Wild Swimming in Japan

Hidden spots, Open water, Secret beaches

Popular for camping, swimming and barbeques, Akigawa Valley has some gorgeous river gorge spots. Set up for the day with your own private patch of riverbank and enjoy some first-class rock-jumping. What’s more, you can warm up afterwards with birdsong in a pine forest-top onsen.

If you are looking for a mountain lake with a local feeling you may want to try Lake Suwa in the Kiso Mountains, Nagano Prefecture. If you also want to swim in it we should warn you that the water is green with algae and may not be safe, but it’s not too cold in the summer.

Of course, for most people no visit to Japan is complete without Kyoto, but give it a couple of days of temples and shrines and you might want a break. Try something different with this beautiful stretch of blue river, a short stonesthrow from the bamboo grove at Arashiyama.

If you are looking for mountain lakes where to have a good jump with a beautiful view, you may want to try Suwa lake in the Kiso mountains in Nagano Prefecture. We have been there, jumped in this greenish water and here is our report.

You may or may not have heard the rumours about the white water rafting craze sweeping Nagatoro in Saitama. It’s all true, but pick the right spot and there are some great swims to be had, too. What’s more there’s a Showa-era shotengai, camping nearby, and a well-stocked convenience store just around the corner!

Hang up your hang ups, forget what you heard about Saitama and put on your swimmers, this patch of river is the real deal. Rock jumping, fast currents and cool river water await you with a riverside beer vending machine for your convenience. One of the more peaceful stations in Chichibu but still so easy to get to, even on a day trip.

The South of Izu Peninsula has a lot to offer. If you like wild landscapes, rocky beaches in the middle of the forest and volcanic cliffs, you will love Minami Izu. The deep blue sea is also incredibly clear. This place is a paradise for campers and snorkelers who want to get lost for a week-end.

You may well have heard of Naoshima, Japan’s famous Art Island. What you may not have been told is that as well as Kusama pumpkins it’s also riddled with fine, deserted sandy beaches. Check out our selection and then go and explore for yourself.

Lake Motosu-ko is revered for its azure-blue waters which give it the nickname Motosu-Blue, and make it perfect for freshwater snorkelling. It’s one of the 5 Lakes surrounding Mount Fuji, and anyone who has used a 1000 Yen note will find its stunning Fuji view familiar.

Yes you can swim in Miyajima and you can even find some deserted beaches if you know where to find them. Some nice sandy beaches are hidden from the crowd and you should definitely enjoy a swim while everyone is busy taking selfies with deer.

Amazing swimming spot on the island of Shikoku close to Kansai region. The emerald-turquoise waters and waterfall are breathtaking. The visibilty in the clear water is also ideal for snorkelling and jumping off the rocks.