Sports Authority Climbing Walls – Bouldering gyms and climbing walls have been popping up all over Japan in the last year. Within Saitama too. In Kawagoe, the number of bouldering gyms and climbing walls have tripled in the last three years. The one I have found best value for money and most family friendly is the climbing wall in Sports Authority in Unicus Minami Furuya (Kawagoe).
When I am climbing myself I go to Monolith, also in Kawagoe, but when I am with the kids we go to Sports Authority. The main reason for this is because they allow children as young as two years old climb, and their climbing wall for that age is very decent. In Monolith and other bouldering gyms or even free climbing walls such as the one in Kitamoto Children’s Center, children have to be at least four years old to climb.
Children over four are allowed climb on the main walls, or the children’s wall if they prefer. If they are just going to climb on the children’s wall the price is cheaper. As a first timer, they explain everything to you in detail, including how to use the coloured system to climb. However, as a first timer you also need to fill out your details and those of your child’s. You can do it online in advance to save time on the day.
Staff will also show you where the divides are so that you don’t cross over into someone else’s climbing area. When it isn’t busy they are very relaxed and let you climb however you please, but when it is busy you need to respect the rules of only one climber per wall section at a time and no crossing over.
When it is very busy, which is most Saturdays and Sundays, you often can’t climb straight away. They only allow a certain number of people climb at any one given time slot. In that situation, they give you a ticket with a time to come back. If you leave it too late in the afternoon they may not be giving out tickets anymore.
The Sports Authority climbing wall in Minami Furuya is suited to a half hour or hour of climbing for children or as a beginner for adults too. However, for adults, I would recommend Monolith beside the old Toysrus on route 254 Kawagoe, or Rock Craft near Hon-kawagoe station (beside the kendama cafe) if you are serious about climbing or want to challenge yourself more.
The store is located in the Unicus in Minami Furuya, which is an open plan mall that is quite spread out. It is beside the Toys-r-us and Babies-r-us and you are best using that parking area for convenience.
Sports Authority has a good camping and outdoor section. The mall has a small play area for toddlers in the food court area. You can use the food court if you purchase in one of the eateries there or if you buy a bento in the neighbouring Yaoko. There is a Mos Burger further down. Past the mall there is a cinema complex near to Minami Furuya Station.
Sports Authority Climbing Cost
On Friday’s you can boulder for an hour at the price of 30 minutes. 30 minutes cost 500 yen for the regular wall and 300 yen for the kids wall. You have to pay an extra 500 yen the first time you go too for insurance / membership, and fill out your details in Japanese.
The cinema complex of Minami Furuya is relatively close to Minami Furuya station, but Sports Authority is a good walk down. Minami Furuya station is on the JR Kawagoe line.
By car it is off route 16. Parking is free.