By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Tokyo is very well known for many reasons from being one of the most advanced cities in the world in terms to technology, fashion, art and pretty much anything else you can think of but it is also one of the most traditionalist countries which have strong roots and sometimes could even get to reject western cultural influences and activities such as skateboarding, but as in any other major city of any country, skateboarding is far from fading into Tokyo's background! It's a major scene the one it holds and a beautiful city that unintentionally was almost built for street skateboarding!
Amazing variety of street spots, insanely long handrails, and building plazas which compared to other cities of the world completely display the asian discipline and culture of perfection, it is very rare to see uneven grounds or even unskatable places in Tokyo but it is a risk you must take if you re looking to get into street skateboarding.
Traditional Culture Over Skateboarding
The truth is that skateboarding in Tokyo sounds amazing but if you're a tourist its kinda difficult to find out where all of the good SHIT® is going down, locals mention that the best spots to skate in Japan are actually on the outskirts places like Osaka, Kobe and even the neighboring Yokohama have way more spacious plazas, spots and skaters compared to Tokyo which is really crowded most of the time.
The city is beautifully designed to be a street skateboarding heaven, however, culture in the main city is much more strict and some even say that it’s against skateboarding especially if you are a foreign dude going down the buildings of the most recognized technology brands in the world! It is difficult as in most main cities but sometimes they will just stop you and tell you to leave a place if they see you HOLDING a board with the intention of skating it and they will make you leave even faster if they see you with a recording device! Some police officers could even grab you just for cruising down the street.
It is almost an accomplishment to get good footage of street skateboarding in Tokyo but when you do, some of the most amazing things can come out of it, but you must be careful and skate at your own risk! There are people who don't take the city authorities seriously and end up paying crazy fines or even spending a few days in jail for a harmless tag in a construction wall! Tokyo is not California or NY and you will NOT be able to talk your way out of the situation by getting a pretzel or a box of doughnuts to the officer on duty!
Tokyo is one of the well-established skate meccas and sits right next to places like Barcelona, Guangzhou and San Francisco. With a crazy amount of knee-high rails, perfect marble ledges and bicycle ramps at the edge of every stair-set!
Skate Parks In Tokyo
If you are more technical or a park dude or dudette, you are in for a treat! Some of the best designed and most amazing parks can be found in Tokyo! Places like Komazawa, Setagaya and Tamachi skate parks which are the most central ones, and you can also find Hachioji and Maihama in the outskirts of the city.
Night street skating is a big thing in the city! Skateboarders from all over town reunite and skate the almost empty streets which makes of Tokyo an even more beautiful scenario, long perfect downhills and spots to skate under the neon lights of the city which happens up until midnight when the last trains are passing by and skaters go back to rest and start a new day.
As you can see, Tokyo has its pros and cons when it comes to skating, but doesn’t everything else? Nothing is ever black or white, there is always gray!