Swimming in a river is the perfect solution to escape the humidity of the coast in the summer months: cool and refreshing even in the height of summer. There are plenty of places you will stumble across as you travel around the island. A note of warning: every year there are reports of accidents, and even tragedies, as the rivers can be very strong in places. The flow of a river can wash people downstream or become trapped between the rocks. Under-currents are also a real danger. If swimming with children then please take extra care.
This is one of the best river swimming spots on the island. If you're travelling to Nagata (永田) from the east, then cross the Nagata River and turn left. Follow the road that runs parallel to the river for a few kilometres until you come to a small car park and public toilet. From here take the path for a few hundred metres through the forest and you'll come to a beautiful, large natural river pool. Even if it's too cold to go swimming, this is a lovely spot for a picnic or to just gaze at the water and marvel at the huge boulders that surround you. From here you can go head upstream for shower climbing, but please book a guide to do this. Also be aware that after, or during, heavy rainfall flash floods can occur. There are warning signs not to swim at these times.
Located in the south of Yakushima you can access the beautiful aqua-marine river mouth from the parking area at the bottom of the road, after the Yakushima Youth Travel Village Campsite. There is a shower and a shelter, and the snorkelling and diving site of the Tzukazaki Tide Pools is only a minute's walk away. The river meanders slowly to the sea through Kurio Town, one of the prettiest of the island's villages. It is ideal for kayaking, swimming, snorkelling or just cooling off. The river mouth is also the only place on the island where the candle mangrove trees grow. If you follow the river upstream you will come to the Shakunage Park – a riverside walk which in spring bursts with colour when the huge variety of rhodedendrons bloom (shakunage in Japanese).
From the parking area at the end of the road to Tashiro Kaigan then take the path on the right and it will lead you to the pillow-shaped lava field where a small river runs to the sea. In summer this makes a perfect place for children of all ages to play. There are stretches of shallow, crystal clear water, with deeper pools to jump in a little upstream. If you explore further then there is a waterfall. Even in the midst of summer, swimming here offers a refreshingly cool and shady haven.
You're most likely to get the chance to go swimming in the green waters of Anbo River if you hire a kayak and head upstream as you can only access the river easily from the village of Anbo itself. Once you pass the town, the river meanders lazily through a beautiful deep green forested valley. You can kayak as far as the high red bridge called the Matsumine Bridge. Further past the bridge the river runs shallow and rocky, and is inaccesible in a kayak. If you're in a kayak you'll be able to park at the bridge and have a refreshing dip or explore the rocky reaches of the river on foot.