Think sitting in an inflated raft while rushing down white-water rapids is hardcore? You haven’t tried the wildest rafting experience in Japan.
Kitayama village, located about three hours from Osaka in Wakayama prefecture, offers tourists a chance to discover what it’s like to sail down the swift currents of Kitayama River on traditional logging rafts.
Here’s the kicker – you’re not even seated.
For the whole time, riders stand in a line on the sturdy, long wooden rafts, clutching only the metal/wooden handles that rise from the base of the rafts.
As terrifying as it looks to be a rider, the true cowboys on this journey are the guides.
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Wooden oars in hand, they pilot the rafts down the river rapids while standing, wearing boots, a hat… and no life jacket.
The adventure sport was inspired by Japan’s traditional lumber industry, in which felled wood was assembled into rafts then sent down the river – a transport method used for more than 600 years. In the late 1970s, it was introduced to tourists.
Game? The rafting season lasts from May to September, with reservations accepted from April 1. Days and times vary depending on month. Minimum age to join is 10 years old. Price is 6,000 yen ($53) per adult, 3,000 yen per child.
To book online, visit Kumano-travel.com.