A humbling experience awaits at Tochigi’s Yomogiyama Log Village.

On a recent drive through the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma pulled off the expressway to visit Yomogiyama Log Village in the town of Sano. It’s an outdoor leisure area with overnight cabins, barbecue facilities, tennis courts, and a Japanese-style public bath.

▼ Entrance to Yomogiyama Log Village

But what Masanuki was really there for was to try out Yomogiyama Log Village’s obstacle course.

In Japanese, obstacle courses are called “athletic,” and Masanuki figured he’d do a circuit of the course to work up a nice sweat, then clean himself off and have a nice soak in the bath.

Masanuki had heard that Yomogiyama Log Village’s obstacle course is particularly challenging, with some locals likening it to the extreme physical challenges of Beat Takeshi’s Takeshi’s Castle TV show. What makes Yomogiyama’s course so tough is that so much of it is over water.

Masanuki likes to think of himself as a pretty athletic guy, though, so he figured he’d be able to make it through this “athletic.” He decided to start with the “raft crossing.”

This section of the course is a series of platforms that are tied together but floating on the surface of the water. The trick, Masanuki figured, is to have your weight on a platform for as short a time as possible, nimbly jumping to the next the instant your foot comes down, like a ninja skipping across lily pads.

After some light stretching to limber up, Masanuki took a deep breath, took a big step…


…took a tumble right into the pond.

▼ Reverse angle

Sopping wet, Masanuki was still determined to make it all the way across the water without falling in. So he made his way back to the starting point…

…falling into the water again on the way.

Reassessing his strategy, Masanuki noticed that the two paths have slightly different layouts. Maybe he’d have better using the right side, where the longer platforms coming first might help him find his stride.


And yet, Masanuki’s spirit still wasn’t broken. Time and time again he fell into the water, until the point where his shirt and pants were so soaked and heavy that they became difficult to move in. Rather than give up, though, he simply stripped off his outer layer of clothing…

…and fell into the water again.

The raft crossing section of the course was so difficult that Masanuki eventually lost track of how many times he failed. He does remember how many time he made it all the way across, though: exactly one.

▼ And even then, it wasn’t pretty.

Having finally cleared the raft crossing, Masanuki moved on to some of the other sections of the course, like the “Tarzan rope”…

…and the “barrier wall.”

▼ He cleared both without incident…aside from being pretty underdressed.

Unfortunately, when Masanuki asked about where Yomogiyama Log Village’s Japanese-style bath was, the staff informed him that it was closed for the day. Thankfully, his disappointment was softened by having already spent so much time in the water already.

Location information
Yomogiyama Log Village / 蓬山ログビレッジ
Address: Tochigi-ken, Sano-shi, Sakuracho 1271
Closed Tuesdays (but open on Tuesdays July 20 to August 31)

Photos © SoraNews24
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