Looking to get outside as the summer season heats up? Although there are many places throughout Kansai to explore, checking out some of the region’s natural water spots might be in your best interest, especially as those temperatures rise! Of course the beaches lining Osaka Bay are worth a visit or two, but heading further inland is also a beautiful option for outdoor swimming! Nara is home to a multitude of natural water spots just begging for you to take a day trip to. How about checking out these two exciting rivers to get you started?
Nestled in the southern portion of Nara prefecture, where a quarter of the land is set aside for the lush forests of Yoshino-Kumano National Park, you will find the crystal clear waters of the Tenokawa river. The central area is home to the famous Dorogawa river where you can enjoy the hot springs and/or bring home some of the sacred and pure ‘Goro Goro’ water. Beyond these popular springs, though, follow the Tenokawa River as it snakes through the gorgeous Kii mountain range to more secluded swimming options. The clear water cascades across river rocks in places shallow enough to wet your ankles or deep enough to plunge into from a nearby boulder. With many hills to hike, shrines to visit, and waterfalls to admire, this river system is one you shouldn’t pass up this summer.
Access: From Abenobashi station (Tennoji) take one of the limited express trains on the Kintetsu Yoshino line to Shimoichiguchi station. From there, take a Nara Kotsu bus for about one-hour to Tenkawa Kawai.
Amidst the surrounding mountain giants of Mt. Tamaki, Onoyama, and Omoriyama in the southern tip of Nara bordering Mie and Wakayama, you’ll find the cool rushing waters of the Totsugawa river. Once you arrive at the lush river’s edge, set up camp on one of the large boulders or along the sandy banks for a day of swimming and sunning! The waters here are calm and chilly, providing the perfect, tranquil escape from the blazing summer sun. Look up and enjoy the towering views of the green mountains beyond. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the short hike up to the Tanise no Tsuribashi bridge for a walk across the longest steel cable suspension bridge in the world! Built in 1954 as one of the first great post-WWII public works projects, this bridge spans 297.7 meters in length and towers 54 meters over the Totsugawa’s waters below. If you’re feeling like a burst of adrenaline, make crossing this bridge a part of your day trip to this iconic spot, the views are unparalleled and the experience is like none other!
Access: Take the JR Kisei line to Shingu station. From there take a 90 minute bus ride to Totsugawa.