Adventure Tourism in Chugoku - Take in the Sights From the Ground, Sea, and Sky

Adventure tourism (AT) is a new way of traveling to experience the nature, history, and culture of a destination through outdoor activities. In this article, we’ve outlined several exciting AT opportunities in the Chugoku region of Japan. The Chugoku coastline is full of scenic sights to explore, such as the vast Tottori Sand Dunes and the World Heritage Site of Itsukushima Shrine, which can be enjoyed from the ground, sea, and even the sky!

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Ride Across the Tottori Sand Dunes on a Fat Bike (Tottori)

Spanning 16 km east to west and 2.4 km north to south, the Tottori Sand Dunes is an enormous natural landmark created over the span of 100,000 years. These sand dunes vary greatly in height, with the difference going up to 90 m, and the ripple patterns formed by the wind will leave you in awe.

One of the best ways to explore the sand dunes is by fat bike! With tires two times wider than regular mountain bikes, traversing sand and surf is a breeze. The scenery and atmosphere of the Tottori Sand Dunes cycling course changes depending on the time of day and season, so your experience will always be special!

*Tour is only available in Japanese

Paraglide Over the Tottori Sand Dunes (Tottori)

Another charm of the Tottori Sand Dunes is the stunning contrast between the yellow sand and the vivid blue sea. From above, it's like looking at a painting! The sand dunes are a great place for paragliding, even for beginners, as you're guaranteed a soft landing without obstacles. Lifted by the ocean winds, you'll fly like a bird.

Tour the Tottori Sand Dunes on a Segway (Tottori)

There's all kinds of ways to discover the Tottori Sand Dunes, and one of the most unique is an off-road Segway. While mastering how to maneuver it, you can take in the surrounding scenery at a comfortable speed as you conquer the 6.5 km course. Highlights include taking photos and videos from the highest point of the sand dunes, and exploring the coast, which is normally inaccessible!

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Admire Miyajima on a Sea Kayak (Hiroshima)

The red otorii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the most famous sight of Miyajima. It's said that the historic shrine was founded 1,400 years ago, and it took on its current appearance 870 years ago.

While the otorii gate is approachable on foot at low tide, only those on sea kayaks can witness it "floating" on the water up close!

When viewed from the sea, it’s clear how the shrine pavilion spreads out with the otorii gate at its center, presenting a unique photo opportunity limited to those on sea kayaks! Plus, you’ll also be able to take in panoramic views of the entire island, which has long been considered a part of the shrine itself.

Try Your Hand at Shower Climbing at Yuki Onsen (Hiroshima)

Yuki Onsen and Yunoyama Onsen are an approx. 50 min drive from Hiroshima City. Both have long histories, with the former having been established 1,500 years ago and the latter 1,200 years ago. They're just 10 mins by car from each other, so you can visit both on the same day with ease. Here, you are free to soak away your troubles and pains in absolute peace and tranquility.

That being said, if you're looking for something a little more exciting, you can also try your hand at “shower climbing!” Shower climbing is an outdoor sport originating from Japan where you climb up a canyon river or stream. At Yuki Town, you can challenge yourself to climb up through the crystal clear waters of the Minochi River - waterfalls and all! You can also experience the fun of diving or sliding down waterfalls into the pool below. It's an amazing group activity that's sure to foster strong bonds.

There are also tour plans that include a soak in the local onsen hot springs afterwards, ensuring you leave nice and refreshed!

Take in Suo-Oshima Through SUP (Yamaguchi)

Suo-Oshima is an island in the Seto Inland Sea to the southwest of Yamaguchi Prefecture. It is connected to the mainland of Honshu by the Oshima Bridge. If you drive along the coastline, you can enjoy the sight of unique rock formations caused by erosion from the waves. The local specialty is mandarins - be sure to give them a try!

"SUP" is short for standup paddleboarding, where you stand on a large surfboard-like board with a paddle to get around. It's a bit nerve-racking at first, but thankfully the waters of the Seto Inland Sea are relatively calm and still, allowing even a child to paddle by themselves. If you've never tried SUP before, Suo-Oshima is the perfect place to give it a go. Relish the sea wind and enjoy the mesmerizing experience!

*Tour is only available in Japanese

The Vast Nature of Chugoku Awaits

The Chugoku region of Japan is the perfect place to enjoy thrilling adventures with gorgeous natural scenery. Through adventure tourism, you'll get to go to places you normally can't visit, and see sights you usually can't encounter, creating memories that last a lifetime. There's plenty of adventure for people of all ages and athletic abilities, so why not spice up your itinerary and give one a try?

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Chugoku Feature

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

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About the author

A Chiba native who loves regional sake and crafts that each tell their own story. During long breaks, she likes to spend her time fishing in the Seto Inland Sea.
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