3 Best Lakes to Kayak in Japan

When Kayak expeditions bring you to Japan, the immediate water bodies that should spring into your mind are the three lakes of Nishina namely, Lake Kizaki, Nakatsuna, and Lake Aoki. In this article, we are digesting why these lakes are cherished by water outdoor enthusiasts.

Besides, the lakes offer opportunities for various water sport activities, such as kayak paddling, canoeing, windsurfing, waterskiing, and more. The formation of the lakes is in the fault line separating the Western and Eastern part of Japan. Below is an in-depth review of the three best lakes and water bodies to get started, regulations, and many more.

Lake Kizaki

A welcoming soft air is what awaits at Lake Kizaki. Known in local language as Kizaki-ko is found in the state of Nagano Prefecture and lies within a Latitude of 36:3N and Longitude of 137:5E and a depth of 29.5m. It has a surface area of 1,400,000 m2 with a shoreline that stretches to 7000 m (web archive).

When planning your Kayaking trip, it is advisable to observe the weather pattern, for example going to the lake between January and March you should expect freezing weather. A lake which provides an authentic experience for both new and experienced paddlers. Scientifically, there are no Siltation, Eutrophication, and Toxic Contamination documented that you need to worry about.


There is zero acidification reported and therefore you are safe to roam the lake in a boat without worrying about your Kayak getting affected by alkaline water.

The lake offers a splendid breeze with gazing farmers on the bank, and birds wandering around. To the Northern part of the Lakes lays the Japanese Alps mountain range, which creates lifetime memories. The lakes are connected by Nougu River, which also offers a paddling opportunity for water sport fanatics.

How to Travel to the Nishina Three Lakes

A traveler can approach the lake from Matsumoto city, a distance of about 40 km to the north, or from Nagano city which is about 30 km from Nishina. There are two types of means to reach Lake Kizaki from Matsumoto. Use the local train on the JR Ooito Line for about 1 and half hours ride and alight at Shinano-Kizaki station. However, you can opt for the road and traveled by car and travel on route 147 and 148.

Kayaking Lake Aoki

What a lovely place to roar a kayak on a crystal clear water. Paddling the lake offers a lifetime opportunity of interact with the fauna and flora. Here, you have a chance to spot the bear and Kamoshika as you kayak. Known as Blue Tree Lake, it is perfect for group or family kayaking. There are many tour and camping companies with different rates, such as the Evergreen Outdoor Center that charges the following; Adults: ¥6,250, Children (6-12): ¥4,750, and Infants (2-5): ¥3,750 (Source: Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron )

Other Notable Sceneries.

When tired kayaking the lakes, it is time to take a break and head to the nearby museums. Your tour isn’t complete without setting foot at the Sake, Shiki Theater, or the Omachi Energy Museum respectively. Also, have a refreshing day at the Omachi Sports Park and capping your camping with leisure walk at the Himekawa Headwaters Nature Exploration Park.

Where to stay while on kayaking expedition

There are several hotels to pick for your stay while on a visit to the area. Some of the hotels are less than five miles while others are more than 10 kilometers. To make your movement easy and to help you save on your valuable time, consider one of the three hotels listed below.

  • The lakeside mine is a 2 star hotel offering different services to its clients. Here you are welcomed with a free parking space and a pick to the train station.
  • Keisui resort and hotel, a three-star hotel with more features than the lakeside mine. if you have slightly deep pockets, here is the place to stay. As an esteemed client, you have access to various goodies, such as free breakfast and parking. The rooms are well maintained with a functioning TV sets.
  • If the two mentioned hotels are not worth your time, consider the Kurobe Kanko Hotel, also a three-star hotel with several advantages, such as WiFi, parking and transportation to the station.
  • To stay further from the lake, kayakers to head to the Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort, about 11 km journey from the lake. Besides, there is the Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park situated 14 km from the lake.

Canoe and Kayak Operation Rules and Regulations in Japan

There are Canoe regulations governing the use of Japanese waters. The country is situated in the middle of latitudes and as a result is prone to tropical cyclones. The cyclones causes changes in the weather and water conditions. To protect boat owners, water sport enthusiasts, and other users, the state has several rules and regulations to govern the utilization of it waters.

  • A boat must be licenses to operate in the three lakes above. Failure to register your Kayak will lead to a fine of up to 3000,000 Yen.
  • Kayak owners must carry the licenses during Kayak operation, and failure to do so attract a fine of up to 100,000 Yen
  • The licenses registered for two categories of boats namely, offshore distance Kayaks, and non offshore and limited to a distance of 5nm from the shore.
  • All boat registrations are done once and inception done in every three years period.

Kayak Insurance

Besides regulations, Kayak owners are advised to buy insurance depending on the capacity of the boat. However, pleasures canoes are not subjected to insurance registrations, but it would help against damage, injury, liability, Kayak hull damage, and many unforeseen fatalities.

What you need to Kayak

Get yourself a kayak, oar, kayak clothing, such as kayak floating clothes, sock and first aid kit.

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