Rogaining in Japan If someone asks you if you’d like to try rogaining, your first reaction might be to look in the mirror and make sure you aren’t losing your hair.

Don’t worry, the sport of rogaining won’t lead to a receding hairline, in fact you may feel younger after getting outside, learning some new skills, burning some calories and having fun with friends and family.

So what is Rogaining? This outdoor navigation sport is similar to orienteering and adventure racing (or even treasure hunting). The origin of the sport name comes from the three individuals who started the first event in Australia back in the 1970’s. Take the first letters of these inventive outdoor enthusiasts’ first names (Rod, Gail and Neil) and you have “rogaine.”

If you join a rogaine event you’ll be given a course map at the start of the race with “checkpoints” (CPs) that your team will be required to locate. Each CP is assigned points that reflect the difficulty level; the higher the assigned points the more difficult it will be to locate the CP. The objective of a rogaine is to score the highest number of total points within a given time limit.

Strategy and Planning

The race course area can include paved roads, parks and even buildings such as shops within town. Yet more often than not, the course covers a wide area that includes mountains, trails and off-road terrain (i.e. bushwhacking). Choosing the order to search for the CPs is decided by each team, thus making a team’s strategy and planning skills a very important factor in doing well in a rogaine. Also while leg speed and endurance also helps for longer rogaines, navigation skills (contour map reading and use of a compass) is a crucial skill that sets the sport apart from other outdoor activities such as trail running.

In a rogaine, it’s often not the fastest team that wins, but rather the fastest and smartest teams that get to stand on the podium. This combination of “thinking and running” is what makes rogaining unique and appealing.

Rogaining Events

Depending on the event, rogaines can be anywhere from a couple of hours to 24 hours for world championships. Teams generally consist of two to f ive members, but for shorter rogaines there may also be a solo category and a family category so children can participate as well. In Japan, rogaines are held nearly every month throughout the country. It’s a great way to get out and see Japan while having fun.

The “Navigation Games 2017” is a rogaining series in Japan, which provides an annual ranking for individuals based on performance. The following events are coming up in late summer or autumn so plenty of time to get up to speed, grab some friends and join an even.

  • Sep. 23 Hokkaido Rogaining (Hokkaido)
  • Oct. 14 Tsukuba Rogaining (Ibaraki)
  • Oct. 22 Hokusetsu Photo-rogaining (Osaka)
  • Oct. 28 Izu Oshima Geopark Rogaine (Tokyo)
  • Oct. 29 Nobunaga Series Gifu (Gifu)
  • Nov. 12 Sakuraorochiko Rogaining (Shimane)
  • Nov. 19 Nichinan Rogaining (Tottori)

Izu Oshima Geopark

The Izu Oshima Geopark Rogaine is one of the few events that has English information and registration available on their website and actively welcomes participants from overseas. English maps and race information are also provided. The event has a 6-Hour Course with categories for Men, Women and Mixed teams. The 4-Hour Course has adult, family and solo categories. Teams consist of two to five members, except for the solo category and awards are given to the top three finishers in each category.

The check-in and start/finish location for the race is right at Motomachi Port, while the competition takes place from Mt. Mihara to Habu Port using a 1:25,000 topographic map.

This event is a great way to have fun with your friends and family while discovering Izu Oshima, which is one of Tokyo’s Izu Islands. You won’t believe you are still in Tokyo while exploring this beautiful island.

Oct. 28, 2017

Izu Oshima, Tokyo

Getting There:
It takes just two hours via the fast ferry from Tokyo or you can take the slower overnight ferry. Ferry Details available at

Entry Fee (per person):
Adults (18 years or older): 6-Hour Course: ¥5,000, 4-Hour Course: ¥4,500
Youth (13-17 years old): ¥3,000 (both courses)
Children (under 12): Free (both courses)