One winter weekend’s countryside drive through Tochigi Prefecture brought us, by chance, to Shiroyama Park. My husband had noticed the roadside sign for the park which said “Sky Roller.” “Sky Roller” turns out to be an elevated, curving, 115 meter roller slide. Free fun and fresh air!
I am already planning to visit Shiroyama Park again to ride the slide under cherry blossoms and to see the azaleas in April and May. The Japanese website for the park mentions an Azalea Festival occurring in the park. Ride the slide from home via home movie, and you can see the park is pink with blossoms.
Yes, yes, you can see azaleas and cherry blossoms everywhere in Japan come late April/early May but how often can you ride a roller slide while enjoying such a view? There seem to be street lamps up the hill, so perhaps one can ride the slide at night, under illuminated blossoms.
It’s not all grunt work to reach the top of Shiroyama’s Sky Roller slide, rather it is an agility course of ropes, ladders, logs and steps which makes going up fun too. Mothers with strollers or those who can’t be bothered with an agility course can opt to take an inclined paved slope that zig zags to the top of the slide; the very top of the slide however, requires climbing a ladder up into a wooden fort.
For those not familiar with roller slides, they are noisy, and require something to sit on. We found plenty of empty cardboard boxes around the bottom of the slide. Use one of these to sit on if you didn’t bring a plastic slider (obtainable from Y100 shop), or perhaps a small carpet from your car.
What else to do in this park? You could check out the walking trail that leads to some stone monuments near the top of the mountain. These are apparent from the parking lot. You could enjoy a picnic with a breathtaking vista. There are benches, shelters and tables. For those with kids, besides the slide, there is a merry-go-round and bouncy animals to sit on.
History buffs may be interested to learn that a castle once stood in the area where this park now is. For those who can decipher Chinese characters, the various stone monuments in this park may be of interest. For those who like a treasure hunt, just finding this park, nestled in a quiet rural valley, may be challenge enough.