What better way to cool off than a trip to one of Tokyo’s water parks? Going to the pool with friends is a great way to beat the heat during the summer, but one look at the 4,500 yen price tag of Tokyo Summerland or Toshimaen is enough to send you scampering back to the (cheap) safety of your own home and running a cold bath.
While the biggest water parks in Tokyo are often accompanied by an even bigger entry fee, there are plenty of smaller water park gems hiding in the region. Rather than just giving you the ‘cheapest of the cheap’ (which, really, is a paddling pool on a rooftop), we want to give you what we think are some of the best value water parks in Tokyo.
If you’re willing to sacrifice the glamour of a new water park in favor of a more affordable option, check out these top cheapo picks:
1. Rainbow Pool and Water Playland
The Rainbow Pool and Water Playland is a family favorite in Tachikawa’s Showa Kinen Park. The biggest in the metropolitan area, it is 1.4 times the size of Tokyo Dome (so plenty of room for splashing). The Rainbow Pool is more for adults and groups of friends, with nine pools spread over 6.3 hectares. They have wave pools, plenty of decent slides and relaxing river pools to float around to your heart’s content on a sunny day. It is also perfectly acceptable to lounge around in other parts of the Showa Kinen Park still in your swimsuit, so if you’re looking for a place to tan and swim (which isn’t as mainstream in Japan as in Western countries) Rainbow Pool is the place for you. The smaller Water Playland is mostly for kids and has a nice, safe toddlers’ pool. Hot showers, hair dryers and changing rooms are all available as well as baby changing areas.
You can (and should) bring your own towels, tarps, flotation devices, and water toys, but sime things like rings are available to rent.
Price: The pricing system varies. Regular tickets for adults are 2,500 yen for adults, 1,400 yen for elementary and middle school students, and 500 yen for small children. You can buy discount tickets at a Lawsons or Family Mart, and should be able to get a discount if you pay for your ticket inside the water park with a SUICA or PASMO. If you are willing to enter the park after 2pm (sunset apparently), you can get 50% off your ticket. You also get price reductions if you go as a group. You can rent boats (500yen an hour) and small private areas with deck chairs for the day too. Pay first to get into the park and show your ticket stub at the Rainbow Pool.
Hours of Operation: From July 16th to August 21st, the pool is open from 9:30am – 6:30pm. From August 22nd to September 4th, the pool is open from 9:30am – 6:00pm.
Address: 3173, Midori-cho, Tachikawa, Tokyo, 190-0014
Closest Station: JR Tachikawa Station (15 min walk) or Nishi Tachikawa Station (5 minute walk)
2. Meguro Citizens Center Gymnasium and Pool
The Meguro Citizens Centre Gymnasium outdoor pool is perfect for the cheapo that wants to get the ‘Japanese pool experience’ without shelling out serious yen. There are basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts, a weight training room, and a heated indoor pool that you must pay extra to use. The Meguro Citizens Center Pool is a quaint and fun pool for someone who is interested in swimming for a couple hours, but does not want to commit to a full day trip to a water park in Tokyo. It doesn’t have any water slides or extra gimmicks, so if you’re looking for a more interesting pool experience, bring your own (small) inflatable toys or flotation devices.
Price: Regular tickets for adults are 200 yen for 2 hours. Tickets for students and the elderly are 100 yen for 2 hours. After 2 hours, you will be charged 150 yen per 90 minutes.
Hours of Operation: 10:00am – 8:00pm. Open from July 1st to September 11.
Address: 2-4-36 Meguro, Meguro, Tokyo 153-0063
Closest Station: Meguro Station on the JR lines.
3. Wadabori Outdoor Pool
This pool has been gaining fame lately because of its gorgeous scenery and friendly atmosphere. It is by far the most relaxing pool you can find in Tokyo, partly because it is well outside the main hustle and bustle of the city. Its main “charm point” is the fact that the pool sits next to a picturesque woodland temple and the ever-charming Zenpukiji River. However, in the end, it is simply a pool, so if you bring your own (small) flotation devices and cover up any visible piercings and tattoos, and you will have a wonderful time.
Price: Regular tickets for adults are 400 yen for 2 hours; children’s tickets are 200 yen for 2 hours.
Hours of Operation: 9:00am – 6:00pm (Pool is open from July 1st – September 10th)
Address: 2-2-10 Omiya, Suginami-Ku, 168-0061
Closest Station: Nishi-Eifuku Station on the Keio Inokashira Line
4. Oiso Long Beach in Kanagawa
Like the name suggests, Oiso Long Beach Water Park is not just a regular water park; it is an interesting fusion of beach and water park. Perfect for young families and older guests, this water park has a wave pool, a lazy river, plenty of places to lounge, a number of different pools and hot tubs, and an Olympic-sized diving board. The only downside to this cheapo favorite is the fact it is in Kanagawa, a fair distance from Tokyo. However, unlike some of the other famous water parks in Tokyo proper, Oiso Long Beach is less crowded and more relaxed. Also, because the beach sits south of Kamakura, the waters are clear and noticeably devoid of seaweed and debris.
A word of warning, though: if you have a tattoo, make sure to cover it up, as Oiso Long Beach is known for cracking down on patrons with visible tattoos.
Price: The pricing system varies. Regular tickets for adults are 3,800 yen, but if you are willing to enter the park after 2:00pm, you can get a discounted ticket for 2,100 yen. See the Oiso Long Beach website (in Japanese) for more information on prices. If you follow this link and have Line, you can get vouchers to use too.
Hours of Operation: 9:00am – 5:00pm (Park is open from July 2nd – September 11th)
Address: 546 Kokufuhongo, Oiso-machi, Naka-gun, Kanagawa, 259-0111
Closest Station: Oiso Station on the Tokaido Line. Take the shuttle bus from Oiso Station to Oiso Long Beach. An adult bus ticket is 200yen and a child’s ticket is 100yen.
5. Kawagoe Aquatic Park
Under 40 minutes from Ikebukuro, Kawagoe Aquatic Park is an easy trip for those cheapos who live close to Saitama. It’s one of the more reasonably priced water parks in Kanto—with slides of varying levels of scary and a couple of large family pools. There is also a shallow wave pool where it is quite nice to chill. The place can get crowded and there isn’t much shade, so come prepared to deal with the heat. Flotation devices are welcome. Cheap food is available.
Price: Regular tickets for adults are 720 yen.
Opening Times: 9:00am – 5:00pm from July 15th until September 3rd (however it is closed from July 18th to 20th). Hours are extended to 6pm between the 21st of July and the 16th of August.
Address: 880 Oaza-ikenobe, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Closest Station: Nishi-Kawagoe on the JR Kawagoe Line
6. Aquafield Pool – Minato
If you want a pool with a view, the look no further.With views of Tokyo Tower and the lush Shiba Koen park with Zozoji Temple, this is a great place to relax and pretend you’re living the life of luxury. The 50m pool has some sections cordoned off for serious swimmers but the rest is open for play. However, with recliners but only some parasols and no natural shade, beware of the sun. Technically, sun block is banned here, but we unofficially definitely recommend you put some on, maybe just rinse off before you get in the pool. There is also a futsal area but this requires registration to reserve and use. Check the website here for more details and a small map.
Recommended Tokyo Accommodation
Price: 400yen for adults and 200yen for children
Opening Times: 9am – 8pm (5pm in Sept) and open from July 1st to September 15th.
Address: 2-7-2 Shibakoen, Minato-ku 105-0011
Closest Station: Shiba Koen Station – Mita line – (1 min) or Daimon station – Oedo and Asakusa lines – (5 mins)
Got any suggestions for other budget-friendly pools in Tokyo? Post them in the comments!
This article was originally published in July 2014 and was updated by Lily Crossley-Baxter in June 2017.