The Osakan personality, coupled with the city’s tight, crowded spaces creates a unique, creative style of skating that makes a refreshing change from the staircounting so prevalent in California. While “Tokyo = Japan” used to be the way of thinking when it came to Japanese skateboarding, increasingly foreign skate tours are skipping the capital completely and coming to Osaka instead. Here’s the lowdown on the scene.
The whole city is skateable, but a good place to meet other skateboarders is Triangle park in America Mura. Or, drop by the Mint skateshop to ask for advice.
An indoor park near Fukaebashi station with a mini-ramp and small street course.
Osaka-shi, Higashinari-ku, Fukae-kita 1-8-8
A cool outdoor park with blue banks that forms part of a flood defence. (Read: not great a place to skate after heavy rain.)
Osaka-fu, Daito-shi, Fukuno-kita 4-284
Woods skateshop + park
An indoor wooden bowl and miniramp in Ibaraki.
Osaka-fu, Ibaraki-shi, Sawaragi-nishi 4-5-12
Outdoor concrete bowls and street course. Helmet required.
Osaka-fu, Sakai-shi, Naka-ku, Hanadaiji-cho 320-20
Indoor mini-ramp and, interestingly, a trampoline.
Osaka-fu, Toyonaka-shi, Hattori-kotobukicho 4-5-23
Osaka punches well above its weight when it comes to producing internationally recognized skaters. If you asked a skater in, say, America to name a Japanese skater, they would probably name one of these three guys who call Osaka home.
41 years old, sponsored by Heroin Skateboards
An Osaka-born rider for British skate company Heroin skateboards. He’s also part of the Osaka Daggers—the skate crew inhabiting Triangle Park who are as far separated from conventional skateboarding as it’s possible to be.
Chopper says: “The saying ‘A good salesman can sell shaved ice even at the south pole’ motivates me to think of creative ways to skate any spot.”
36 years old, sponsored by Heroin Skateboards
Originally from Okinawa, Gou tries to showcase skateboarding as an art form, not a sport. He gained international fame when one of his video parts was posted to YouTube, gaining over 1.5 million views.
Gou says: “It’s an art, not a sport: a way of expressing something that I can’t anywhere else…”
30 years old, sponsored by Evisen
Osaka-born Shinpei skates for Evisen skateboards and runs Tightbooth Production (TBPR), who produce skate and music videos. He frequently collaborates with skate videographers from Europe and the US.
Shinpei says: “I want to keep spreading the Osaka skating experience across Japan and the world.”
Bars with mini-ramps
They cram a lot into this small room: a bar, a shop and tiny miniramp. Good fun, especially on rainy evenings in Minami.
Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Nishi-shinsaibashi, 1-8-16 Nakanishi Bldg. 4F
Good sized mini-ramp and bar. Best to try them in that order.
Osaka-shi, Tennoji-ku, Kokubucho 2-5, 3F
Osaka’s only skater-owned shop.
Osaka-shi, Nishi-ku, Kita-horie 1-15-10 2F
A screen print clothing shop above Triangle park, run by Chopper.
Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Nishi-shinsaibashi 2-18-6 808
Find out more
Check out the Osaka Daggers feature on US skate site the Berrics theberrics.com/gen-ops/at-triangle-park.html
Video blog from Osaka skate filmer Muraccho soundboarding.net
Shinpei Ueno’s crew and production company tightbooth.com