We visit rivers a lot with our children since it is one of their favorite nature activities, plus it is a great place for lessons on topography and river forces and erosion processes. However, rivers in Japan are short, fastflowing and prone to flashfloods which periodically result in the death of campers and like. Just as recently as this summer July, 2008, the Yomiuri Shimbun headlined “Children swept up in rushing river” excerpted immediately as follows …

KOBE–Torrential rains running down the steep slope of Mt. Rokko caused rushing waters to wash away children playing on the banks of the Togagawa in Nada Ward, Kobe.

Upstream of the river, a 49-year-old man who was performing quake-resistance work on the Shin-Togagawa Bridge clung to a pier as he was nearly carried away by the rapids. He was finally rescued by rescue workers of Kobe municipal fire department who lowered a ladder to him at around 3:10 p.m.

“I couldn’t get out because the flash flooding made the river current so rapid,” the man said.

In Muko, Kyoto Prefecture, a vehicle driven by a 34-year-old woman and a school bus bringing kindergartners home were stranded in up to 1.6-meter-deep flood waters on a prefectural road under an elevated road for about 30 minutes from around 1:25 p.m. The busdriver and a kindergarten teacher took care of six children in the bus until they were rescued.

As such, we spend quite a bit of time teaching our kids about safety issues around rivers. The campsites will sound a siren warning which kids must learn to heed.

The river featured in this post is one of the three rivers that flow into the man-made Lake Tanzawa (reservoir) so that there is a lower risk since you won’t have to worry about the dams releasing water all of a sudden.

Getting there: click on the Tabblo> above for our photo-essay, at the end of which are directions on how to get there, as well as a link to the campsite details.