HOME Kansai Osaka Osaka Suburbs 8 Summer Destinations for Marine Sports Near Osaka: Rafting, SUP, and Canoeing!
8 Summer Destinations for Marine Sports Near Osaka: Rafting, SUP, and Canoeing!

8 Summer Destinations for Marine Sports Near Osaka: Rafting, SUP, and Canoeing!

Date published: 26 July 2021

In western Japan’s Kansai region, there are plenty of places near Osaka where you can have fun rafting, canoeing, and more.

There are also attractive facilities for families, like a large pool complex where children and parents can have fun. Find your favorite marine sports destination this summer and enjoy!

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Rafting on the Hozu River (Kyoto)
  2. 2. Canoeing and kayaking on the Kizu River (Kyoto)
  3. 3. SUP on the clear surface of Lake Biwa (Shiga)
  4. 4. Parasailing & Jet Boating on Awaji Island (Hyogo)
  5. 5. Fly board at Lake Biwa (Shiga)
  6. 6. Fishing and fishing boat cruises in Shirahama (Wakayama)
  7. 7. Pool play at Kobe’s Dekapathos water park (Hyogo)
  8. 8. Water games at Lake Biwa’s Adventure Water Park (Shirahige Beach) (Shiga)

1. Rafting on the Hozu River (Kyoto)

1. Rafting on the Hozu River (Kyoto)

Rafting is a popular outdoor activity that gives 6 to 8 people the opportunity to ride in an inflatable raft and work together as they paddle down a river. Kyoto’s Hozu River is one of Kansai’s most popular rafting destinations.

KILA KILA Rafting is about 25 minutes by train from JR Kyoto Station followed by a 1-minute walk from JR Umahori Station, making it easily accessible.

KILA KILA Rafting offers four rafting tours on the Hozu River: “half-day” (departures at 9:00 and 14:00 ), “leisurely” (10:30), and “evening” (16:00).

KILA KILA Rafting employs guides with the highest level of national qualification issued by New Zealand (NZRA4 / 5). Guides are usually qualified paramedics as well, and all staff members are highly skilled, experienced rafters, so you can rest assured that you’ll have a safe tour.

The approximately 2-hour rafting tour of Kyoto’s Hozu River is full of highlights. You can experience as many as 20 torrents, including 8 large, named rapids and many other small rapids.

The unique feature of KILA KILA Rafting is that you can enjoy extra ways to have fun during the tour – not just floating down the river. Your guide will choose the best activities considering the day’s water levels, weather, temperature, tour participants, etc.

Activities include “Dive” from a height of about 3 meters, “Swim” in a gentle section of the river, “Balance Game” where you follow the guide’s instructions while balancing on an unstable board, or the once in a lifetime “Rapids Swim” that allows the normally unheard of chance to float down the rapids outside the boat freely.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Disinfected after each guest leaves - Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks

Additional services for international guests
The website is available in English and some staff can speak English.

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • KILA KILA Rafting
    京都保津川ラフティング きらきらラフティング
    • Address Kitagaichi-69-4 Shinochoumahori, Kameoka, Kyoto 621-0823
    • Phone Number 0771-20-1116
    • ・Hours: 9:00 - 17:00, April - November
      ・Fees: Kyoto Hozugawa half-day rafting tour, starting from 4,500 yen
      ・Access: 1-minute walk from JR Umahori Station

2. Canoeing and kayaking on the Kizu River (Kyoto)

2. Canoeing and kayaking on the Kizu River (Kyoto)

The Kizu River flows from the Nunobiki Mountains, running north and south along the prefectural border between Mie and Nara, to the southeastern part of Kyoto Prefecture.

The river is a prime canoeing area with various courses sure to entertain paddlers, from gentle waterways to rapids. The surrounding area is pleasant, and you can truly enjoy nature, with a view of gently sloping mountains and wide-open skies.

The canoe house, the meeting place for River Adventure Club’s Kizu River tour, is conveniently located about a 10-minute walk from Ogawara Station on the JR Kansai Main Line. Transit time, including transfers, is about 70 minutes from JR Tennoji Station in Osaka and about 72 minutes from JR Kyoto Station, making the area easy to reach from both major cities.

River Adventure Club is an accredited member of the JSCA (Japan Safety Canoeing Association) and operates one of the country’s leading canoe schools, having taught more than 70,000 students. Extremely stable one- and two-seat kayaks are available and are easy to operate, even for beginners.

The Kizu River canoe half-day course (9:00 - 12:00, 13:15 - 16:15) is a route that even beginner canoers can enjoy with peace of mind. After listening to the instructor and practicing rowing on land, you’ll be learning basic maneuvering techniques in about 20 minutes of on-the-water training.

Finally, you’ll set out for about 90 minutes of touring. Time on the calm water while gazing at the rich greenery of the mountains and the blue sky above invokes an indescribable sense of relaxation and wonder.

In areas where the river is wide, and you can see from a distance, those who wish to can also go diving. There are also activities that involve landing on the beach, exploring secret clear streams, and sliding into the river while riding your kayak.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Disinfected after each guest leaves - Ventilation measures in place - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Admission restrictions; seating arrangements changed - Reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks

Additional services for international guests
Activities and instructions are in Japanese only, so it’s recommended to go with someone who understands Japanese.

  • River Adventure Club Ogawara Canoe House
    リバーアドベンチャークラブ 大河原カヌーハウス
    • Address Nishikaido-34 Minamiokawara, Minamiyamashiro, Soraku-gun, Kyoto 619-1412
    • Phone Number 072-840-5644
    • ・Hours: 9:00 - 18:00, April - November
      ・Fees: Kizugawa canoe half-day course (two-seat), 6,000 yen per person
      ・Access: 10-minute walk from Ogawara Station on the JR Kansai Main Line

3. SUP on the clear surface of Lake Biwa (Shiga)

3. SUP on the clear surface of Lake Biwa (Shiga)

SUP is the abbreviation for stand-up paddleboarding, a marine activity in which participants stand on a big board similar to a surfboard and use a paddle to maneuver. It’s more stable than surfing, and beginners can do it relatively easily. You can give SUP a try at Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake.

Lake Biwa SUP is operated by GOODTIMES departing and arriving at Matsunoura Campground, about an hour from JR Osaka Station and a 5-minute walk from Shiga Station on the JR Kosei Line. The Kosai area, where Matsunoura is located, has some of Lake Biwa’s cleanest water, making it a true pleasure to do SUP on the transparent lake.

First, on the beach, you’ll receive a lecture on how to row, how to ride, and what to do if you fall. After that, your tour begins! You may be inclined to sit at first and then stand once you’re used to the board, but rest assured that the instructor will accompany you during the tour and will even take your photo.

The tour is about 90 minutes (9:30 - 11:00, 11:30 - 13:00, 13:30 - 15:00, 15:00 - 16:30; *11:30 and 15:00 departures only available in July and August), and before and after SUP you can spend time on the beach to enjoy Lake Biwa all day long.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Disinfected after each guest leaves - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Seating arrangements changed - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks and conduct temperature checks

Additional services for international guests
The website is available in English and some staff can speak English.

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • GOODTIMES
    GOODTIMES 松の浦店(松の浦キャンプ場)
    • Address 153-3 Arakawa, Otsu-shi, Shiga 520-0513
    • Phone Number 080-4025-1588
    • ・Hours: 9:00 - 17:00, all year round
      ・Fees: Lake Biwa SUP, adults (4th grade and above) 4,500 yen, children (6 years old to 3rd grade) 1,500 yen; facility usage fee 100 yen per person
      ・Access: 5-minute walk from Shiga Station on the JR Kosei Line

4. Parasailing & Jet Boating on Awaji Island (Hyogo)

4. Parasailing & Jet Boating on Awaji Island (Hyogo)

Parasailing is an exhilarating activity in which a parachute soars over the sea as it’s pulled by a motorboat. It’s considered one of the easiest and safest marine sports in the world, and Sea Moon Resort on Awaji Island is one of Kansai’s best parasailing outlets.

One of the largest marine facilities in Kansai, Sea Moon Resort, is located in Sumoto, Hyogo Prefecture. About 80 minutes from Osaka via the Sumoto Interchange on the Kobe Awaji Naruto Expressway, and about 50 minutes from Kobe, it’s easily accessible by car. Using public transportation, it takes about 2 hours on highway buses or fixed-route buses from Sannomiya Station or JR Maiko Station.

Participants get ready for their flight by listening to an instructor’s details about the flight. Next, they board the boat and head to the parasailing area, where the riders take off from a seated position.

The flight altitude is 50 to 60 meters above the surface, making it easy to see the contrast between the sky and the ocean with nothing obstructing the 360° view. The sense of openness is great, and it feels like an exhilarating walk in the sky.

At the end of the flight, riders land on the boat – not on the water – so you can wear regular clothes without worrying about getting wet. Anyone from age 3 to 80 can ride in groups of 2 or 3, provided their combined weight is within the prescribed limits.

At Sea Moon Resort, you can also ride the popular jet boat (about 15 minutes, 1 to 8 people). This exciting activity is like a roller coaster on water, reaching over 60km/h, drifting, and making full spin turns. Simple raincoats are also available so that you can wear regular clothes, and lone passengers are accepted, making this a fun experience for any traveler.

Health & safety measures
Sanitizer installed - Ventilation measures in place - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands, and disinfect. - Admission restrictions; seating arrangements changed - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell

Additional services for international guests
Activities and instructions are in Japanese only, so it’s recommended to go with someone who understands Japanese.

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • Sea Aiga Kaigetsu
    • Address Aiga-cho Heianura 1970-6, Sumoto, Hyogo, 656-2121
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Maiko Station (JR Kobe Line / JR San-yo Line)

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • Sea Moon Resort
    シームーンリゾート
    • Address 1970-6 Heianura, Aigacho, Sumoto-shi, Hyogo 656-2121
    • Phone Number 0799-24-4455
    • ・Hours: 9:00 - 17:00, all year round
      ・Fees: Parasailing: 8,000 yen per person (9,500 yen July - September), 3,000 yen discount for elementary school students and younger, 2,000 yen for accompanying boat riders; Jetboat: 3,000 yen per person (3,500 yen July - September)
      ・Access: Approximately 20 minutes by car from Kobe Awaji Naruto Expressway Sumoto Interchange, or take a highway bus from Sannomiya Station or JR Maiko Station, get off at Tsuna Port, change to the Transit Line, and get off at Anjo Bus Stop and walk for 3 minutes.

5. Fly board at Lake Biwa (Shiga)

5. Fly board at Lake Biwa (Shiga)

Flyboarding is attracting attention as a new type of aquatic sport that combines surfing and personal watercraft. A long hose is connected to a special board, spraying water out of nozzles on the bottom of the craft, and using water pressure to lift the board into the air.

Flyboard rides last about 25 minutes over the waves of Lake Biwa, which are calmer than those of the ocean, near Carmel Beach in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. It’s about an hour from JR Osaka Station and a 5-minute walk from JR Hira Station, making it easy to get to.

At Carmel Beach Club, you can enjoy a variety of marine sports. Known as the “birthplace of wakeboarding in Japan,” the club’s wakeboarding school has produced numerous professionals, but lessons and towing (rope-pulling activities) are safe for beginners too.

The beach boasts clear waters and features not only standard banana boats but also other, harder-to-find towing rides.

The beach also has a barbecue area that can accommodate up to 200 people, playground equipment for children, cafes, sports areas, and a full range of attractive facilities for a full day of fun.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Seating arrangements changed - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks and conduct temperature checks

Additional services for international guests
The website is available in English and some staff can speak English (at a simple conversational level).

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • Carmel Beach Club
    カーメルビーチクラブ
    • Address 243 Kitahira, Otsu-shi, Shiga 520-0503
    • Phone Number 077-596-4455
    • ・Hours: 9:00 - 18:00, all year round
      ・Fees: Facility usage: adults 2,200 yen, elementary school students 1,650 yen (July 1st - August 31st, adults 3,850 yen, elementary school students 2,200 yen; November 1st - March 31st, adults 1,100 yen, elementary school students 550 yen), 500 yen recreation insurance premiums included; flyboard: 8,800 yen
      ・Access: 5-minute walk from JR Hira Station

6. Fishing and fishing boat cruises in Shirahama (Wakayama)

6. Fishing and fishing boat cruises in Shirahama (Wakayama)

The Fisherman’s Wharf Shirahama complex is where you can experience Nanki Shirahama to its fullest. Operated by a local fisherman, the seafood market is full of fresh seafood caught in the adjacent Yuzaki fishing port, and you can partake in rich seafood meals at restaurants, cafes, and beer gardens.

By train, it takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes from JR Tennoji Station to Shirahama on the Kuroshio Limited Express, and from there it takes about 25 minutes by local bus. By car, it takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes from central Osaka via the Hanwa Expressway.

This Wharf is also attractive for its extensive maritime activities. Fishing boat cruises take about 40 minutes, and you can see the wonders of Nanki Shirahama that can’t be seen from shore like magnificent natural sculptures.

Parties of at least two members can board a local fisherman’s 24-person boat to experience the scenery from June 1st to September 30th, 2021, with two tours, from 11:20 to 12:00 and from 17:00 to 17:40 (times subject to change).

If you want to try your hand at fishing, local fishermen will take you out on their boats for about an hour and will gladly help novice anglers. Fishing season is from May 1st to October 31st, 2021, boats depart twice per day, from 10:00 to 11:00 and from 15:30 to 16:30 (times subject to change). Like the cruises, boats have a capacity of 24 people and accept parties of at least 2 people.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Disinfected after each guest leaves - Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Seating arrangements changed - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks and conduct temperature checks

Additional services for international guests
Two English-speaking staff members

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • Fisherman’s Wharf Of Shirahama
    フィッシャーマンズ・ワーフ白浜
    • Address 1667-22 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-2211
    • ・TEL: 0739-43-1700 (Reception hours 9:00 - 16:00)
      ・Hours: Vary depending on facilities, stores, and seasons; Fishing boat cruises, June – September; ocean fishing, May - October
      ・Fees: Fishing boat cruise: adults 3,000 yen, 4- to 12-year-olds 2,500 yen; ocean fishing: adults 6,000 yen, 4- to 12-year-olds 3,800 yen; fishing rod (with bait) 2,000 yen
      ・Access: Approximately 20 minutes by Meiko Bus from JR Shirahama Station, getting off at Yuzaki bus stop, or approximately 25 minutes by car from Hanwa Expressway Nanki-Tanabe Interchange, or approximately 12 minutes by car from Kisei Expressway Nanki-Shirahama Interchange

7. Pool play at Kobe’s Dekapathos water park (Hyogo)

7. Pool play at Kobe’s Dekapathos water park (Hyogo)

Kobe’s Dekapathos water park has pools that are fun for children and adults alike. Since it’s just a short walk from Rokko Liner Marine Park Station, it’s easily reachable from JR Osaka Station in about 40 minutes.

In addition to classics like two waterslides and a wave pool, the park features a running water pool that simulates the flow of a river, a kids’ pool with a bucket and slide, and plenty of pools for younger children.

The popular Fureai Water Play Pool is shallow with depths of 25 cm and 50 cm, so even small children can play safely. It also features a fun jungle gym that’s sure to impress when its giant suspended bucket dumps water with an enormous splash.

The River Ride, on which riders go down the slide on large tubes, is also popular. At 14 meters high and 118 meters long, this exciting waterslide seems more like rapids than a simple river.

*Riders must be at least 120cm tall; 1-person tubes not available for riders over 80 kg; for 2-seaters, combined weight of the riders must not exceed 140 kg, and the weight difference between the two must not exceed 30 kg.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Restriction on number of guests - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks and conduct temperature checks

Additional services for international guests
Some English-speaking staff

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • Hotel Plaza Kobe
    • Address Higashinada-ku Koyocho-naka 2-9-1, Kobe, Hyogo, 658-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Island Center Station (Rokko-liner)
      5 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • Dekapathos
    ウォーターパークデカパトス
    • Address 8 Chome-1 Koyochonaka, Higashinada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo 658-0032
    • Phone Number 078-857-1170
    • ・Hours: Open July 10 - September 12, 10:00 - 17:00 (July 17 - August 31 10:00 - 18:00)
      ・Fees: Adults 1,500 yen, junior high and high school students 900 yen, elementary school students 700 yen, infants 400 yen, free for children under 3 years old
      ・Access: 3-minute walk from Rokko Liner Marine Park Station

8. Water games at Lake Biwa’s Adventure Water Park (Shirahige Beach) (Shiga)

8. Water games at Lake Biwa’s Adventure Water Park (Shirahige Beach) (Shiga)

At Lake Biwa’s Shirahige Beach in, Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, Adventure Water Park opens for a limited time from June to September every year, allowing parents and children to play in a fun maritime playground.

Shirahige Beach is located on the west side of Lake Biwa, about 1 hour and 10 minutes from JR Osaka Station to nearby JR Omi Takashima Station via a special rapid train. The beach is reachable by rental bicycle or a 20-minute walk from the station.

Lake Biwa’s fresh water won’t leave salty residue on your skin like seawater, the waves are calm, and there’s no worry of jellyfish. In addition, the water is immaculate and clear, and you can see casts of saw crabs and schools of sweetfish while swimming freely near the athletic course.

The water park’s main activities are intended for participants over 6 years old, and elementary school students and younger children must be accompanied by a guardian.

There is a kids’ area for children 3 years old and up. With waterslides and trampolines, the playground is fun for both children and adults, and lifeguards are standing by in case you accidentally fall into the lake.

Shirahige Beach also offers a variety of marine activities like flyboards, jetpacks, hoverboards, wakeboards, SUP, canoes, banana boats, and personal watercraft. There’s a campsite on the beach where you can bring your own tent to enjoy day camping or a bungalow stay, as well as a convenient barbecue area for those who bring their own food.

Health & safety measures
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities - Sanitizer installed - Disinfected after each guest leaves - Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Seating arrangements changed - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Guests requested to wear masks and conduct temperature checks - Guests requested to install an app ahead of time (https://horse-marin.jimdo.com/)

Additional services for international guests
Activities and instructions are in Japanese only, so it’s recommended to go with someone who understands Japanese.

Recommended accommodations nearby

  • Adventure Water Park
    アドベンチャーウォーターパーク(白ひげビーチ)
    • Address 1091 Ukawa, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1122
    • Phone Number 0740-36-1248
    • ・Hours: 8:00 - 17:00, June - September
      ・Fees: Shirahige Beach usage fee 500 yen
      ・Regular Course: Members 1,500 yen, general admission 2,000 yen (6 years old and up, accompanying parents also the same)
      ・Kids Course: members 1,000 yen, general admission 1,500 yen (3 to 5 years old, accompanying parents pay the same)
      ・Super Kids Course: memberships 500 yen, general admission 1,000 yen (1 and 2 years old, free for accompanying parents)
      ・Access: 20-minute walk from JR Omi Takashima Station

Kansai is a treasure trove of aquatic fun where you can play in the ocean, rivers, and lakes. Be aware that many places require reservations, but that there are also plenty of experiences to be had in addition to those introduced here so be sure to check online before choosing your watery destination!

* Information is accurate at the time of writing in June 2021. Please check official websites for latest information

English translation by Gabriel Wilkinson

Written by:

WESTPLAN

WESTPLAN

Kiko Matsuda, Keiko Kimura, Risa Tsuji, and a team of female writers familiar with Kansai. We love eating, drinking and traveling! We share fun information based on our experiences.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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