Think of Japan and you may conjure up images of cities crowded with skyscrapers and people. But visitors keen to explore another side of the country can leave behind such scenes of overpacked humanity faster than you can say "bullet train". Step outside the cities and a different world unfolds: cloud-brushing peaks, rice fields, remote islands, old wooden farms, forests and deserted beaches. There is also a super-speedy, clean and efficient transport system, which includes the Shinkansen bullet-train network. Upon arrival at the white beaches of tiny Zamami Island, the summer flower fields of Hokkaido or volcanic hot springs of Kyushu, "crowded" is likely to be the last word to spring to mind.
20 Outdoor Activities to Enrich Your Travel in Japan
Outdoor Japan | Traveler Magazine | Every season is a new adventure
Japan has endless roads to ride, rivers to forge, mountains to climb and seas to kayak. Here are some of our favourite outdoor experiences. Whether you're a cycling nut or a coach potato, there's no better way to explore Japan than on your own two wheels. Leisurely city cycling tours allow you to explore the backstreets and come across hidden treasures that you'd never spot from the subway, whilst challenging countryside courses enable you to get off the beaten track and out into nature. Kayaking is a great way to get out on Japan's waterways and see the country from a different perspective. Why not paddle beneath Miyajima's iconic "floating" gate, float down rivers in the stunning Iya Valley and paddle across mountain lakes in the Japanese Alps?
Hiking in Japan is a real tradition. Whether for trekking or a day hike, hikers of all levels will find the perfect spot to enjoy the wide open spaces and the beauty of Japanese nature. Japan, rich in its 30, kilometers of coastline, holds some secret heavens for swimmers and sunbathers. From Tokyo to Okinawa, the Archipelago and its beaches offer you the opportunity to enjoy activities by the sea.
Japanese are very keen on outdoor and adventure sports. For more information and lists of companies involved with the activities listed below contact the Japan National Tourism Organization. Websites: Outdoor Japan Outdoor Japan.