Indoor ski slope shows it doesn’t need snow to be awesome.

Japan has some great skiing spots, but as you can probably guess, those tall, snowy mountains tend to be pretty far from the big cities where most of the country’s people live. But for urbanites looking to get in some quick skiing, Japan also has indoor ski slopes, such as the Sayama Ski Slope, which is just 40 minutes from downtown Tokyo in the city of Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture.

Just because it’s indoors doesn’t mean it has snow all year round, though, and the Sayama Ski Slope is only open for skiing in the winter. And yet, our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma made his way to the facility this week to zoom down the slope, which is currently serving as the venue for an amazingly long water slide!

Getting to the Sayama Ski Slope is a snap. From Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station, it’s a simple 40-minute ride on the Seibu line to Seibukyujo-mae Station and then a three-minute walk once you get off the train. Baseball fans will recognize this as the same station for the MetLife Dome, and the Sayama Ski Slope is right next to the stadium.

Once inside, you can’t miss the water slides. There are two shorter slides, the Kids Slide and Family Slide, but the one Masanuki was here for was the Long Slide, which runs the entire length of the slope from top to bottom, making it 220 meters (722 feet) long.

So how do you get up to the top? By an escalator, the entrance to which is marked by the mascot characters of the local Seibu Lions professional baseball team.

Since there’s no pool to splash into at the end, you can ride the Long Slide in your street clothes. Be aware that there’s water flowing down the course, though, like a jumbo-sized Slip ‘N Slide, so your clothes are likely to get wet. You probably won’t be completely drenched, though, since you go down the slide while riding an inflatable raft or inner tube.

Up at the top, an attendant guided Masanuki into a raft. Once he was in position, he looked way down the slope, took a deep breath, and…

…he was off!

With the wind rushing in his ears, Masanuki was shocked at how quickly he picked up speed.

With no brakes or other method to slow his raft down, he was at the mercy of the raft’s velocity.

But he quicky got over his initial fear, and the sensation of the wind on his face put a smile there too from the fun and excitement.

▼ In retrospect, he didn’t really need the goggles, but this did give him an opportunity to look cool when taking them off.

The Long Slide is part of Sayama Ski Slope’s Water Festival, a summertime event. Admission is 1,200 yen (US$10.90) for adults and 1,000 yen for kids, with the Long Slide welcoming guests over 120 centimeters (47 inches) tall and under 150 kilograms (330 pounds). Some of the other activities, like the bubble zone, are for kids only…

…whereas the refreshment stand’s selection of beers, of course, is just for grown-ups.

The Water Festival runs until September 12, and if you’re looking for other things to do in Tokorozawa, the town also has Japan’s coolest collection of anime manhole covers, plus the real-world “Totoro’s Forest.”

Note: Photography/filming is normally not permitted while going down the Long Slide.
Related: Sayama Ski Slope

Photos © SoraNews24
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