Adventure Tourism in Chubu: Dive Into History and Culture in the Great Outdoors

Adventure tourism is a new way of traveling to experience the nature, history, and culture of a destination through outdoor activities. In this article, we’ll introduce you to exciting AT ideas in the Chubu region, which covers the central part of mainland Japan. With the Sea of Japan to the north and the Pacific Ocean in the south, alongside the towering Japanese Alps, Chubu offers a plethora of ways to thoroughly enjoy its natural wonders. Raft through the Nagara River, one of Japan’s clearest streams; bungee jump deep into a resplendent valley; and more!

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

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Miya River: Tandem SUP on One of Japan’s Clearest Rivers (Mie)

Alongside being the largest river in Mie Prefecture, the Miya River is also one of the clearest rivers in all of Japan. It is said that it once acted as the boundary between Ise, the sacred place where Ise Shrine is located, and the secular world, and visitors would purify themselves in its waters before praying at the shrine. The river also flows next to Okuise, a mountain village part of a UNESCO eco park.

If you ever get the chance to visit Okuise, we recommend making the most of it with standup paddleboarding! Hop on a large board—not a surfboard—and enjoy the view!

The waters of the Miya River are incredibly still, making it easy for even SUP beginners or young children. If you’re traveling with friends or family, there are even SUP mega-boards that can fit up to six people! The surprising stability of the board means you can leisurely drift and even enjoy a cup of tea while floating!

*Can only be booked from the Japanese site

Nagara River: Rafting and Caving on One of Japan's Clearest Streams (Gifu)

Originating from Mount Dainichi in Gujo, Gifu Prefecture, the 166 km Nagara River is considered one of Japan’s three clearest rivers. Its remarkable purity has also earned it an official ranking as one of the country’s Top 100 Waters by the Ministry of the Environment!

The Nagara River is also known for cormorant fishing, a traditional method where cormorants are trained to catch sweetfish and more. Practiced for over 1,300 years, in the summer night-time between May 11th and October 15th, you can spot locals fishing using this ancient technique.

For those seeking a deeper encounter with the nature of Gifu, we highly recommend rafting and caving around the Nagara River. Rafting is both exciting and relaxing, with heart-racing runs through the river’s rough currents, as well as blissful tranquility in the gentler sections. For the adventurous, donning a headlamp and caving through the narrow tunnels around the river offers another kind of thrill, showcasing the lesser-known side of Chubu’s stunning wilderness.

*Can only be booked from the Japanese site

Ise Bay, Minamichita: Catch a Variety of Fish All Year Round (Aichi)

South of Nagoya City, the Chita Peninsula is a scenic spot sandwiched between Ise Bay and Mikawa Bay. It has long been famed for its booming brewing communities, including sake and miso, along with local textiles. Tokoname ware, which boasts a history of over 1,000 years, is one of the region’s best-known traditional crafts.

Minamichita Town, in the south of the peninsula, is part of both Mikawa-wan Quasi-National Park and Minamichita Prefectural Nature Park. It has a wealth of sightseeing, including famous historic sites and cultural assets.

The activity we’d most like visitors to the Chita Peninsula to try is sea fishing! You can rent all the gear you need, as well as hire a guide to explain everything, allowing even beginners to fish with ease. You can also take home your catches, or even organize to barbecue them right on the boat!

Check out our writers’ top Japan travel ideas!

Tabiashi River Valley: The Highest Bungee Jump in Japan (Gifu)

Yaotsu Town sits in southeastern Gifu Prefecture. With 80% of its area occupied by mountains and forests, it is dominated by luscious greenery and water, including the Hida River to the north and Kiso River to the south.

The town is also home to the Tabiashi River Valley and Shintabisoko Bridge. 462 meters long and hoisted upon 100-meter-tall pillars, the bridge boasts a staggering 215 meters of elevation from the valley floor—the highest in Japan! Best of all, visitors can experience the rush of falling from the Shintabisoko Bridge with its bungee jumping platform!

While terrifying, we’re certain that the vast, gorgeous scenery you’ll witness during your jump will be like nothing you’ve encountered before! Definitely give it a try!

Lake Saiko, Fuji Five Lakes: Admire the Surroundings of Mt. Fuji From a Sea Kayak (Yamanashi)

Sitting in the north of Mt. Fuji’s foothills, Lake Saiko is one of the Fuji Five Lakes and a mystical spot enclosed by mountains and the Aokigahara forest. The lava cave within Aokigahara is the largest in the area, and a designated National Natural Monument well worth checking out.

Visitors are highly encouraged to try kayaking in Lake Saiko while learning about the area through fascinating explanations from a local nature guide. Depending on the course and number of participants, you may even be gifted jaw-dropping views of Mt. Fuji itself! Of course, the lovely natural scenery of the lake is an equal delight, with fresh green shoots in the spring, bright foliage in autumn, and more.

*Can only be booked from the Japanese site

Shimoda, Minamiizu: A Solo Sea Kayak Adventure With Mt. Fuji in the Backdrop (Shizuoka)

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean from the eastern tip of Shizuoka Prefecture is the Izu Peninsula. One of Shizuoka’s leading sightseeing destinations, it stands out for its diverse terrain of hills and mountains and unique coastal formations. Needless to say, there is a wealth of nature-filled spots for adventurous sightseers to discover. Whether it’s nature, hot springs, food, or some good old outdoor fun, there’s plenty of ways to experience Izu!

Located at the southern tip of the peninsula, Minamiizu is a beach paradise flaunting incredibly clear and high quality water, allowing for all sorts of swimming, snorkeling, diving, and more.

We especially recommend tours where you can admire the area from a single-seater kayak, along with some caving and snorkeling! Your body and mind are sure to heal as you search for dazzling corals and schools of fish in the pristine waters.

*Can only be booked from the Japanese site


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Chubu Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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About the author

A Tokyo native who likes to read and visit art museums and is fascinated by the history and culture of other countries. After realizing the importance of learning from history, Okada is now going back to studying Japanese and world history.
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