Top Rock Climbing Spots in Tokyo

Up, Up, Up The Wall

By Sandra Barron
July 31, 2016
Health & Beauty

Looking for a sport that demands great clothes, perfect shoes and just the right manicure? Rock climbing could be just the thing for you. Of course, the perfect shoes are ultra-snug rubber flats, and the right fingernails can best be achieved with heavy-duty nail clippers. There are plenty of cute climbing clothes, though—think yoga wear with a little attitude. Laced in and filed down? Great! Climbing sharpens concentration skills and strengthens just about every muscle in your body. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be feeling your workout for days in muscles you didn’t know you had.

Tokyo has been enjoying an indoor climbing boom over the past few years, so there are plenty of places to try. Unlike many yoga studios, climbing gyms usually require a one-time sign-up fee but no annual membership. One-day passes cost between ¥1,500 and ¥2,100 (weekends tend to be more expensive), and there is always a discount for buying a multi-use pass. All places offer shoe rental, usually for about ¥300.

Here are a few of the places I like to climb—there are dozens more to discover throughout Tokyo.

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B-Pump in Akihabara

Like its counterpart in Ogikubo and Yokohama, B-Pump in Akihabara has nice, fresh locker rooms and a few friendly amenities thrown in. With three floors of walls, there are difficulty levels for everyone. The third floor features neon-lit “space bouldering,” which is as fun as it is ridiculous. There are classes throughout the week for all levels for no additional charge. On Friday evenings, climbing champ Kyoro-sensei teaches a women-only “Ladies’ Dojo.”

This B-Pump also has an extensive shop, including pink, sequined chalk bags that any thick-lashed Shibuya gal would be proud to dangle off her hip, as well as all the serious gear you need.

Address:  1-1-8 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6206-9189
Open: Mon-Fri 12-11 pm; Sat & hols 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Miyashita Park

The climbing wall at Miyashita Park has the best view and the greatest climbing bargain in Tokyo. This outdoor park, part of a complex that also includes a skatepark and futsal court, is sponsored by Nike and costs only ¥350  to climb for two hours. There’s a bouldering wall and a taller top-rope wall that gives unique city views from the top. The downside? It’s very small, and they only let in eight people at a time. If you can make it on a weekday afternoon or morning, though, it’s an unusual chance to get in some outdoor climbing in the heart of the city.

Address: 6-20-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3498-6231
Open: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

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Peki-Peki

If you get to Miyashita and find a waiting list, or if you don’t fancy climbing in the heat (or the cold, or the rain), pop across Meiji-dori to Peki Peki. This place is definitely small compared to other gyms, but the walls it has offer a good workout. The staff is friendly, too, and there are often mini-campaigns where they give out free sports drinks or bananas or hard-boiled eggs. The gym has a third floor with a children’s wall (we won’t tell anyone if you practice there) and a lounge with vending machines, magazines, and a few tables and chairs inside and on a quiet balcony. The gym has a ladies’ day discount (only ¥1,500) on Mondays and it also offers a free walk-in introductory lesson every Tuesday from 7 p.m. for anyone’s first time.

Address: 6-19-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5778-0247
Hours: Mon-Fri 12-11 p.m.; Sat, Sun and hols 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

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T-Wall in Edogawabashi and Kinshicho

A little grittier than the B-Pumps, the T-Walls have one thing many other Tokyo bouldering gyms don’t: height. These cavernous gyms in Edogawabashi and Kinshicho have two- and three-story top-rope walls. In Japan, it seems top-roping is favored by older people and bouldering is for the kids. Personally, I feel safer top roping, even though it’s (much) higher. All gyms will run a free class teaching you to use the belaying equipment and make sure you know what you’re doing before you hoist your partner 30 feet in the air. T-Wall has a vertiginous free-climbing wall, too, where you attach the rope to the wall as you ascend.

The changing rooms are no-frills but serviceable. Both sites have a basic selection of clothes, gear, and climbing books and DVDs for sale.

Edogawabashi

Address: 2-5-23 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5802-2273
Hours: Mon-Fri 1-10 p.m.; Sat, Sun and hols 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Kinshicho

Address: 2-10-12 Mouri, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3634-0730
Hours: Mon-Fri 1-10 p.m.; Sat, Sun and hols 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Climbing by Alex Indigo

Take it Outside

Many outdoor climbing and bouldering sites are within a two-hour train ride from Tokyo. Look for fellow riders lugging gigantic crash pads, and you’ll know you’re headed in the right direction. The website and app Everytrail has detailed information in English about the many climbing spots surrounding Tokyo. It features photos and in-depth descriptions of locations from climbers with personal updates on the conditions.

If you’re not ready to head out on your own, Adventure Seekers runs guided rock climbing trips throughout Japan and internationally as well.

Photos by B-Pump, Peki-Peki, T-Wall, Jenny Silver and Alex Indigo.