Looking for a Japanese gym?
Wondering what the prices are like? And which one you should “nyuukai (入会)?” That means “join,” by the way.
Well, you’ll find all (or most of it here). This quick guide is going to run you through the 15 most common Japanese gyms/gym chains… and what makes each one different. For example, there are gyms like Gold’s is for serious lifters, there are women-only gyms, and super affordable, city-sponsored gyms.
Gyms are ordered by price, from cheap to expensive.
So, let’s jump in.
A Quick Word on Japanese Gym Etiquette
You may be wondering if there are special rules… or some kind of Japanese gym etiquette that you should follow.
Well, there’s not much culture as there is in the US, but there are some obvious rules that you’d also follow elsewhere, like..
- Wipe down your sweat/equipment. This is a big deal with Corona now
- Don’t leave weights lying around.
- Wear deodorant (d’uh). Also, on the topic of smells, if you have a shirt that’s prone to stinking, throw it out.
- Don’t collect equipment. When I do supersets, I will swipe one extra dumbbell so that it doesn’t seem like I’m hoarding.
- Don’t be loud: whether it’s slamming weights or grunting. Sometimes it’s shouganai (can’t be helped) but keep that in mind. You can always get special mats for dropping your weights into if need be.
Those last 2 rules really depend on the place. If you go to a serious gym like Gold’s (I’m sure there are others) where there are serious athletes, you can get away with more.
Japan-wise, the most obvious ones that come to mind are…
- No tattoos. So, if you have some, wear clothing that covers it up. Or tape. But, why no tattoos? Well, that requires a long story, but long story short… in Japan, tattoos are associated with Yakuza and crime.
- Bring indoor shoes. Mostly they don’t you walking outside and then all over the inside-gym with the same shoes. Municipal gyms make this a thing.
#1 Municipal Gyms/Sports Center
If you’re looking for a gym, don’t write off the local sports centers. Just because they’re not commercial gyms — as the other Japanese gyms on this list — that doesn’t mean they’re old-time medicine-ball centers where you’ll find the elderly population training away at 0.05 miles per hour. Although they may vary from city to city or ward to ward, municipal gyms have everything you need and more. In my case, I’ve gone to Minato-ku Sports Center for many years and despite their 30kg max dumbbells, I still prefer it to Anytime Fitness. The gyms there are spacious, have plenty of machines, enough free weights, stretching areas… and even enough space for random dancers to do their thing. People of all walks of life are in there, and there are no monthly membership fees — you pay as you go. In the case of Minato, it’s ¥500 (about $5) per visit.
- No monthly fees. Pay as you go model.
#2 Joy Fit
It is a fitness club for a wide range of users (young to elderly). Therefore, it is considered as a fitness club which is easy to start with. According to their official web page, depending on the location, he or she may not be satisfied with the level of facilities, as there are differences between stores. (ex: some stores do not have a pool, spa, and poor choice of exercise machines etc.)
Curves is a fitness club only available for women. Training is focused on beauty and health and fitness members can also gain knowledge about exercise and diet. According to their webpages and other sources, some stores do not have showers. There are few young generations, but many old (over 50s) ones, so the gym is for beginners.
FastGym24 is a fitness gym which opens for 24 hours. Compared to other Japanese gyms, the price setting is relatively cheap. Although it is said that workout space is a little small, the facilities themselves are in place. The gym is for wide range generations and has machine equipment (weight training and cardio)
#5 Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness is a global fitness gym with more than 4,500 stores in 28 countries and regions around the world, and its strength is that it opens for 24 hours. There is no pool or studio, but instead there are various fitness machines. The gym tends to have members of young generations and serious lifters are often seen there. The gym has machine equipment (weight training and cardio)
Copin is a fitness gym expanding mainly in the Kansai region. The gym is for a wide range of generations. There are various facilities and equipment, and people with various purposes such as those who want to train in earnest and those who seek relaxation go there. The gym has machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool etc.
#7 Holiday Sports Club
Holiday Sports Club is a fitness club for a wide range generation, but the gym tends to have many members of middle age to older. The price setting is relatively cheap among large fitness clubs. The gym has machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool etc.
Tipness is a fitness gym for a wide range of users (young to elderly). Some stores open for 24 hours, so its strength is that you can go whenever you want. There is machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool, shower and spa, so the facilities are highly complete.
#9 Central Sports
Central Sports is a fitness gym that offers machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool, shower and spa. They have a body-building program for a wide range of ages so serious lifters are often seen there. Training equipment is substantial, though some reviews say that it is a bit expensive for a fitness club.
Renaissance is a fitness gym which offers machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool, shower and spa. It is a fitness club that has recorded the third highest sales after the major fitness clubs “Konami Sports” and “Central Sports”. The gym is fully equipped to meet a wide range of needs.
Megalos is a gym that has been rapidly gaining popularity in recent years. Having won the first place in 2020 in terms of satisfaction selected by women. Therefore, the gym is popular for women. (*of course there are a certain number of male members too.) The gym offers machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool, shower and spa.
#12 Sports Club NAS
Sports Club NAS is one of the long-established fitness gyms in the industry. Its stores are located mainly in Tokyo. It seems that there are a large number of machines and contents in the facility. In addition to this, there are plenty of studio programs such as yoga, pool programs, tennis and swimming schools for kids.
#13 Gold’s Gym
Gold’s Gym is a fitness gym for serious lifters and people who want to do muscle training in earnest. On the other hand, for people who consider going to the gym for exercise habits and health instead of muscle training, they tend to choose a general gym. Although it is open for 24hours, the membership fee is a bit expensive compared to other Japanese gyms.
#14 Konami Sports Club
Konami Sports Club is a fitness gym which offers machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool, shower and spa. It is the largest fitness company and has recorded the highest sales in Japan. The gym is fully equipped to meet a wide range of needs and some serious lifters are often seen there.
#15 Tokyu Sports Oasis
Tokyu Sports Oasis is a fitness gym equipped with the latest machines and facilities. Therefore, the price setting is high compared to other Japanese gyms. The gym opens for 24hours and people of young to middle-age generation tend to be members of this gym. The gym has machine equipment (weight training and cardio), Studios (yoga, dance etc.), Pool etc.
List of Japanese gyms & membership fees.
|#||Name||Monthly Fee (¥)||URL|
|6||Holiday Sports Club||8,899|
|11||Sports Club NAS||14,300|
|13||Konami Sports Club||16,060|
|14||Tokyu Sports Oasis||16,280|
*Membership fees are different depending on the store location and its membership type. Described fees are common examples from each.
*Those listed fitness gyms are widely/commonly known in Japan.
– Team It’sJapanese