Water Sports in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Jun 28, 2022

Water Sports in Kumamoto

With a fine selection of beaches, rivers, lakes, gorges, and leisure centers, Kumamoto has many water sports to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a simple swim, a relaxing paddle, or a thrilling, fast-paced adventure, head to this city on the western coast of Kyushu and check out what’s on offer.

Swimming and Diving

If it’s a swim you’re after, you can try one of the city’s leisure or sports facilities as many of them have pools. One of the most popular is the Aqua Dome in the Minami area. Aqua Dome has a main (50-meter) pool, a smaller (25-meter) pool, and a specialized diving pool open during the summer months by experienced divers. Another good pool is at the Uto City Sports Club. In addition to the 8-lane 50-meter pool, there is a pool for infants and a slider pool.

For outdoor swimming in a more natural environment, head to Okoshiki beach in Uto, considered one of Japan’s most beautiful beaches. There is also a great swimming spot on the Kikuchi river in northern Kumamoto. You can access the location by following the signs for the Kikuchi gorge and looking for a left turn marked by a big picture map sign. You will find a free parking lot, a café and public toilets here.


If you don’t fancy wading through the water using your limbs and would prefer to do so from the comfort of a boat, one place to head to is the picturesque Lake Ezu, which runs for 2.5 kilometers alongside route 57. As well as cooling off with a dip in the lake, you can rent a rowing boat (around 700 yen per hour) or a pedalo (about 2,300 yen per hour). Another even more spectacular location is the Soyo Gorge, a 10-kilometer U-shaped valley flanked by rocks rising to 200 meters. The Gokase Nature School is based in the gorge and runs activities and classes in kayak canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

For a slightly more high-octane kayaking experience, you can try the Ide Venture on the Kikuchi canal. This is essentially two-person canoeing along a 2-kilometer course that takes in forests of trees, bridges, and a 300-meter underground tunnel. This experience is available during the summer months only (July to September) at 3,300 yen per person (2,200 yen for children).

Surfing, Rafting, and Boarding

Those partial to riding the waves with their own surfing equipment can head down to one of Kumamoto’s best-surfing spots. Here, you can sometimes find instructors with equipment willing to offer lessons to beginners. For rafting, the Kuma river is one of the best locations in the region. Land Earth is an adventure water sports company that has been running since 1992. Instructors provide rafting and canyoning sessions ranging from family-friendly routes to the “ducky” high-tension tour for thrill-seekers, costing 9,800 yen per person. Rafting Heart is another provider of rafting activities on the river.

A little further afield in neighboring Oita, you can journey to the Sumiyoshihama Resort Park and try your hand at windsurfing (4,000 yen) or wakeboarding (5,000 yen).

MK Products, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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