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Tokyo is a huge urban metropolis and its adventure activity portfolio is therefore quite limited. Hiking is the ideal way of getting away from Tokyo’s glitzy neon lights and there are a couple of great destinations within an hour on public transport. Mt Takao is probably the nearest. One of several trails on this mountain is paved and takes in Yakuoin Temple. Certain locations on this path give panoramic views towards Mt Fuji.
As Mt Mitake takes longer to get to for Tokyoites, trails here tend to be less busy. Walkers pass through pastoral vistas with the national flowers and trees of Japan standing guard at every turn. There are a number of waterfalls and historic shrines on this route. Mt Fuji is the other principal location within easy distance of Tokyo where hiking is an option.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is Tokyo’s activity central. SkyAsagiri is one of the paragliding operators at Mt Fuji. The company provides a range of paragliding experience packages. These include the novice with a maiden flight from a gentle slope, a tandem flight with a professional instructor and a 300-metre-high odyssey in the clouds.
Lake Kawaguchi is one of the so-called five Fuji lakes in Fuji-Hakone-Izu and is a firm favourite with Japanese postcard makers. Some Tokyo tour agencies offer canoeing on Kawaguchi or the other lakes. Sailing is another choice but only those with prior experience at the helm will find this sport easy to get the hang of.
Lake fishing is the final choice for park visitors. Days of fishing are easily arranged as tours or by going to the lakes personally. One-day angling permits are available. Lakes Kawaguchi, Sai and Lake Yamanaka are stocked with bass. Lake Kawaguchi also has trout. Tackle shops and boat rental operators ensure anglers can have a go even if they arrive without a booking.
Tokyo Bay is an alternate venue for fishing. Visitors can either rent equipment and fish from the shoreline or join bay-fishing cruise. Boat skippers typically need 10 passengers before they will sail. The cruises are five hours and include rods, reels and bait in addition to a traditional Japanese lunch of tempura and miso soup. Tokyo Bay is the habitat of flounder, perch, bream and the much prized yellowfin goby.
Golf has taken off in Japan in the last two to three decades and is not the exclusive preserve of the rich and famous any more. Courses at the Aqualine Golf Club, Kawana Resort Hotel and the Windsor Park Golf and Country Club are mostly accessible within one hour by road and offer decent challenges to players. Gotemba Golf Club is one of a number of locations with courses offering views of Mt Fuji. Added bonuses here are an in-house onsen spa and a microbrewery.
Cycle tours of Tokyo are an alternate means of taking in the sights. Various tour operators offer half and full day packages led by guides well versed in local history and attractions. These tours are not strenuous and anyone who is reasonably fit can join. Routes vary but points of call might include Ueno Park, Fukagawa, Kiyosumi Gardens, Ningyo-Cho Old Town, the Imperial Palace and Ryogoku sumo wrestling Tokyo arena.
Extreme sport extraordinaire bungy jumping has made its Japanese debut. Minakami in Gunma Prefecture was the first to open back in 2007 and still offers the chance of making a death-defying leap between April and October. The jump is 42 metres and above the cascading waters of the Tonegawa River. Minakami is a little over two hours’ drive from downtown Tokyo. It is also a base for enjoying white water rafting, mountain biking and onsen spas.