What is BMX? 

Have you ever heard of BMX (bicycle motocross)?

BMX is a cycling sport that was created in the US in the 1970’s, that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

In a BMX race, the athletes need to demonstrate superior cycling techniques and balance, in addition to a strategic approach to the other athletes.

BMX is a world-renowned sport that is part of the Olympic Games.

BMX is an international sport which even has a world championship competition held. The sport is generally separated into two categories: freestyle and racing.

In BMX racing, the athletes compete for the fastest time. BMX racing has been an official sport of the Olympic Games since the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

In freestyle BMX, on the other hand, the athletes compete to have the best techniques. Freestyle BMX, which is also well-known as an extreme sport, was going to make its debut as an official sport for the (now postponed) Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

A new type of hands-on tourism in Ofunato: BMX!

An outdoor BMX course has now opened up in Okirai, Sanriku-cho, Ofunato City, located on the grounds of a closed elementary school.

This BMX course, which is officially recognized by the Japan BMX Federation, fulfils the requirements for international BMX races, and it’s also the first national course to be built in the Tohoku-Hokkaido area.

The course has a total length of 350 meters, and is compromised of three curves, along with 19 slopes (called sections). The starting point is at a height of 5.5 meters, and boasts a view of the Okirai Bay. Currently, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the course is only opened to those who live in the Tohoku Region. Once the spread of COVID-19 has calmed down, we hope that this course can be used by many visitors from outside of Tohoku as well.

The BMX stadium, with a view of Okirai Bay

Using the grounds of a closed elementary school to revitalize the region

In Japan, population in rural areas is inevitably decreasing, along with more people gathering around Tokyo. Ofunato City also struggles with a decreasing population, and the city’s population has further decreased following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. In light of the declining birthrate, the school that once stood at the BMX stadium had to close due to the lack of children. As such, the grounds and buildings of the closed elementary school was repurposed to be used as a BMX course.

This project was brought to life by the city government, local affiliates, and partnering businesses, in order to re-vitalize an area which has been losing activity in light of the decreasing population.

Children playing in the stadium

Ofunato City’s new activity zone

Due to the BMX stadium’s close proximity to the sea, athletes can also enjoy scuba diving and fishing during their visit. Currently, the building of the closed elementary school is being reconstructed so that it can be used as accommodation for people who come to use the BMX stadium. The gymnasium inside the building is also being reconstructed so that it can be used for skateboarding and inline skates, which will make the facility a place to enjoy other sports in addition to BMX. The area is full of things to do, which can be enjoyed while staying in the area over a span of several days. We sincerely look forward to the day everyone can come to Ofunato City and enjoy these activities.







大船渡市の新たな体験観光 BMX!