When it's summer, Tokyo is really hotter than places in outskirts of Tokyo like Yamanashi, Niigata and Gunma. It’s really a good time to escape Tokyo for a day or two in weekend. Every time I choose outskirt of Tokyo, I prefer two days outing and in case there are some couple of holiday then 3~4 days.So this time, we decided to explore Gunma for adventure sports. There are many options for adventure in Gunma, here I am listing few of them
- White water rafting in Tone river
- Bungee jump
We planned to go for white water river rafting. Water is speedy and rafts are good in Minakami. Its is just 2 hours by car if you are using highway and 4~5 hours incase avoiding toll fee, which I prefer sometime.You can go by train too from Shinjuku or shibuya, use either way explained below.
|Tokyo||Minakami||Joetsu Shinkansen||4800¥ ~ 7000¥|
We were enough number of people to rent a car for 2 days including two people having Japanese driving license. We rented a car from Chofu and headed toward costco wholesale warehouse to buy necessary foods, snacks, drinks and enjoyed some household shopping. We started our journey in downpour and was I was happy because, during the rain water level in river increases and will give us chance for more speedy raft.
There were few of our friends who were joining us in Maebashi city for night hang out. We were thinking to go for full night full tight, but somehow we didn’t as we needed to drive a car and to be prepared for rafting.If you are thinking to take break in Maebashi or Takasaki make sure to arrange night stay in advance as many of place just shut down after 21:00~ 22:00 even on weekends. We were so hungry and it was difficult to find the place for eating as it was already 22:00. Fortunately we found few restaurants, where we tried sushi and sashimi. After finishing dinner we went to rainbow club in Maebashi garden. In rainbow club you can enjoy 24 hrs bowling and karaoke. So our team just splitted, some people enjoyed bowling, some karaoke and even some both. We met some new local friend in rainbow club and they were explaining, that what Gunma is famous for and what you should not miss while in you are in Gunma. After 23:00 we took break and had power nap to recharge ourself for driving in the morning. The Morning was beautiful no more rains and sunny weather with additional humidity.
We booked our rafting with big wave river rafting through @sotoasobi .We headed to big wave rafting Minakami base. We were a bit late but it was no problem to get lecture regarding safety.Place is really good surrounded by splendid natural beauty.
Staff of big wave rafting is very generous and welcomed us with good hospitality.I was surprised that some of the staff people were able to speak hindi(I am an Indian and hindi is our mother tongue).For first 30~40 minutes company gave us time to exchange words with other rafting members and safety guidelines related to rafting. Many of the companies provide rafting shoes, jacket and outerwear.
Tips: If you are travelling in summer better to use beach wear with light sports t-shirts which can dry easily. In spring it’s good to use outerwear provided by rafting companies.(Depends on weather and months)
Finally, time came to visit base point of rafting , we headed there by bus. In Tone river rafting base, again guide will give you some tips regarding how to handle boat raft and support each other in your team. We did some small exercises in water to get accustomed with cold water. Here, I want to mention that, there are many boats of different companies in the base site so remember your rafting company logo and rafting guide.
Track was around 2~3 km with many good points for feeling adrenaline rush in your body and to enjoy the thrill of water. In starting it was like oh! water is not too much, so it will be easy going but this is not true at all. The rafting challenges your strength.
Yosh !! we started with saying Yeeeee.In starting we were confused about instructions in japanese and when he said “migi” we understood “left”(migi is for right direction), then he said please follow people sitting in front seat who understand japanese. There were two places on the way where you can enjoy cliff jumping. In first place all jump together in a group(4~5 people) while in second place its solo jump in 3~4 meter deep water from 10 feet above. In between if you don’t want to go for jump then you can enjoy swimming around the rafting boat. You will pass through bungee jump bridge and can easily feel how it looks like to hang in air for a moment.
Minakami is also famous for bungee jump, so if you are interested you can enjoy ½ day rafting and ½ day bungee jump.Around April, May water level is around 5~7 meters depth while in september it's about 2~3 meters only, as per communication with our guide.
After finishing the rafting, we came back by bus to company office. If you booked barbeque you can have lunch with your group else you can have lunch outside Minakami station(Kubota restaurant famous for 3 type mushroom soba). Here one more thing in front of station there is rail museum if you have time you can go and take a look.
Tips - After rafting body is a bit dehydrated so keep enough water with you and drink regularly. There are many natural hot spring (onsen) near Minakami so go make you body relax from your day time adventure sport , I am sure that you will enjoy it.
What I learned from the trip is that, there are many more beautiful place in Japan which are maintaining their natural beauty.Overall the trip was awesome and I am thinking to go next year spring too. Hope other people also enjoy the place and surrounding beauty.