5 Great Outdoor Activities in Japan
Japan is already known as one of the best travel destinations for culture, history, and gastronomy. Most tourists also already know about the many amazing hiking spots in Japan. But there is so much more to do for travelers who are looking for some action. As a bit of a thrill-seeker myself I have tried many fun outdoor activities in Japan, and here’s a list of 5 of my favorite ones: quad riding, riverboarding (rafting, tubing), wake surfing, horse riding, and free-flying. We have other articles for winter sports, snorkeling, diving, and ziplining.
An Exciting ATV Quad Ride
If you like driving for fun and aren’t afraid to get a bit dirty, riding an ATV bike is for you! Kids can sit next to the driver, so it is a family-friendly activity. The course is off-road so there’s no danger of other traffic, and ATV biking tends to be done in nice, natural areas. I’ve tried it once, and it was definitely an experience I won’t forget.
Riding was very exhausting, especially for my arms, but it was so exhilarating at the same time. We took a course of 1.5 hours, with a short part through knee-deep water at the end of it. As we were with a group of around 20 people we didn’t move at a very high speed, but it was challenging enough at around 25km/h! The maximum speed of these vehicles is around 50km/h, but you will usually not exceed 30km/h. This website has many ATV experiences throughout Japan.
White Water Riverboarding
Riverboarding (Hydrospeed) must have been one of the scariest but also the most fun water activities I have ever done. I love water activities a lot, but I do have to say that I was a bit scared at some points! So I only recommend this activity to people with a good physical condition who love the water and want something more challenging than rafting. It will be one of the most exciting things you have ever done.
You will wear a protective wetsuit, shoes, helmet, and lifevest which are very necessary. The riverboard is a floating foamy board with a hole on the inside where you can hold it. The guide will explain what you have to be careful of, and then off you go! Be ready for a whole lot of water, good speeds, and sometimes holding on for dear life. We did the half-day course, which was definitely enough for us. Afterward, we stayed for a bit of walking around the beautiful Tama river area. You can book a riverboarding tour on this website.
Wake Surfing on a Never-Ending Wave
While I have only done wakeboarding in a cable wake park, wake surfing on a wave behind a boat is still on my to-do list. A few months ago I saw an item on Japanese TV about wake surfing on Lake Yamanashi (Yamanashiko). Nice detail: you will see Mt Fuji in the background while you’re soaring across the water! I can’t think of many nicer ways to spend a weekend day.
Wakeboarding is something you need to practice to get better, but most people will be able to stand in their first session. It’s not different in wake surfing. In the TV item, even the very out-of-shape-looking comedian was able to stand up by the end of the session. And once you stand, it’s easy to keep going on the never-ending wave that’s created by the boat. From then on, it’s smooth sailing! You can book a wake surfing experience in Yamanashiko on this website.
Horse Riding with a Sea View
What’s more relaxing than horse riding with a view of the cobalt blue sea in front of you. Horseriding can be done in places outside of the larger urban areas throughout Japan, and we went riding in Yomitan, Okinawa. The cool thing is that the Okinawa Riding Club offers not only beachside rides, but you can also enter the sea with the horse.
Free Flying with Indoor Skydiving
Ok, this one is not outdoor but it is so much fun that I’m mentioning it anyway. If you don’t (yet) want to commit yourself to an outdoor skydive, you can still feel what it’s like to freefall and fly. In Koshigaya, Saitama (north of Tokyo) you can go indoor skydiving at FlyStation.
After you put on a special suit that will make it easier to float in the wind, staff will explain exactly what is going to happen. You will also first ‘practice on dry land’ before you will enter the tube to fly. Strong winds will make you float, and depending on your skills you can do tricks. This is not a cheap experience at 4500 yen per minute (5000 yen on weekends), but it is worth it for the very special experience. Kids can fly from 4 years old, and you can do this activity if you weigh less than 125kg.
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we create perfect Japan package tours including fun outdoor activities. Check out our group tours and private tours, or contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!