When the only thing to save your buttocks from catching fire is a piece of cardboard.

In Japan, kids’ parks look somewhat similar to those overseas, with fun equipment like swings, slides and seesaws. Not all parks are made the same, though, as some in Japan are home to a more unique feature known as the roller slide.

As the name suggests, a roller slide is all about sliding, but rather than using gravity and a steep gradient to create the sliding motion, this contraption uses a series of metal rollers. These rollers help to create forward movement when a person slides on them, allowing the rider to slide for a longer time on a less-steep descent.

One of the country’s best roller slides can be found at Sengenyama Miharashi no Oka Park in Tokyo’s neighbouring Saitama Prefecture. It’s also the longest roller slide in the prefecture, with a total length of 203 metres (666 feet).

▼ The park is just 10 minutes by car from the Ogawamachi Eki no Machi roadside station, where you can find nods to paper-making, a 1,300-year-old craft of the region.

The park is free to visit, and on the warm, sunny Sunday when our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma visited, it was crowded with families and young children but still managed to remain calm and tranquil.

Masanuki felt his knees begin to tremble as he approached the entrance to the roller slide and got a glimpse of the structure high up in the rooftops.

As he climbed up the slope, Masanuki saw there was fee for using the slide — 200 yen (US$1.38) for adults and 100 yen for children (elementary and junior high school students), with younger children riding for free.

Once he got to the top, he noticed there was an additional 100-yen fee for a mat and 50 yen for gloves, and though they were optional, staff highly recommend you at least get the mat, as the rolling motion will burn your buttocks otherwise.

Wanting to protect his peachy rear, Masanuki handed over 300 yen, and was surprised to see the mat was made from cardboard and cleverly designed like a bottle opener, to give you something to hold on to in front of you and help keep your balance as you slide along.

Staff handed him a couple of extra squares of thick cardboard, saying, “Please use this mat as well because your butt will heat up“. All this talk of butt-burning made Masanuki want to slide down bare-butt just to see how bad it could really be, but he decided to heed the advice of staff by sitting down on the three-ply cardboard mat.

Once he was seated, the staff member gave him a gentle nudge on his back and Masanuki was off, sailing through the treetops like a carefree bird.

He even managed to film sections of the ride as he went down, with the metal rollers clanging like bells as he slid over them. It didn’t take long for the slide to pick up pace though, and within seconds, Masanuki could already feel the friction beneath his butt, heating his cheeks through the cardboard.

Masanuki was certain his butt would’ve been on fire had he not had the cardboard beneath him. In fact, about halfway through the ride, he wondered if his butt would be able to stand the steadily building heat, as the end goal seemed like an eternity away.

▼ The turns were terrifying, but even more terrifying was the fire beneath his loins.

A ride like this might be over in moments for a child, but for Masanuki, a 75-kilo (165-pound) man in his 40s, the slide seemed to go on forever. The longer he stayed on the slide, the more the fear grew for his butt, until finally, mercifully, the ride came to an end and Masanuki was able to stand up and say sayonara to the slide, with his butt thankfully intact.

▼ “Godspeed, cardboard mat”, Masanuki thought as he left the mat in the returns box to be reused. “I hope you continue to protect the buttocks of many people”.

After completing the roller slide of terror, Masanuki felt invigorated, in much the same way a bungee jumper might after completing a successful jump. So he headed over to the 13-metre (43-foot) high wooden observatory to enjoy the views of the surrounding area

At the end of his day out at the park, Masanuki shared news of his adventure on Instagram, summing it up simply with the comment: “At Saitama’s powerful roller slider, my butt was on fire.”

After living to tell the tale of his journey, Masanuki can’t imagine what it would be like to use this slide without a mat, so he definitely recommends using one if you visit. Raw cheeks is something that no amount of healing onsen waters from the nearby pump will be able to fix, so remember to take care of those rears!

Park information
Sengenyama Miharashi no Oka Park / 仙元山見晴らしの丘公園
Address: Saitama-ken, Hiki-gun, Ogawa-machi, Ogawa 1442

Images © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]