When I travel, the first thing I search for is a gym.
I noticed when I take a break from working out, I always come back home, fatter and sluggish. The good food and lack of exercise, seems to add about 10lbs of carb-heavy weight and it’s just not a good look.
In general, I don’t like traveling without working out.
I visited Fukuoka for Christmas, and it is a very nice town in the southern part of Japan.
Fukuoka is known for the best food in all of Japan. When you ask Japanese people, “What do you think of Fukuoka?” They will usually answer something about how they love the great food.
Yeah, if you travel here expect to be trying all kinds of food, like Motsunabe and ramen.
If you want to workout and train, I found a Golds Gym that is about 10 minutes by car, or 17 minutes walking from the Fukuoka airport.
If you are coming from Hakata station its about a 27 minute walk. Think of it as a nice warm-up.
The Golds Gym is located inside a Tsutaya and Starbucks building called, “コマーシャルモール” or “Hakata Commerical Mall.”
The building isn’t very big and you might think you’re in the wrong place. But on the 2nd floor of the building is a Golds Gym.
The gym has everything you could possibly need. At least 4 or 5 squat racks. Dumbbells. A yoga room for stretching or taking class. Treadmills. And every type of machine for every body part.
What to Bring
- Inside shoes (optional)
- 2,700 yen – 3,100 yen per day
Japanese gyms are different than American gyms. You will need to bring a pair of “inside” shoes. By that, I mean shoes that have never touched the outside pavement. This common among all gyms in Japan.
- Yes, they will freak out if they see you wearing your outside shoes when they are supposed to be inside shoes.
Luckily, if you don’t have any inside shoes, you can rent some at the counter from about 300 yen. This is very cheap. The shoes have a heel in them and are Adidas.
They look like they are made for running, so if you are planning on squatting with flat heel shoes you will definitely need to bring your own pair.
They also have rental towels, protein powders, supplements, and other stuff for sale I didn’t check out.
Gym hours are from 7am – 1am.
If you just want to hit the gym for a couple of days, then you will need to bring your passport each time and fill out the short form they give you. It takes no time at all.
After that they will give you a card for your locker and that’s about it.
If you’re visiting for the first time they will put a pink wristband around you. After the first day, they won’t put it on you.
One Day Pass
When you first get there, there will be a vending machine that spits out tickets. The one that costs 2,700 yen is the one you want. Since its all in Japanese, the staff will help you out in selecting the right button to press.
At this ticket vending machine is where you also buy your little ticket for rental shoes. Put about 300 yen in the machine and you’ve got a ticket for your rental shoes.
The shoe sizes are different than American sizes. A size 9 was a size 27 in Japan. But you should be able to figure it out.
Where To Eat Big
Lifting big means eating big.
Eating big in Japan is hard and expensive.
But when I lived there, I great success eating at Yoshinoya and Sukiya. Both places serve gyuudon which is just beef and rice. You can also order raw eggs to be put on top of your gyuudon. This is probably the cheapest way to get protein in Japan.
You can find a Yoshinoya or Sukiya anywhere in Japan. They are about as common as 7-11 and Lawson stores.
In addition, they also have protein powders for sale at the Golds Gym. I saw many for sale at the front counter.
The price is more than what you will pay in America.
Getting Back To The Stations
Getting to Tenjin station or Hakata station from Golds Gym, is tricky if you’re not familiar with riding the bus in Japan.
What I did was I asked the staff how to get back to Ohashi station by bus. They printed off a long complicated list that showed what bus to use and where to transfer.
In general, no matter which station you’re trying to get to, aim for the bus that takes you to Minami Honmachi and then from there you’re just a short walk from Zasshono Kuma Station.
You can easily get to Ohashi or Tenjin from Zasshono Kuma station.
Next to Hakata Commerical Mall there is a bus stop. Take bus 44 to Minami Honmachi. If you don’t know if you have the right bus just ask the the driver, “Minami Honmachi?” Everyone on the bus will stare at you like you’re a damn idiot, but the driver will shake his head and let you know.
From Minami Honmachi the Zasshono Kuma station is just a short walk. You can easily get to Tenjin station from there.
If you’re confused then I recommend using this site to navigate bus stops:
To use this site you will need to zoom in as far as you can go in order to reveal the bus stop markers to select. This is the site the Japanese staff used to help me find my way back to the stations.
Use this bus stop, which is right next to Hakata Commercial Mall, as a starting point:
The only bad thing about this gym is it’s not close to any stations. I actually walked from Ohashi station to there and took me about one hour.
From other Hakata Station it’s about 27 minutes by walking.
It’s for this reason that I recommend getting an international driving permit and just getting a rental car. Not only will you be able to get there faster, but you will be able to easily travel around Fukuoka and see all the sights with no hassle at all.
A rental car makes traveling around Fukuoka 100x times easier.
If I had to do it all again I would skip the buses and trains and just drive.