River Activities at Mie’s Beautiful Nature: Odai

River Activities at Mie’s Beautiful Nature: Odai

River activities are one of my favorite activities during summer.

It’s a great way to escape the summer heat and refresh yourself while being active and enjoying the great outdoors. Last summer, I had the opportunity to try some interesting river activities at Odai, a mountain area in Mie known for its beautiful natural landscapes.

In this article, I want to show you guys my experience with a less known activity called a bike SUP and take you through my day in Odai.

Let’s head on over!

Stopping by Japan’s Largest Commercial Resort

Stopping by Japan’s Largest Commercial Resort
We made our way to Odai from Tsu and on the way we stopped by VISON, Japan’s largest commercial resort, located in Taki. It’s the size of 24 Tokyo Domes and has 3 main sections: the marketplace, hotel, and spa. We didn’t have much time, so we only looked around the marketplace area and got some lunch.

The marketplace alone was huge.
This area was uniquely designed with 4 huge roofs lined up on a slope with open air markets underneath. Each roof had its own section; one was the marketplace area, another was the restaurant section, and another was filled with street food and souvenirs.

At the very bottom is an escalator that leads up to the first section and from there you can follow the path all the way up to the end. After getting lunch in the restaurant section, I continued on the path to explore the rest of the VISON marketplace.

Bike SUP Rescheduled?

Bike SUP Rescheduled?

Through the rain, we managed to arrive at Odai. The bike SUP activity we planned to do didn’t seem very likely, but we decided to at least arrive and meet up with our guide before deciding anything. We got down to the riverside and it seemed like our guide already had everything prepared on the water.

The weather was very unpredictable today and we were discussing whether to continue with today’s activity or call it quits. After checking a bunch of different weather apps and some intense calculation, it seemed like the heavy thunderstorm would pass by in about 10 minutes and there’d only be mild rain afterwards.

However, there’s another thundercloud approaching in roughly an hour and a half, so we had to decide quickly if we’d do the activity or reschedule.

Without a bit of hesitation, we started preparations to get on the bike SUP.

Cycling on Water

Cycling on Water
We put on our life jackets and headed down to the river.

When I first heard I would be doing a bike SUP, I had no idea what to expect. I imagined it would be like a bicycle, but couldn’t imagine a bicycle on water, which is exactly what it was.

Seeing it in person, I realized it’s a bicycle on 2 floats with a propeller in the back. Regardless of how it looks, I was pretty excited to try it out.

Typically, when you get on boats, the first step is quite shaky and there’s always that initial fear of falling into the water. The bike SUP didn’t have that. When I planted my first step, the bike didn’t budge at all so I knew that I won’t have to worry about falling into the water.

The bike SUP was hard to operate at first.
When you pedal, it powers the propeller in the back, but you don’t start moving until a few seconds after you start pedaling.

The same goes for steering. The handlebar moves the propeller’s direction, but there’s also a slight lag until you start to move in that direction. It was like I was learning to ride a bicycle for the first time again. Nevertheless, it was quite fun getting used to this new bike on water.


Along with the bike SUP, we were trying out another platform and that is "Rund-Sup". It’s a circular float that can fit about 2-3 people and uses an electric motor to get around. Since it doesn’t require physical effort to move, it’s more relaxing and feels like a picnic in the middle of the river.

While our guide and Kihira-san(attendant)casually strolled down the river, I cycled intensely to keep up and we went on an adventure down the river in Odai.

Cruisin down the river

Cruisin down the river
The river was wide and the current was really calm. It was raining mildly, but it actually felt nice and kept us cool from the summer heat. In the background there were mountains covered by small layers of clouds which were absolutely beautiful.

The other side of the river was all jungle and a few minutes down the river, there was a small opening, so we decided to make a turn and do some exploring.

This path was quite narrow and completely surrounded by trees. It felt like an adventure in the jungle until we hit a dead end. As we started to turn around and head back, the rain got stronger so it was pretty good timing.


Rain is to be expected during typhoon season but we didn’t expect to be hit by a thunderstorm directly above us during our trip to Odai. Nevertheless, we were able to safely navigate away from the storm and even managed to try out the bike SUP and "Round-Sup" like we originally planned.

It was a new and completely interesting experience, definitely different from the standard SUP. I hope to try it again in the future, hopefully on a nice and sunny day!

Tourist attractions covered by this article