Minakami Adventure Festival started off 10 years ago as just a fun, late season weekend arranged by a few of the outdoor companies. It’s now grown into a much larger event with big name sponsors, an adventure race, and lots of other activities going on all weekend. In 2012 it falls on September 29th and 30th. We make a point of going every year with friends as lots of the activities on offer are available at a discount and there is plenty to do for the kids.
The main festival area is in Yubiso Park, which is on the road to Tanigawadake Ropeway (right next to the Melody Road - drive at 40 kilometers an hour and the grooves in the road play a famous tune). Here you'll find most of the kids' activities, food stalls and some shops. There are always some big name brands here who take advantage of the gathered outdoor enthusiasts to offload some excess stock. Expect some amazing bargains, especially if you are there early on Saturday, and we usually come back with something we didn’t actually need but that was too good a price to resist.
You also sign up for the discounted adventure activities at the festival area. From there you are bussed off to the operator’s base and get to take part on the tour of your choice. All the local companies are involved so you can try your hand at rafting, lake rafting, canoeing, paragliding, mountain biking, bungy jumping, canyoning, hot air ballooning or quad bike riding, all offered cheaper than you would pay usually. Some of these are child friendly but some have age limits. For the younger kids there are craft workshops, dances, and a bouncy castle. If you are around in the evening there are usually fireworks and a big candle display too.
For the more serious adventurers there is another level of challenges going on alongside the fun festival. For the last few years an Adventure Race has been the main draw making use of the rivers and mountains around the town as the competitors run, paddle, pedal and climb their way around the course. This year there is also a rafting race and a trail run. If you don’t fancy heading out into the wilderness yourself, you can always cheer on the competing teams.
It’s a fun weekend and, with so much on offer, everyone will find something to keep them entertained.