Summer is upon us, and pool season is underway! Our summer guide features the most amazing water parks in Tokyo. Most of them have multiple pools, artificial waves, obstacle courses and many more attractions!
Space in central Tokyo is at a premium, so you'll find that many of the parks are on the outskirts. With an express train, however, you can reach most of these places in less than an hour, and the trip will definitely be worth it!
If you'd rather stay central, check out some hotels that open their pools to the public, but if you prefer the ocean, there are plenty of beaches around Tokyo to enjoy the waves!
Keep in mind that most water amusement parks have a strict policy against tattoos, and customers with visible tattoos will most likely be denied admission and/or asked to leave.
Tokyo Summerland: One of the largest water parks in Japan featuring a massive indoor wave pool. The outdoor section has several of pools with attractions like the monkey obstacle course and slides. There are also theme park rides, a golf course and more. Be warned that it can get crowded during peak times.
Toshimaen (Nerima): Six amazing pools and water slides, one of which is 350 meters long! Pools with waves, lazy rivers, racing tracks and more are some of the attractions. A combination ticket gives access to all the rides at the amusement park as well.
Water Amusement Island (Yomiuri Land) is part of the Yomiuri Land amusement park, and features an amazing array of pools, slides, artificial waves and an artificial beach. One of the pools is decorated with the figures of Anpan-man, while you can practice your diving skills at the diving pool. There are tickets only for the pool area, and tickets that include unlimited rides in the amusement park.
Rainbow Pool - Showa kinen park : An amazing nine pools, featuring small waves, water slides, lazy rivers and cute cartoon decorations. They have a sunset ticket starting at 2pm that is half price.
Seibu Yuenchi (Saitama): A big wave pool, several water slides and more at the Seibu Yuenchi amusement park. A special ticket gives unlimited access to the pool and rides. During 2010, they are running a special offer during their first weekend open -- half price tickets when purchased in combination with the rest of the park! (July 10 and 11).
Inage Kaihin Park Pool (Chiba): Located in Chiba, not too far from central Tokyo, this park features 13 pools. Waves, slides, racing pools and more. Be warned that it can become quite crowded during peak times. Cheaper than some of the bigger amusement parks.
Kawagoe Aquatic Park (Saitama): This water park has plenty of attractions, and can rival some of the bigger water amusement parks, but it is much easier on the wallet. There are several kinds of water slides, a wave pool, and diving spots. The wave pool is gentle for the most part, but for ten minutes of every hour it creates 2-meter ripples.
Edogawa Pool Garden (Edogawa): Not as many amenities as the other parks, but the prices are friendly at the Edogawa Pool Garden; adults get in for 500 yen! Five pools, a lazy river, two small slides and a big tent in the middle to protect yourself from the sun.
Kyodo no Mori pool (Kichioji): A public pool run by the city of Chofu with extremely friendly prices. Four pools and two small slides.
Komazawa Olympic Park Outdoor Pool (Kichioji): Located near Jiyugaoka, and within an easy ride from Shibuya, Komazawa park has an Olympic-size pool with a friendly admission fee.
Summer pools in central Tokyo are few and far between, but a few hotels have day-pass tickets with which you can enter their facilities.
Prince Hotel Tokyo (Roppongi): Enjoy the pool of the Prince hotel with a view of Tokyo tower. You can buy a season pass for unlimited access.
ANA Intercontinental Hotel (Roppongi): Located in the heart of Roppongi, have fun at the Garden Pool of the Intercontinental hotel. A snack bar will keep you happy, while kids can enjoy the children's pool.
Even though Tokyo is located on the waterfront, you'll have to travel outside the city to find nice beaches.
Shonan / Kamakura: The most accessible beaches from Tokyo are in Shonan. They are famous for surfing, but during July and August the more popular beaches are off-limits to sufers and swimmers can enjoy the waves. The most famous beach is Enoshima, which is easily accessed with the Odakyu line to Enoshima station. Another popular beach is Kamakura, which is within walking distance of kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka line. Zushi is on the same line as well and a popular beach. If you want to surf, Shichirigahama on the Enoshima Electric Railway is a popular spot. The Enoshima Electric Railway connects Enoshima with Kamakura and traverses the shore. There are plenty of beaches in the area, but be careful because some of them have strong waves.
Inage Beach (Chiba): The same park that runs the Inage Kaihin Park Pool runs the beach as well. It's open between 9am-5pm, and you can rent parasols and chairs at the park. See the listing for directions.
99 beaches (Chiba):Chiba is known for beaches, and the 99 area is the most famous. The Sobu Main Line (Sobu-honsen), the Sotobo line and the Togane line traverse the coast, but they're a bit removed so you'll have to take a bus from the station to the beach in most places. One of the most popular beaches, with white sand and gentle waves, is Katakai. The Kujukuri-tetsudo bus line runs a service between Togane station and the beach. Busses leave approximately once every hour, and the beach is a five minute walk from the Nishinoshita stop. Another popular beach with emerald waters and safe for kids is Moriya. The beach is located an eight minute walk from Kazusa-Okitsu station on the JR Sotobo Line.
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