Every autumn, the Big Wave Olympic-sized pool at Higashi-ku Sports Center in Ushita is emptied, covered and iced over for winter sports. Here, as well as enjoying doing a few loops of the rink on rented skates, you can do figure-skating, hockey and curling.
You can sign kids up for lessons and workshops which are advertised at the Big Wave (flyer stand) and on the Higashi-ku Sports Center website [ja].
For ice-hockey, you can also bring kids along to one of the ice-hockey practices for them to try it out and see if they are interested. The teams are separated into elementary, junior high, high school, university and they also have adult teams that take part in local and regional leagues.
Hiroshima Big Wave Ice-hockey:
You can see the list of the different ice-hockey teams in Hiroshima on the HIHF website. In reference to the elementary age “Collector’s” ice-hockey team, we went to the Big Wave ice-rink for a day of skating and asked the staff there about the ice-hockey club and then they sent us a practice schedule by e-mail. Our 9 year old has practiced with the elementary age ‘Collectors’ team a couple of times now. They seem very open to anyone who might be interested, there hasn’t been any pressure to join so far and they encourage the kids to try it out for as long as they like. Joining the team is just under ¥50,000 yen for the full season. However, there are only minimal fees when trying it out, the only costs are for the rental skates (300 yen) if you don’t have your own and then you can borrow the pads, helmets and other gear for the practice. There are about 2-3 practices each week, but at least 1 is quite late (9-10pm) at night (difficult when your kids have to be at school the next morning). There is at least one practice per week on a weekend (morning or evening) or weeknight early evening (5-7pm) which makes it more feasible. If you or your kids show an interest in the sport, I would recommend getting in touch with one of the coaches and giving it a try before the rink closes in the end of April. All the coaches and parents we have met so far have been really friendly and helpful.
Ice-skating lessons: At the Big Wave ice-rink, they hold skating lessons once or twice a month (for the normal entry price) for elementary aged kids and older. March 25th (Sunday) is the next scheduled lesson day and limited to 20, so call and sign up soon if you are interested (Hiroshima residents are given priority, non-residents can join if space allows).
Curling: It is also possible to do Curling at the Hiroshima Big Wave. If you are interested in trying out this Olympic sport, you can contact a coach using this form on the Curling Organization of Hiroshima website.
General Ice-rink entrance fees: Big Wave entry for children under elementary school age are free with a paying adult. School-age kids entry is 910, adults 1,520. Skate rental (figure skates or ice-hockey skates available in child and adult sizes) is 300 yen each. Entry fees are slightly cheaper (you get one free entry) if you buy 11 tickets at the same time (9,100 for kids and 15,200 for adults).
Location: Hiroshima Big Wave- Higashi-ku Sports Center (next to the “Ushita Big Wave” Astram stop)
Hours: Ice rink is open from November to April 09:00-21:00 (unless there are special competitions or tournaments) Closed Tuesdays
Address: Hiroshima city, Higashi-ku, 1-8-3 Ushita Shinmachi
Other Chugoku area Ice-rinks:
Hiroshima only has one ice-skating rink, but there are ice-skating rinks in other prefectures not far from Hiroshima: Okayama has two rinks, one in Okayama city and the other is a large, outdoor rink in Tsuyama called “Iceland” (Dec to Feb). Shimane has a small rink in Hamada (curling, figure skating and ice-hockey lessons available) and in Izumo at the Shinji Lake Park which is open October to May. Yamaguchi also has a large rink in Kudamatsu in a complex called “K-park” that also has dining, shopping, hot spring onsens and lodging.