is Japan’s national sport and the 6 annual 15-day
tournaments generate huge interest throughout the country. The January,
May and September tournaments take place in Tokyo. Tickets are available
for purchased at the venue, the Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium,
1–3–28 Yokoami, Sumida-ku (tel: (03) 5237 9310).
Even greater passion and loyalty is aroused by baseball
(yakyu or besubaru). Many of Japan’s 12 professional
teams are based in Tokyo and games always attract huge crowds. Among
the best places to see a game is Tokyo
Dome, 1–3 Koraku, Bunkyo Ku (tel: (03) 5800 9999), home
to Japan’s favourite team, the Yomiuri Giants.
After Japan’s successful co-hosting of the World Cup 2002,
football (sakka) is more popular
than ever. Japan’s professional J-League
consists of 12 teams and games are played regularly at Tokyo
Dome (see above) or the National Stadium,
Kokuritsu Kyogijo (tel: (03) 3403 1151).
Tokyo has 2 horse racing (keiba)
tracks, the Tokyo Keibajo (tel: (0423) 633 141)
and the Oi Keibajo (tel: (03) 3763 2151), with
races usually held on weekends.
(tel: (03) 5237 9999 for English-language telephone booking) and
Lawson Ticket (tel: (03) 5537 9999) are the major
ticket agencies, with outlets throughout the city. Events are usually
sold out and bookings should be made well in advance.
The Clark Hatch
Fitness Center, Azabu Towers, 2–1–3 Azabudai Minato-ku
(tel: (03) 3584 4092), offers day membership and the major hotels
almost all contain fully equipped fitness centres.
The Hotel Nikko Tokyo’s Bayside Spa ‘Zen’,
1–9–1 Daiba, Minato-ku (tel: (03) 5500 5500), and Park
Hyatt’s high rise Club on the Park, 3–7–1–2
Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (tel: (03) 5322 1234), both are worthy
of a special mention.
Japan is a golf-crazy country and, while Tokyo
enjoys more than 500 driving ranges (often located
on rooftops), enthusiasts should be prepared to travel to golf courses.
Fees are high and weekends can be extremely busy.
The Sakawa Royal Golf Club, Kanagawa Prefecture
(tel: (0465) 772 226; fax: (0465) 772 632), located 2 hours by train
west of Tokyo, boasts views of Mount Fuji. Non-members are allowed
to play on weekdays and on weekends outside peak season.
Monarch Country Club, 856–2 Yanoshiroji Yasurozawa Kimitsu,
Chiba (tel: (0439) 293 101; fax: (0439) 293 399) allows non-members
at all times. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the course is located 90
minutes by train southeast of Tokyo. Course fees are from
Most golf courses are closed on Monday. The Tokyo
Golf Course Guide provides additional information.
Tokyo’s parks are very popular with joggers. A favourite is
Yoyogi Park, easily accessible via Harajuku Station
on the JR Yamanote loop line or Meiji-jingumae Station on the Chiyoda
underground line. The outer moat of the Imperial Palace
provides a beautiful jogging route but runners here could
suffer from car fumes.
The Hibiya-koen tennis courts (tel: (03) 3501 6428)
are centrally situated in Hibiya Park, near Ginza.
They are open 09:00–21:00 daily and fees
are ¥3000–4000 per hour per court. Membership
registration is necessary but can be acquired free of charge. Court
reservations should be made well beforehand. There is a website
that provides information on additional places to play.