Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium | 東京体育館 [Closed for renovations]
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Adult Admission Price & Policy
Westerners: Be advised that the Japanese have different rules for swimming from anywhere else: No swim watches. No wrist monitors. No bracelets, iPods, or flippers. I was stopped for violating all of these rules. No "outstripping", which I learned is overtaking another swimmer. Also, there are mandatory, 10-minute rest periods. I happened to be caught in a mandatory rest period after only 20 minutes of swimming, but was yanked out of the pool along with the rest of the herd. They seem to require this every two hours. And don't bring your flip flops into the swimming pool area.
Unlike previous reviewers, however, I have seen people with flippers, mitts, and so on use them without problem. Also, the need for ten minute rest periods was not observed in the twenty or so visits I made in December 2014/January 2015.
A swim cap is mandatory, but there is a shop there, where one can be purchased, if needed. The cheapest one is ¥1000.
The best times for weekday swimming seem to be between 1 PM and 3:30 PM and then from 6 PM on. The afternoons get busy with swim teams that can make consistent swimming a challenge. I did not swim in the morning, so cannot comment.
The hot bath afterwards is the best.
The locker rooms are spotless. Swim caps are required. Passing is not permitted, as another reviewer has said, but you can make U-turns. I visited twice on a weekday morning, when there were about five people per 50m lane, and on a weekend, when it was much busier (eight to ten swimmers per lane). But the organization is so good that it didn't feel crowded; there were slow, medium, and fast lanes, and lifeguards enforced speeds by telling the slowpokes to move if they were in the wrong lane. (Embarrassingly I chose medium and was immediately told I was too slow (~50sec/50m pace) so I picked up the pace and all was fine.)
The staff do not speak English well but are very helpful and have handouts and signs in English to help. There appeared to be three 10-minute mandatory breaks throughout the day for them to inspect and clean the pool.
Highly recommended. They even have free wifi!