Gyms for the short-term visitor to Japan – General Information

Japan: A wonderful country known for its hot springs, sushi, hospitality, strange porn fetishes and things generally being on-time and efficient. It’s a great place to live, but it’s not so easy for the short-term visitor to find a decent gym. The three main reasons for this are…

A) Membership-based system
Most of the big franchise gyms such as Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Konami, etc. are membership-based. They like to sign you up for a yearly membership plan which involves a contract and direct debit payments from your bank account. If you are not a resident of Japan with a Japanese bank account, then you could be pushing shit uphill trying to get anything more than a free trial pass for a single visit.

B) The language barrier
Most of the staff in any of the gyms here aren’t going to speak much English. If you are able to explain your situation in Japanese then you have a better chance of arranging something. If you don’t speak Japanese, things are harder.

C) Stupid rules and generally shit free-weight facilities
This mostly applies to the big franchise gyms. With the exception of Gold’s, you will find that they are mostly machine- and cardio-focused with a very small free weights area. The staff and Japanese clientele are also likely to shit bricks if they see a foreigner deadlifting, making loud grunting noises and generally disturbing the 和. You will most likely have to cover up any tattoos that you have as well.

[Click here] for my overview on Japanese gym rules and etiquette.

Below is a list of gyms that can be used by short-term visitors to Japan (i.e. gyms that offer trial memberships, daily / weekly / monthly rates, visitor passes and the like). Some of them are accessible to non-Japanese speakers, others not so much. Some of them have good free weights areas, some are machine-focused. Check out the links for details.

Gyms in the Tokyo area    [click for detailed information]

Gyms in Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, etc.)     [click for detailed information]

Gyms in Okinawa (Naha, Ishigaki, etc.)     [click for detailed information]

Nationwide major chain gyms

  • Gold’s Gym [Review coming soon]      [Best chain gym option for short-term visitors!]
    • Location: Major chain with locations all around Japan. Search for a location near you.
    • Prices for short-term visitors: 2,500~ yen (day) / 6,000~ yen (2 weeks) / 17,000 yen (month) [possibly just in Osaka?]
    • Notes: The price for short-term visitors varies by location, check the link above. For example, the 2-week pass seems to be 7,000 yen in Tokyo vs. 6,000 yen in Osaka. The one-month pass is specifically mentioned on the pages for the Osaka locations, but not anywhere else. You should just be able to show up (bring ID), pay, and use the gym.
    • Gold’s seems the most accessible to non-Japanese speakers (i.e. they have made an effort to provide English translations on the website).
    • Facilities: Gold’s offers the biggest and best free-weights facilities of all the chain gyms.
  • Konami      [Offers one-day passes. An option for short-term visitors if you can’t find anything else]
    • Location: Major chain with locations all around Japan. Search for a location near you.
    • Prices for short-term visitors: Between 1,836 yen and 2,376 yen for a one-day pass depending on the particular facility. You will also have to pay a “membership card fee” of 1,080 yen on your initial visit. 
    • Notes: The website says “no reservation required, just come to the gym”. You’ll just need to bring training gear, towel and your ID.
    • Facilities: Generally has the latest high-tech cardio machines and flashy looking equipment, but doesn’t really cater to the serious lifter. Small free-weights area.
  • Anytime Fitness     [Generally no good for short-term visitors (with some exceptions)]
    • Location: Major chain with locations all around Japan. Search for a location near you.
    • Prices for short-term visitors: Some gyms offer a one-day trial and others don’t. It seems to depend on the location. I found two locations in Osaka which specifically mentioned a trial on their website. It looks like you’d have to go to the gym between 11:00 and 20:00 (the hours it is staffed) to take advantage of the trial. Bring ID.
    • Facilities: Small free-weights area, but you should generally be able to find a squat rack and bench, etc.
  • Tipness     [Generally no good for short-term visitors]
    • Location: Another major chain with locations around Tokyo, the Kansai area and Tokai/Chukyo. Find a location near you.
    • Prices for short-term visitors: It looks like they will allow you to visit the gym for a one-day “trial”. You are encouraged to make a reservation online, but can also just rock up at the gym without a reservation apparently. Cost for a one-day trial is 3,000 yen (1,000 yen if you are introduced by a member) and allows you use of the facility. They will also provide you with rental gear if you need it. You will need to bring ID.
    • Alternatively, the “Tipness Passport 12” allows you to use the gym 12 times for the low, low price of just 30,000 yen (32,400 with taxes)… that seems to be the only option for the short-term visitor as signing up for a membership requires direct deposit from a Japanese bank account.

Have you been to any of these gyms? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought!

Do you know any other gyms in Japan suitable for short-term visitors? Submit a gym review!