Making an abandoned school into a mecca in Sanin region Though I was alright with skydiving and bungee jumping, I got cold feet with BMX.

  • Work out
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  • Tried
  • Hot spot for athletes
  • With the family
  • With the kids
  • Sweets
  • Nature
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Tottori Pref.
Making an abandoned school into a mecca in Sanin region
Though I was alright with skydiving and bungee jumping, I got cold feet with BMX.

“BMX PARK”, here I come.

It seems like BMX is still not a very popular sport, but it is a Tokyo Olympic sport and there seems to be more media coverage. A new indoor practice field just opened in Tottori Prefecture (Okawara in Hinogunkofucho). I got this information, then I visited the place for two days in late November for coverage as well as to experience BMX. Here, I am going to write my experience.
First day. On the way to the place, while I was driving in the mountain, I didn’t see any car ahead or behind me, I didn’t come across any oncoming car, either, that I had a unique feeling that time has stopped and I was the only person moving. (Well, the mountain road had a lot of ups and downs, so I took a different route on the next day.) Through this mountain road, I arrived at the destination, “BMX PARK”.
<font size='2' color='blue'>BMX PARK. Utilized an abandoned school.</font>
BMX PARK. Utilized an abandoned school.
Since the exterior of the building was untouched, it did look like an abandoned school. But there was a proper BMX practice field inside. However, it was my first time to see a BMX practice field, so I didn’t know what it was like as a practice field at that time. Well, the place originally might have been a gymnasium of a satellite campus of a primary school, and I had an impression that the place was rather small. (My impression changed after I stayed there for two days.)

Leader, Mr. Yuta TOMINAGA

There were already people inside, some were riding BMX, some were chatting, and they all looked relaxed. But I was feeling like I was an outsider and couldn’t to talk to anyone. I went outside and wandered around but “BMX PARK” was the only building around here, there was nothing else but vegetable field and nature. I could have enjoyed view of “Daisen”, the highest mountain in Chugoku region, from where I was, but its summit was hidden by the cloud.
There was no choice but make up my mind and go back inside. In first place, I greeted Mr. Endo from Kofucho Tourism Association, whom I had already talked about coverage. After that, I was introduced to the leader of those who launched “BMX PARK”, Mr. Yuta TOMINAGA, who is an ex-pro rider of BMX free style. I told him about coverage and also, I was going to try BMX, then I interviewed him.

It was four years ago when Mr. Tominaga moved to Kofucho in 2016. Three years ago, they started talking about launching this “BMX PARK”. With support from local people who are interested and local tourism association, the placed opened this year. I was surprised when Mr. Endo told me later on that Mr. Tominaga and one of his friends made this place in just half a year! I didn’t imagine they made it by themselves…
Mr. Tominaga is already retired from competition, from now on, he wants to hold competition here at “BMX PARK”, about twice a year.
When I visited the place this time, they were preparing for the opening memorial competition which was going to be held on the following day, and there were audio equipment for playing music and other equipment for shooting video for YouTube.
<font size='2' color='blue'>Shooting video for YouTube</font>
Shooting video for YouTube
<font size='2' color='blue'>Back side of the facility</font>
Back side of the facility

Now, I’m going to try BMX for the first time in my life.

First day. Since there were people riding BMX to prepare for the competition held on the following day, there was no chance for me, a beginner, to try it. So, I took pictures and movies, I was just looking at people riding BMX. What I noticed while looking at them was that everyone has moves which they like or they are good at. Someone was jumping up and turned handle and the body of the bike, someone was putting on the brake, another one was sliding the bike with its body hung on the edge, there were people trying various techniques. I imagined they must have been practicing so much to become this good. I was starting to think that there will be little I, a beginner, can do as a trial, it is going to be pretty hard. Unfortunately, I had something to do on the day of the opening memorial competition and couldn’t go, so I returned to “BMX PARK” on the following day of the competition to try BMX.

Second day. Since my second day was going to be a day after the competition, I had been told that there would be fewer people to come, however, when I actually arrived there, there were as many people as the first day. I thought there were more kids than the first day. Though the main purpose of this day was to try BMX, there was nothing like trial lesson, so all I could do was to borrow a bike from others. I waited for the right timing to talk to and asked someone if I could use his bike and take a movie, he said “Sure”, so I borrowed his.
And now, starting. Please have a look at the movie.

I couldn’t do anything on my first try. Beginners, let’s start from the ground!

As you can see, in first place, it’s impossible to go down from the edge, the highest part in the park. Though I got used to seeing others going down from here, I didn’t realise it was this scary until this moment…All I could imagine was that pedal hits the edge, the bike rolls over, and I get slammed on the ground. Since I had a tennis match on the following day, I couldn’t go too far, so I decided to go down holding the bike and start from the ground.

Even small kids were going down easily, so I wasn’t really paying attention to it, I didn’t imagine I won’t even be able to go down and get stuck from the beginning! I was able to jump off without being scared when I tried skydiving and bungee jumping before, but I got cold feet with this. What a shame!
Even if I couldn’t go down from the top, I would manage to do it if I started on the ground, I expected. However, I nearly fell at a ramp when I was going down. I thought I could do it, though. It was different from riding an ordinary bicycle downhill, I couldn’t do well somehow. I thought I would be able to do better if I tried more, but since there were many people practicing, a beginner like me may get in the way, so I decided to stop here.

After trying BMX for the first time

What I thought after trying was the sport was more difficult than I thought while looking at bike riders who were doing good. Of course, I didn’t think I could manage that easily. Since I expected I could do a bit better, I keenly felt it was very difficult. I suppose when you learnt those difficult things, difficulty changes to fun, and you start enjoying it. However, it was quite tough to try after turning 40. Mr. Tominaga started at around 12 years old, so I think if you want to try, the earlier is better, definitely.
At the beginning of this article, I wrote that I had an impression that the place was rather small, but after I tried it, I’d say, it isn’t small at all. I, a beginner, even couldn’t get to the level to make good use of the facility. From this point of view, I think this is a great place as an indoor BMX park.

If you are going all the way to BMX PARK, you should visit this place, too!

So, my story about BMX is over now, and I’d like to introduce you to a place which I recommend going if you’ve come all the way to the foot of “Daisen”. It is, “Milk no Sato (Home of Milk)”. It's a 20-minute drive from “BMX PARK”.
Here, you can find local products such as milk, dairy products, ham, sausages, sweets, etc. You can also enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
And the thing I want you to try here is whipped ice cream, which is specially made by “Home of Milk” using generous amount of locally produced milk. It’s delicious, you can tell it’s different from others. There were people relaxing and enjoying view of beautiful “Daisen” with whipped ice cream in hand, it was like most people who came to “Home of Milk” were eating it. I spent really good time enjoying nature like this, I was so relaxed.
It was good that I could see “Daisen” including its summit clearly this time.
Yes, I had some tough moments, but I had a really good experience through BMX in these two days.
Address: 510 Okawara, Hinogunkofucho, Tottori Prefecture, 689-4433
■Oyama Makiba, Milk no Sato (Home of Milk)

The sports and disciplines
of the World Masters
Games 2021 Kansai
held in the neighbourhood.

Introducing the poster


Office worker, amateur tennis player (playing for 5 years and a half)
I love both watching and playing sports. I was into baseball when I was at school, and I’m into tennis now.
My favourite professional tennis player is Roger Federer. (I like Kei NISHIKORI, too, of course)
I’ll be participating in tennis at the World Masters Games, and I want to win in the category of ages 40 and older!