Best places to enjoy snow, ice near your base in Japan

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi: Tokyo Midtown Mitsui Fudosan Skate Rink
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi: Tokyo Midtown Mitsui Fudosan Skate Rink

Best places to enjoy snow, ice near your base in Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Editor’s Note: Always follow the guidelines set by your base command and please practice preventative measures at all times including wearing a facemask, social distancing and washing/sanitizing your hands often.

Besides the ski resorts, there are many places in Japan where you, your family and friends can skate, sled or just play in the snow.

Since ice skating was the first winter sport introduced to Japan about 147 years ago, today numerous climate-controlled indoor ice rinks are located throughout the nation, including one in the southernmost island of Okinawa. Various outdoor ice rinks are available during wintertime, as well.

You can enjoy ice skating in the center of Tokyo at the beautifully illuminated Tokyo Midtown Outdoor Skate Rink. You may want to take your children to Hakone-en Sledding Square in Kanagawa Prefecture where they can sleigh, make snowmen or toss snowballs at one another.

Winter is here, so get off base and enjoy all the great activities Japan has to offer.

 

1. Tokyo Midtown Mitsui Fudosan Skate Rink (near Yokota, Yokosuka, Zama, Atsugi)

 

Being one of the largest outdoor ice rinks within Tokyo, the rink can accommodate 210 skaters. You can access the food facilities next to the rink with your skates on. Coin lockers are available and you can rent skates. To prevent accidents, all skaters are required to wear helmets and gloves in the rink. Helmets are provided for free by the rink, but you must bring your gloves. The rink is beautifully lit up from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. every day.

Location: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Period: Nov. 18 - Feb. 27

Hours: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Admission:

Mon.-Fri.: Adults; 2,000 yen, Junior high schoolers or younger; 1,500 yen.

Sat., Sun. and holidays: Adults; 2,500 yen, Junior high schoolers or younger; 2,000 yen

* Admission includes rental skates and a coffee ticket.

URL

Tel: 03-3475-3100

 

2.  Art Rink in Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse (near Yokosuka, Yokota, Zama, Atsugi)

As the name indicates, this outdoor ice rink is decorated with drawings, illustrations and illuminations by Japanese artists Moeno Otsu and unpis. Besides the art, you can enjoy beautiful night views and illumination of Yokohama Port and the Red Brick Warehouse while skating.

Location: 1-1-2 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture

Period: Oct. 4 - Feb. 20

Hours:

Mon. - Fri.: 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.,

Sat., Sun. and holidays: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Admission:

Adults: 700 yen

Kindergarteners through High schoolers: 500 yen

Rental skates: 500 yen

URL: http://akarenga-artrink.yafjp.org/

Tel: 045-211-1515

 

3. Hakone-en Sledding Square (near Zama, Atsugi and Fuji)

This location has the latest model snow machine, which provides quality artificial powder snow. You can sled, make snowman or toss snowballs in the square while enjoying a majestic view of Mount Fuji. Rental wears and shoes are available. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, penguins from the Hakone-en Aquarium visit the square to play with children.

Location: 139 Motohakone, Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture

Period: Dec. 20 - Feb. 28

Hours: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Admission:  800 yen for 2 hours (including a rental sled)

URL

Tel: 0460-83-1151

 

4. Wonder Rink (near Iwakuni)

Housed in The Outlets Hiroshima, the largest shopping mall and amusement facility in the region, Wonder Rink offers a magical skating experience under colorful illuminations. The bright modern rink is housed in a sports complex that also includes an indoor field with a large trampoline. The skate rink is divided by various activities, such as bumper-car, curling and ice bike, so both adults and children can enjoy the attractions.

Location: 4-1-1 Ishiuchi Higashi, Saeki-ku, Hirashima City, Hiroshima Prefecture (50-minute drive from MCAS Iwakuni)

Hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

URL

Tel: 082-208-4015

 

5. Papio Ice Arena (near Sasebo)

Both skilled and beginning skaters can enjoy skating in the large-sized ice skating rink (30-meter by 60-meter) at Papio Ice Arena. It offers various different skating shoes for rental depending on the level of skaters. For beginners, buckle-style (lace-less) shoes are available, so even a small child can get on a pair and participate. Location: 15-30 Chiyo Icchome, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture (90-minute drive from Sasebo Naval Base)

Hours: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Admission:

Adults: 1,800 yen

High schoolers: 1,450 yen

Elementary schoolers or younger: 1,100 yen

URL

Tel: 092-633-2468

 

6. Sports World Southern Hill (Okinawa)

Sports World Southern Hill is the only ice rink located on Okinawa. The rink is open throughout the year. The full-size rink (28 meter by 58 meter) enables you to enjoy any type of skating, from figure skating to ice hockey. Various skating lessons are available. The rink is beautifully lit up during nighttime.

Location:  460-1 Miyadaira, Minamikazehara Town, Okinawa

Hours:

Mon. - Fri.: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Sat., Sun.: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Holidays: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Admission:

Adults: 1,700 yen

High schoolers: 1,500 yen

Elementary schoolers: 1,300 yen

5 or younger: 1,100 yen

URL

Tel: 098-888-5858

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