Culture

5 Unique Outdoor Adventures You Can Only Have In Japan

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With Japan hosting the 2021 Olympics, we’re going to start hearing the country and ‘sport’ in the same sentence a lot.

While we may not be able to travel there right now, now that travel bubbles have started popping up we may as well start planning our next adventures. Like these five unique and often whacky outdoor adventures you can only find in Japan.

#1 Join a game of Botaoshi

 

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Yes, yes that is a person balancing on top of a pole while piles of people try to bring it down. Botashi, or ‘topple the pole’, is a mix of rugby, wrestling, and sumo all in one. Basically, two teams fight each other as one tries to protect the pole and the other tries to bring it down. Wild.

#2 SUP board under a UNESCO World Heritage site

 

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Did you know there are world SUP board championships? Look it up, it’s pretty amazing. And yes, sure, SUP boarding isn’t from Japan, but it is the only place in the world you can SUP board under the most famous torii gate in Japan, and a UNESCO World Heritage site — Miyajima’s ‘floating’ Itsukushima shrine.

#3 Drift the Ebisu Circuit

We’ve all seen The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift, yes? I think it’s the only one I did see. Essentially, ‘drifting’ is that driving technique where they deliberately lose traction and have a controlled slide all over the place. One of the top drifting motorsports tracks in the world — Ebisu Circuit — was designed by drift driver Nobushige Kumakubo in Fukushima.

#4 Hike through trees spirits at Shiratani Unsuikyo

 

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The dense greenery and moss-covered trees of Shiratani Unsuikyo forest near Miyanoura Port is a stunning place to hike in its own right. It also happens to be home to iconic mononoke forests — a Japanese word that means spirit or monster. These are the real-world forests of Studio Ghibli‘s film, Princess Mononoke, and are surrounded by myths and legends of the 17th to mid-19th centuries.

#5 Visit Godzilla’s prison

 

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Here’s another fun one for film buffs: Mount Mihara in Tokyo is the very real active volcano where the Japanese government fake-imprisoned Godzilla in The Return of Godzilla. You can explore the crater on horseback, of all things, before chilling at the Miharaya Onsen hot spring baths.


(Lead image: provided by Japan National Tourism Organisation)