River play is one of Japan’s iconic summer pastimes, offering various ways to have fun. Now, let’s introduce you to the methods and joys of enjoying rivers in Japan.
To enjoy river play, it’s essential to choose the right river. Please consider the following points as a reference.
- Gentle-flowing river: Especially for beginners or children, it’s best to avoid rivers with fast currents or rapids. Choosing a river with a relaxed flow allows for a safe and comfortable river play experience.
- Safe water quality and clarity: Opt for rivers with high clarity and safe water quality to enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery and interactions with fish.
- Convenient access: Select a river that has easy access to public transportation or nearby parking lots for smooth transportation.
To fully enjoy river play, make sure to prepare the following items:
- Swimsuit and change of clothes: Bring comfortable swimwear and an extra set of clothes. Since getting wet is expected in the river, it’s essential to have a change of clothes.
- Sandals or water-resistant shoes: Choose suitable footwear as the riverbed can be slippery at times.
- Towel and sunscreen: Don’t forget to bring a towel to dry off after water activities and sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays.
- Food and drinks: Many river play spots may not have shops nearby, so bring your own food and beverages to enjoy a meal by the riverside. Prepare a cooler box, picnic mat, tableware, and drinks. Remember to take your trash with you when leaving.
Ways to Enjoy River Play:
River play offers more than just water activities; you can also immerse yourself in nature and enjoy various activities.
- Water Activities: You can swim and play in the clear streams and riverbeds. In gentle-flowing areas, you can even sit on the riverbed or have fun by the riverside.
- Camping: There are camping sites near the river, so you can bring your tent and enjoy a camping experience. Some spots also offer camping under the starry sky at night.
- Nature Exploration: Explore the riverbanks and surrounding natural environments. Beautiful sceneries and encounters with insects await you. It’s also one of the favorite pastimes for Japanese children.
In Japan, various river activities have gained popularity. Here are some of the trendy river activities you can enjoy in Japan.
Rafting is an exhilarating activity where you ride down the river’s rapids in an inflatable boat (raft). Joining a team with a guide, you’ll venture through the great outdoors, riding the river’s currents. Rafting in fast-flowing rivers is especially popular from spring to summer.
Canyoning involves climbing, sliding, and jumping into the river’s canyon. You can bathe in the spray of waterfalls and slide down natural slides. This water and adventure combination is particularly popular during the summer.
Canoe touring is an activity where you explore the river while paddling a canoe. Enjoy the tranquility of peaceful rivers and lakes, leisurely experiencing the great outdoors from the calm waters.
Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP):
SUP is an activity where you stand on a surfboard and paddle through the river. With your balancing skills in action, you can relaxingly glide along gentle rivers while paddling.
These river activities take advantage of Japan’s beautiful natural environment and the blessings of its rivers, making them popular among many foreign visitors to Japan. Each activity offers various experiences, such as excitement, adventure, and relaxation, allowing you to choose according to your preferences. To enjoy them safely, it’s essential to follow the guides or instructors and ensure you have the necessary equipment.
Introducing Fun Activity Spots in Kansai
Hyogo Prefecture, Shiso City:
Shiso City is an area with a beautiful natural environment. Here, you can enjoy activities like canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).
Wakayama Prefecture, Nachikatsuura Town, Kushimoto Town, and Shingu City:
Nachikatsuura Town is located in Wakayama Prefecture and is famous for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. Here, you can enjoy various river activities such as canyoning, rafting, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).
Kyoto Prefecture, Kameoka City:
Kameoka City is situated in Kyoto Prefecture and is blessed with the Hozu River. You can have fun with activities like rafting and canoe touring on the Hozu River. Additionally, we recommend trying SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) with the scenic backdrop of a clear stream.
While it’s not a river, Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture is also extremely popular for activities like SUP and canoe touring. There are numerous activities to experience, so be sure to check it out. You can even enjoy wakeboarding and other activities in the lake.
River play allows you to fully experience Japan’s nature. Many of the spots have guides or instructors, making it safe for beginners and advanced participants alike. Before visiting, be sure to make reservations and check for detailed information to enjoy the exciting river activities to the fullest.