15 Adventure Activities for Solo Women Travellers in Japan
As female solo travellers, we seek different things when we are looking for the next destination. No two people are alike in this world, so no two people will look for the same things. But the beauty of Japan is that it is so diverse that it can cater to everybody. No matter your taste, it will serve it up on a platter.
Ask yourself, what kind of a female solo traveller are you? Are you someone who loves getting lost in nature? Then visit Japan during spring to admire cherry blossoms or watch the country change to a shade of red and yellow during autumn. What about gorging on delicious food? If you are a true foodie, then Japan is the best place to be. If you want to turn back time and walk through the streets of old, take a train to Kyoto. Or does looking into the future excite you? Japan is known for its high-end technological wonders. In short, there are not many countries that are as variant as Japan.
But there is one aspect of the country that is not always explored or rather talked about. Japan is also a country that caters to the people who love living life on the edge. For the people who crave adventure! If you are not convinced, read on to know about different adventure activities you can partake in during your solo female trip to Japan.
1. Hike in Yakushima National Park
The 25 km long park is situated across two islands, Yakushima and Kuchinoerabujima. These are subtropical islands that are home to some of the oldest species of trees in Japan and also some very unique and endemic species of animals like Yakushima monkeys and deers. This place covered in luscious greenery is ideal for hiking for all hiking lovers. The island covered in hills is filled with vegetation, and the best part is, it changes character every season. So no matter when you go, you are sure to love the trails at this National Park. To experience the island’s ancient woodland, which includes a 7000-year-old cedar tree, take a road to the Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine and walk through the dense foliage. This ravine has also inspired scenes from the popular Ghibli studios film Princess Mononoke.
2. Watch the sunset from atop Mount Fuji
Have you even been to Japan if you haven’t seen Mount Fuji? And have you even explored Mount Fuji if you haven’t been washed in the first rays of the sun in the land of the rising sun?
The answer is no. So, if you are an adventure freak, you cannot miss climbing the most celebrated mountain in Japan. But plan your trip in such a way that you can stay the night at a mountain hut and continue your journey up towards the summit a couple of hours before sunrise, to be just in time for it when you reach the top. Trust me, it’s breathtaking and is so worth the climb! Remember to book your tickets from the city you want to travel from because they sell out fast!
3. Go surfing at Miyazaki
In a country surrounded by water on all sides, Japan has some really amazing surfing spots in the southern archipelago, but Miyazaki takes the cake. If you love to glide along the cool water on a surfboard, this place is not unknown to you. Miyazaki prefecture is a surfing sanctuary with a vast coastline of about 400 km. Okuragahama is the country’s best surf spot which is ideal for long riding. So what are you waiting for?
4. Canyoning in Minakami
Just two hours outside Tokyo, Minakami is one of the best places in Japan to enjoy water sports. The Tone River, which flows through the mountains of Gunma, provides an ideal place for canyoning. The 20m waterfall slide is the highlight here, and it takes an adventurous spirit to be able to withstand that. If you are just dipping your toes in this adventure for the first time, try Fox Canyon canyoning.
5. Smelt fishing
Most of you might have gone fishing in your life for sure. There are very few activities that provide you with a sense of calm. But what about fishing on ice? A very common activity in most countries with sub-zero temperatures, smelt fishing, can be a wonderful adventurous activity for a solo female traveller in Japan. Wakasagi tsuri, as it’s called in Japanese, is a perfect way to be akin to the culture, but only if you have the stomach to brave cold and ice.
Climb Mount Akagi in the Gunma prefecture during the winter months and reach the frozen lake of Onuma. Here you will have to drill the ground and dangle the bait into the water. You can also take your catch to nearby restaurants and have it deep-fried or tempura however you want to eat it!
6. Mountain biking
In a country wrapped in lush green mountains, it comes as no surprise that mountain biking is an extremely loved adventurous activity in Japan. The Nagano region of the country has many beautiful trails that you can use. Just pack a small bag with essentials, dress appropriately, rent the bike and be off. If you are new to this and want to learn new tricks of the trade, you have an option to choose from various levels. The Nagano prefecture mountain tour route takes you from the Nozawa Onsen Village to the area around Kosuge. This trail is best experienced during the months of May to November, and here you can experience Japan’s natural beauty with a side of spirituality.
7. Cycling on the snow
If you love bikes, then imagine doing it in the snow. Now, how cool would that be? If you are travelling to Nagano during winter, the Togari Onsen Snow resort should be on your list of must-visits. The 2500m long courses here are Japan’s only snow-bike park and are a piece of heaven for both new users and veterans. The most exhilarating part of this is the 800m course, where you can zoom downhill. But before you start, make sure you rent out the wide tire, which will make this adventurous activity easier.
8. Swim with fishes
As an adventurous activity, it is quite exciting. Every year during the summer and autumn months in Japan, the water off the coast of the Minami Izu peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture turns colourful with plenty of fishes. This is also a prime location if you love surfing. But what takes the cake here is diving and snorkelling. Because this area being a unique terrain from volcanic activities, fishes come in galore. If you are new to this, I would suggest snorkelling, where you get to see the fishes in a designated area, but from a distance.
But if you want to try something a little more adventurous, go diving. There are experts who will guide you, and you can swim alongside the colourful fishes and even touch them.
9. Float through Takachiho gorge
A narrow chasm that cuts through rocks on the Gokase river and cliffs overlooking it, the Takachiho gorge is a thing of rare beauty! It is complete with a waterfall that falls into the gorge, making it look almost something out of a Hollywood CGI. Rent a rowboat here to enjoy the 55-foot Minainotaki waterfall from down below but remember to bring a change of clothes because you are bound to get wet.
10. Kayak at Okinawa
Okinawa is known for its beautiful blue sea, and thus there are many spots around the area ideally designed for adventurous activities in Japan. You can enjoy the subtropical climate and the dense mangrove forest here. But to tingle your adventurous bone, opt for paddling at the islands of Ishigaki and Iriomote. The calmness of the still sea will bring you a sense of calm, and you will be lost in the serenity. You can also opt to sit all by yourself, in your own company, and fish in these mangroves too.
11. Walk on ice
Drift ice is a phenomenon that we all know can be seen in the Arctic and Antarctic circles. But before I visited Japan, I was unaware that it could be found in Japan’s Hokkaido region as well in the Okhotsk Sea. The drift ice season lasts through the winter months from January to March, when ice can be seen floating on the sea. You can opt to watch the drift ice from a special sightseeing ship, and if you are lucky, you might even spot animal-like snow seals and Steller’s sea eagles.
But if you like getting a little risky, you can also try out walking on the ice here, and you also have an option to take a dip into the ocean. You will have to follow the guidelines, and it will be a cakewalk for sure! You will have to shell out around 5000 yen for a 9-minute walk, but it will be so worth it!
12. Are there skiing and snowboarding in Japan?
When we think of Japan, do we ever think of skiing or snowboarding? The answer is probably a resounding no. But did you know that Japan has an abundance of ski and snowboarding destinations? Yes, you read that right. Though you find resorts from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, the best ones are definitely up north.
In the Yamagata Prefecture, Zao Onsen is a well-known hot spring and ski resort, and what makes this place special is the presence of ice trees or snow monsters. You take a ropeway and a gondola to the juhyo (arboreal ice monsters) before trying out some skiing and snowboarding, whichever you are more comfortable with.
But if you are quite good at skiing, I would suggest you try out night skiing, which is available only on the lower slopes. It is beautiful as the snow monsters are then lit up, and the deep blue sky above provides a perfect complement.
13. Paragliding in Aso
Have you ever wondered how the country of Japan would look from up above? If you have, then think no further because this adventurous activity is meant just for you! Aso in Kumamoto is home to one of Japan’s active volcanoes, which makes it a beautiful expanse of land. The best way to enjoy this is either paragliding or a hot air balloon. The latter is safer of the two, but hey, who wants to be safe, and the bird’s eye view from the top is one you cannot miss.
14. Dining with a twist
Japan is well known for its delicious food that you can find in every nook and corner of the country. But what if you could enjoy the food in a setting that you could only dream of? In the Nagano prefecture, the city of Iliyama is where you find a restaurant called Kamakura Village. This is only functional during winter as the seating arrangement is inside a snow hut with a fire burning inside to keep you warm. The piping hot local hotpot made of local produce is served for you to enjoy. This is a must-have experience if you are travelling to Japan in winter.
15. Walking through Oze National Park
When we think of adventures, we usually tend to think of extreme sports, but that is not what it is. It is challenging your comfort zone and getting out of it. So if skiing, paragliding, kayaking is not what you think you are capable of, why don’t you try walking in Oze National Park instead. This National Park, which is a marshland, expanses over a large area. Walkthrough the flat wetlands while admiring the beauty that nature holds around you. But if you want to hike here, you will also have options. This park has numerous trailheads and can be done in about six to eight hours by hikers.
So if you want that adrenaline high from your trip to Japan, the options are plenty to choose from. So what are you going to do? Let me know in the comments below.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.