Summers get sweltering hot in the concrete jungle that is Tokyo. It gets uncomfortably humid too. One of the best remedies is running off to an island or to the north, but if we’re being realistic – that is not an option for people living and working in Tokyo. It’s also unhelpful advice to travelers who come to Tokyo in summer and leaving the city is exactly the opposite of their plans.
This is where the swimming pool option comes in – an urban oasis designed to offer a refreshing respite in the middle of the city. Most countries with near constant hot weather have a vibrant urban swimming pool culture, with a lot of options, easily accessible and well-maintained pools. However, in Japan it gets a little bit more difficult to find a perfect swimming pool due to more limited options and limited time of year that outdoor swimming pools are open.
We picked out some outdoor swimming pool recommendations that can cover every need –both swanky hotel rooftop swimming pools and kid friendly amusement park-like swimming pools. Check them and out and choose what fits your needs.
This elegant hotel has one of the best open swimming pools, with views of the nearby Tokyo Tower to boot! Swimming in the middle of the skyscrapers, but still above it, is a unique feeling that only these kind of urban rooftop pools have. The ANA InterContinental Tokyo pool is open both to staying and non-staying guests, so you can always go there just to use the pool.
An extra reason to give ANA InterContinental Tokyo a visit are their evening pool parties called MUMM Beach Club DJ Party Night in collaboration with the MUMM Champagne brand every Thursday and Friday. This is a rare opportunity in Tokyo, as pool parties are scarce. It is also a rare opportunity for Instagramers to up their Instagram case, as photos are usually not allowed at other pools in Tokyo.
Dates and times vary through the summer, and the pool is open from 29 June 2019－8 September 2019. From 29 June to 19 July it opens from 8 am to 8 pm, and at the second half of the summer hours extend – from 7 am to 10 pm. The Party Night is always from 7 pm to 9 pm, and it will only be pause during the Obon holidays on August 15-16.
Entrance fees also vary depending on time of day, as prices drop after 6pm, but increase on weekends. Check the hotel’s website for details and discounts like Lady’s Day (every Monday and Tuesday). Entrance fee includes the use of other amenities like towels, showers, cosmetics, etc.
Things to note:
– This pool allows entrance with covered tattoos, so ask for covering.
– Families should know that children from 6 years old to 17 year old teenagers must have adult supervision, while children under 6 can only use the children’s pool.
Yomiuri Land is a popular amusement park all year round, and Yomiuri Land WAI is the area that is a godsend in summer! As expected from an amusement park, Yomiuri Land WAI is a perfect fit for children and families, as well as anyone inclined to fun water activities. WAI of course has a classic pool, but to live up to its amusement park popularity it also has a swimming pool with sweeping waves adding up to the excitement. They also have the all-popular water slides and a lot of them – there are many ways to splash into a pool it seems. There are also cartoon character themed pools like the AnpanMan pool. Every summer there are new limited time activities, so no visit to WAI is ever boring. With all the different pools and activities, and of course restaurants, you can spend the whole day here without having to leave the premises.
Hours vary, the pools being open later on Sundays and holidays, and there are special pool nights. Check the official calendar here.
Price Range: the most expensive is the 6 000 yen all-inclusive all day pass (polls + unlimited amusement park rides), or less depending on your age and time of entrance, and use of the facilities.
On the cheaper side, one of the rare outdoor public pools is the Meguro Citizens Center Gymnasium Pool. It is open to anyone outside the ward too, and for a mere 200 yen per hour for adults, one can splash in the 50 metre outdoor pool for 2 hours, and every extra hour will add 150 yen to that bill. Small children have a separate children’s pool for 100 yen per 2 hours, 70 yen per every hour beyond that.
Open only in summer from July 1st to September 10th, the pool is open from 10 am to 8 pm, whereas the children’s pool closes at 5pm. But older children accompanied by an adult can use the big pool until later.
General Pool Rules and Tips in Japan
– Most pools are NOT tattoo-friendly. Check in advance if they at least allow covered tattoos.
– Many of the public swimming pools require a swimming cap. If you dislike them, be careful to check in advance. Hotels are probably more relaxed about swimwear.
– Check for the photo policy. Many open and public pools ban any kind of photos, selfies etc. However, night pool parties are usually very OK with photos.
– Wash up before entering the pool. Just like at the onsen, it is an expected common courtesy.
– Check if the pool allows children and what’s the minimum age.
– Check the food and drinks policy. Most pools don’t allow drinking any alcohol, and some restrict bringing in your own drinks and food.