It’s almost impossible to walk more than a few minutes in Tokyo without seeing a gym or fitness studio. If you’re looking to reach a fitness goal, or just maintain a reasonable level of health, Tokyo may be one of the easiest cities in which to do that. While we’ve covered municipal gyms in the past, here we’ll take a look at some of the most popular gym chains around Tokyo and exactly what sets them apart.

Note: While many of these gyms have online enrollment as an option, if you have tattoos, particularly prominent ones, it’s worth enquiring (perhaps anonymously) about a gym’s tattoo policy before joining. One of the most common issues with foreigners and Japanese gyms is a blanket ban on tattoos, so some research may be needed to find a gym that accepts tattoos.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime in Akasaka! | Photo by Greg Lane

The Anytime Fitness (Link in Japanese) chain of gyms offer 24 hour gyms in hundreds of locations around Japan and internationally. With over 150 locations in Tokyo alone, it’s a safe bet there’ll be one close to you. Signing up can be done online or in store, and most offer a sign up discount or deal. Prices per month vary slightly between gyms, but tend to be in the area of ¥8,000. You can use any gym in the franchise after being a member for a month, so it’s ideal if you’re on the move.

As for the gyms themselves, it all comes down to your location for the specifics. Most branches have a good number of treadmills and an array of 10 or more machines, as well as a collection of free weights. The machine and weight areas can be cramped in smaller gyms, meaning less space and longer waits at peak times. Anytime does not offer classes or group sessions and the gyms are unmanned outside staff hours (usually 10am to 7pm.) They’re also light on extras – no saunas or swimming pools here. But if you know your way around a gym and want to be assured that there is always a branch nearby, Anytime is the gym for you,

Joyfit24

Joyfit24 are easy to miss, but located conveniently. | Photo by Gregory Lane

As the name implies, Joyfit24 (Link in Japanese) is another 24-hour gym chain with 54 locations in Tokyo, and more around Japan. When enrolling, you can sign up online or in-person, but both will require some in-store paperwork before you can get started. Joyfit24 has a flat fee system regardless of which branch you choose, with a one-off ¥2,200 admission fee and ¥3,300 registration fee. After that, the monthly fee is ¥7,128, although there are campaigns that lower this fee for a short period of time. With the flat fee in effect, you may use any gym in the Joyfit24 chain immediately.

The gyms vary in terms of amenities offered – some of the larger gyms offer services such as protein bars and weigh stations. On the whole, each gym will have resistance and cardio machines, as well as a free weight section. The gyms can be on the small side, with many having the treadmills directly opposite the resistance machines, as well as narrow weight sections. Like Anytime, this is a good, no-frills option for people on the move and comfortable in the gym.

Konami Sports Club

If the name Konami only rings a bell because you’re a gamer, it might surprise you to hear about their gym chain (Link in Japanese). With 30 branches in and surrounding Tokyo, it’s likely there’s one within a few stations from you, wherever you are. Konami’s gyms open at varying times around 10am in the morning, and close at around 9pm, making it a convenient work from home break. The fee structure is complicated, and based on the category of gym you go to – the higher the category, the more amenities. There’s a full breakdown here (Link in Japanese), but a category III gym (average in Tokyo) will set you back ¥13,750 a month for unlimited use. You can also choose a “pay as you go” plan, where you pay for individual visits at ¥2,640 each for a Category III gym.

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So, what does that price point get you at the gyms? Konami Sports Club are large complexes with a host of options. Beyond the basics of machines and free weights, most include pools, saunas, tanning machines, and studios. Konami also offers classes and group workouts for free or nominal fees. Even those basics aren’t neglected – Konami will usually dedicate an entire floor to machines and another to free weights. If you’re looking for a complete training experience with options and comfort, Konami has you covered.

Time to put the kettle on

Central Sports

54 gyms in Tokyo puts Central Sports (Link in Japanese) on equal footing with Joyfit24 for accessibility and offers budget friendly access for gym goers who can pinpoint when they’ll be at the gym. With a variety of plans (Link in Japanese) starting at ¥6,600 for weekends only, it’s the cheapest gym on this list if you know when you’ll be going. The drawbacks to the Central Sports system is that it locks you into your home gym, although you can pay an additional ¥1,000 to access other gyms, or upgrade to a more expensive plan. Most Central Sports are open 24 hours a day, although a few have more limited opening hours.

Central also offers more than the other budget options on this list, with large and spacious machine rooms. Free weights do tend to have less space, but this is often made up for with studios and stretching spaces. Central also offers an array of classes and group sessions that cover most age groups, and some even have children’s courses! If you’re looking for a more family-oriented gym, or classes on a budget, pay Central Sports a visit.

Gold’s Gym

A chain of gyms originating in America, Gold’s Gym (Link in Japanese) has a sturdy presence in Tokyo with 30 gyms. Many are in prominent locations including Shibuya and Harajuku, making them convenient for those working in populous districts. Some, including the Harajuku main gym and Ginza gym are open 24 hours, although most have a broad range of hours, from 7am to near midnight. Like Konami, Gold’s has a varying fee structure based on your location, as well as when you plan on attending. A rough example for an anytime pass for a single gym is around ¥11,000. This can be made more affordable by enrolling family members or limiting your access time, however.

Gold’s Gym offers a good balance of features between budget options and more expensive gyms. The basics are well covered, with spacious machine and free weight areas, although free space is slightly limited. Depending on your location, access to punching bags, specialized machines, saunas, and even collagen machines are available. Your membership fee also gives you access to Gold’s studios and classes, with a variety of daily programs at all difficulty levels. Gold’s is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a compromise between price and amenities.

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