Are you ready for an outdoor adventure unique to Japan? Field athletics, a type of adventure playground, can be found in many places in the greater Tokyo area and all over Japan. These courses are carefully designed to challenge your agility, balance, strength and ingenuity. They are also carefully designed with safety in mind. Shimizu Park in Noda City is home to one of the biggest field athletics courses easily accessible from Tokyo.
When you check in at reception, you are given a wristband and a score card. Your mission is to complete one or all three of the increasingly challenging series of “points”, obstacles that require you to climb, balance, slide, swing, and totter. The easiest course which is suitable for beginners and younger children has 40 different tasks. The challenge course also has 40 tasks, with a greater degree of difficulty. You’ll have to clamber over logs, balance on beams, and hoist yourself up nets.
The most fun part to do, and for visitors to watch, is the 40 point water course. There are wobbly bridges of pontoons, a zip line over the pond, and various rope and ring contraptions to negotiate. It might take more than one try to swing over the pond. Falling in is part of the experience.
To prepare for you and your budding Wonder Woman or Spider Man for adventure, pack changes of clothes and a bag to bring home your wet stuff. The park staff advises visitors to wear clothes that allow freedom of movement. And ones you don’t mind getting dirty. For safety, sneakers are the only allowed footwear on the course.
The park has prepared amenities for all contingencies. There are showers, sheltered picnic areas, and even a concession where you can pick up a pair of socks or shorts if need them.
You and your fellow adventurers will likely get hungry. There is a canteen that serves curry rice and snacks, and a restaurant, Azalea, which serves light meals is just near the gate to the park.
You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.