Chase thrills in verdant adventure playgrounds!
Channel your inner gymnast and experience some motion and thrills! Japan is packed with plenty of exciting athletic fields and adventure parks where you can get your blood pumping.
Many of these facilities are located in lush forests and seaside spots where you can breathe in some fresh air and experience all sorts of adventures, from crossing a suspension bridge high up in a canopy or zooming along a zip line with fantastic views.
Japan is also known for the culture of forest bathing—the concept of visiting forests to get clean air and improve both your mental and physical health. They’re also perfect setting to engage in adventure-packed activities and get rejuvenated.
While you’ll find playgrounds for children in parks all around Japan, this article showcases some of the country’s top adventure playgrounds that come with thrill-packed activities like ziplining. Most of these facilities are family-friendly.
Note that you may not be allowed try activities in sandals—it’s advised to wear footwear that doesn’t come off easily like sneakers. Since you’ll be in a natural environment, it’s best to wear long pants and long-sleeved clothes to prevent injuries and scratches. In early summer and autumn, you may encounter insects like mosquitoes, bees, and ants, so it’s a good idea to have insect repellent and medicine for insect bites. Be sure to check the weather forecast and conditions beforehand, especially after heavy rain or typhoons. There may be loose soil and strong winds, even if it’s sunny.
There also may be age and height restrictions depending on the activity. When there are risks involved, such as ziplines built between tall trees, put on safety gear such as helmets, gloves, and harnesses, and participate under the guidance of an attendant. Additionally, you may be given an overview of the dangers involved and required to sign a consent form.
Forest Adventure is a leisure facility born in France that works on reducing the impact on the environment by leaving forests as it is, rather than cutting down trees or making large-scale developments. There are about 30 Forest Adventure spots around Japan and the first one is Forest Adventure MT.FUJI, which opened in 2006.
It’s located at an altitude of 1,100 meters near Lake Kawaguchiko at the foot of Mount Fuji. The forest was originally a red pine and larch forest, and now it’s an eco-park that makes the most of the forest’s original environment. A portion of the proceeds is used for forest maintenance.
On the 15-hectare site, cables and nets are strung from tree to tree, with the highest point at a thrilling-14 meters. There are three courses: the Adventure Course (4 courses, 33 activities) for those over 140 cm in height, the Canopy Course (4 courses, 30 activities) for those over 110 cm, and the Kids Park (90cm tall and over, 1 course, 10 activities).
It’s about a 2-hour drive from central Tokyo. It’s best to make a reservation online in advance.
Hatsushima is the closest inhabited island to Tokyo. It has a circumference of 4 km, and is popular for weekend diving or fishing trips.
The island is warm all year round due to ocean currents from the south. Expect to find fresh seafood, subtropical plants and local folklore. Hatsushima Adventure SARUTOBI* is a must-visit for thrill-seekers—this nature-packed adventure playground gives you a chance to traverse ropes and steps set up between trees using a special harness. You’ll be treated to fantastic views overlooking the surrounding sea. The courses take about 30 minutes to an hour, and includes a beginner course (12 activities), an intermediate course (7 activities), and a 40-meter zip slide at the end of each course, making for a total of 21 activities. Anyone above the age of five and over 110 cm tall can participate.
Shoes and helmets are available for rental. Online reservations are required (you can make same-day reservations ). There are also cottages and bathing facilities on the island, so you can make the most of your island excursion. To reach Hatsushima, take a 45-minute Shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Atami, and then take a 30-minute boat ride to Hatsushima.
Ikeda in Fukui Prefecture is surrounded by mountains and used to have a thriving forestry industry. Tree Picnic Adventure IKEDA* is an adventure playground that interweaves the local history and features.
It has a total of four forest jungle gyms set up above the trees. You can choose from the Adventure Course (38 activities) which combines thrilling obstacle courses and a relaxing treetop picnic, the Kids Course (6 activities, 110 cm and over), and the tree-Climbing Course (3 activities). There are also zip lines (480 m and 510 m) which let you glide down a wire rope from a height of 340 m.
In addition to a rich variety of activities, you’ll also find tree top tents where you can stay overnight, cabins, a cafe and BBQ area. It takes about 30 minutes by car from JR Takefu Station or about 45 minutes from Fukui Station. If you’re traveling by airplane, it’s a 45-minute drive from Komatsu Airport. Online reservations are required.
Biwako Valley is a plateau that stretches over the top of two mountains on the western side of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. The summits, accessible in just 5 minutes by ropeway, offer stunning panoramic views of the lake.
Among the attractions are the Sky Walker adventure course—it includes an advanced course (17 activities) and intermediate course (10 activities) located 5 m above the ground. They involve crossing a swinging bridge and logs. There’s also a beginners course (6 activities) that’s 2 m above the ground that takes you past treetops. It offers a total of 33 activities and is available from early May to mid November. There are also seven zipline courses that take you through the forest, with the highlight being the 169-m-long, 25-meter-high course with spectacular views of Lake Biwa. Time slots need to be reserved for Sky Walker and the ziplines.
The Biwako Terrace is a must-see during your visit. You can take in panoramic views of the lake and in the morning and might even spot a magnificent sea of clouds—this phenomenon occurs due to the differences in temperature. The surroundings are also beautiful in winter.
The nearest station is Shiga Station on the JR Kosai Line (about 40 minutes from Kyoto). Biwako Valley is a 10-minute bus ride away.
NOZARU* is an aerial adventure playground located in the popular summer resort Nasu Highland. It’s designed to make full use of 2.5 hectares of forest land and slopes—there are 99 activities set up between trees with wire ropes and other contraptions. You can enjoy bird’s eye views from treetops over 10 meters high. The facility boasts a total of 12 courses. Five of them are the child-friendly Kozaru courses (over 110 cm tall) and the remaining seven courses are the thrilling Nozaru courses (over 130 cm tall). Don’t miss out on the zipline—it stretches over 100 m and takes you zooming through the forest. Entry to the facility is limited to four time slots a day, 3 hours each. Advance reservations are recommended.
The nearest station, Nasushiobara Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, is 70 minutes from Tokyo. NOZARU is a 40-minute drive from there. It is located on the premises of TOWA Pure Cottage, an accommodation facility adjacent to Nasu Highland Park, a place packed with attractions that even young kids can enjoy.
Trampoline gymnastics is an Olympic sport—try it out for yourself at Trampoline Park trAmpoland, a space that specializes in trampolines and has great safety measures in place. It has three branches—Itabashi (Tokyo), Bayside (Shin-Urayasu, Chiba) and Niiza (Saitama)—and is the perfect place to visit with your family or make your trampoline debut.
Trampolining is said to be 68% more effective than jogging, so you’ll get a full-body workout even if you’re just jumping for fun. Basic jumping techniques are show on monitors in the facility, and staff are always on hand to help. Note that trampolining comes with risks, so make sure not to over-exert yourself. There are airbag trampolines at the Bayside and Saitama locations, so first-timers can try doing a forward somersault. There’s also designated area where seasoned trampoliners can practice somersaults.
The minimum age is 3 years old. Membership is required, so register online when you make your reservation to streamline the process.
Glamping, otherwise known as luxury camping, is perfect for anyone who wants to relax in a natural setting after a fun day of adventure sports. It retains the charm of camping in the great outdoors while giving you access to clean restrooms and showers. It also frees you from the inconveniences of setting up your own tents or carrying heavy equipment. You can enjoy BBQing local ingredients, chatting over a wood fire or go stargazing.
A variety of glamping facilities are popping up around Japan—you’ll find them in both coastal areas and mountains, and can choose from casual to luxurious styles. It’s a great way to get rejuvenated and avoid crowds. You can do an overnight trip to areas like the Fuji Five Lakes, Izu, or the Boso Peninsula. For visitors with more time to spare, there are a range of options from Hokkaido to Okinawa.