Tokyo preview

Japan

Tokyo is an athletically active city offering all sorts of opportunities to swim, workout, or hit the links. There are countless English-language offerings for expats, some of which can be identified through simple Web searches, while others can be identified through Metropolis Magazine (http://www.metropolis.co.jp). Expats that become members of some of Tokyo's exclusive membership clubs such as the Tokyo American Club (http://www.tac-club.org) or Yokohama Country & Athletic Club (http://www.ycac.or.jp/Default.aspx?ID=769), have access to a host of athletic options including a fitness center, golf, swimming, a large variety of aerobic programs, and assorted other activities. On a more individual basis, some sport recommendations in Tokyo include:

Fitness Centers

Fitness centers can be found in just about every district in Tokyo and include Gold's Gym (http://www.goldsgym.jp), Tipness (http://tip.tipness.co.jp/), Work Out World (http://www.wowd.jp). Each facility is well stocked with the latest in weightlifting and cardio equipment. For additional program fees, fitness center members can also have access to the facilities aerobic programs. Classes are taught in Japanese, but the programs are straight-forward enough that non-English speakers should not have much difficulty getting through the work-out.

Golf

Japanese love their golf, but due to the lack of available land in Tokyo, most courses are located one to two hours outside the city by car. Some of the hundreds of courses available are members-only, but many of the courses do allow non-member access. Despite the overabundance of courses and Japan's repeated recessions, playing golf in Japan is very expensive with green's fees usually starting around US$150; US$300 fees is not at all unheard of.

  • Outdoor Japan's "Golf in Japan" Web site (http://www.golf-in-japan.com) is an excellent resource for not only identifying some terrific courses, but the message boards provide good analysis of how the course plays. The site also offers suggestions for city driving ranges, and reservations for a tee time can be booked through the site.
  • One popular expat friendly course includes Gotemba (http://www.gotembagolf.com), which is situated at the base of Mt. Fuji.
  • Windsor Park Golf and Country Club (http://www.wpgcc.com) provides very affordable play with access to family-friendly amenities including free babysitting.

Tennis

While tennis is a big sport played across Japan, there are few courts that are expat-friendly in the sense that scheduling court time can be a …