Family Fun: Forest Adventure (Okinawa)

I’m working on an itinerary this week for a family with teenagers heading to my old stomping grounds on Okinawa. It’s been quite the walk down memory lane for me as I select the activities I think they’ll like. I didn’t always enjoy my three years on what I considered Japan’s subtropical “rock” but there is no denying that it’s a great place for a vacation.

If you’re in Okinawa with teens, you might find it hard to drag them off the beaches … but then again, the words “zip line” are a powerful motivator. In the tangled interior of the Yomitan Peninsula, prepare to soar above the land on a thoroughly exciting zip line and ropes course at Forest Adventure.

You need to make a reservation at Forest Adventure so there’s no disappointment  in showing up and finding them fully booked. For 3500 yen a person, you’ll get one “turn” on the entire course, which usually takes between 1.5-2 hours.

From the registration office just off of Route 6, a van takes participants up the hill, where staff will kit you out with harnesses, helmets and all necessary gear. Next comes a training session, which teaches you the proper safety measures and how to hook yourself onto the lines. You get a practice run at it, on a rope that’s near enough to the ground to reassure you if you make any errors. Pay close attention, though – from here on out, you’re virtually on your own and the first few lines are dozens of meters above the ground.

A practice run
A practice run

If you enjoy the heart-pumping action of zip-lining, don’t miss the high ropes course that follows. Test your mettle on a Tarzan-style free fall and then conquer your fear of heights on a set of swinging bridges and other obstacles. The rope swing looked surprisingly easy from below but it certainly tested my gumption when it came time to fling myself from the top!

The real deal
The real deal

Reservations are highly advisable, as Forest Adventure can only accommodate a limited number of people on the course at one time and it can be quite a popular place. There are some limitations – ie only closed-toed shoes, people over 4’8″, and those weighing less than 220lbs – so check the website for details. And have fun!

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