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800-meter pool to be built in Japanese canal


May 24, 2013

Artist's impression of the Osaka canal swimming pool (Image: City of Osaka)

Artist's impression of the Osaka canal swimming pool (Image: City of Osaka)

Plans are afoot to build an 800-m swimming pool in the Dotonbori Canal in Osaka, Japan, according to a report in the Japan Times on Wednesday. If it opens as planned in mid-2015, it will reportedly become the world's largest outdoor swimming pool (though almost certainly incorrectly – see the update below).

The scheme is reminiscent of YN Studio's plan to introduce a commuter swimming lane, dubbed the LidoLine, into London's Regent's Canal. The idea is to drop a 12 m (40 ft) wide tank into the canal, and fill it with treated water from the city's water systems rather than using filtered water from the canal.

According to The Times, the scheme, which has been circulating for years, is said to be the idea of Taichi Sakaiya, former head of the Economic Planning Agency. The pool would be a further boost to ongoing efforts to gentrify the Dotonobri district, which Times writer Eric Johnston says has undergone renovation in the last 10 years, with family-friendly businesses supplanting "more risque establishments."

A private firm, Dotonbori River Poolside Avenue was formed in April to realize the project, which is projected to cost ¥3 billion (about US$490 million). Apparently no public funding is to be allocated.

Update: Readers are quite rightly questioning the claim that this is the world's largest pool. The 800 x 12 m dimensions gives an area of just under 1 ha, meaning the pool is dwarfed in area by, and also shorter in length than, the 8-ha pool at the San Alfonso Del Mar resort. This article and its headlines has been updated to reflect this.

Source: Japan Times via Wired UK

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

San Alfonso del Mar is a private resort in Algarrobo, Chile, about 100 km (62 mi) west of the capital Santiago.[1] The resort is recognised as having the world's largest swimming pool.[1][2] The pool is 1 km (0.62 mi) long, covering 8 ha (20 acres), containing some 250,000,000 litres (55,000,000 imp gal; 66,000,000 US gal) of seawater, with a maximum depth of 35 m (115 ft).[2][3][4] It uses water pumped, filtered, and treated from the Pacific Ocean.


Robert Walther

At 800x12 meters that project would be pretty far from being the worlds biggest outdoor pool. Actually, with a mere 9,600 square-meters it would be pretty small.

AFAIK the largest outdoor pool today is part of "San Alfonso del Mar" in Chile, with 80,000 square-meters and a length of 1,013 meters. The public pool in my hometown (Fürstenfeld, Austria) is deemed to be the largest one in Europe, with 23,000 square-meters.

Wolfgang Kühn

Why not let in seawater instead of using harsh chemicals, pumps and energy to maintain a freshwater pool? Seawater heals and requires no energy to maintain. Just don't do it near Fukushima.


I can imagine the problems they would have with pedestrians dropping trash and stuff into the pool.

Roma Khudoleyev
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