When you think of a crazy whitewater rafting trip some of the things that come to mind are kayaking waterfalls or rafting big class V whitewater. This may be the case here in the states but in the Wakayama Prefecture of Japan they take high adventure rafting to a whole new level. Kitayama River, which lies deep in the heart of the prefecture, has been used for over 600 years as a mode of transporting logs to towns and cities. These logs are used for building temples and shrines, and are traditionally tied together with their own bark and are used as rafts to transport the wood down river.
Although they do have more modern safety features such as hand rails and wire cable lacing the logs together this is a once in a lifetime trip that will have your heart pounding and hands trembling by the end of trip. Rafts are typically 7-8 logs wide and span several tree lengths long, the raft itself looks like a 40 yard long wooden snake bumping and gliding down the class II whitewater. The trip is advertised for ages 10 to 70, costs roughly $55 per adult and has a season starting in May and ending in September almost mirroring Colorado’s whitewater season. The tours will have roughly four guides on the “raft” with you, with one steering a tree trunk sized rudder while the other three spot rocks and pry the boat away from hazardous hang ups. Trips seem to only last about one hour in length but cover a section with about 10 named rapids. There are other cultures around the world that have similar forms of transporting lumber but this is the only location in the world where you can walk in and experience a guided, exciting and fun experience.
For those interested in whitewater rafting but may not have the means or will to travel to Japan give us a call at (800) 370-0581 for a traditional rubber raft trip on one of Colorado’s amazing rivers. For those looking to take out a raft on their own don’t forget to ask about our rentals! Have a great summer and stay safe out there!