Alternative Fitness Options in Nagoya

ByBert Wishart
Dec 27, 2023

Alternative Fitness Options in Nagoya

So, over the holidays, you indulged until you were fit to burst. We’ve all been there. But now you’ve noticed that you’ve put on a few pounds and can shake your belly like a bowl full of jelly, and you are well aware that it is no longer the season for that. Well, the first part of the cure is recognizing that you’ve got a problem, so well done for that. Next, it’s doing something about it; you’ve got to get in shape. However, you find gyms filled with monotony, doing laps in a cold pool uninviting, and the mere thought of running in circles around some park gets you dizzy.

No, you need something different, an alternative exercise plan. Well, why not check out a few of these ideas?


I’m sure that you know the joke: “How can you tell if someone does CrossFit? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” And while there is some truth behind it, it’s because devotees see results and want to share the love. A fitness regime that involves varied functional movements performed at high intensity, CrossFit incorporates elements from high-intensity interval training, weightlifting, calisthenics, and other exercises, preparing its trainees for any physical contingency.

CrossFit Hayate in Nakagawa Ward has classes of up to eight – which means that you will always have someone to work with without getting lost in the crowd. They also encourage making friends within the group, which is excellent for motivation and encouragement, so you won’t be tempted to slack off!

Where: Nagoya, Nakagawa Ward, Taiheitori, 5 Chome− 43−2 Heat 23 Nakagawa (map)


Want to improve all-over body strength without bulking up so much that your suits no longer fit? Then perhaps bouldering is the perfect fit for you. After being included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, this sport – in which competitors climb indoor rock faces – has seen a huge boom in Japan, making stars of Akiyo NoguchiMiwa Oba and Risa Ota. And don’t let their resemblance to pop idols fool you, these women, able to perform pull-ups with just index fingers, are rock hard.

Thumbs Up is the main bouldering gym in Nagoya, and as far as I can tell, it’s the longest running. Over in Kamimaezu, it is particularly foreigner friendly (it advertised with NAGMAG some years ago and has an English language website) and is welcoming for all levels.

Where: Naka Ward, Fujimicho, 8−8 OMC Building (map)


Ever since Daniel-san used the crane kick to take out Johnny from the Cobra Kai (younger readers, ask your parents), the western world has seen karate as a powerful, combative martial art. However, in Japan, while there is an element of competitive fighting, it is seen much more of an art form, where the adherence to positioning and detail outweighs how hard you can punch.

But that’s not to say that it’s not a great workout – because, with the right sensei pushing you, it can be great for your cardio as well as massively improving your strength and flexibility. There are many karate dojos around Nagoya; however Kyokushin is perhaps the most popular with branches everywhere, and some of them offer lessons in English.

Where: All around the city.
Website: See the ever excellent to find one that suits you.

Hot Yoga

If you’ve watched the Netflix movie about Bikram Choudhury, the infamous creator of Bikram Yoga, you may have something of a poor impression of hot yoga. However, don’t let that deter you because all of the people in that movie were either slim, ripped, super flexible or a combination of all three.

Performing yoga in sweltering temperatures means that you sweat, sweat, sweat, but also means that your body is more pliable, with the advantage that you can contort your body into positions that you would never have dreamed of. There are a couple of places around town, and Hot Yoga Loive (sic. I’m not entirely sure how you say it) is conveniently close to Nagoya Station.

Where: Nakamura Ward, Meieki, 4 Chome−26−7 UF Building 3F (map)

Muay Thai Kickboxing

When backpacking through Asia, I arrived in Bangkok and came across a Muay Thai gym near my hotel. I used to stand and watch them for ages, just training. They put in so much effort, working hard, and were fit as particularly ripped butcher’s dogs.

With a bit of effort, you could be the same after joining King Muay kickboxing gym in either Sakae or the Nagoya Station area. There are three kinds of class, beginner’s elementary and advanced, where you will learn a variety of moves, attacks, and defense. There are kids classes, adult classes, and a ‘Girls Class’ that is more like ‘boxercise’ than actual kickboxing.

Where: Naka-ku, Nishiki 3-chome 14-20 Yamatake Building 4F (map)


A friend of mine recently joined a spinning class, and our mutual friend mocked him for it being a bit ‘girly.’ And while there is nothing wrong with that, as someone who generally rides more than 250 km per week, I can tell you that there is nothing lightweight about spinning.

Combining elements of both aerobic exercise and muscle training to enable efficient fat burning on an exercise bike, your instructor will push you to go harder, faster, and burn those calories until you are panting and exhausted. At Feelcycle, the intensity is upped by the pumping music, flashing disco lights, and the collective group, leading to an approximate 800 calorie burn in 45 minutes. Not so ‘girly’ after all!

Where: Nagoya Mitsui Building B1F 1-24-20, Minamieki, Nakamura-ku (map)

Image: By Bert Wishart [own work]
Image: by Miss Anna Lynn Martino via [CC BY-NC 2.0] – modified
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About the author

Bert Wishart editor

Novelist, copywriter and graduate from the most prestigious university in Sunderland, Bert whiles away his precious time on this Earth by writing about popular culture, travel, food and pretty much anything else that is likely to win him the Pulitzer he desperately craves.