Japan is experiencing something of a skateboarding wave since it showcased the sport during the recent Tokyo Olympics. Many purpose-built skateboarding facilities have sprung up over the last few years, from sponsored all-weather indoor parks to free outdoor parks. Here is a small selection of places to try out your skills.
Osaka is the hub of skateboarding in the Kansai region and has more parks than any other city. This stylish all-season indoor facility is in the basement beneath the Spotaka skateboarding shop in Shinsaibashi. Opened in 2015, the local skateboarding community designed it and features wall ramps, rails, boxes, and half-pipes. You can buy a single session ticket (starting at Y500 an hour) or a monthly pass. The park also runs lessons for school children.
Address: BIGSTEP, 2nd basement floor, 1-16-9 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0086
One of the longest-standing and most well-known skate parks in Kansai, this park on Rokko Island is part of the Good Skates chain and is known to locals as the G Skate Park. It was built over 25 years ago and has indoor and outdoor facilities featuring vertical ramps, half-pipes, kink rails, grind boxes, and more. Many pro-skateboarders still use the park, and you can take lessons. Facilities are also suitable for scooters, rollerblades, and BMXers. The park is open for around 12 hours a day, and don’t worry if you don’t have all the equipment, as plenty is available to hire on-site.
This cool, free facility is close to the Kamo River in Kyoto. It was opened in 2004 as a community park and is used by many local skaters and young beginners. The park is a free outdoor concrete space with a half-pipe leading up to a bowl, a ledge, and a pyramid. It’s small compared to other skate parks in Kansai but is hugely popular.
This indoor skate park is interesting as it’s situated within a skate clothing store. Perhaps surprising is it’s the most extensive indoor skate facility in Kansai. The park is a mix of wood and concrete that consists of a “street” area with pipes, banks, and steps and a “park” area with a bowl. Prices start at 1,000 yen per session. It’s one of the only skateboarding sites in Nara but has quickly become one of the most well-known across Kansai.
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Measuring 4,730 square meters, this is one of the biggest skate parks in Japan. It’s a concrete outdoor park that has been open since 2019 with numerous sections, including ones for beginners and experts, and an area for national and international competitions. Fees are cheap, with sessions and equipment rental starting at around 300 yen.
Website: https://www.city.matsusaka.mie.jp/soshiki/41/skate.html (in Japanese)
One for advanced-level skateboarders, Miki skate park, boasts the only full-pipe in Japan. It’s a concrete park with few flat areas, so it’s not great for beginners. One great thing about this park is that it’s free; however, you do need to register first at the City Hall (5 minutes away) and get a sticker for your helmet.
Address: 5 Uenomarucho, Miki, Hyogo Prefecture 673-0432