1/07/09 • Japan
In January 2006 Bowlingdigital reported that the Castaways Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., formerly known as ‘The Showboat’, was flattened. When the building was demolished on January 11, 2006, the history of the biggest bowling center in the United States with 106 lanes came to an end. Click here to read Frenchy Letourneau’s report.
The Showboat was often called the biggest bowling center in the world but this wasn’t true.
During the bowling boom in Japan between 1960 and 1972, more than 120,000 bowling lanes were installed and some of them were two-times or even more than four times bigger than the Showboat.
The biggest bowling center at this time was the Tokyo World Lanes Bowling Center, which consisted of several bowling centers in one building with a total of 512 lanes in its heyday. When the boom ended and the owner changed, just a 28-laner, Toyo Bowl Ikegami, survived. As the center has closed in the meantime nothing’s left from the Tokyo World Lanes Bowling Center.
Today Nagoya Grand Bowl is the next biggest bowling center in Japan in regard to the total number of lanes. According to Masahiko Kosugi from the Japan Bowling Congress, the 156-laner still exists with 52 lanes each on three floors.
In the good old days, Nagoya Grand Bowl had even 260 lanes spread over two buildings.
However, the biggest bowling center on one floor is Inazawa Grand Bowl. The impressive center has 116 Brunswick lanes on 200 meters width without any pillars.
Inazawa Grand Bowl has only half of the size of its heyday as the ground floor, which had another 116 lanes, was converted into a supermarket.
126-laner Aoki Bowl in Hokkaido has closed the doors.