Outdoor Adventure Tour
In spring, seeds take root and Sakura (cherry blossom) blooms. In summer, narcissus blooms and fireworks light the sky. In autumn, plants turn velvet red. In winter, water turns into snowflakes. Standing at the top, you can see the stones at the bottom under the river water that shines emerald green. Since ancient times, Minakami has been blessed by water and locals have cherished it like irreplaceable treasure. Hot spring resorts, high grade soba noodles, and outdoor sports, all of this is linked to Minakami’s water, water has supported Minakami’s development in every single way. Departing from Tokyo Station, it only takes 1 hour and 6 minutes to get away from the noisy city life, to a place where the sound of the river will clear your mind. Spend a night in Minakami, surround yourself by nature and peace.
Departure from Tokyo Station (Joetsu Shinkansen)
Arrival at Jomo-Kogen Station
1 min walk
Best local Gourmet - Tenmaru
When you arrive at Jomo-Kogen Station the time is almost noon, let’s get some food before you start your adventures! Tenmaru is a soba noodle restaurant which is just in front of Jomo-Kogen Station. It is a convenient location for tourists, as well as locals. It is also a very popular local gourmet (Also known as B class gourmet, food with a reasonable price.). Instead of sitting on normal seats, how about sitting on the tatami barefooted? Tenmaru’s soba noodle is very al dente, and has a very rich flavor. Soba noodles are also served with grated yam and pickled vegetables. The meal will be quick, because of how tasty it is!
Apart from the having the soba, you should also try the Soba Beer. While you have your beer, have a look at the wall, there is a humorous notice which says “Please do not dip you tempura, green onions and seaweed into your beer!” Beside soba noodles, you can also try the Nabeyaki udon noodle. It is topped with shrimp tempura and it is very appetizing, the soup will surely warm your stomach and heart.
- 11:00~20:30 (L.O.19:45)
Closed: Thur & First Wed of the month
Take the bus at Jomo-Kogen Station 1st bus stop
TAPA will pick you up at Minakami Station
Experience Rafting on a Rapid River
After you meet up with the staff of TAPA at Minakami Station, let’s get onto the highlight of the day - Rafting! The rafting season is April to November. Before you begin you must first sign the Declaration of Consent, change into the swimming gears (wet suits, life jacket and helmet) and TAPA will take you straight to Tone River. For your safety, you must first listen carefully to the precautions. While you pray to yourself not to fall into the river, listen to the coach’s directions. The coach will yell “1, 2, 1, 2…” to guide the raft forward. Scream when the waves strike right on your face, or intentionally crash the raft onto huge stones for excitement, enjoy yourself however you want. Whenever the raft get pass through a huge wave, the coach will hold up the paddle and shout out “Yeah~ High Five!”. After all the huge waves, you will arrive at a calmer river flow. In front of you is incredible sceneries that are hard to find in the city. The river shines bright and the forest sleeps in silence. Tourists on the bridge sometimes wave their hand at you. In summer you can get off the boat and play in the water.
This rafting tour is about 3 hours long. In this short period of time, not only can you enjoy nature, but you can also share great memories with your friends and family.
Please bring your own swimming wear, towel and water shoes (TAPA also provides rental service, 200 per pair)
Pick up from TAPA
Body Curing Hot spring Hotel Higaki
TAPA will take you to Hotel Higaki with a shuttle bus. Step inside into the outdoor hot spring, and the spectacular view of Minakami is in front of you. Below you is the Tone River which you had your rafting experience. The hot spring of Hotel Higaki is good for neuralgia, rheumatism and gastrointestinal disorder. Locals say a cold glass of coffee-flavoured milk after hot spring is an experience like no other. Try it and you're sure to fall in love with this age-old custom!
- Day trip for hot spring: 13:00~20:00
Pick up from TAPA
Barbecue under the Starring Sky at TAPA Camping area
If you wish to be closer to nature, you should spend a night at TAPA Camping area. The camping area serve visitors fresh ingredients for the barbecue. All you need to do is prepare the vegetables and you will be grilling the fresh ingredients in no time. With all the ingredients left after your barbecue, why not mix it all up and create your own recipe of stir fry noodle! It is wise to tidy up the area after your barbecue, because monkeys and wild boars sometimes show up searching for food.
- 0278-72-5086 (For English: 090-5205-8261)
Breakfast Time! TAPA Camping area
Pick up from TAPA
Bungee Jump on Suwakyo Bridge
The time you arrive at Suwakyo Bridge is the time the highlight of your day begins - Bungee jump! In Japan, there are 5 bridge bungee jump sites. Within the 5 sites 2 are located in Minakami. The Suwakyo Bridge bungee jump site is 42 meters high, and the Sarugakyo bungee jump site is 62 meters high. 15,000 challengers appear every year for the Suwakyo Brige bungee jump site. Our editor visited the site was reluctant to even go close to the site. The staff were incredibly enthusiastic and they persuaded her to jump. Eventually she put on the bungee jumping equipment and stood on the 42 meters jumping platform. Her mind went blank while the count down started… “5, 4, 3, 2, 1!" and she was at the bottom of Tone River. Just like riding the roller coaster, free-falling from the sky, she could not even scream! A boat stands by at Tone River to pick up the challengers. According to the staff of the site, 5% of the visitors actually give up while they prepare to jump. Visitors that jumped will receive a certificate in honor of Bravery. A coupon that allows challengers to try again within a year will be passed onto the people who gave up. Bungee jump will change you; it will change the way you think about life!
- 09:00~11:30 and 12:30~17:00
Closed: Wed and Thur
- First Challenge: JPY 8,000, second jump in same day JPY 5,000, Repeat Jump (At any future date) JPY6,000 (Certificate from previous jump & photo ID is required)
Enjoy Nature Walking in Suwakyo Promenade
After the bungee jump, let’s cool down with a relaxing walk. Walking along the promenade by Tone River with flowers and trees. Sakura(cherry blossom) blooms in spring, nature grows even greener in summer, maple leaves fall in autumn, wood dries and decay in winter. Every season has offers a different scene. Close your eyes and press the shutter, all the photos you take here are a postcard. While you take your walk you might be able to spot a passing train, a train called “Pumpkin train” because of its color. A walk by yourself, with your pet, with your family, this is the first place locals think of when they feel like taking a stroll. You will see different breeds of dogs, you will hear the laughter of children. Looking at the clear river water rushing against the rocks and all the beautiful sceneries here, you might begin to admire the locals in this place, how they breathe such clean air and how calm their body must be.
Be Courageous! Mizukikoukan - Water Dam Curry
After the walk, the next spot is Mizukikoukan. This is a small service station. There is a foot-bath outside and a small aquarium inside. There are five Dams in total in Minakami. Every May, a lot of people tend to visit this dam because of its fascinating water discharge. The gimmick in Mizukikoukan is curry rice - Water Dam Curry. Konjaks that are cut into fish shapes swim in the curry. Please finish it before broke the curry level drops like water level in a dam!
- Souvenirs shop, Snacks shop, Travel Information: 09:00~17:00
Fisheries Museum: 09:00~17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Closed: Open regularly between July and October
Closed every second Tue and forth Thur between November and June
10 mins walk
Bath like the Emperor - Minakamikan
After the meal, let’s head to the last spot - Minakamikan. During your journey to Minakamikan, you will pass through a hot spring district. Compare to other hot spring district in Japan, this district is not as busy and full of people. The shops in this district are rich in heritage. They look after the people of Minakami. A lot of locals live their entire life here and these shops have always been here for them. Enter Minakamikan, the glorious lobby would make you understand why his Majesty the Emperor has stayed here before. The hot spring is constructed with pilaster and eaves with local hinoki cypress, it is known as “Crystal Onsen (hot spring)”. The aroma of Hiniki cypress will relax your mind. Minakamikan also offers a hot spring that let you bath on the tatami and it is called “Tatami onsen”, or you can enjoy the outdoor hot spring with a mesmerizing view. After the bath do take 15 minutes and relax on the massage chair. Relax and cure you body before your journey back to the city.
- Day trip for hot spring: 13:00~19:00
(Please inquire in advance during peak seasons)
- JPY 1,500
15 mins walk
Minakami Station, take the bus at 5th bus stop
Departure from Jomo-Kogen Station (Joetsu Shinkansen)
Arrival at Tokyo Station
You can make a booking in advance with the “TAPA package”. The package includes rafting, hot spring ticket for Hotel Higaki, a night at TAPA camping area with barbecue and breakfast included. The total price of the package is JPY15,000.(*) The package offers point to point shuttle bus service, so there are no worries about local transportation. All you need to do is relax and enjoy the outdoor activities. Have an adventure that can not be experienced in the city. There are different kinds of outdoor activities with a different accommodations to choose from, you can arrange the most suitable plan according to your personal preferences. More details on http://www.topminakami.com *Different seasons come with different packages, price might be different.