Japan can seem pretty mysterious – what will it be like to live there? Especially in a more rural area like Iwate? Well, your auntie AAA is here to answer your burning questions about living in the area. (Send your questions to @IwateILC on Twitter!)

Ryan Bodenstein (@evenkolder) asks:

Are gyms common in Japan? If not, what do the Japanese do to stay fit?

The Japanese are seen as some of the healthiest people in the world, perhaps because of a mix of genetics, physical activity, and a traditional diet rich in fish and vegetables. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the country is full of gym rats. In fact, in 2016, only 3.3% of the population had a gym membership, versus the USA with 17.6% and the UK with 14.3% (Source). I’ll give it to you straight: you’re not going to find a 24-hour fitness club on every street corner here in Japan.

But there are gyms in every city and even in small towns and villages! If you know the kanji of the place that you live, you can use sites like Asreet to search for gyms near you. There’s recently been a boom of ladies gyms like Curves, and these sites also list things like dance classes, yoga studios, and martial arts dojos.

A fitness training room at the Kitakami public gymnasium

Places without private-sector gyms may still have government-subsidized community fitness centers that you can get in for a reasonable price. These places vary – some may just be a small fitness room with running machines and free weights, and some are more oriented to fitness classes. But these are a great place to meet others who live in the same community! Here’s a list of Iwate community clubs. You can also search on Google for 総合体育館 (sougou taiikukan) plus the name of your town – this should show you the public gym if there is one.

Oshu City Gym (Z-arena)

I find that not all gyms show up online though. The best way to find a gym that fits your lifestyle is to explore the area where you live, and ask around. I remember when I first moved to Iwate and was searching for a gym to use in the winter, because Auntie AAA is not going to risk a broken leg on slippery ice. There was a pricey gym by the station that I was thinking about, but it required membership fees and I only wanted to use it for like, three months max. Well, I asked around and it turns out that a 10 minute bus ride would bring me to the Morioka City Gym that only costs 400 yen to get in. It’s a humble facility, but it has running machines, strength-training equipment, and a huge gymnasium – perfect for me. I just didn’t know where to look!

Here’s a simple way to ask:

Japanese Reading English
この近くにジムがありますか。 Kono chikaku ni jimu ga arimasu ka? Are there any gyms around here?

I’ve compiled a list of gyms and fitness clubs in Oshu and Ichinoseki, the cities closest to the candidate site for the ILC, which you can find below.

I’ll just add a final note: there are plenty of ways people stay fit in Japan without going to fitness gyms – too many to list here! With its clean air and beautiful scenery, Iwate is a fantastic place to go running, and there’s also lots of places to hike and bike. We’re also enjoying a boom in rock climbing, having just hosted the Combined Japan Cup in Morioka on June 23, 2018. Iwate also hosted to the National Sports Festival in 2016, which is basically Japan’s domestic version of the Olympics. Sports and fitness is important to Iwate, and we hope to carry that on into the future!

Gyms near the Kitakami site for the ILC (as of June 2018)

*These are just gyms with workout equipment, and not a complete list.

 Oshu City

Name Kanji Area Google Map
Mizusawa Sports Club 水沢スポーツクラブ Mizusawa Click
Curves Mizusawa Maple カーブス水沢メイプル Mizusawa Click
FITS ME Iwate-Oshu Branch フィッツミー岩手奥州店 Mizusawa Click
Z-Arena (Oshu City Gym) 奥州市総合体育館Zアリーナ Mizusawa Click
Esashi Central Gym 江刺中央体育館 Esashi Click
Esashi Clean Park えさしクリーンパーク Esashi Click

Ichinoseki City

Name Kanji Area Google Map
Curves Aeon Ichinoseki カーブスイオン一関 Kozenji Click
Sports Academy Ichinoseki スポーツアカデミー 一関 Otemachi Click
Top Wellness Ichinoseki トップウェルネス一関 Jishumachi Click
Udome (Ichinoseki City Gym) 一関市総合体育館 ユードーム Kozenji Click
Higashiyama Gym 東山総合体育館 Higashiyama Click
Fujisawa B&G Marine Center 藤沢B&G海洋センター Fujisawa Click



海外から見ると、日本での暮らしって、なかなか想像できませんね。特に、岩手をはじめ地方での暮らしはよく分からないという声が少なくありません。さて、そんな人を安心させるために、AAAお姉さんが登場!日本及び岩手での暮らしについて何でも答えます。(質問をいつでも @IwateILC にツイートしてください!)

Ryan Bodensteinさん (@evenkolder) から次の質問をいただきました。





かな)Kono chikaku ni jimu ga arimasu ka?
英語)Are there any gyms around here?





Mizusawa Sports Club 水沢スポーツクラブ

Curves Mizusawa Maple カーブス水沢メイプル

FITS ME Iwate-Oshu Branch フィッツミー岩手奥州店

Z-Arena (Oshu City Gym) 奥州市総合体育館Zアリーナ

Esashi Central Gym 江刺中央体育館


Curves Aeon Ichinoseki カーブスイオン一関

Sports Academy Ichinoseki スポーツアカデミー 一関

Top Wellness Ichinoseki トップウェルネス一関

Udome (Ichinoseki City Gym) 一関市総合体育館 ユードーム

Higashiyama Gym 東山総合体育館

Fujisawa B&G Marine Center 藤沢B&G海洋センター