Today was the first sporting activity that we had done on this trip – and that was to go white water rafting! We wanted to do something that we couldn’t do in Singapore, and stumbled upon this activity. Unfortunately, water rafting season had almost ended in Japan as summer was over, but fortunately for us we found NATURALACTION, who ran white water rafting activities all year round as long as the weather permitted.
We took a train to Shirakaba Station, where the staff of NATURALACTION was kind enough to pick us from. We were the only 2 due to ride today.
NaturalAction White Water Rafting
The staff at Natural Action were really warm and nice. We were given wetsuits to put on, which Sue and I did, with a lot of laughing, commenting on how it would help us lose weight since it was so tight. With a lot of grunts and pulls, we finally managed to get our wetsuits on!
They quickly explained to us the safety requirements, what to do if we were to be washed away (in which case they would throw a rope to us, how to catch it, which way to face when they are pulling us back in). The staff spoke good english, so it was pretty straightforward and easy to understand, and pretty soon we were off!
The sun was pretty hot, and the water was freezing cold. It was a good idea we both decided to wear old shoes (that we were not bringing back), because almost instantly our feet were soaked!
We started out sharing a raft, with our 2 guides on another raft guiding us (more like pushing us away from rocks when we got too close). Afterwards, we were each given a raft to maneuver on our own. I felt I did a lot better – at least Sue and I stopped clashing with each other LOL.
The staff were also very fun loving, and more often than not we ended up splashing each other with water. While rowing, we also had very interesting conversations about food and sake – the fish, not the drink.
One of the highlights was also jumping into the water. The guides showed us up the rocks where we climbed slippery rocks to the top. The guide wanted us to go higher, but Sue was adamant that she was not going any higher. Instead, we jumped off the middle ledge. It was quite frightening because we didn’t know how deep the water was – and we knew exactly how cold it was. After jumping in, we had to SWIM back to our boat, and pull ourselves back up on it.
Pulling ourselves up took some training. One of the instructors kept making us “rescue” the other. I had to single-handedly pull Sue back up into the boat, before we rowed our way back to the starting point.
We quickly took a shower, before one of the instructors told us the train was due to depart in about 5minutes. The next train would not leave for an hour. Like mad, he drove us to the train station. I remember a conversation we had while going back – he knew Singapore had something called the merlion, he asked us what it was, and whether it was edible, or if it was some kind of god we worshiped. For lack of better explanation, I told him it was similar to the Tokyo tower, in the sense that it was a monument of some sort.
Nanaya Ice Cream
By the time we woke up it was fairly late, so we decided to do some shopping, and chanced upon this unique ice cream shop. They sold different flavors, but their specialty was in matcha icecream, where they had different intensities to select from. Being in the prefecture famous for matcha, we decided to stop and get a taste.
Sue (obviously) went for the “darkest” purest matcha, whereas I chose matcha yuzu – you know I can’t ignore anything yuzu.
The icecream was really intense and really suitable for us who loved matcha – it was flavorful and strong just like how we enjoyed it. It was definitely a good place to stumble across and I wish we could have more of it. While there, we also bought some tea products to bring home.
After that, we shopped and laughed the rest of the night – talking about how Sue’s mom had lost her daughter once, who had wandered off (no prizes where she gets that from). We also ended up buying some winter wear for our future trips, which included thick winter leggings and some gloves for Sue’s daughter.
With our baggage full, we decided to buy a quick dinner and headed back to the hotel to rest, feeling fulfilled and tired from our adventurous day out.
All images of rafting were taken by the Natural Action staff, who kindly shared it with us.