Paddling down the Shiribetsu, one of Japan’s clearest rivers, in a small rubber boat is most popular summer activity in Niseko, with many people coming back to experience the thrill time after time.
The summer’s constant, peaceful flows mean that even younger children can join the fun (7 and up in summer, 13 and up during spring thaw). The trip starts at the foot of Mt. Yotei and winds through the Niseko countryside for 8 kilometers, on a 1.5 hour voyage during which you will be able to swim and even jump into the river from nearby boulders if the conditions are right!
Rafting runs every day except in severe weather. Of course, sunny days are particularly beautiful, but a little rain and fog gives the riverside scenery a mysterious feel.
After major storms, the increase in water flow means a special summer tour (the typical spring course) begins running, an exciting adventure through a dense green forest.
If you plan on rafting with a group that includes young children (3-6 years) or older individuals, definitely ask for the relaxed family plan. If you reserve a family boat, you can even raft with your dogs!
Duckies for excitement, canoes for serenity
Enjoying the Shiribetsu isn’t limited to rafting. A ducky is a small raft designed for one or two people, named for its resemblance to a duck’s tail shaking as it swims. Learn the basics quickly, because there’s no guide in the boat with you!
Or try canoeing, slicing elegantly through the water with the call of birds floating nearby in the wind. The silence of the water will let you enjoy nature to its fullest.
Canyoning, on the other hand, provokes shouts of joy and excitement as you literally use your body as a boat to travel down the river. You’ll trudge through swamps and need your whole body’s strength to complete this fun and rewarding journey.
Of course, there are many other activities to try in the Niseko area and beyond. You can float on a hand-made raft, explore in a sea kayak off the coast of the Shakotan Peninsula or on the Shiribetsu, go fishing, or more! Whatever you do, make sure you find something you enjoy!