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Runners | © Naoki Nakashima /Flickr
Runners | © Naoki Nakashima /Flickr

A Fitness-Lover's Guide to Tokyo

Picture of Lucy Dayman
Updated: 11 September 2017

Unlike its gym loving western contemporaries, Tokyo’s fitness scene is a little more hidden, or slightly more ‘alternative’ in direction. Though of course there are gyms, visitors are often surprised with just how expensive memberships can be, so many often opt for restructuring their fitness routines. Here’s a guide to enjoying a healthier, fitter life in Tokyo.

Running club

Nike’s incredibly popular running clubs are scattered across the globe and in Japan there are a number of running sessions that happen each week. No matter your fitness level the sessions are open to all, so if you sometimes need an extra little kick of motivation to get going, this could be the perfect option for you. Happening in both the morning and the evenings the clubs often meet at the central and scenic suburbs of Nakameguro and Harajuku, so it’s the perfect way to explore the city and make new friends while staying fit. All their information is online.

Nakameguro, 1-2 23-4 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042 Gurambel Aobadai Building 1F, +81 3 5768 1005

Harajuku, 4-25-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 Tokyo Mico Jingumae, +81 3 6367 5277

Stadium yoga

Sitting in the heart of Tokyo, Jingu Stadium is home to a number of big name baseball events and one very unique yoga experience: Jingu Stadium Night Yoga. Featuring a rotating list of yoga lecturers from Japan and across the world it’s ready to teach you all about the history and future of yoga, it’s both informative and fun.

Meiji Jingu Stadium, 3-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku Tokyo 160-0013

2000 people did #nightyoga at #MeijiJinguStadium . #神宮球場ナイトヨガ #yogi #KenHarakuma

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Dance classes

Dance lessons can be one of the most fun ways to get in shape and even if you don’t speak Japanese there are a number of options on offer for you. For Argentinian dance there’s Gaston Gurevitz’s school in Shibuya which is open to dancers of all levels. If you’re more into the rock n roll side of things there’s the Tokyo Swing Dance Society, which holds regular events that change location depending on the class. However if you’re after something a little more acrobatic you have to check out the Pole Dance Tokyo class in Akasaka which is open to experts and beginners alike.

Running courses

If you’re more of a solo runner or the central locations of the Nike running club don’t work with your schedule, another option is to take advantage of the city’s incredible parks and walkways and carve your own running path. Some excellent options include along Meguro river, where in spring the cherry blossoms hang over the canal, or there’s the five-kilometer loop around Tokyo’s Imperial Palace which is perfect for a bit of historic sightseeing on your journey. Get on google and find your nearest biggest park and make it your own little running circuit, just like the locals do.

Parc Yoyogi🌿 via l'entrée Harajuku. #ParcYoyogi #parc #forêt #yoyogipark #tokyo #Japon #voyageaujapon #nature

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Health food stores

When trying to stay fit and healthy the body of course needs premium fuel. Living in Japan can be a little difficult when it comes to figuring out different dietary requirements, however in recent years a number of excellent health conscious grocery stores have begun to emerge.

Located in the trendy suburb of Hiro is F&F, a mid-sized supermarket that specialises in everything natural and organic and at a price point that’s very reasonable. If you’re near the Shinjuku area a must visit stop off is Waseda Natural, one of the longest running stores in the city. Opening in 1960 this larger store has an excellent selection of natural medicines and vegan friendly foods.

F&F, 5 Chome-15-20 Minamiazabu, Minato, Tokyo 106-0047, +81 3 6277 0075

Waseda Natural, Bunka Kaikan Building 51 Kikui-cho Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 222-0044, +81 3 3202 9611

Enoshima spa

After a huge workout it’s time to treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa. Located just over an hour from Tokyo is the beachside town of Enoshima. Here you will find the Enoshima spa sitting just on the cusp of the island. Containing both indoor and outdoor healing onsens, as well as a number of detoxifying treatments it’s the best way to wind down and recoup, all while overlooking the stunning views of Mt. Fuji.

2-1-6 Enoshima Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture 251-0036, +81 4 6629 0688

Sports stores

In order to feel the part, many fitness fanatics insist that you have to dress the part and there’s no better stocked area than the Omotesando shopping strip just off Harajuku station. Heading away from Yoyogi park (another great running park) you’ll find mega Nike, Puma and Adidas outlets all within a stone’s throw of one another. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, it probably doesn’t exist.

Nike, 1 Chome-13-12 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, +81 3 6365 6453

Adidas, 4-31-10 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0001 Tokyo, Japan Wy-M Square Harajuku 1, +81 3 5413 6633

Puma, 1 Chome-13-14 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, +81 3 3401 6100