Everyone wants a pie of the Olympics in 2020 and the neighboring prefectures of Tokyo are announcing development plans one after the other. A few months back Kanagawa Prefecture proposed the Enoshima-Shonan base for the surfing event at the Olympics. Chiba, another hot spot for surfing activity threw its hat in the ring and Chiba Governor Morita positioned the Kujukuri beach as a counter proposal.
Not to be outdone, yesterday, Shizuoka Prefecture, Makinohara City has announced plans to develop a giant Wave Pool in the city and has already begun activities to select the location for the pool and positioning itself as a formidable challenge to Chiba and Kanagawa’s aspirations to host the surfing event in 2020. A 300 meter long and 100 meter wide the pool will rival the size of Miyazaki Prefecture Ocean Dome, a Wave Pool which was closed in the first decade of 2000 primarily due to unsustainable costs. Tokyo 2020 has always been about “Sustainable Olympics”, but has always seen cost overruns.
Shizuoka Prefecture, not that close to Tokyo, it is doubtful how sustainable this will be in the long run too. On an optimistic note, the city of Makinohara is a famous surfing destination so this new installation can be best for days when people want to surf but no natural ocean waves and curious tourists who are coming to Japan lately in large numbers…See the video of the Ocean Dome of Miyazaki, when it was in operation.
The Shizuoka plan is to create a wave pool of the exact same dimensions of the Ocean Wave of Miyazaki and will be interesting to watch who finally gets selected for hosting the surfing event of 2020.
Unrelated to Olympics, there is also one more artificial Wave Pool coming up in Kobe, a city down south in Japan called Kobe-Reyes. It is around 1/3rd of what Shizuoka is planning to build. A design image is here. The wave pool is set to open next month of April 2016.Afraid to venture out into the sea as a beginner, I think these wave pools are worth a try… hoping to.. If the Miyazaki Ocean Dome is any indication a sustainable business is possible at 1.2 million visitors a year. Hmmm…