Phillip Nelson

Zorbing at Ikawa X-Park

Cheap thrills worth getting soaked for

Phillip Nelson
Phillip Nelson   - 3 min read

Ever wondered what it would be like to climb inside a giant ball and roll down a hill? Well wonder no more. At Ikawa X-Park you can go zorbing. Here you climb inside a small sphere that is inside a much larger inflated sphere, they zip it closed and push you over the edge of a large hill. It’s that simple.

Meanwhile, you sit inside, waiting to tip over that edge knowing that below you is a big grassy slope with a net at the bottom. Your heart starts to pound.

At this point you start to think ‘what if I go off course, have enough speed to jump out of the pipe, smack into the kiosk and keep going through the car park and …’ which is when the boys shove the ball over the edge and it’s too late for second thoughts.

All you can do now is slip slide all around while the ball races faster and faster down the hill towards the giant net that catches you. There’s nothing to hang onto and no way to stop. You can’t really see where you’re going or when you’re going to hit, and just as you start to think you’re soon to be bouncing down the road-- BAM! -- you run over the inflatables to slow you down and half way up the net, crashing back down to a stop.

Inside your little cocoon filled with water you flail around every which way like a crash test dummy without a seatbelt. There’s no way to get out of the thing gracefully, especially when you’re half dazed, so just slide out the hole into a heap on the ground; Made it.

You can zorb both wet and dry. Dry means they strap you in and you go round and round inside the ball. In the wet version you simply sit in a puddle of water and the ball slides underneath you as you roll. You do get absolutely soaked doing this so take a change of clothes or alternatively you can hire some. There’s also a little skate park there for those with skills on a board or blades, including a quarter pipe, but you need to bring your own as they don't hire out any skate gear.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this and recommend it, but it’s not a full day event in itself. It would be better to do it on the way to or from something else. We were on our way to drive down the Iya Valley when we went, so it slotted in to a very full day of activities. On the whole, it’s a cheap thrill ride and not quite like anything else I’ve ever done--well worth getting soaked for.

Phillip Nelson

Phillip Nelson @phillip.nelson

I’m an Australian on a working holiday and have been here less then six months. I’m living in Awashi about 30k’s west of Tokushima city where my girlfriend is a English teacher. I plan on seeing as much of Japan as possible and soaking up all the culture I can. I’m a keen photographer/videographe...