harrowing experiences on the corporate climbs were their favorites. One executive giddily recalled the time last year when he almost careened off the side of a cliff after rocks starting sliding underneath his feet, only to be rescued by his coworkers.

That executive’s excitement was shared by those across the Internet:

And while Rakuten executives take a trail safer than others up to the top of Tanigawa, it is still a challenging and dangerous endeavor — a fact that Mikitani relishes.

“The fear keeps you fit,” Mikitani told Business Insider.

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