When you’re ready to step out of the cities and enjoy the great outdoors this summer then Japan has you covered with some unique outdoor adventures that will tempt anyone to venture out. With a wide variety of options, you can get the adrenaline pumping one day then choose to go on a hike through a peaceful ancient forest to immerse yourself in calming green nature. Perhaps you’d rather get your diving gear on and explore the coral reefs on a sub-tropical island in Okinawa? Japan has something for everyone when it comes to enjoying nature to its fullest and there’s no better place to start than with these four unique adventures.
Why not conquer one of the world’s most famous peaks? Climbing Mt. Fuji was once considered a pilgrimage to honor the spirit of this beloved and beautiful mountain, and, still to this day, it makes for a perfect outdoor adventure. Catching the sunrise on Mt. Fuji is well worth the effort, so you can either start hiking at night to catch this special moment or consider renting one of the mountain huts for the night. If you’re not an early bird, the sunset is also spectacular, just make sure you come prepared for the hot summer sun with sunscreen and plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to bring a jacket as it gets cold at the summit! There are four routes you can take to the top in the summer and all begin at the fifth station, but one of the most popular is the Yoshida Trail on the Yamanashi Prefecture side. On this trail, you’ll get a good view of the sunrise as you’re walking, in case you don’t reach the summit in time, and you’ll also find numerous monuments erected by followers of the Fujiko faith as well as abandoned shrines and rest stops from the Edo period.
Jet off to a tropical paradise for an unforgettable summer! On Ishigaki Island you can relax along some of the best beaches in Okinawa, go hiking, and enjoy some peace and quiet on an island that has just 48,000 residents. One of the most exciting activities you can enjoy here is diving, which is best enjoyed between the months of April and November. With healthy coral reefs, there’s plenty to see for snorkelers, but if you enjoy diving then you’re in for a magical treat with turtles, clownfish, and a host of other rainbow-colored marine life to explore. Don’t miss diving in Kabira Bay with the manta rays that gather in the warm waters every summer and fall to feed on plankton. You’ll be able to rent equipment and many companies will pick you up from your accommodation to enjoy the famous ‘Manta Scramble.’ Enjoy some underwater exploration and get to know one of Japan’s most special islands.
Get your blood pumping with an exciting rafting adventure through Iya Valley, one of Japan’s three hidden valleys and the location of the 2017 IRF World Rafting Championship. Found in Tokushima on Shikoku island, the valley is famous for its vine bridges, thatched-roof cottages, lush scenery, and the best white water rafting in Japan. Rafting down the Yoshino River, you’ll pass through the mountainous center of Shikoku where the narrow Oboke and Koboke gorges provide an exciting challenge through their emerald-green waters. You’ll also traverse the Cross Four rapids for some adrenaline-pumping drops. Most rafting adventures start in Oboke and there you’ll find English speaking guides and you’ll be seen to by professional, safety-oriented outfitters who’ll get you ready for your exhilarating outdoor adventure regardless of your experience level.
Hiking around 7000-year-old ancient forests on Yakushima
Get lost in one of Japan’s natural wonders, Yakushima is an otherworldly island that is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site and home to some of Japan’s oldest Yaku cedar trees and forests. There are so many places to visit on this special island including hot springs, beaches where loggerhead turtles come to lay and nest their eggs, and the extensive hiking and walking trail options. One of the most popular spots is the Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine with its thick forest, mossy wooden bridges, and streams. Inspiration to the popular Studio Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, this ravine is full of the mystic quality that fans of the film would expect. The peaks on Yakushima reach over 1,900 meters, and are some of the highest in Kyushu. As you make your way to them via the various trails, you’ll pass by waterfalls and possibly see some of the diverse wildlife that has made this island their home. Whatever kind of trekker you are, there’s a suitable route for you within this remarkable nature preserve.