Try something different and have an adventure holiday in Japan! This summer we went to the Higashiomi Kanzaki River in Shiga Prefecture to do shower climbing. Basically you are provided with a wetsuit, reef-style shoes, helmet, life-vest and strapped with abseiling gear around the waist. You then walk up and through rivers and waterfalls, with various activities along the way.

The venue is about 60km from Kyoto city, and is in the prefecture next to it.

My mate took his waterproof digital camera, so here is a photo post of one of the funnest days I’ve had in Japan!

Adventure waterfall climbing through a small water rapid.
This was the first rapid we climbed through.
Dean at the top of a short rapid set
The first rapid set complete, note my name in katakana on the helmet.

After playing around in the water and climbing a few rapids we got to our first, small looking waterfall. The guide said there was more water than usual because of recent rain, so all the rapids and waterfalls were more powerful. He couldn’t be more right, what looked like a small waterfall (and actually was the first and smallest of all three we did this day) was very powerful, so we attached a rope to our abseiling-like gear for the climb up.

Waterfall with man standing on top
Our guide, anchoring himself on top of the waterfall.
Hooking myself up to the line, to climb the waterfall
The guide just threw me the rope, now hooking it up to my gear.

My friend who organised the whole day had been shower climbing before and said that we got a bit of special treatment this day. Normally there is a group of about 10 – 20 people, but being a Monday and early in the summer, there was no-one besides us 3 guys who went together, and 1 guide. This meant we got to go much faster, climbing more waterfalls and just doing a heap more things that we normally would with a larger group.

Waterfall climbing, about to reach the top
This is my mate, just about to reach the top. On this climb, the top was the hardest, but you felt safe with a rope attached to you!
Climbing a waterfall, guide at the top and climber working their way up.
This second climb was a little steeper. On this one it was harder down the bottom, as this is where you’d get smashed by the most water.

The second climb above, was a bit bigger than the first and had its own tricky areas. As before, we had a rope attached with our guide at the top. On this climb the rope really was necessary because if you fell without a rope, you fell onto rock. Unlike the first one, you’d just fall into the water.

The third and final climb, below was an awesome site to first see. It really was a gorgeous waterfall in an amazing setting. When we got here it was rainy, but not much water made it through the canopy of trees overhead.

A big waterfall in Shiga Prefecture, during our Japan adventure climbing waterfalls
This was the final climb where we had ropes, and was also the biggest and most scenic.

This final waterfall was trickiest in the middle, where all the water was coming down at the one point and you couldn’t see anywhere to put your feet. It took a few minutes but was really fun.

A Japan adventure climbing waterfalls.
This is a shot from the top of the final and biggest waterfall climb.

After the three climbs, we looked at another larger waterfall which was impossible to climb, then started our way back down. Now instead of climbing up, we’d be jumping down…

Jumping off rocks into a river during our Japan adventure climbing waterfalls.
The first of the big rock jumps on our way back down the river.
Sliding down a rock, so much fun on the rock waterslide!
The fun continues, this time sliding down a huge rock!

We did a huge jump for the final jump, a little bit freaky but it was a huge rush. The guide told us to stay away from the base of the waterfall, because it was really powerful and could keep you under with the tumbling force of the water. So we aimed about 2 metres in front, and jumped away…

Composition photo, jumping near a waterfall off a big rocky edge.
Composition photo of my jump past a waterfall, freaky but fun!

The guide was just a little bit crazy, I think he was really enjoying having just a few guys and moving a bit faster. The first crazy moment was when, without saying anything it turned my mate upside down, grabbed his feet and threw him backwards into the water. Actually heaps of fun! We all had a go…

Sliding backwards into the river
Massive WTF moment…

And the final crazy moment, he took off his life vest, grabbed a big rock and walked around on the bottom of a rock pool. So we all had a go, here is me taking a rest…

Holding a rock underwater, sitting at the bottom of a rockpool
The craziness continues… at the end of our adventure.

If you want to join in on the shower climbing fun, the best way to get there is by car, just punch in the address (maps are below). Otherwise there are options to get there by bus, check Sotoasobi’s website below.

Map of the river where the shower climbing happens: It’s called the Higashiomi Kanzaki River, here is the address in kanji… 滋賀県東近江市 神崎川.

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Map of the meeting place: Here we got all our gear on before going to the river. This is the address in kanji… 滋賀県 東近江市杠葉尾町1491番地2.

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The company that does the shower climbing has many options and other stuff to do, all outdoors fun. Visit Sotoasobi’s website (in Japanese) for details on this shower climbing option.