Karuizawa offers many places where you can enjoy winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Lately, curling, known as “chess on ice,” is getting popular. Curling may already be a popular sport among western countries, while Japan’s national curling team’s active part in the Winter Olympics held in Pyeong Chang in 2018, has made very trendy in Karuizawa now.
Perhaps you might wonder why curling is popular in Karuizawa. The reason why is that Nagano Prefecture is said to be the birthplace of Japanese curling. In addition, Karuizawa became a venue for curling at the Winter Olympic Games held in 1998, which made Karuizawa become recognized as a famous venue for this sport since then. “Karuizawa Ice Park” used as the Olympic venue is located in the Kazakoshi area, where you can experience curling. Karuizawa is a resort area that many tourists from home and abroad gather, but recently it is also becoming a famous place for those who want to try curling. Here we can also see the area becoming crowded with international tourists every day.
Before trying curling, let us explain the basic rules for anyone who doesn’t know. Curling was created in Scotland. Each team with four members takes turns sliding the stone across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game usually consists of eight or ten ends. Curling doesn’t have a judge, so it needs fair sportsmanship under self judgment which makes it fun for everyone.
For your first experience, you will first of all learn the basic rules such as how to walk on ice in curling shoes, how to fall down, how to throw stones and how to use the brushes. It looks easy at a first glance, but you might not be able to do everything well at first. Once you get used to doing it, you can play a game with other team members. It’s very exciting to team up with people you just met.
The Curling Experience Program is held almost every day. They have 2 options: a 60 minute course and a 90 minute course with shoes rental available. Anyone who is over 5 years old can participate in the experience program (children under 10 years old must be accompanied by an adult). The ice rink is indoors but it will be a little cold, around 5 to 7 degrees Celsius. We recommend you keep yourself warm such as by wearing long sleeves and long trousers. Since it is a popular experience program, you should book it in advance. Please come along and try curling at Karuizawa!