Many upmarket hotels over $300 per night have fitness gyms in Japan. But if you are a low - mid budget traveler like me, then suddenly it becomes difficult to find a hotel with fitness gym. However, some middle range budget hotels have decent fitness gyms or sell you a coupon (or discount ticket) to use the nearby gym for a fee of $10-$30 per visit. This coupon ticket is available only for hotel guests.
<TIP> Many hotel comparison websites are not useful when it comes to the gym facility. If you search with “Fitness gym” on those websites, you often end up seeing luxury hotels, hotels in inconvenient locations or hotels with tiny gym spaces. This blog is to help you to find the best option for you ! Also, many hotels with gym still charge $10-$30 even if you are a hotel guest. It is because those gyms are being operated by 3rd party companies and open to public (non hotel guests). The best way is to call the hotel in advance and check if it is free or not.
Most fitness gyms in Japan operate on a monthly subscription base and do NOT accept any casual visitors (they do not sell a Day pass to travelers). Another issue for travelers is that many fitness gyms in Japan are not within walking distance from major shopping & entertainment areas and it is difficult to get to in your busy itinerary particularly if you are not familiar with local area and Japanese language. However, some local gym chains sell a day pass to travelers. Gold’s Gym has many gyms in Japan and all gyms sell a day pass to travelers at $25-$30 per visit. Anytime Fitness has 500+ gyms in Japan but only a few of them sell a day pass to travellers. And some individual local gyms are selling a day pass at $15-$30 per visit.
In low-mid budget, If you are a light exerciser, gyms in hotel would be ok but if you want a decent workout, going to a local gym is much better. And Japan is a busy country with many buildings and it is easy to get lost. So the best way is to find a hotel nearby the gym. Based on my personal experience and research, I have put together my recommendations of hotels in each major city for low-mid budget fitness travelers in Japan. The criteria for hotel selections are;
Under $300 per night (price changes depending on seasons)
Located in popular district for tourists and business people
Hotels with fitness gym (incl.small gym)
Hotels with NO gym but selling a discount Day pass ticket of local gym nearby
Hotels with NO gym but located within 10 minutes walk to a local gym which sells a Day pass
<Tip> Some cities have more local gyms than others, and other cities have more hotels with gyms. So it is wise to check in advance and stay close to the gym.