Skateboarding has increased in popularity across Japan since the Tokyo Olympics a few years ago, with many purpose-built indoor and outdoor parks appearing in recent times. Kumamoto has a pretty good skateboarding community that predates the Olympics and is surprisingly big for the city and prefecture of its size. You can find several skate parks that are all accessible. Some also cater for BMX riders. Here is a pick of the crop.
One of the older and original skate parks in Kumamoto, X-Land has been around for a couple of decades or so. It’s an indoor warehouse facility close to some rice fields next to Matsubase Station. So, although it might not be the most central of locations, it’s easily accessible by train. The metal equipment is of good quality but there’s not too much here for beginners, so you might want to build up your skills elsewhere before heading out here. You can find a half pipe, quarter pipes, ramps, kickers, rails and vert walls. It’s a venue also suitable for BMXing. Fees are around 1,000 yen a day.
Address: 3-2 Shiranuhimachi Kashiwabara, Uki-shi, Kumamoto 869-0551
Located a little further out in Uki City, this skate park is within a larger park facility that also contains a snow park for boarding and skiing, BBQ, lodge and glamping accommodation. The skateboarding facilities are pretty wide-ranging and include steers, banks and ramps. There are mini-ramps suitable for beginners and kids. Staff are usually on hand during business hours to help out and there is a children’s skateboarding school every Wednesday. Costs start at 400 yen for an hour. You can buy an annual membership for 1,000 yen.
This one is a free skate park in downtown Kumamoto city. It’s open all hours and is popular with the local urban skateboarding community who sometimes hang out here until the early hours. The park has been functioning for many years and you can find ledges, rails, stairs and flat spots. It’s a great place to meet both skateboarders and BMXers, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Address: 1 Karasimacho, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto 860-0804
Without a doubt the most old skool-style park on the list, Shirakawa Skate Park is basically a mini park built and maintained by skaters under a bypass close to some rice fields in Shirakawa. It’s all pretty informal and free to use. Equipment is pretty advanced and includes rails, ramps, boxes, grind rails and a mini half pipe. You’ll need to take care when using the park as it doesn’t receive any general funding for maintenance and damage and so relies on the goodwill of the community. The park has existed for just over a decade and is situated about 1.5 km from Hikari no Mori.
Address: 22-4 Kakizemachi, Higashi Ward, Kumamoto