10 Best Outdoor Experiences in Japan

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Writer’s Profile

Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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Japan really is an impressive country; despite its smaller land mass in comparison to other large economies, it maintains such a diverse catalog of incredible experiences. While it is famed for technology and futuristic infrastructure, it also offers such an array of outdoor fun. Its dense population also seems to contribute to a good majority of these experiences being quite accessible to many. From the snow-capped peaks of Hokkaido to the azure waters surrounding Okinawa, there’s nothing holding any adventurer back from embarking on a journey of a lifetime. Let’s explore the best outdoor experiences that Japan has to offer, blending nature, adrenaline, and a dash of cultural delight.

1. Ziplining

Saku Takakusaki, CC BY-ND 2.0, Via Flickr

Feel the wind in your hair as you soar through lush forests on a zipline adventure. Japan boasts some of the most picturesque ziplining courses, like the ones nestled in the Japanese Alps or through the mouth of Godzilla. Hokkaido, though it is well known for enjoying snowsports, is actually home to one of the longest zipline spots in the world! There are many places to enjoy ziplining, and some are less of a roller-coaster kind of experience (like hokkaido) and more of an adventure involving a dynamic course. Be sure to check out the best spots!

2. Hiking/Trekking

Strap on your hiking boots and uncover some of Japan’s hidden gems by exploring its myriad of trails. From the iconic pilgrimage routes like the 88 shrines of Shikoku to the challenging peaks of the Japanese Alps, there’s a trail for every level of hiker. Immerse yourself in nature’s serenity as you discover ancient shrines, moss-covered forests, and panoramic vistas. Regardless of the level of experience with hiking, there are trails for everyone to enjoy throughout Japan. Don’t forget to try Mt. Fuji!

3. Surfing

Japan’s coastline is a surfer’s paradise, offering world-class waves and a vibrant surf culture. Head to the beaches of Chiba, Shonan, Okinawa, or the islands off the Izu peninsula to catch some epic breaks. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time surfer, the Japanese waves cater to all skill levels. After a day on the surfboard, unwind with a beachside barbecue, indulging in local delicacies like fresh Sashimi and cold craft beers. Ride the waves and immerse yourself in the laid-back coastal vibe that defines Japanese surfing culture. Japan is home to other water sports too, make sure you consider all of them!

4. Skiing/Snowboarding

Winter transforms Japan into a snowy wonderland, attracting skiers and snowboarders from around the globe. Hokkaido, with its legendary powder stacks, is a must-visit destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Nagano and Niigata are also solid choices without a doubt. Whether you choose Niseko, Hakuba, or any other ski resort in between, each region offers a unique blend of challenging slopes and cozy après-ski experiences. Don’t miss the chance to soak in an Onsen surrounded by snow-capped mountains (or monkeys) after a thrilling day on the slopes.

5. Climbing

Challenge your limits by conquering Japan’s iconic peaks, each steeped in cultural significance. Mt. Fuji, a symbol of Japan, beckons climbers from July to September. There are plenty of these kinds of great climbing opportunities throughout Japan, though perhaps not as high! But if you’re looking for a more vertical experience, then you’ll want to head to Mizugaki and Ogawayama, conveniently located in Chichibutamakai park, not too far from Tokyo. Japan is full of elevated terrain though, so there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere.

6. Fishing

Japan’s rich maritime culture extends to its fantastic fishing opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice with a fishing rod, Japan’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters provide an abundance of options. Head to Lake Biwa for bass fishing, try your luck with traditional ayu fishing in Gifu, or experience deep-sea fishing off the coast of Okinawa. Enjoy the tranquility of nature as you cast your line, and if you’re lucky, savor the fresh catch prepared by local chefs in nearby seaside villages.

7. Camping

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and embrace the serenity of Japanese camping grounds. From the lush forests of Yakushima to the scenic lakeshores of Shikoku, camping in Japan offers a diverse range of landscapes. Rent a cozy cabin, pitch a tent, or try “glamping” for a luxurious outdoor experience. As the sun sets and the stars emerge, gather around a crackling campfire, savoring locally sourced ingredients in a classic Japanese barbecue, or yakiniku, enhancing the camping experience with a touch of culinary delight.

8. Kayaking/Canoeing

Explore Japan’s waterways by kayaking or canoeing, a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. Traverse the crystal-clear waters of Lake Shikaribetsu in Hokkaido or meander through the picturesque Takachiho Gorge in Kyushu. Paddle beneath cherry blossom trees in spring or marvel at the vibrant autumn foliage along riverbanks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, Japan’s diverse water landscapes offer a unique perspective, immersing you in the natural beauty that defines the country.

9. Diving/Snorkeling

Dive into Japan’s underwater realm and discover a world of vibrant coral reefs, mesmerizing marine life, and historic shipwrecks. Okinawa, with its subtropical waters, is a hotspot for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Explore the mystical Blue Cave or witness the annual migration of hammerhead sharks in the waters around Ishigaki. Whether you’re a certified diver or a casual snorkeler, Japan’s seas offer an underwater adventure that seamlessly blends nature’s wonders with the country’s maritime heritage.

10. Paragliding/Hang-Gliding

For the ultimate adrenaline rush, take to the skies with paragliding or hang-gliding. Experience the thrill of launching from elevated vantage points, taking in panoramic views of Japan’s diverse landscapes. Head to Mt. Fuji for an incredibe  experience with an iconic backdrop or try tandem hang-gliding over the phenomenon of the Tottori sand dunes. Feel the wind beneath your wings as you soar like a bird, creating memories that will stay with you long after you touch down.

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if yu have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

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