Now and again, something pops up in the zeitgeist that comes right out of left field. Some of these things are fads that slip away as quickly as they came (remember twerking? No, probably not), but some things seem to not only hang around but absolutely explode.
One of those things hanging around – quite literally – is bouldering in Japan. As one of the new events added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, this sport – in which competitors climb indoor rock faces – has seen a TV explosion in recent years, making stars of Akiyo Noguchi, Miwa Oba, and Risa Ota. Don’t let their resemblance to pop idols fool you; these women can perform pull-ups with just index fingers and are rock hard.
There have been a few bouldering places in Hiroshima for a while, but with the explosion of popularity, there has been an expansion of bouldering gyms. Below you can find a few that you might want to check out.
Aimed at climbers of all ability and fitness levels, Cero is reasonably priced – for both equipment rental (shoes 300 JPY, ropes, harness and chalk, 100 JPY each) and user fees (2,000 JPY per day or 1240 JPY for two hours) – and staffed by friendly and knowledgeable people who are ready to help at any time.
More than nine walls offer bouldering and climbing with ropes, with courses from the very beginner to the very advanced. It is even very child-friendly, with Sunday morning kids’ “Climbing Club” sessions (09:00-11:00). If you are a real beginner and want to get a leg up – in both a literal and metaphorical way – you could join one of their classes.
Near Yokogawa Station, PB Climbing is also good for all climber levels, whether you are just starting on your bouldering path or have been doing it for years. Unlike Cero, PB Climbing is a purely bouldering gym, meaning no ropes or harnesses here. But that shouldn’t worry novices as the walls are not that high and the padding is more than adequate should you fall.
Run by real enthusiasts, PB is very reasonably priced, as once you have paid your 1,000 JPY lifetime membership fee, it’s just 620 JPY for school children, 1000 JPY for college students, and 1240 JPY for adults, including shoe rental and chalk.
Pure Green is a great gym for those of you who want to try your hand at bouldering for the first time. A little bit out of the city in Asakita Ward, they have numerous beginner classes, though weekend classes need reservations. And even if you do not want to take a full class, the staff will spend 30 minutes showing you how it is all done before letting you go out and explore on your own on your first visit.
A full day at Pure Green will set you back 900 JPY for elementary school children, 1100 JPY for junior high and high school children, 1500 JPY for college students, and 1800 JPY for adults. There is a two-hour fee of just 1300 JPY for college students and 1500 JPY for adults on the weekend.
Image: Mark Guthrie Own Work
Image: via https://pb-climbing.com/yokogawa-2/
Image: via https://climbinggympuregreen.jimdofree.com/