Rock Climbing and Bouldering
Kumamoto’s bouldering and climbing scene is generally small, physically as well as population-wise. If you’re used to sports climbing or top-roping in the gym, know that in general in Japan that is much rarer and climbers tend to boulder indoors. In cities like Fukuoka, Osaka, and Tokyo, that may be different!
A brief introduction – climbing in Japan is generally most accessible through bouldering gyms. These tend to have climbing time in 1 hour, 2 hour, and full-day blocks and range from 500-2500yen per visit depending on the length of time one chooses as well as their membership system. Shoes and chalk can almost always be rented. There is accessible outdoor climbing in rural Kumamoto, as well as across Kyushu as mentioned in the linked pages above. If interested, a great way to get involved in the local climbing scene is to join a gym and find like-minded people.
In Kumamoto City, there are several bouldering gyms and systems around the city. See a list below (bold means they’ve been visited by local JETs):
- Gamma Wall – Kamitori (closed or reduced hours) and Higashi-ku
- Parabellum – Minami-ku
- The Ranch – Minami-ku
- Jackarope Climbing – Minami-ku
Other areas of Kumamoto:
You can buy gear, shoes, and other climbing paraphernalia at The Ranch as well as Gamma Wall. Parabellum sells assorted miscellaneous items like chalk and tape. Outdoor chains like mont•bell and secondhand stores like 2nd Street are great options for gear and clothes as well, though secondhand shops often require a nice dose of luck!
If people have any other gyms they regularly go to or questions about climbing in general, feel free to contact us!
Kickboxing/Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Kumamoto has a small but active fight scene. With the popularity of the UFC growing, so to are the mixed martial arts gyms around the city. There are usually around 5-10 fighting events held each year in Kumamoto alone. The majority for Kyushu are held in Fukuoka. If you are keen to try them out, there are many that can offer diet classes, fitness classes and beginner to pro level courses. It’s recommended that if you want to get the most out of your gym and instructor you should aim towards the beginner to pro courses and fighting in the ring at some stage. Amateur class allows you headgear, shin guards and bigger sized gloves than the pro classes. Even if that’s not your personal goal, it would mean that you are not pushed into the corner during the training sessions. One more tip would be to grab a friend and head down to partake in one of the free sessions before deciding to join.
Depending on where you live in Kumamoto, there should be a gym close by. Even if there are no gyms, you will find some groups meet at a local school gym to train. Ask your teachers and they should know someone to point in you in the right direction.
Kumamoto has a small and passionate rugby scene. Games are played from September until February. Unfortunately with the decline in playing numbers, the amount of games have been reduced. Some schools have a rugby team and most universities have one.
Depending on your playing ability, there are three leagues to choose from.
The first is a top league team called ‘Sundays’ that plays other teams from around Kyushu for a chance to see who progresses to the All Japan Tournament. If you were to join this team, you should expect to travel to Okinawa depending on their game schedule.
The second is the Kumamoto League and is played amongst four teams. If you are an ALT you can play for the ‘Teachers’ team. The skill level is not very high, but very fast.
The third is the Challenge League and consists of five teams. This would be perfect if you have always been interested in playing rugby, but were unsure of your ability or size.
Games are 30 minutes a half and played at KK Wing or Yatsushiro, depending on the schedule. There is a 7’s tournament at the end of March and various teams enter different mini competitions around Kyushu.
For more, visit http://www.kumamoto-rugby.jp!