Basic rules at Tokyo pools

Tokyo has a lot of excellent public pools, and I plan to review a variety of them on this blog. If you’d like to swim in this city, here are three things you should assume:

1. When entering a Japanese locker room, as when entering a Japanese house, you are expected to take off your shoes.

2. When swimming in a public pool, you will almost certainly be required to wear a swim cap – even if you are bald.

3. Most pools exclude people who have visible tattoos. If this means you, then plan to wear your least revealing swimsuit, and cover up further with a T-shirt or even bandages if necessary.

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4 Responses to “Basic rules at Tokyo pools”

  1. Craig Says:

    They also often get a bit put-off by watches and jewelry being worn in the pool and often frown upon folks who bring their own equipment (pull buoys, kick boards, hand paddles, etc).

  2. Jim Stevens Says:

    Yup. No hand paddles. Apparently they are deemed to be dangerous to other swimmers.? I didn’t get it either.

  3. Ana Says:

    Hi Tom, Thank you for this blog. I will soon move to Tokyo for about 2 years and I would like to know whether it is possible/easy to find a masters swimming team that participates in master competitions and accepts foreigners (although I’ll try to improve my Japanese!)

    • tokyotombaker Says:

      Although I have no direct experience with Masters Swimming in Japan, I’d be very surprised if there were any teams that reject foreigners per se. However, there probably are many teams for which lack of Japanese language ability would be a serious impediment. Hopefully, someone who sees this message will know more than I do. Meanwhile, you can check out their website (in Japanese) here: (Sorry for the slow reply.)

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