Finding a gym in Japan can be a daunting task as a foreign resident, let alone those who are here short-term. Fortunately, there are options, even for those staying short-term who don’t meet the requirements for a gym contract. Our Ultimate Guide to Gyms in Japan will take you through options for everyone – ranging from budget, no-commital use, to mid-range contracts, to the most expensive personal gyms.
Municipal Centers – Best for Budget
Municipal sports centers can be found in every ward or municipality and are your best bet for a no-commitment, budget gym option. City-run gyms do not operate on a membership system, but a pay-per-use ticket system so you can go anytime.
However, municipal gyms can sometimes get a bit crowded because of their reasonable rates and convenience. Some also lack mod cons like air conditioning so if that is important to you, you should check in advance. Try one of our favorite municipal gyms, or check your ward’s website for details about your local center.
Our Favorite Municipal Gyms in Tokyo
This excellent facility is one of the best in Tokyo. You’ll find a pool, futsal and basketball courts, table tennis, a running course, a training gym, and martial arts rooms. Day passes for Minato Sports Center are a little more expensive than most at ¥1000/day. However, if you are lucky enough to be a Minato resident, it is slightly cheaper at ¥800/day.
The Toshima City Sports Center is huge, with a training room, studios, and even 2 martial arts rooms. Day passes are pretty reasonable at ¥400, and you can even get a 50-minute personal training session for ¥4,400. The pool on the 11th floor boasts four 25m lanes and has a great view of the city.
Shinjuku Sports Center offers a variety of facilities including training rooms, a pool, and more. A 4-hour training ticket will run you ¥400. If you feel like a swim, the pool fee is an additional ¥400 for two hours. There are also multipurpose courts and an outdoor running track.
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium was built in 1954 to host international sporting competitions and even hosted some of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic events. Metro is a great facility, but it can get a bit crowded. The maximum capacity for the training room is 110 people, so if it is full you will be issued a ticket and you will need to wait. A 2.5-hour mixed-use (pool and training room) pass is ¥600, but you can get an all-day pass for ¥2,500. Metro also offers flat monthly fees depending on your situation, so you can consult them about registration.
Nupp1 Pay-As-You-Go Fitness App
Nupp1 is a great option if you can speak Japanese, or have time to translate the app.
Nupp1 is a pay-as-you-go gym app that you can download from Google Play or App Store. This app allows you to pay by the minute at partner gyms. These include NAS sports centers, some Joyfit 24 locations, bouldering centers, and more. The app has over 80 partner locations in Tokyo, so there are options. Planning ahead is essential because initial registration and ID confirmation can take up to 2 business days. After that, you’ll be able to sign up for single-use sessions using your credit card. No Japanese bank account is required, but the app does not provide English support so it might take a bit of work to toggle between Nupp1 and Google Translate if you need to.
Longer-term residents or those here for more than a month can use their monthly pass. With the monthly pass, you pay one flat fee to use a single location for up to an hour per day for 31 days. There is no commitment, so you can cancel anytime.
You can download the app here.
Best for Medium Budget or Longer Terms
Municipal gyms are great, but can sometimes be troublesome to use and crowded. For people who are living in Japan, or who have a higher day pass budget, I recommend using one of the larger franchise gyms. They’re quite easy to find and convenient to use but you’ll need a Japanese bank account for a long-term membership. Alternatively, you can use a day pass but this can get a bit pricey depending on where you go. Some of these gyms also have headquarters overseas, so if you are a member in your home country you might be able to use the same gym here at no extra cost.
Logos of various mid-range gym options in Japan
Anytime Fitness is a global chain of 24-hour fitness gyms that has more than 600 locations across Japan. These franchises offer standard gym equipment like weight training and cardio machines and depending on the location, some even offer extra little perks. For example, the Anytime Fitness Kiyose branch offers 30-minute boxing lessons for ¥500 because the manager used to be a pro boxer. I have heard that some people run into trouble with tattoos at Anytime, but this should be fine as long as you keep them covered. This might also depend on the location and franchise rules.
Regular membership fees are pretty reasonable for Japan, at around ¥7,500/month (Japanese bank account required) or you can get a day pass for around ¥2000, again depending on the branch. Good news is that if you are a member of Anytime in your home country, and have been a member for at least one month, you can use any location in Japan for free. You can even use the same key fob to enter but is a good idea to inform your home Anytime branch of your travels, just in case.
Joyfit 24 is another 24-hour fitness chain with over 230 locations in Japan. Services include 24-hour access, women’s only areas, and yoga or EMS training depending on the location. Each location’s fees and facilities vary, but Joyfit will generally cost you around ¥8,500/month. All tattoos must be covered, and there may be additional regulations such as indoor-only shoes. A day pass at your local Joyfit 24 will run you about ¥2000, depending on location.
One of the cheapest gyms in Japan is FIT365; Joyfit’s much cheaper little sister. At ¥2980/month for membership or ¥1000/day pass, the price is hard to beat. However, there are some sacrifices to be made for this “too cheap to be true” gym membership. According to the rules, a 6-month commitment is required before having the option to quit, and yearly maintenances fees are around ¥5,000. FIT365 also has far fewer locations, so it might not be the best option unless you live near one of their locations.
Looking for something a bit different than lifting weights or running on a treadmill? Then Toikatsu Dojo, also operating as Fight Fit is an excellent place to get an intense workout, have fun, meet people, and practice some Japanese. Toikatsu offers boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, MMA, yoga, and more. Plus, you can join classes from very beginner level to advanced sparring classes. Joining is easy, instructors are friendly (some speak English too) and tattoos are no problem. They have around 40 locations in the Tokyo area, and the classes at each location vary. With the “all you can eat” membership system, you are free to visit any location, any time.
Regular membership is ¥8,800/month but if you refer a friend, you can get a monthly discount of ¥500 per friend. Unfortunately, Toikatsu has no short-term option, and a Japanese bank account is required. If you sign up for a two-year contract then you will get 2 months for free. You can cancel your membership anytime. There is a two-month fee for cancellation within one year and a one-month fee for cancellation after one year but under two years. I have personally been a member here for over 2 years, and I love it!
Although a regular membership at Gold’s Gym can be expensive (around ¥16,500/month) some locations offer cheaper “morning only” packages. Signing a contract is required to go regularly – so for visitors it might be best to grab a day pass at ¥3,150 for 5 hours. If you are already a Gold’s Gym member in your home country, consider using their Travel Pass option. Travel Pass allows Gold’s Gym members to use a branch in another country for 14 days, perfect for those vacationing in Japan.
If you are serious about your fitness and willing to invest a lot of money, then your best bet is a personal gym. Not only will you get a plan that is tailored to you, but you will also get to work one on one with a professional trainer who can guide you through the correct posture and form during exercise. Personally, I find just doing the exercise correctly makes a massive difference to your results. Some personal gyms also offer diet advice and full food control in their packages, which is great if you lack self-discipline as I do.
BEYOND is a hugely popular chain of personal gyms. I visited the Higashimurayama Akitsu location to find out why. The service here is amazing because the staff and trainers are knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. Before my trial session, I had a fitness consultation. He did a body composition analysis and we discussed my goals. Plans at Beyond range from a “go when you can” coupon system, to strict plans that include nutrition control. In my opinion, the coupon system offers the most value for money because the nutrition plan seems overpriced for what you get. Some locations have English-speaking trainers as well.
A ten-session personal training ticket package will set you back ¥96,800. Perfect for the short-term visitor who wants to invest a little more in their fitness.
Well, there you go! Now you can go out and get those gains in Japan. Think you deserve a treat after your workout? Check out The Best Vegan Bakeries in Tokyo.