Outdoor activities

Here you’ll find a selection of activities that you can enjoy outdoors.


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Arashiyama Dinner Cruise

Enjoy spectacular seasonal views and Japanese traditional cuisine on an elegant boat. River cruising is a wonderful way to discover Kyoto’s rich culture and tranquil scenery. The Oi (Katsura) river runs through the middle of Arashiyama, which is most famous for its bamboo groves. Yakata-bune is an old fashioned popular style of boat and it…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Kyoto  |  Tags: , , ,

Cormorant Fishing

Although there are a few places where ukai or cormorant fishing is still done, that of the Nagara River in Gifu is by far the most famous. It has played a vital role in the city’s history and has evolved from a means to live, to a profitable industry, to a major tourist draw. It…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Central Honshu  |  Tags: , , ,

Hakone Circular Route

The traditional route around the Hakone area officially starts in Hakone-Yumoto, from where the narrow-gauge Hakone-Tozan train switchbacks up forested hills to the resort town of Gōra. For the best views and thinnest crowds, we recommend an early start from Gōra by funicular railway, which takes you to the cable car station. The cable car…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Central Honshu  |  Tags: , ,

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Iwatayama Monkey Park is a smallish wildlife park in Arashiyama. It is home to a troop of over 170 wild Japanese macaque monkeys. To get to the park, there’s a hike of about 20 minutes or so up the mountain. The monkeys roam freely around the area and will happily mingle with their human visitors…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Kyoto  |  Tags: , ,

Japanese Gardens

Influential to landscaping the world over, Japanese gardens are simultaneously enigmatic and peaceful. The subtle influence of Zen worked early on imported Chinese landscape design, and resulted in uniquely Japanese gardens. The aesthetic of wabi and sabi, fundamental to all Japanese arts, turns Japanese landscaping towards simple lines and spaces which suggest larger scenes, focusing…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Throughout Japan  |  Tags:

Japanese Grand Prix

Mie Prefecture’s Suzuka Circuit is the home of the Japanese Grand Prix. Historically, Japan has been one of the last races of the F1 season, and as such the Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue for many title-deciding races, with 13 World Champions being crowned over the 30 World Championship Japanese Grands Prix that…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Central Honshu  |  Tags: , , ,

Jigokudani Monkey Park

While Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, as they are colloquially known, roam the mountainous regions of the archipelago between Kyushu and northern Honshu, the macaques at Yudanaka, whose range centres on the geothermic Jigokudani valley, are easily observed as they relax in the valley’s onsen – a picturesque sight amidst swirling winter snows. What makes…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Central Honshu  |  Tags: , , , , ,

Mikimoto Pearl Island

Mikimoto Pearl Island is a small island located in Ise Bay, Mie Prefecture, which is known as the birthplace of cultured pearls. The island is run as a tourist attraction, with an excellent museum about pearls, pearl cultivation and Mikimoto Kokichi, the pioneer who first succeeded in cultivating pearls as well as holding shows featuring…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Central Honshu  |  Tags: , , ,

Nakasendo Way Hike

In the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), a trade route was developed between Edo (Tokyo) the new capital and Kyoto, the former capital. This route was known as the Nakasendo, the ‘Way through Mountains’ and today much of the original route remains and is a popular place to hike; either in its entirety or –…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Central Honshu  |  Tags: , ,

Omiya Bonsai Village

For anyone interested in the art of bonsai, a visit to the Omiya Bonsai Village near Tokyo is highly recommended. The ‘village’ is home to about a dozen top Bonsai nurseries as well as The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, which boasts a stunning collection and displays special exhibitions regularly. The museum offers great insights in…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Tokyo  |  Tags: , ,

Tokyo Helicopter Tours

Helicopter tours over Tokyo and Yokohama. Most flights last 15 minutes, and daylight, twilight, and night-time tours are all available. Longer, 30 minute private flights can also be arranged. There’s nothing like cruising over the metropolis for a breathtaking view of the sheer size and vibrancy of the city. In addition to private chartered flights,…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Tokyo  |  Tags: , ,

Visit a Tea Plantation

Tea has long played an important role in Japan and its culture. This is a unique day tour from nearby Kyoto that offers an authentic tea picking and making experience and the chance to learn more about the role of tea in modern Japan. You will have the chance to try traditional locally made teas…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Kansai  |  Tags: , ,


Rising up out of the Pacific at the north-western edge of the ring of fire, subducting plates under Japan cause breathtaking volcanic peaks to break through nearly the full length of the archipelago, from Hokkaido’s Showa-Shinzan mountain, which sprang up out of a field beside a larger volcano in 1944, to Kyushu’s “land of fire”…

Type: Outdoor activities  |  Category: Throughout Japan  |  Tags: , , , ,