A Guide to Gyms in Japan in 2024

Staying healthy and active is important. Whether you’re a seasoned weightlifter or a fitness newbie, this guide will help you navigate the world of Japanese gyms and find the perfect fit for your workout goals and budget.

Coto Academy is a Japanese language school located in Tokyo and Yokohama. With its small class sizes and flexible course schedule, we ensure the students find their community here in Japan and learn practical and useful daily-life Japanese by focusing on conversational practice.

A Quick Jump To…

Public vs. Private Gyms

Japan boasts two main gym categories:

Public Gyms (Ward Gyms): These community centers are budget-friendly. Expect basic equipment like treadmills, weight machines, and free weights. They typically charge per visit, making them ideal for occasional gym-goers. At community centers, there is also a basketball court, badminton court, and swimming pool available to use.

Here’s a tip: You can check your local ward office’s website for information on nearby public gyms. You can also try searching for any of the following.  

  • スポーツセンター supoutsu senta – sports centers
  • 体育館 taiikukan – gymnasiums
  • スポーツプラザ supoutsu puraza – sports plazas
  • 健康センター kenkou sentā – health centers 

Private Gyms: For a more premium experience, private gyms offer state-of-the-art equipment and a wider variety of classes (yoga, personal training, etc.). The bigger gyms might include amenities like saunas. These gyms usually require memberships and are open 24 hours.

Embrace the Culture: Gym Etiquette in Japan

Japanese gyms have a strong emphasis on courtesy and respect. Here are some key things to remember:

  • Cleanliness is a Priority: Always wipe down equipment after use with provided disinfectant wipes.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear appropriate workout attire and avoid revealing clothing. Also, do not remove your clothes unless in a changing/locker room.
  • Silence is Required: Grunting, loud noises, and dropping weights are generally frowned upon.
  • Shoes Off! (If Applicable): Always switch to indoor gym shoes to maintain hygiene on the workout floor, but this depends on the gym.
  • Cover Your Tattoos: Some gyms require you to cover your tattoos with a cover/bandage or wear a long-sleeved shirt or long pants. This also depends on the gym.

Bonus Tip: Many gyms in Japan require you to bring your lock for lockers.

Gym Recommendations

Anytime Fitness

This global chain offers affordable memberships and 24/7 access, making it a convenient option for busy schedules.

Photo By Journal Review

chocoZAP

This Japanese chain is a unique, budget-friendly option. It offers 24/7 access, basic to mid-range equipment, and low membership fees.

Photo By chocozap.jp

UFC Gym

This is another English-friendly semi-private gym that provides a variety of classes, from boxing to HIIT training.

Photo By UFC GYM

Club 360

This gym caters specifically to foreigners, with English-speaking staff, trainers, and facilities designed for international users. It also has kids’ lessons for those with families.

Gold’s Gym

This internationally renowned chain boasts top-of-the-line equipment, a wide range of classes, and luxurious amenities.

Photo By www.goldsgym.jp

Orangetheory

If you are more interested in participating in group workouts, taking classes, or hiring a personal trainer, this option might be for you.

Remember, these are just a few examples. With some research, you can find the gym that perfectly complements your fitness goals and budget in Japan.

How To Sign Up For A Private Gym?

Usually, gyms require you to sign up for their membership in person or online. After they will ask you for the following information:

  • A Valid ID
  • Bank Account or Credit Card

The process is as follows:

  • Find a staff member
  • The staff will show you 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 or credit card information. Depending on the gym, you may be asked to pay a month or two’s membership fees upfront.

How to Cancel Gym Membership

Usually, to cancel a gym membership, you must go in person. The process is as easy as filling out the form, and you are done! However, each gym has different policies on when the deadline is for canceling a membership, so make sure to apply for cancellation before the deadline to prevent getting charged extra! Some also charge you a cancellation fee, so check your contract!

Also, gyms are mostly 24 hours, but the staff won’t always be there, so check with the gym about their working hours.

Useful Japanese Phrases

  • ロッカーはどこですか。 Rokkā wa doko desu ka. – Where is the locker?
  • そのマシンはどうやって使うんでしょうかSono mashin wa dō yatte tsukau ndeshou ka. – How do I use this machine?
  • このウェイトを使ってもいいですか。 Kono wīto o tsukatte mo ii desu ka. – Can I use these weights?
  • 姿勢はこれで間違いないでしょうか。Shisei wa kore de machigainaideshou ka. – Is this posture correct?
  • ダンベルを貸していただけますか。Danberu o kashite itadakemasu ka. – Can I borrow the dumbbells?
  • 今、何セット目ですか。Ima, nan setto-me desu ka. – Which set are we on now?
  • ジム会員に登録したいです。 Jimu kaiin ni tōroku shitaidesu. – I’d like to sign up for a gym membership
  • 会員登録の前に見学はできますか。Kaiin tōroku no mae ni kengaku wa dekimasu ka. – Can I do a trial session before registering as a member?
  • 会費はいくらですか?Kaihi wa ikura desu ka? – How much does a membership cost?

Useful Japanese Vocabulary

  • ジム Jimu – Gym
  • ロッカー Rokkā – Locker
  • タオル Taoru – Towel
  • マット matto – Mat
  • マシン Masīn – Machine
  • ウェイト Wīto – Weight
  • ランニングマシン Ran’ningumashi – Treadmill
  • エアロバイク Earobaiku – Exercise bike
  • スクワット Sukuwato – Squat
  • ダンベル Danberu – Dumbbell
  • バーベル Bāberu – Barbell
  • ストレッチ Sutretchin – Stretch
  • ジョギング Jogingu – Jogging
  • ヨガ Yoga – Yoga
  • ピラティス Pilatesu – Pilates

If you want to read more about gyms in Japan, read here: Guide to Going to the Gym in Japan

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You Might Be Wondering…

What should I expect when visiting a Japanese gym for the first time?

When visiting a Japanese gym, expect a clean and well-organized environment. As this is a common practice in Japan, be prepared to remove your shoes before entering certain areas. Additionally, don’t be surprised by the politeness and respect of staff and fellow gym-goers.

Are Japanese gyms beginner-friendly?

Absolutely! Japanese gyms welcome individuals of all fitness levels. Many offer beginner-friendly classes and personalized training programs to help newcomers feel comfortable and confident in their fitness journey.

What are some unique features of Japanese gyms compared to other countries?

Japanese gyms stand out for their attention to detail, innovative equipment, and incorporation of cultural elements. Additionally, the strong sense of community and emphasis on holistic well-being make the gym experience in Japan truly unique.

Do Japanese gyms have English-speaking staff?

While not all Japanese gyms may have English-speaking staff, many larger establishments in urban areas cater to international visitors and residents. It’s always a good idea to inquire about language support before visiting a gym if the language barrier is a concern.


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