Three relaxing outdoor activities to try in Japan
Japan is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, offering world-class skiing, mountaineering, hiking, and more. Outdoor adventures don’t have to be strenuous, however, and Japan’s diverse and stunning natural landscape lends itself to more relaxed outdoor activities. From fishing on a volcanic island to spotting rare wildlife in the comfort of a cruise ship, here are three outdoor experiences that will allow you to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of nature.
Japan has some of the best fish in the world. Surrounded by the sea, Japan has a long history of fishing adventures and is home to a rich and diverse marine life, so it’s no surprise that Japan is also an excellent fishing destination.
No fishing license is required for marine or freshwater fishing, although freshwater fishing does require a license for most lakes and streams (fees are paid by the local fishing cooperative).
Regulations vary by county and location, so it’s worth doing some additional research or confirming details with a travel agent before finalizing your plans. If you want to see what Japan has to offer fishermen, Hachijojima is the place to be. This lush volcanic island is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise.
It is about 180 miles from Tokyo and can be reached in about 1 hour by plane or 10 hours by overnight ferry. Hachijo Island is known as a rock fisherman’s paradise and there are many places to fish. Anglers come to fish for ishidai (striped long bill), hiramasa (yellowtail series), kampachi (amberjack) and shima-aji (striped mackerel), and the area is known for its exceptionally large fish.
In many cases, lucky anglers have caught Ishiyo and Shima-Aji over 20 pounds, and Hiramasa and Kampachi over 40 pounds. However, due to the Kuroshio, sea conditions vary greatly with tide, so fishing conditions can be very unpredictable.
Some days you can enjoy wonderful dreams, and some days you need patience. The waves produced by the Kuroshio are much heavier than normal rock fishing spots, so safety is the rule of thumb. Once you’ve caught your fish, you can choose to prepare or pack it, and the island’s seven geothermal hot springs are a great way to unwind after a long day.
Kayaking and SUP
Kayaking and stand-up rowing are available in many places in Japan and around the world, but when you are surrounded by “Nindo Blue”, you will never forget the experience. The Niyodo River in Kochi Prefecture has consistently ranked first in Japan for water quality and is known for its spectacular blue waters, making it a popular tourist destination.
Surrounded by hillsides, relatively fast currents wash the riverbed, keeping the water fresh and clear. Depending on light, season, and depth, the 77-mile stretch of the river takes on a variety of colors from tropical aquariums to deep, mysterious cobalt blues.
At Niyodogawa Outdoor Center, you can book a kayak or SUP experience in Yasui Gorge’s calm pool. Then try Kochi bonito! A close relative of tuna, this delicious fish is a local specialty and is served in a tataki style, grilled on the outside and raw on the inside.
Although Japan is 26 times smaller than the United States, it is home to more than 90,000 animals with its rich and varied terrain and pristine nature. Japan has a wide variety of flora and fauna, ranging from subtropical in the south to subarctic in the north.
Hokkaido, the northernmost island in mainland Japan, is a particularly good place for wildlife viewing and adventures, as it is relatively quiet (most of the island is preserved as a nature park) and is home to many incredible species, Some of them are very rare, such as red-crowned cranes. In Shiretoko National Park, you can snowshoe to the majestic Furepe Falls. The area offers excellent opportunities for bird watching and viewing Ezo deer, tiger head sea eagles, and the occasional Ezo red fox. In northeastern Hokkaido, take a boat trip to the beautiful Shiretoko Peninsula and see Ussuri brown bears. You will also pass impressive waterfalls where you will often see seals, killer whales, and whales.
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