Its Winter! Lets go ice skating in Tokyo
Even if it’s cold outside, and windy, and you are alone at home, you can still enjoy the time. No I am not saying to lazily watch TV. You can actually go enjoy engaging in sports, right in the neighborhood. You don’t even have to be a member of any formal sports club. Don’t need to make any appointment. Don’t need any gears. Yes You can go walk into any of the ice skating rinks around in town. Just go Ice Skating in Tokyo. In Roppongi Midtown, or Akasaka Sakas, in Harajuku or such many places . There are both outdoor and indoor facilities. Some are permanent, open all year round. Some like the one in Akasaka open only during the winter season.
When people in colorful woolens glide across the ice white rink, Christmas music playing in the background, its like the Disney movies. Its hard not to join in, even if skating is not truly ones core skill. You can have trainers train you. And you need not even spend a fortune for it. Well, you may not even spend a penny, to be precise, provided you are at the right place at right time. There are city council run ice skating rinks in Tokyo that offer free training on selected days/time. Very friendly to beginners. Interested? Then read on.
Edogawa Sports Land
One Sunday morning a couple of weeks back, we decided to go for skating. Newbies that we were, we went for a council run facility in Eastern fringe of Tokyo. Known as Edogawa sports land, it is on Toei Shinjuku subway line, easily reachable by short bus trip from Shinozaki or Mizue station. It is inside a new and expansive sports complex building. The rink converts into a swimming pool in summer and offers skating in winter. Buses are frequent. Get down, walk in, buy your ticket from the ticket vending machine, pick up your size shoes from the well stocked facility, go to the locker room, pick up a helmet if you so please at the entrance to the rink, and there you are – all set to skate. Easy as 1-2-3.
There were people of all ages and skills trying their hand, err feet, in ice skating. Not surprisingly there were some nimble young belle skating with all the moves one sees on TV. Well well, if we had time on our side we also could do it. Its ice right? So just step in, and voila, you start sliding! That’s what we thought. Things were not that easy though, to be honest. Gravity seemed to have a particular liking for us, making us hit the ground time and again. Nevertheless, that’s part of the game. There was that old gentleman skating deftly past us effortlessly. Inspiration. Never give up, we told ourselves. There were indeed some folks with amazing skills, and there were newbies. Like us many people walked in, just to enjoy skating.
We got time to rest as a bell rang. A big roller moved in, to smoothen the ice. Rest was well deserved indeed, given the number of falls in a span of 30 or 40 minutes. But we were eager to jump right back in as the bell rang again. It’s as long as you want for one entry pass. Refreshment facilities were well thought of. One can have either lunch or snacks from the attached refreshment area. There were hot fried chips, sausages, smoking hot curry rice from the cafeteria. There was even a food vending machine by the side, that served ready hot ramen! For someone picky however, who feels that in the cold surroundings cold food gels better, that is there too. We actually indulged in Belgian ice creams, during one of the breaks. Served again by vending machines standing by. And then had freshly brewed coffee in the next break! Overall the time was well-spent, thoroughly enjoyed. Whenever felt tad bit too cold, feeling like needing a break from skating, to let the frozen toes heal, headed into the heated rest area. Chilled a bit, mean soaked the heat, and then came back in to blaze a trail….kind of.
Feeling inspired? Want to try out this weekend? Check this link.
Do remember to use Chrome browser for automatic translation from Japanese, if you need it.
Ciao. Happy times