02 Oct 2020
Central to the legacy of Sapporo 1972 is Makomanai Park, built on the site of a former golf course that closed in 1965.
Makomanai Park contained two key venues – the Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink and the Makomanai Speed Skating Rink (outdoor). The site was always intended to be a place of recreation and leisure for the citizens of Sapporo post-Games, and it was opened to the public in 1975. Financed by the Hokkaido local government, the park boasted a 10km circular walk, which soon became popular with runners in the summer months and cross-country skiers during winter.
The park contains 50,000 trees, and its famous dogtooth violets bloom every May. It remains home to the Olympic cauldron and the Sapporo Salmon Museum, which celebrates the return of the fish to the region in the late 1970s and raises awareness about local ecology.
A public gym, a restaurant and shops have been added to the park since its opening. It hosts concerts during the summer months, as well as the Hokkaido Makomanai Music Fireworks Festival.
The Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink (now officially known as the Makomanai Sekisui Heim Ice Arena) remains the park’s centrepiece. It was the largest of the indoor facilities built for the 1972 Games. The arena hosted figure skating, ice hockey and the Closing Ceremony, and has remained a thriving rink, popular with the local community and visitors alike.
As well as skating, the arena can be used for other sports, including karate, handball, tennis, badminton, basketball and volleyball, and is a popular conference and concert venue, with Japanese boy bands particularly prominent. The arena has 6,020 permanent seats but can expand to a capacity of 10,770.
The 50,000-capacity Makomanai Speed Skating Rink hosted speed skating and the Opening Ceremony at Sapporo 1972. The stadium was dug deep so that the lower part of the stands was situated below ground level, allowing it to blend in with the park’s natural landscape.
Since the Games, the stadium has remained in constant use – for skating in winter, for athletics (it has a standard 440m track), tennis and futsal during the summer, and year-round with its circuit training room. It is also a hub for education, with folk dancing, rhythmic gymnastics, physical education for infants, and parent-child physical education classes put on at the venue.