Japan · Mt. Fuji · Travel

Japan: Nature and Nurture

 

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Japan, also endearingly nicknamed ‘Land of the rising sun’, is a popular spot for wellness travel due to its myriad of places for worship, exercise, and avenues offering healthy food.

Japan provides optimum nurturing and nourishment to humanity’s healthiest and longest life spans. According to a recent World Health Organization study, the Japanese came in first with life expectancies of 83.7 years. Besides incorporating a healthy diet consisting of rice, fish and pickled vegetables, the Japanese also regularly partake in heart-pumping cardiovascular activities. Additionally, they embody spirited values of living in the present moment and appreciating nature on a daily basis.

For those who are interested in polishing their physical health like the Japanese do, listed below are several activities that you could engage in when you travel to Japan.

Hiking:

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Hikers intending to climb Mt. Fuji during the summer can start at the 5th station, which lies at approximately the halfway point of the mountain.

From the ever-popular Mt. Fuji, to the lesser-known Mt. Mitake, Japan is home to plenty of mountains for avid hikers to climb.

Crisp, cool air, sun-kissed skin and the rustling of leaves are just several phrases to describe my hike up Mt Mitake on a lovely autumn morning, which, in my opinion, is the best period to hike in Japan. Compared to Singapore’s sweltering summer heat, hiking in Japan during autumn ensures you do not break a single sweat. This does not mean the hike itself was easy. There were several steep paths crawling up the mountain, ensuring a good physical workout for the heart while strengthening those calves. The entire climb up takes up a solid three hours.

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Nearing the peak of Mt. Mitake.

On the mountain, people seemed to smile more often – it is not uncommon to be greeted by a cheerful ‘Ohayogozaimasu!’ (‘Good morning’ in Japanese) from the occasional passerby. In addition, I particularly enjoyed the brief moments of thrill and intense focus when climbing down steep paths.

Hiking encapsulates the perfect balance between getting a sweet dose of adrenaline and unwinding both mentally and physically, all while taking shelter under nature’s foliage.

Jogging:

The difference between jogging in Japan and Singapore is that you can soak up the exotic trees and flowers Japan has to offer. Depending on the season, the weather is also more often perfect for a jog than under our local heat.

Japan is dotted with countless parks that can range up to an enormous 134 acres in size (approximately 60 soccer fields). Some of the best parks in Japan to jog in are: Koganei Park, Komazawa Park and Yoyogi Park, to name a few.

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During autumn, the ground is carpeted with different shades of red, which is much more different than the green parks we are used to in Singapore.

Koganei Park, in particular, is lined with thousands of cherry trees, scoring points for a scenic run, especially during spring. Komazawa Park, on the other hand, has a running track with distance markers to conveniently aid you in tracking your progress, while sporting plenty of greenery as well. Lastly, Yoyogi Park, situated right next to the Meiji Shrine, is open 24/7 for odd hour runs. In case you need to freshen up after the run, you could opt to shower at the nearby Wired Café Fit as well.

Target shooting:

A bar with a shooting range – how will that work out? Well…despite initially being skeptical about the idea, in reality, the night unfolded pleasantly. At Shooting Bar EA, Tokyo, you get to play sniper at different forms of targets with your choice of air gun, from a comprehensive menu of guns (they even have a bazooka). You can even bring home your thoroughly shot-through target at the end of the session.

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The damage I did to my target after the session (yes, I even missed and hit the white parts multiple times as well. Oops!)

If you are having some inhibitions because you are a newbie at shooting, let me assure you – despite the transparent wall between the shooting range and the bar, no judging occurred and the company was friendly and open. Having never held a gun in my life before (except for those toy ones from Toys ‘R’ Us), I myself was nervous too while on the way to the bar. At the end of it though, I found myself thoroughly enjoying shooting those soft pellets at my target.

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You can ask the staff to adjust the distance of your target. The staff automatically chose the furthest distance for me, so #challengeaccepted.

Having to lift a gun up and down to adjust my aim throughout the whole session felt similar to lifting weights, except shooting to me was definitely more exciting and engaging. Feeling such power at my fingertips also brought about a surprising amount of stress relief. I thought this would be a one-time-only activity for me, but honestly, curiosity about what using the bazooka would feel like gives me a feeling that I would be back for my second dose of a safe and exhilarating shooting session.

Next time you travel to Japan, have a go at the above activities and more importantly, have fun, all while stretching your mind and body with a good workout and soaking in what nature has to offer.

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