Outdoor swimming pools in Tokyo are sometimes the best way to beat the heat in summer. With this mini-guide, including everything from luxury to public options, your plans should be even easier to make, and you might just even avoid the crowds…
It’s on: summer is about to roll around, bringing with it incessant heat and humidity levels, and most of us are trapped in this concrete jungle we call Tokyo. Thankfully, we don’t need to go too far to cool down – many of us enjoy taking a dip into one of Tokyo’s numerous outdoor swimming pools and water parks at this time of year… Whether you’re looking for a place to splash around with the whole family or for a place to actually swim some laps or read a book in the sun, we have you covered.
Hotel New Otani
This urban ‘resort’ hotel is the perfect place to hit if you want to get tropical; the large outdoor pool looks right out of a brochure for a Tahiti advert.
The large body of water is surrounded by poolside palm trees and facilities such as private cottages, which can be reserved for the exclusive use of two people, and come complete with a sofa, bed and internet access. Trader Vic’s Outrigger offers terrace-based post-swim burgers. From mid-July until mid-September. Adults ¥5,000~25,000/Children ¥8,000-16,000 (see detailed rates)
4-1 Kioichi, Chiyoda-ku (Tel: 03-3265-1111)
Wadabori Outdoor Pool
The residential pool par excellence, Wadabori Pool, located a few minutes walk from Nishi-Eifuku station (Keio Inokashira Line) is the lesser-known option, and a favourite of locals. Located in the shade of rows of trees, adjacent to a stunning forested temple and Zenpukuji River, it feels far away from all the Tokyo hustle and bustle. Far from being fancy or modern, it’s the embodiment of the expression ‘community pool’. Don’t expect bikinis or beach buffs strutting about, or luxury showering facilities. From July 1 to September 10. Adults ¥400/Children ¥200 (for two hours)
2-2-10 Omiya, Suginami-Ku (Tel: 03-3313-4455)
Suginami City Website
Meguro Citizens Center Gymnasium Pool
This gorgeous 50 x 25 m pool and adjacent toddler pool is a prime city swimming spot. The outdoor pools here are part of a bigger complex that includes a range of facilities. Meguro Pool wins the vote for most conveniently located (a 12-min walk from Meguro station), and while it’s a prime spot for families with children, the weekends are populated with a young crowd, making it a top place for people-watching. Open July1 until September 10. Adults ¥200/Children ¥100/Toddler Pool ¥100 (for two hours)
2-4-36 Meguro, Meguro-ku (Tel: 03-3711-1139)
Meguro City Website (Japanese only)
Park Hyatt Tokyo Sky Pool
Undoubtedly the Rolls Royce of pools, you don’t know the true meaning of pool until you’ve navigated your way across Park Hyatt Tokyo member’s only 8 x 20 m sky pool, exclusive to staying guests and Club members. Located on the 47th floor of one of the city’s finest establishments, the giant wall-to-ceiling windows offer a grand view of Tokyo, and even snow-capped Mt. Fuji on a clear day. After a luxury swim or workout with a resident fitness trainer, you can enjoy drinks and light refreshments from the poolside menu.
3-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (Tel: 03-5323-3434 for membership details)
Aqua Field Pool
This large 50m outdoor pool has a stunning view of Tokyo Tower, as it’s located literally steps away from it. A large wide terrace (complete with chairs and tables to relax under the sun) gives an excellent view onto the lush Shiba Koen, which boasts Zozoji Temple. A few lanes are reserved for serious swimmers, and the rest of the pool is opened for playing around. The pool is surrounded with beautiful traditional aspects of our capital, and the space feels very open and large, especially for Tokyo. Open from July 1 until September 15. Adults ¥400/Children ¥200
Shiba-Koen 2-7-2, Minato-ku (Tel: 03-5733-0575)
Keio Plaza Hotel
Who would have thought taking a plunge in the middle of Shinjuku was possible? The outdoor pool of the Keio Plaza Hotel is located on the seventh floor of the building, and not only does it offer an impressive view of everything Shinjuku and skyscraper-related, but it’s also open to the public. You can even turn your swim into an event, complete with a meal – pick from a few different plans combining access to the pool and a meal. Open from June 23 until September 17. Different rates apply according to the time. Adults ¥4,000-¥7,000/Children ¥2,000-¥3,500
2-2-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (Tel: 03-3344-0111)
Perhaps the closest you can get to an actual water park without going out of Tokyo. Although the Toshimaen Amusement Park is not the most exciting around, its Hydropolis water park won’t disappoint. The large, family park is the perfect place to take the kids for a fun-filled day, as they won’t get tired of the networks of slippery slides, a surf pool, a lazy river, two wave pools, not to mention an Olympic-sized swimming pool that comes with three professional diving boards. There’s an onsen, too. From June 28 until September 7. Adults: ¥4,000/Children over 110cm tall: ¥3,000/under 110cm tall: ¥2,000.
3-25-1 Mukaiyama, Nerima-ku (Tel: 03-3990-8800)
Rainbow Pool and Water Playland (image via Showa Kinen Park)
Rainbow Pool at Showa Kinen Park
A hit with families every summer, Rainbow Pool is the biggest Waterpark in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, featuring 9 pools covering a staggering 63,000 square meters. With a lazy river, several slides and a wave pool, Rainbow Pool has plenty of exciting things to offer to escape the summer’s unbearable city heat. Conveniently located inside the enormous Showa Kinen Park, visitors may suntan anywhere in the park and re-enter the pool area as many times as they like within one day. Right next to Rainbow Pool you’ll also find a Waterplayland specifically made for small kids, ideal for a day out with the whole family. From July 14 until September 2. Adults ¥2,500/Elementary and Middle School Students ¥1,400/ Small Children ¥500
3-1-3173 Midoricho, Tachikawa (Tel: 042-528-1751)
Main Image: Ian Britton/Flickr