Guide to Going to the Gym in Japan

Finding a gym in Japan and having a consistent workout routine is one of the quickest ways to feel at home in a new city. Are you living in Tokyo long-term and looking for a place to exercise? Here’s a quick guide that outlines some popular gyms, how to sign up and cancel, as well as some helpful phrases in Japanese to use along the way. 

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Gym Etiquette in Japan

Gym etiquette in Japan will likely be about the same as what you have at home, with a few exceptions. Here are a few Japan-specific concerns and rules to keep in mind. 

  • If you have large, visible, tattoos, you may be asked to either cover them up while in the facility or restrict membership altogether. So if you’re tatted, make sure to check their policies ahead of time. 
  • Many gyms require separate indoor shoes to use in the facilities. Also, always make sure you take your shoes off in the locker room.
  • There are no-photography rules in place at many gyms, so please refrain from filming or photographing yourself. 
  • Food, including energy bars, is not allowed on the gym floor.
  • Clean all of your equipment when you are done using it, and do not spend too long at any machine. 

Public and Private Gyms in Japan

Generally, there are two different kinds of gyms in Japan: private and public.

1. Public Gyms 

In Tokyo, most wards have several public sports centers that you can use for an hourly fee. These have the basic training rooms, equipment, and amenities a private gym might have, but they are not 24 hours and might not include more luxurious amenities, such as showers. Their equipment is also usually not as nice as that in private gyms, and they often don’t provide English assistance. If you’re more budget-conscious or don’t want to commit to a membership, a public gym is a way to go. 

So how do you find the closest public gym to you? These facilities go by several different names, so you can try searching for any of the following.  

  • “sports centers” (or スポーツセンター, supoutsu senta)
  • “gymnasiums,” (体育館, taiikukan) 
  • “sports plazas,” (スポーツプラザ, supoutsu puraza) 
  • “health centers” (健康センター, kenkou sentā)  

Private Gyms

These tend to have more expensive membership fees than what you’ll find in other countries. However, they do have a wide range of amenities, services, and a bit more high-quality equipment than a public gym. They are also generally open 24 hours, and many offer English-language services or discounts for new members. If you have a gym you frequent back home, you may even be able to find a branch of the franchise here in Japan.    

How Much Does Gym Membership Cost in Japan?

As mentioned, private gyms in Japan are pretty expensive. They cost more than you’d find in many western countries. Monthly fees are usually anywhere between ¥7,500 and ¥20,000 per month, depending on the gym. Typically, expect to pay around ¥8,000. 

Many private gyms have discounts or campaigns for new members, offering the first 1-3 months of use for free. Keep an eye out for any advertisements on your local gym’s website or in person. Be prepared, though, that many of these campaigns come with fine print, and may require you to sign up for a minimum amount of months after the free period is over, or tack on some extra fees. 

Popular Gyms in Tokyo

1. Public Gyms

Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Sendagaya offers a wide range of amenities, including two pools, sports fields, as well as over 30 different cardio machines, a free-weights area, several bench press machines, and squat racks. 

Cost: ¥600 for a two-and-a-half hour gym pass and ¥2,500 for a day pass. 
Website: www.tef.or.jp/tmg 

At Shinjuku Sports Center you can use their gym, as well as rent large and small courts, use the indoor pool, rooftop track, or dojo. 

Cost: ¥400 a day. Visit the pool or martial arts center for an additional ¥200.
Website: www.shinjuku-sportscenter.com  

2. Private Gyms

Anytime Fitness is a global private gym chain, and membership grants you access to any of the over 600 locations in Japan alone. Anytime is a convenient, more affordable private option. It’s open 24/7, too! 

Cost: Membership ranges from around ¥7500 to ¥8000 a month
Website: https://www.anytimefitness.co.jp/    

Visit Gold’s Gym if you’re a more experienced gym-goer and looking for a more state-of-the-art and dependable spot to work out in. There are 27 locations in the Tokyo area, the largest and most well-known of which is in Harajuku. 

Cost: Membership fees vary by location, ranging from ¥9,350 for daytime use to ¥11,550 for full-time use. 
Website: https://www.goldsgym.jp/    

gym in japan

Where to Find English-speaking Gyms in Japan

While it is more than possible to get by and enjoy working in an all-Japanese environment, there are many Japanese-run gyms that are entirely English Speaking or offer classes and trainers who can speak with you entirely in English. You can also find many global chains like Orangetheory Fitness and Crossfit, in Tokyo. 

Visit Club 360 Fitness & Rehabilitation for a wide array of group-taught or one-on-one classes from boxing to Barre. You can even get massages or book a personal trainer. English speakers teach all classes. There are locations in Roppongi and Azabujuban. 

Cost: Prices vary. Check here for more detailed pricing. 
Website: https://www.club360.jp/

Go to Orangetheory in Azabujuban for a 60-minute guided workout. If you are more interested in participating in group workouts, taking classes, or hiring a personal trainer, this option might be for you.  

Cost: Regular membership ¥20,000/month; Light membership (8 times/month) ¥17,000 
Website: https://www.orangetheory.com/en-jp/ 

Do you Need Japanese skill to Go to a Gym in Japan?

Generally, yes, but if you live in Tokyo, you will find more English-speaking gyms for foreigners. If not, we recommend you bring a translator or Japanese friend to help you fill out the forms and consult with the dentist.

If you would like to learn Japanese and speak fluently, we recommend taking part-time or intensive Japanese courses at Coto Academy. Our school focuses on practical skills and conversation training, which will help you get by daily activities in Japan confidently. Get a free lesson consultation today.

As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any queries.

gym in japan

How to Sign Up a Gym in Japan

If you decide to join a private gym, you’ll have to visit in person to sign up for a membership. (This does vary, though. Some gyms have an online sign-up procedure, as well). If you aren’t very confident in your Japanese, you can reach out via email in advance to request English language support. If you’re especially nervous and have a friend who is fluent in Japanese, we recommend that you bring them along with you, as well. 

Remember before you go:

  • Bring your residence card or passport with you when you visit. 
  • Bring a credit card or bank book. Gyms will use this information to charge your monthly membership fee.  
  • Since most private gyms are 24 hours, make sure to check which hours staff will be there ahead of time. Most gym websites have these hours listed.  

When you arrive: 

  • Find a staff member and say you’d like to become a member of their gym. 
  • The staff will give you a tour around the gym and explain the amenities, rules, and details before you start your application. 
  • Fill out the application form and present your identification.
  • Give the staff your credit card or bank account information. Depending on the gym, you may be asked to pay a month or two month’s membership fees upfront.  
  • You’re all finished!

Japanese Phrases when Signing Up at a Gym in Japan

I’d like to sign up for a gym membershipジム会員に登録したいですJimu kaiin ni tōroku shitaidesu
Can I do a trial session before registering as a member?会員登録の前に体験セッションをすることはできますかKaiin tōroku no mae ni taiken sesshon o suru koto wa dekimasu ka?
How much does a membership cost?会費はいくらですか?Kaihi wa ikura desu ka?



How to Cancel a Gym Membership in Japan

So you want to cancel your gym membership. We’ve all been there. Maybe your financial situation changed or you’ve found a new gym closer to your work.  Luckily most gyms in Japan don’t have as many penalties for canceling as you may be used to in other countries. 

Every gym has a different cancelation policy, so be sure to check your contract ahead of time. Some may have deadlines to cancel each month, charge a cancellation fee, or require a minimum number of months as a member before canceling.

Check out what to say when you want to end your gym membership in Japan below.

How does membership cancellation work?退会する場合の手続きを教えてください?Taikai suru baai no tetsuzuki o oshiete kudasai.
I’d like to cancel my membership, please.ジム会員を退会したいんです。Jimu kaiin o taikai shitain desu.



Japanese Gym Phrases and Vocabulary

What about talking inside a Japanese gym? Here are some of the common Japanese phrases you might want to use.

Can I rent a towel/shoes?タオル/靴のレンタルはできますか Taoru/ kutsu no rentaru wa dekimasu ka
Are you finished?終りましたかOwarimashita ka
Can I use this?これ、使ってもいいですかKore, tsukatte mo ii desu ka
Is the pool open today?今日、プールは開いていますかKyō, puuru wa aite imasu ka



For gym-related vocabularies such as the human body parts and training equipments, check out the table below.

Weight Training / Working outウェイトトレーニング / 筋トレWeito toreeningu /Kin toree
Weights / Dumbells重り / ダンベルOmori / Danberu
TreadmillランニングマシンRanningu mashiin
Warm-up準備運動Junbi undou
(to) Stretch伸びをするNobi o suru
(to) Sweat汗をかくAse o kaku
(to) JogジョギングするJogingu suru
(to) SquatしゃがむShagamu
Muscle筋肉Kinniku
ChestMune
ShoulderKata
Back背中Senaka



FAQ

How much do gyms cost in Tokyo? 

Private gyms range anywhere from ~¥7,500 to nearly ~¥20,000 a month. 

What should I bring to a gym in Japan?

Make sure to bring: 

  • A pair of indoor shoes. 
  • A towel. If the gym has a public shower, bring along a bath towel, as well. Things such as soap and shampoo will be provided.
  • Your own water bottle.
  • Cash. Most public gym entrance fees are paid using a ticket machine, which accepts only cash. If you have trouble reading Japanese, ask a staff member for help. 
  • Cover any large tattoos before entering, as well. 

Am I allowed to bring my phone with me on the gym floor?

Yes! But be aware that talking on the phone or playing music without headphones is not allowed. Additionally, no photographs or videos are allowed in most Japanese gyms. 

Can I hire a personal trainer in Japan?

Ask the staff at your private or public gym if they offer personal training sessions for an extra cost. They usually offer these one-on-one or group sessions at a discounted price for members, or in discounted bundles. 

Want to Study Japanese in Japan?

If you want to study Japanese online or in person in Tokyo or Yokohama, get in touch with us. We offer a free level check and consultation to match you with the best course!

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