Japanese Tree Climbing

A short post on a new sport we’ve recently tried – Japanese Tree Climbing. The opportunity came about for us to give this weird and wonderful activity a go on our way to Nagano from Hakuba. We got a lift with Masaki through the very scenic Japanese Alps up to a woodland spot near Nagano Zoo.

The idea behind Japanese tree climbing is that you cause no harm to the tree or climber and leave everything untouched when you’re finished. I liked this much more than the thought of bolting routes in to a tree!

In true Japanese fashion we did a group warm up and said thank you to the trees before getting started. It basically consists of belaying yourself up a tree using a brake knot to stop you sliding down and your arms and right leg to pull yourself up – whilst dangling from a branch!



Our taster session cost 1,000 yen (about £6) and was really good fun! It felt really strange to trust a relatively small branch to hold all your weight and even stranger when the tree swayed. Whilst it was a great experience I don’t think we’ll be swapping rock for tree any time soon though!


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