So the weather is cooling down (okay, seriously, who am I kidding?) but with the days still sunny and fine it’s the perfect time to catch the last of the summer activities in and around Hiroshima.
Two such activities are river trekking (sometimes called river tracing) and forest adventure courses.
Gonokawa Canoe Park Sakugi
Gonokawa Canoe Park Sakugi does indeed have canoeing, but one of the other more exciting attractions is river trekking. This activity is only offered during summer due to the higher altitudes of the mountains and thus, the temperature of the river water. Yes, on hot sunny days it’s the perfect way to cool down and on cloudy days, a nice way to get some respite from the humidity.
Located in Miyoshi City, it’s a bit of a drive but well worth your time and money and I guarantee you will have a blast. In our case, we really did have a blast because of the sudden thunderstorm that came up. In fact, our guide made us get out of the water immediately because we could have been struck by lightning. Let me just say our guide and the other guide leading the group ahead of us were great and made sure we were as safe as could be at all times. We took a group of elementary-age students who had no difficulties coping with the activity itself, as well as the elements.
In preparation, you do need to wear your swimmers and bring a change of clothes. There is no way you will not get wet, so if water isn’t your thing, don’t go. At some points the water may be chest deep, but you are fully equipped with safety gear to make sure you’re okay. Due to the nature of the activity (getting wet etc.) you are unable to bring a backpack and of course, no cell phones. Apart from the fact that it would get soaked by water, you literally have no time to stop and take photos and there is no doubt you need both hands free to navigate your way.
When you arrive, the guides will make sure you are fitted with a helmet, life jacket and a cord to secure your glasses if you wear them. Gloves with grip are also provided as you will need to hold onto rocks to assist you and you need protection from cuts etc. You do need to wear suitable shoes and of course, ones that you don’t mind getting wet. My suggestion is to wear long tights/leggings or close-fitting pants and a long sleeve shirt. This will not only protect you from the sun (if it’s sunny), but also from any nasties or weird things in the water.
The water is constantly running and river trekking involves not only walking through water, but up and over rocks. You will lose your balance and it’s essential to take it slowly and not rush through. Most people find the activity mildly challenging, but it’s a sure bet you will discover muscles the next day that you never knew you had!
Mominoki Shinrin Koen
The other fun activity is located in Mominoki Shinrin Koen in Hatsukaichi City. This company also has a number of other locations throughout Japan with different courses at each one.
The two main courses to choose from are the adventure or canopy course, both of which involve a sort of obstacle course through the trees, roughly 20-30 metres off the ground. The final challenge of all is a zip-line to round off the route.
We opted for the canopy course which gives you unlimited access to two routes for 80 minutes. At a cost of 2600 yen for adults or children, it’s not exactly cheap. The adventure course has four options and is more expensive for adults (over 18 years old) at 3600 yen.
Both course activities have height and weight conditions in addition to clauses that involve the supervision of children. For the canopy course, you need to be at least 110cm with a maximum weight of 130kg. Children under eight years of age must be accompanied by an adult and there needs to be at least one adult per five kids. The adventure course requires people to be at least 140cm with the same weight restriction and one adult per two children.
Everyone must sign a disclaimer form and of course, safety equipment including a harness are provided.
The courses are challenging and even adults will find themselves a little wary of just how high they are before they launch themselves across the tree canopy. If children do get stuck or are too scared to continue, the helpful guides will assist to bring them safely back down to earth, as it were.
Both outdoor activities are a lot of fun and are a great way to round off the summer in Hiroshima. Happy adventures!
Gonokawa Canoe Park Sakugi
116 Sakugichō Kōyodo Miyoshi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 728-0131
Opening hours: 8:30-18:00 (closed on Tuesdays) ONLY open during July and August (summer months)
http://genkimurasakugi.or.jp (Japanese only)
1593-75 Yoshiwa, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 738-0301
Opening hours: 9:00-15:00 (schedule may change due to weather conditions) ONLY open Mid-March- November
http://www.foret-aventure.jp (Japanese only)