Imagine swinging through the forests of Hakone, over 10 meters above ground, alternately exhilarated by the view and suspicious that short-shorts were an inappropriate wardrobe selection (those safety harnesses do tend to cause some awkward bunching). That’s the concept behind Forest Adventure, the family-friendly high-ropes experience that started in Talloires, France, and has since spread across Europe and into Asia.
Last month saw the opening of their newest park in Hakone, offering nature-starved Tokyoites an opportunity to add rappelling and zip-lining to the more humdrum daytrip itinerary of museums and onsen.
At Forest Adventure parks, visitors navigate obstacle adventure courses built into the natural surroundings, with 30-odd activities that involve moving from tree to tree by means of bridges, high-wire walks, Tarzan swings and zip-lines. The experience is billed as part Zen, part thrill-seeking—it’s not often you come across “harmony with nature” and “risk of falling from high places” in the same sales pitch—and is sealed with an appropriately trendy eco message.
Forest Adventure works with existing tree configurations when building a course, and has the support of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, with profits going back into forest maintenance.
As an added bonus, Forest Adventure Hakone is also close to the popular Himeshara no Yu onsen, so the whole Swiss Family Robinson can have a relaxing bath afterwards. Just tell dad to wear long pants.
Forest Adventure Hakone: 749-1 Chanohana, Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa. Tel: 080-4219-2206 (Park); 0555-85-3227 (Office). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Free shuttle service available from Hakone station. Advance booking recommended.
This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).© Japan Today