For many people a trip to Japan would make them think of Geisha’s or maybe Zen rock gardens, but besides its delightfully colorful culture, there are many other great activities to indulge in, and one of these is skydiving. The temperate climate makes Japan the perfect skydiving destination, and combine the exotic sights and sounds of Japan with skydiving, and you will have a truly wonderful holiday you will always remember.
First time skydiving in Japan
If you have never skydived before you may wonder if you can actually make your first skydive in Japan, but, as with all skydiving facilities, the centers, or Drop Zones, as they are known, have to follow strict safety protocols and thorough training is provided prior to you actually making the sky dive. For your first skydive, it will involve an early morning start, but basically all you need is to turn up at the Drop Zone, ready and willing to learn the instructions given.
On arrival at your chosen Drop Zone, after an introductory talk, there is a training session. Drop Zones all use their own methods of delivering this training and it can be anything from watching a video to being walked through the procedure, step by step. The training will be delivered by the skydiving instructor, and is absolutely vital and helps you be thoroughly familiar with all the skydiving techniques and lasts around two hours. The training will prepare you for any eventuality so that you are ready and can react to an emergency situation in the highly unlikely event one should occur, such as, the instructor passing out during free fall. You would then have all the knowledge needed to pull the parachute cord or even deploy the backup parachute if necessary and ensure that you both made it back to the ground safely. There is an almost zero likelihood of this event occurring, but, it pays to be prepared and having the knowledge to deal with it if it does is important.
The next stage will be to show you the skydiving clothing and equipment and how to wear it all and ensure that is properly fitted. It is worth noting that although the skydiving clothing itself is not particularly comfortable, it is primarily designed for safety whilst skydiving, so wear loose comfortable clothing you can move freely in underneath. Once you have gone through the basic training and learnt how to put on and wear the equipment, the next step is to get in the plane and take off ready to make that first skydive.
Types of skydive available to first time skydivers
For first time skydivers, the most usual type of skydive taken, is what is known as a tandem jump. This is a type of skydive where you the instructor is strapped to your back and he/she will perform all the necessary actions during the actual skydive itself. The instructor, or Jumpmaster, as they are known is a fully qualified and certified skydiver who will have completed at least 500 skydives. When the correct altitude is reached, you and the instructor will put on the skydiving kit, the instructor will carefully check that all is correctly fitted and then strap themselves to your back. It is a little uncomfortable, however it is only for a very short time as the next step is literally a step out of the plane and once you are in free fall you will not feel the weight of the instructor.
It is at this point that many people change their minds, they look out of the moving plane and wonder if they do actually want to skydive after all. This is a perfectly normal reaction and one the instructor will be very familiar with, as professionals they have the training and knowledge to help you understand your feelings and how best to deal with them. Their expertise makes them excellent judges of whether a person really wants to actually skydive or not and if they can see that you really want to jump, but can’t make yourself, can actually just give you a small physical push. This expertise also allows them to know when someone is really too afraid to skydive and would never force them to do so.
When you actually go ahead and take that jump out of the plane and go into free fall, any feelings of fear will vanish and you will wonder why you were scared in the first place. Free fall only lasts a couple of minutes, so enjoy it, then the instructor pulls the parachute cord and the descent rate slows. This is where you truly get to enjoy the scenery below, seeing Japan from so far up is a sight not to be missed. The instructor will ensure that you both safely glide back to the ground, you just have to enjoy the experience. Many people enjoy the experience so much they want to repeat it, and, indeed this may be possible, depending on time of day and availability of the instructor and plane, the best thing to do is just ask.
For first time skydivers, the other type of skydive available, is what is known a Static Line Jump. With this jump you are tethered to the instructor by means of a long and strong rope, this type of skydive also involves more intensive training. With a Static Line Jump, both you and the instructor jump out of the plane at the same time and you have the responsibility of pulling the parachute cord. Obviously, the instructor is there for back up in the event that you forget how to pull the parachute cord or there is a problem, they will then pull their parachute cord and the rope between the two of you ensures that you both glide down to the ground in unison. When the parachute has opened it is now you who guides you both back to the ground, you will be in communication with another instructor on the ground via walkie talkie, they will be watching the wind speed and will give you instructions on how to make the safest landing. This type of first time skydiving is really only recommended for the most adventurous types as it is the nearest experience to solo skydiving you can get.
Where can I skydive in Japan
Hopefully, now that you have read about how wonderful an experience, skydiving in Japan is, you can’t wait to try it out for yourself. Please take a moment to run some checks on the Drop Zones first though; although all skydiving facilities have to follow strict guidelines, it is worth calling and checking on their safety records and practices. Any incidents have to be logged and would cause a facility to be shut down and re inspected, so check first. You are after all, putting your life in their hands. To get you started here are a couple of skydiving facilities in Japan.
Tokyo Skydiving Club
Address: Honda Airport
Tel: +81 492 97 7198
+81 492 97 6012 (fax)
Located at Tajima Airport (TJH), Tajima Airport Toyooka, 482-0041 Japan
To make that trip to Japan even more memorable, why not give skydiving there a go? With everything else that Japan has to offer, this will make for fantastic memories you will never forget.