Are you looking for a chance to try your hand at some water-based activities in the Kansai region? You can find plenty of lakes, rivers, and beaches where qualified instructors offer the chance to try a range of sports ranging from the relaxing to the nerve-racking.
The largest freshwater lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, sits in Shiga Prefecture northeast of Kyoto and boasts water sports companies that offer daredevil surfing, boating, rafting and jet skiing activities. Sumo tubing is one of the most exciting of these. You get strapped inside a giant inflatable case and pulled along the water by a high-speed boat. The Carmel Beach Club offers this as well as various other marine sports. A 15-minute sumo tube ride costs around 3,500 yen.
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a popular water sport in Japan, and you can find many Kansai locations offering this. Participants stand on a board (similar to a surfboard) and paddle themselves using a single oar. Himeji Shirahama beach in Hyogo is a popular SUP resort, where you can expect to pay around 4,000-5,000 yen for a two-hour session.
For a gentle and child-friendly activity, you can head down to Kobe’s Aeon Mall on weekends and enjoy a relaxing pedal boating session for just 1,000 yen. The boats can accommodate two people so you can experience a scenic journey around the port with a partner.
Groups between 2-8 people can book rafting sessions on the Hozu river in Kyoto. The activity is suitable for children and beginners and lasts 4-5 hours, during which time participants are instructed on how to navigate the waters using the rafting equipment. Costs are 5,000 yen per person.
Kayaking is an Olympic sport, a form of canoeing where you paddle with a double-ended oar. Awaji Island provides the perfect location where you can experience the fun of kayaking in the sea. It’s suitable for all ages, and you will be provided with all the necessary protective equipment. Costs are 3,000 yen for children and 4,500 yen for adults for a two-hour session.
Wakeboarding is a sort of a cross between surfing and waterskiing where the participant is pulled behind a speedy motorboat on a short surfboard. The idea is to stay on the surfboard with more experienced wakeboarders performing tricks such as jumps and backflips. FACE is a wakeboarding school running daily sessions from beginner to advance in various Kansai locations. Sessions start at 3,700 yen.
Located on the west side of the lake, the BSC Watersports Center has nearly 50 years of experience in teaching activities ranging from windsurfing to yachting. Half-day and full-day sailing courses are available with prices fluctuating depending on the time of year and number of people in your reservation.
Jack van Tricht jack1van / CC0