Adventure travel is an immersive way to experience the natural environment and cultural exchange
while still challenging both mind and body. It provides the chance to push individual boundaries
whether trying something for the first time or reaching a personal best. Japan, with its diverse
geography, abundant nature and rich cultural heritage is dense with adventure activities both hard
and soft, and everywhere in between. Here are a few suggestions to get the heart pumping!

It’s the conquest on many skiers and snowboarders’ list – ski the crater of an active volcano, a pursuit
that will deliver Hokkaido’s famous deep and dry powder snow. Mount Yotei is the highest mountain
in western Hokkaido near the Niseko ski resorts and is an active volcano. Fear not, the last eruption
is believed to have taken place 3,000 years ago. As the saying goes, no pain no gain. Access to the
crater requires an initial hike but there is the reward of fresh powder when you get there. Skiing the
crater can be taken as a backcountry ski adventure tour and snowshoes and avalanche equipment is
packed as a prerequisite. The trip can take between five and seven hours depending on the
experience and fitness of the group. The best part of the journey, aside from skiing the crater, are
the natural thermal hot springs and onsens in Niseko that will be waiting to salve your fatigued body
upon your return.

Follow in the footsteps along forested paths of feudal lords, traders or samurai from the 17th century
and transport yourself back to the Edo period. The Nakasendo walking trail was traditionally created
to connect Kyoto and Tokyo and translated means Central Mountain Road. Today it is an incredible
hiking trail that takes you through ancient forests, past shrines, and along mountain paths with views
of the Japanese Alps. A tour can provide the ideal service where all you need to take in is fresh
mountain air and pristine forests. Ryokan inns are booked in the historic villages, along with dinner
and breakfast and best of all, your pack is taken ahead so you can hike pack-free. Tours tend to focus
on the most beautiful section of the trail via the Kiso Valley and depending on the level of cultural
immersion can take between five and eight days. But the hike provides the opportunity to escape to
another time along stone paths through perfectly preserved villages, seasonal flowers, ancient
forests and crystal clear waterways.


Enjoy the rare opportunity to experience the graceful reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) up close and
personal, in their natural habitat, in the southern coastal islands of Japan. Make your way to the
tropical islands south of Okinawa, the Yaeyama Islands, between May and December. Here off the
main island of Ishigaki the gentle giants gather at select dive sites. Known as Manta Island it is one of
over 150 islands in the Okinawa Prefecture and is also famous for its coral reef diving. Only five boats
are allowed at one time so the encounter is a personal and magical experience for divers. Make sure
to book an organized tour in advance. If you’re looking for a little more underwater adventure you
could also take a ferry to nearby Yonaguni Island to swim with hammerhead sharks (during the season
September to March). The tropical islands of Okinawa are a magnet for nature lovers along with
divers, snorkelers and surfers who are drawn to the turquoise water and tropical nature.

Canyoning is a thrill seekers alternative to hiking and is a fun, if slightly water logged, way to explore
the more challenging parts of the landscape. Fujigawachi Valley on the island of Kyushu becomes a
natural entertainment park of pools, waterslides, potholes, waterfalls and unusual rocky terrain for
canyoners to push their limits and slide, swim, walk or abseil down the valley under the careful eye
of a canyoning guide. From May to October people of all skill levels including kids over 10 can join in.
Canyoning allows visitors to follow a natural water route carved through rock formations in elusive
parts of the valley. The emerald green pools, caves and waterfalls are ready for exploration and
enjoyment and are an adrenalin pumping way to explore some of Japan’s beautiful countryside.
For more information on adventure travel in Japan go to

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