HOW TO: Find a recreational pool or water park in Japan

In light of setsuden (reduced electricity usage) this year in response to the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region and the crisis at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, residents and businesses in Japan, in particular those in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, are being called on to reduce energy consumption to avoid blackouts this summer. This is a somewhat difficult call as the temperatures rise and many folks are desperate to turn up the air conditioning (and a lot of people need it, for health reasons).

So how else can we keep cool? I recently wrote about the “cool air fan”, or 冷風扇, but I also stumbled across a nifty website that allows you to look up recreational pools (or "leisure" pools, as they are referred to in Japanese) and water parks all over Japan - perfect for those hot, sunny days when it’s unbearable to stay indoors with no or little a/c.

The pools listed on this site aren’t typically municipal pools, though, and many municipal pools have water slides, outdoor pools, etc. You can search for these by checking out your city’s website (though probably have to search in Japanese) or search on Google maps (using プール as the keyword in your desired location).

You can find the pools featured on this site using the above options as well, but I found this site to be an easier way to find multiple pools in a larger area (such as a prefecture) at one time.

So if you’re looking for a place to cool off, perhaps ride some water slides, or float along in a lazy river pool, read on.

Some words to know:

プール                                                               pu-ru                    pool
レジャープール                                                 rejaa pu-ru           "leisure" pool
リゾート                                                         rizo-to                  resort
ウォーターパーク                                             uo-ta-pa-ku          water park
幼児プール                ようじプール                youji pu-ru            infant pool
児童プール                じどうプール                jidou pu-ru           children's pool
ちびっこプール                                                chibikko pu-ru       small children's pool
流水プール                りゅうすいプール           ryusui pu-ru          river pool (running water)
徒渉プール                としょうプール               toshou pu-ru        walking/wading pool
造波プール                ぞうなみプール               zounami pu-ru      wave pool
ウォータースライダー                                      uo-ta-suraida-      water slide (also seen as スライダー)
屋内                           おくない                         okunai                  indoor
屋外                           おくがい                         okugai                  outdoor
水深                           すいしん                       suishin                 water depth
ロッカー                                                           rokka                    locker

How to find a recreational pool or water park in Japan

1. Go to, and scroll down to 全国レジャープールガイド.

There are other sites that you can use, too, of course, such as Mapple. There are some options on that one I didn't see on the CityDo site.

2. Choose your desired prefecture or region from the rainbow-colored list.

3. The next page will show a list of pools and/or water parks in that area. In the photo below, I chose Shizuoka, and these were the results. Click on any pool name to view more info for that particular place.

4. When you click on a pool name, a page comes up with all relevant info about the pool. I've labeled various parts below with the English translations.

The first section indicates some important features about the pool, such as if it has a water slide, an infant pool, a spa or onsen, indoor and/or outdoor pools, and if it's open after 6pm.

The next section indicates when the pool is open during the year (month/day to month/day), business days/hours, business holidays (if there are any), and fees.

After that, you'll find some brief info about the pool (the blue box and the white box with a blue bar). The white box with the blue bar talks about what "type" of pool it is, and what features it has (i.e. what type of pools).

Finally, the last box provides contact and access information, and whether the pool has parking or not.

That's it. If you have trouble with the Japanese, remember you can use a browser tool like Google translate or translation tool of choice, or Rikaikun for Chrome or Rikaichan for Firefox.

To figure out how to get to the pool you can easily copy and paste the address into Google maps.

If you know of any great water parks or "leisure" pools in your area, or other ways to find them, feel free to share in the comments!

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