No doubt, visiting centuries-old temples and savoring delicately-prepared dishes are two must-do’s when one visits Japan. But have you ever wondered what you can do to find heart-pumping excitement in Japan?

By Cara Lam

It’s not well-known, but Japan is a secret outdoor adventure capital of the world. And I’m not just talking about hiking and camping; we all know that Japan’s got gorgeous mountains and forests. I’m talking about river rafting!

In between the cliffs and jungle near Mt. Tanigawa, Gunma Prefecture, lies a small town called Minakami. Blessed by its water and volcano-bounded location, this town is famous – not only for hot springs, but also for outdoor activities. You can go river-rafting and canyoning with local companies in one day. If you’re up for more adrenaline rush, the bungee rope is there for you. Doing all these things may seem like a lot of adventures in one day, so if you want, you can stay a night or two at the lodges provided by the adventure companies.

I went river-rafting and canyoning in early October with a company called Canyons. If I were to rate them on a one to ten scale, I’d really struggle because they deserve at least a twenty! Most of the staff members at Canyons are New Zealanders, so I had no problem listening to instructions. The staff have great sense of humor, and it was a really chill vibe for all of us there on the trip. They cheered me on when I was hesitating to take the leap of faith down a 20-meter waterfall.

I know that you’re probably concerned about safety as you slide off a waterfall or jump off a cliff. It is scary, but if you’re brave enough you’ll have an amazing time. Of course they give you a helmet, whole-body wetsuit, gloves, and real sturdy shoes. I landed on the water head first when I jumped off the first cliff at river-rafting and I’m still alive!

We all want to share our brave and fun moments with our friends and family, and not worry about taking photos while we’re having fun. Even though I got a lot of video footage from my GoPro, at the end of the tour the team sent me these great photos and some extra videos to my email.

There is honestly no better way to spend an adventurous weekend than one in Minakami! Make sure you make your way to the hot springs afterwards to say thanks to your body too.

Ten out of ten, would go again.

Cara is a full-time life-lover, part-time laugh-maker, and an amateur Youtuber. Follow her adventures through the Americas and Japan on her channel!