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Published on May 2, 2010
First, let me state that this video is only likely to be of interest to English-speaking crazy skaters like myself who like to skate at different rinks around the country and the world. So I am expecting that's only about 15 people on the whole planet.
In March of 2010, I skated at 7 different rinks in 6 Japanese cities from Northern Honshu to Western Kyushu. These trips were enabled by my Japan Rail Pass and allowed me to combine my interests of trains and skating. This video reports on my visit to Akita Prefecture Indoor Ice Rink - the second stop in my series. (Note this rink IS NOT the Akita Ice Arena).
This turned out to be my most enjoyable visit of the 7. This was a 1-day trip out of Tokyo, traveling 400mi North to Akita, skating almost two hours, and returning to Tokyo that evening. The ice was huge: an Olympic-size rink encircled by a 330mX13m speed skating oval (not restricted to just speed skates); the people were friendly (thanks to Shoko-san for providing background on the rink and finding how I could return to the Akita Shinkansen station by bus), and there were very few skaters. This rink is open from the end of October through March. Apparently, it turns into a swimming venue during the warmer months. You can see that the inner skating rink is sunken to allow this. Shoko-san said the structure, built without any internal support columns is about 40 years old and was one of the premier arenas in the Far East at the time. It was once much more popular with skaters, but interest has waned in recent years (why? Japan is now a singles figure skating powerhouse). Unfortunately, the rink has no professional instructors.
Judging from the March, 2010 schedule, weekday hours are noon until 8pm. Weekend hours are 9:30am to 7:00pm. Note that the rinks have full and partial closures at various times of day, changing on a daily basis (check web site or call for latest info). The adult entrance fee is ¥580 for the whole day, and skate rental is ¥420. The address is 2-2, Araya-machi Sanuki, Akita, Akita. (018)863-1241. About 25 minutes from Akita Station by bus: バス／秋田駅前発県立プール線（2番線）、所要時間25分.