Sports and recreational programs in Tokyo
by Leigh Wellsview
Looking for ways for your kids to get active and healthy through sports and recreation? Here are some programs and facilities in and around Tokyo for you and your family to explore.
I Can Gymnastics
American Lance Lee, who has been living in Japan for years, runs a successful program of gymnastics for those under twelve. Focusing on self-esteem over competition, all children will learn skills such as back handsprings while working on floor, beam, bars, and trampoline. Classes are available for parents and tots, beginners (3-6), and advanced beginners (6-12).
British Football Academy Tokyo
The British Football Academy in Tokyo (BFAT) was established to provide high quality English soccer instruction to kids in Tokyo. The Academy uses British-style coaching and soccer styles, and offers classes for those 3-15. Tiny tots learn just the basics, while those with competitive aspirations have the opportunity to join the FA Soccer Stars, a high performance class limited to just fourteen participants, where players hone their skills in six key areas of the game. BFAT also offers classes for women of all levels on Sunday afternoons.
The Honbu Dojo
This dojo offers classes in English, and for children, so it’s a great place to begin learning about this ballet-like martial art. The introductory class teaches 150 of the basic stances, and classes for children are held several times a week.
If your little one is constantly climbing on the furniture, they might just love rock climbing! Head to B-Pump 2 in Yokohama for a day of indoor bouldering. Bouldering is rock climbing at a height low enough to mean that harnesses and belay systems are unnecessary, cutting down on expense and training. B-Pump is open to kids and offers discounted rates for students. First-timers are welcomed on a walk-in basis, and are provided with equipment and instruction.
Krissman International Tennis School
With over 20 years of experience teaching kids, Krissman offers one of the largest youth tennis programs in Tokyo, with classes ranging from Little Tennis for those 3-7, an introductory class with small racquets and soft balls, to Advanced Players, which concentrates on game simulation drills, conditioning, footwork, and tournament-level play.
During the summer months, swimming can be a great respite from the oppressive Tokyo heat. There are dozens of pools across Tokyo, especially during July and August when the government opens some of the elementary school’s facilities up to the public. While many offer lessons for a reasonable price, they are predominantly in Japanese, so take that into account if you want to sign your child up. However, there’s nothing to stop you and your family from taking a dip in the local pool, check with your local ward office for information about the closest pool to you.
Meiji Jingu Skate Rink
Another way to cool off from the summer heat is a trip to the ice rink! There are several rinks open year round for open skating, including the Meiji Jinju Skate Rink, which is located near Sendagaya Station, and has English signs for the ticket machines, skate rentals, and annual memberships available.
Dust off your dancing shoes with former All-Ireland Medalist, Ruth, who holds Irish dancing classes open to anyone (kids and adults).