So your friends are driving you up the wall, but you’re too broke to climb anything other than the language school ladder? Hang in there and read this pun-filled guide to affordable climbing walls in Tokyo.
Indoor rock climbing (the one with ropes) and bouldering (the one without ropes) is booming—and with good reason. It’s a fun way to get fit, build upper body strength and work off stress—solo or with buddies, all while tapping into your inner mountain goat. But it’s not as easy as it looks, and you’ll need the right equipment—like chalk and special shoes (the walls are some of the few places in the city where you won’t encounter high heels). Luckily most of the spots on our list will rent you the stuff and show you the ropes (where applicable), too.
Pro tip: Have a look at online store Maunga for inexpensive climbing gear.
With initial registration fees and sometimes steep daily rates, climbing can be a pricey affair—but not if you go to these cheapo-friendly places!
This well-known gym is easy to get to and has walls and ropes for all skill levels. The registration fee of 500 yen won’t break the bank, but the 2,000-yen rate for a day of climbing is a little hefty (though average among climbing gyms). If you go after 8pm on weekdays and 6pm on weekends and holidays, you only have to pay 1,500 yen, or you can save cash by buying a set of 10 or 20 tickets, or even a 6-month pass. The latter will give you access to the other branches of the T-Wall chain too. Students enjoy good reduced rates.
Rental: Shoes cost 400 yen, chalk bags are 200 yen, and harnesses (there may be 9-11m ropes involved in your climb, depending on what you are into) for 300 yen with ropes costing 400 yen.
Hours: Mon-Fri: 2pm – 11pm, Sat: 10am – 8pm. Closed the first and third Monday each month.
Access: Five minutes from Exit 4 of Edogawabashi Station.
B-Pump Tokyo Akihabara
One of the most popular bouldering (only) venues in Tokyo, B-Pump is spacious, well-fitted and great for beginners. Registration will set you back 2,000 yen (1,000 yen if you are a member of another branch of B-Pump), while weekday-climb costs are 2,000 yen for the full day, 1,800 for up-to or after 6pm only and 1300 from 9pm – 11pm. Weekend-climbing costs 2,000 yen for a full day or 1,800 yen from 6m onwards, with students shaving a few hundred yen. If you’re a regular climber you can become a member and get unlimited-use for a one, six or twelve months for 13,600, 76,000 and 126,000 yen respectively. Students get discounts at B-Pump too.
Rental: Shoes cost 300 yen (but free the first time), chalk bags 100 yen.
Hours: Weekdays: 12pm – 11pm, Saturdays and holidays: 11am – 10pm, Sundays: 10am – 9pm. Only Closed for New Year’s period.
Access: Five minutes from JR Akihabara Station
Fitness Climbing Studio Lago
One of the lesser-known and further-removed spots, but one that can be very wallet-friendly (especially for ladies), with rates varying by time slot and gender. Like at B-Pump, registration is 1,500 yen (with a possible partial cashback). But if you can get in to the gym between 10am and 2pm on a weekday, a climbing pass will only cost you 600 yen if you’re a female (or student or senior…not sure how us girl cheapos feel about this categorizing, but we’ll take that discount in lieau of equal wages for now), and 800 yen if you’re a male. The rates go up from there with the 2-6pm slot costing 800/1000yen, 6-9pm costing 1200/1400 yen and 9-11pm costing 900/1100 yen for women and men respectively (seniors and students save an extra 100 yen on the women’s prices for the two later sessions). For weekends and holidays, 10am – 7pm costs 1,300/1,500 and 7pm – 10pm costs 1,000/1,200 yen. If you visit more than 8 times in a month, your subsequent visits will cost 500 yen each, which can make a real difference if you climb a lot! Guests can climb for regular prices plus a 500 yen charge.
Rental: Shoes cost between 200-300 yen depending on size while chalk is 200 yen. A locker can be rented for 500 yen a month too.
Hours: Weekdays: 10am – 11pm . Weekends & holidays: 10am – 10pm
Access: Five minutes from Daitabashi Station on the Keio Line.
Climbing Gym J&S Nakano
Part of another climbing franchise, this branch is fairly easy to access, and mid-range when it comes to costs. Registration is cheap at 1,000 yen (500 yen for members of the Ikebukuro or Ebisu branches), and climbing rates are a flat 1,500 yen for the full day and 1,000 yen after 6pm on weekdays. Every Wednesday is Ladies Day and women climb for 1,000 yen. You can also cut costs by buying ticket bundles for 8,000 yen (6 tickets) or a monthly pass for 12,000 yen for men and 10,000 yen for women. Like B-Pump, this place only offers bouldering.
Rental: Rental shoes cost 200 yen but are free the first time and chalk is free forever.
Hours: Weekdays: 2pm – 11pm Weekends and holidays: 12pm – 9pm
Access: Ten minutes from the north exit of Nakano Station.
Apex Climbing Shinjuku
In a great location and with some challenging walls, Apex is a pretty cool place to climb, with a dedicated set of members who are great to watch when you’re taking a break. Registration costs 1,620 for adults with a 600 yen reduction for students and children. Weekday climbs cost 1,620 yen and 1,300 yen after 9pm while weekend climbs go up to 2,000 yen for the day and 1,620 after 6pm. On Tuesdays, Ladies climb for 1,080 yen (Except holidays) which always helps. Monthly passes offer savings if you intend to climb more than twice a week, costing just under 13,000 yen and have a 500 yen discount on three subsequent renewals, reducing it to 11,880 yen.
Rental: Rental shoes cost 320 yen and chalk costs 110 yen.
Hours: Weekdays: 10am – 11pm Weekends and holidays: 10am – 10pm
Access: Five minutes from the East exit of Shinjuku Station.
Spo-dori in Tokyo Dome City
Home to the biggest wall in Tokyo with 8 different difficulty zones, the wall at Tokyo Dome City is a pretty impressive option. Wall inclinations range from 85-125 degrees and some walls span 40m across and 4m tall, so you won’t be limited when it comes to routes. Registration is only 800 yen and your shoes are free the first time round. A day of climbing costs 1,700 for adults and 1,500 yen after 8pm. Alternatively, you can become a member for 13,000 yen per month or buy a book of 11 tickets for 17,000 yen, which (in true Japanese style) saves you a single climb, which is better than nothing.Professional climber Tomoko Kajima holds free classes twice a month so be sure to ask at the desk for the upcoming details.
Rental: Rental shoes cost 300 yen and liquid chalk costs 200 yen.
Hours: 10am – 10pm everyday.
Access: Five minutes from Suidobashi Station
Miyashita Park Outdoor Climbing Wall
*This park is under construction and will be reopened in 2019*
Sponsored by Nike and only 350 yen for 2 hours, this is one of the best options for a climb. You can choose from the bouldering wall or the taller top-rope wall which has some city views if you reach the top in a state to admire them. Unfortunately it’s not the big and to keep things safe they only let in 8 people at a time, so you may have to wait a while.
Rental: TBC upon reopening
Hours: TBC upon reopening
Access: Five minutes from Shibuya Station Exit 13a
Fukagawa Sport Center
If you can get there and have climbing experience as well as your own equipment, this is a top cheap climbing option. Part of a municipal center, the hours are limited (so please check the monthly schedules) and the facilities simple, but sufficient. Boulderers can register, sign a waiver and climb away, while those wanting to use the top-rope areas have to complete a safety course held on specific dates (usually Saturdays and Wednesdays) and costs 3,000 yen and requires Japanese. A day entry ticket to the gym costs 700 yen while 9am – 12pm, 1pm – 5pm and 6pm – 9.30pm slots cost 400 yen each. You can pay an extra 200 yen for the individual sessions for access to additional facilities if you like. For memberships, you can pay 3,000 yen for 1 month, 8,000 yen for 3 months and 15,000 yen for 6 months.
Rental: There is no rental available
Hours: Please check schedules for each month.
Access: 5 min from Monzennakacho Station (Tozai Line).
In our pilot episode, we're joined by Alvin Cheung of ABC Coffee, Hapnick, and Tokyo Keyboards