Local govts setting up skateboarding parks amid post-Olympic popularity

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Municipalities around Japan are setting up facilities for skateboarding after a surge in popularity for the sport following the Tokyo Olympic Games last summer.

Local governments are looking to offer environments for people to skateboard safely and keep good manners, as the population of skateboarders is expected to increase. Also, some governments apparently want to use skateboarding to attract young people and liven up the local community.

Tokyo’s Koto Ward, which hosted the skateboarding events at the Tokyo Games, plans to set up a skateboarding park in a general sports complex in the Yumenoshima district. The facility, slated to open in November, is envisaged to be accessible to all.

The ward is also the hometown of Yuto Horigome, who won gold in the men’s street skateboarding competition at the Tokyo Games.

“We want to promote urban sports while raising awareness about manners,” Koto Mayor Takaaki Yamazaki said.

The Matsubara city government in Osaka Prefecture will install an expert-level course in a skateboarding facility that is used by Momiji Nishiya, who became Japan’s youngest Olympic gold medalist after winning the women’s street skateboarding competition at the Tokyo Games.

The city will seek to brand itself as a skateboarding town for regional revitalization by hosting skateboarding tournaments.

Watari in Miyagi Prefecture will utilize donations through the corporate version of the “furusato nozei” hometown donation system to build a new skateboarding park in its coastal area.

“We hope to attract young people so that we can increase the number of people with ties to the town,” a Watari municipal government representative said.