Skateboarding in Japan has seen a resurgence in popularity since it was recognized as a sport in the Olympics. What was once an underground activity enjoyed in small pockets of Japan is now starting to be enjoyed by more and more people.
Skateboarders and enthusiasts visiting Japan can participate in the activity or can watch amazing tricks in many different regions throughout Japan.
However, it’s important to know what the rules are before pulling out your skateboard and riding away.
How Japan Viewed Skateboarding
Skateboarding was considered a subculture within Japan for quite some time. Even though skateboarding was mainly enjoyed “underground” in Japan, it was still much more popular than many realized. However, not everyone in Japan has viewed skateboarding in the same way.
It was viewed as a dangerous activity that caused a nuisance for those just trying to enjoy a stroll through the park or down the sidewalk. People who enjoyed skateboarding have also been viewed in a negative light.
Today, people of all genders and ages enjoy skateboarding, and the social aspect of visiting a skateboard park is intriguing to many. You’ll be sure to make a new friend or two when visiting a skateboard park in Japan. There is no particular style or look for skateboarders in Japan, as it’s not mainly enjoyed by one type of person.
In Japanese, a skateboard is called a sukeetoboodo, and skateboarding is called sukeetoboodingu. If you hear someone say sugoi to you when you’re skateboarding, that means they think your tricks are cool.
The Laws Regarding Skateboarding In Japan
There are some pretty strict laws in place regarding where you can and cannot skateboard, and those laws are enforced by police. While skateboarding is not viewed as negatively as it once was by some, it’s still expected that skateboarders won’t get in the way of others.
It’s expected that skateboarders don’t disrupt others by being noisy or skateboarding in areas where it’s not permitted. Many other sports and activities have the same restrictions in place, so they must be played in designated areas.
There is a pretty hefty fine for people seen breaking the rules in terms of where you can or cannot skateboard.
Where You Can’t Skateboard
You are not allowed to ride your skateboard through the streets of Japan, especially on busy streets. This can not only be unsafe, but it can cause a lot of interruptions for people trying to walk down the street.
Trying to ride your skateboard on the road is also extremely dangerous. There’s a good chance you’ll see signage in areas where skateboarding is not allowed.
Where You Can Skateboard
Areas that are outside of high foot-traffic areas can be used to practice your skateboarding skills. There are also skate parks throughout Japan that are dedicated to the activity.
Given that skateboarding is becoming more popular in Japan, more skateparks are being built to allow people to enjoy the sport.
In Japan, you can find a mixture of indoor and outdoor skateparks, but indoor skateparks are burgeoning. This is because these are much easier to build in Japan. It’s commonplace to see old warehouses or buildings converted into skateparks.
Shin Yokohama Skatepark
This skatepark is full of various ramps and flat banks for skateboarders of all skill levels to enjoy. It’s located in Yokohama in the Kanagawa Prefecture.
The park is kept in pristine condition, and is free for people to visit, whether you’re an amateur or a professional.
Shin Yokohama Skatepark Official Website
Murasaki Park Tokyo
Murasaki Park in Tokyo offers the opportunity to skateboard in both an indoor and outdoor facility. There are also areas for BMX bikers to enjoy practicing their skills.
It’s owned and operated by Murasaki Sports, which also operates a shop within the area to upgrade your skateboarding gear.
Miyashita Park is a great place to visit whether or not you like skateboarding. There is an expansive skateboarding park with seating areas that overlook the park if you’re just wanting to watch. Miyashita Park is located in Shibuya in Tokyo.
Outside of skateboarding, there is also a green space, other sporting facilities, and plenty of shops. You can enjoy a day here easily, as there are also some dining options available when you need to regain your energy.
Miyashita Park Official Website
Tachikawa Skate Park
Skateboarders and bike riders alike enjoy this very popular skate park in Tachikawa in Tokyo. You will have to register in order to get a pass to access the park. Safety is also taken seriously at this park, as you cannot ride until you put on a helmet.
Tachikawa Skate Park Official Website
Skip Factory is a large indoor skateboarding park, and it’s one of the largest you can visit in Japan. You can find the Skip Factory in Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture.
The park is set up with various rails and steers and other areas to do tricks on, but there are no ramps. You can pay per hour or pay for a pass when visiting the park.
Skateboard And Karaoke
While you may not have expected it, skateboarding and karaoke can go together for a day of fun and excitement. Jankara in Kyoto, Japan offers this unique two-in-one experience.
There isn’t a skate park here, but there is an area dedicated to skateboarding equipped with a ramp. Skaters can also watch karaoke performances or participate themselves.
It isn’t considered cool to forgo safety precautions when skateboarding in Japan. Since falling is inevitable, many skateboarders in Japan will wear helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads while skateboarding.
It’s also ideal to wear the right type of shoes before getting on your skateboard to ensure your footwear doesn’t cause you to fall.
Skateboard Shops In Japan
There are various skateboard shops throughout Japan, with more popping up as the interest increases. It’s worth taking a look through these shops if you’re a skateboarding fan to help support the growing industry.
Best Skateboard Shops In Tokyo Via Yelp
The staff working at these shops are also big fans of skateboarding and can teach you a lot about skateboarding culture in Japan.