Step aside, Queenstown, Japanese prefecture Shizuoka could soon replace the New Zealand town’s reputation as one of Australians’ favourite adrenaline destinations.
If you’re not familiar with the prefecture, it’s located on Japan’s south coast and is home to the country’s tallest mountain and its sacred symbol, Mount Fuji, as well as a handful of temples and shrines that surround it.
Recent data from the area’s tourism board, Explore Shizuoka, shows that two of the main reasons Australians are heading to the region are to paraglide over Mount Fuji and to do the Mishima Adventure Skywalk.
But there are a heap of other adventure activities to do in Shizuoka too. From canyoning and abseiling in its Izu Peninsula to kayaking its Sotoura Bay, and discovering tucked-away beaches, here is just a sample of the many options.
Hike to the Summit of Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is one of the most iconic landmarks in Japan, and it’s open for hiking from mid-July to mid-September. Depending on the trail you choose, it can take between five and 10 hours to reach its summit.
The Fujinomiya Trail, Subashiri Trail and Gotemba Trail begin in the Shizuoka Prefecture and wind their way up the mountainside, showcasing landscapes of volcanic terrain, unique vegetation and lush forests – not to mention the stunning views you’ll experience at the summit.
Parasail Above Lake Hamana
Parasailing at Lake Hamana is an activity that caters to all ages and abilities, with children able to be strapped into small harnesses. Then, the whole family can start the slow ascent from the back of a boat.
Once suspended above the lake, you’ll likely find parasailing to be surprisingly serene and peaceful as you effortlessly glide in the breeze. You’ll be able to take in the picturesque landscape of the surrounding vistas as you cruise around the lake.
Kayak Through Sotoura Bay
Kayaking or snorkelling in the beautiful Sotoura Bay are some of the best ways to explore Shizuoka’s marine ecosystem. A kayaking tour in the bay is a great way to survey the waters, discovering secluded beaches and hidden coves along the way. Glide over the shimmering water or ride along the waves to the white, sandy shoreline.
Snorkellers, on the other hand, can swim with schools of tropical fish while checking out the colourful coral below.
Abseil in Izu
The Izu Peninsula, in particular, is known for its outdoor adventure offering. Its mountainous terrain and handful of waterfalls make it a great place for canyoning and abseiling.
Beginners should opt for a half-day canyon course through Izu Peninsula’s rivers that’ll see you slip and slide down the waterfalls. If you prefer to stay dry, hike one hour to the top of Mount Jyo, and then, using a rope, abseil down its 130m cliff.
Paraglide Over Mount Fuji
Soaring through the skies above the majestic Mount Fuji is an absolute must for any adrenaline junkie, though it caters to both beginners and experienced skill levels.
The slow descent to the base of the mountain will let you take in stunning views of Japan’s most famous peak, the Asagiri Plateau and rolling green hills and rice fields beyond.
White Water Raft on Fuji River
White water rafting is offered here at the foothills of Mount Fuji, along Fuji River. Navigating through the turbulent rapids, dropping over waterfalls and being propelled forward by currents is an exhilarating experience that requires teamwork and coordination. Working with a team, you’re bound to make new friends along the way.
Cycle Around Mount Fuji
A one-day cycling tour through the rural landscapes that surround Mount Fuji is sure to test your endurance. You’ll begin the adventure with a visit to Lake Tanuki National Park and try the pure spring water from Mount Fuji.
Then, ride through traditional Japanese farms and villages, and meet the locals to sample the Prefecture’s rich cultural heritage and cuisine. After refuelling, finish your day at Shiraito Falls, which is surrounded by forests.
Skywalk Through Forest at Mishima
At 400 metres long, the Mishima Skywalk is Japan’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. Along the bridge, take in spectacular views of Suruga Bay, with Mount Fuji on the horizon. To the north of the bridge lies the Forest Adventure Zone, which includes an Adventure Course with its own Tarzan swing and Long Zip-Line that’ll see you sliding towards Mount Fuji.