Post: Tuesday January 17, 2017
Been missing your pitching wedge? Wondering what the links are like in Japan? Hoping that tee time is still an option in your new Tokyo home? If so, we’ve got some ideas for you. You may know the reputation of golf in Japan – that it’s very exclusive and very expensive. Fortunately, Tokyo golf options actually run the gamut. There are a number of courses accessible from the city that allow non-club visitors, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to play for a day or weekend trip. There are also numerous driving ranges and golf practice grounds where you can brush up on your swing. Once you’ve decided on a course to visit, make sure you plan ahead: Single players are not allowed on Japanese courses, so always go with at least one other person. And if you intend to rent clubs and shoes, call ahead to confirm availability as many Japanese players bring their own. Now let’s get into some specifics of the Tokyo golf scene.
3 Near-Tokyo Golf Courses to Put on your Bucket List
Image Source: wpgcc.com
The Windsor Park Golf and Country Club in Ibaraki Prefecture is the least expensive of the three but every bit as classy. It’s an hour’s drive up the Joban Expressway from Tokyo and is maintained to international standards with a backdrop of beautiful rolling hills. The 18-hole course is par 72 and will challenge novices and pros alike, and if you want to stick around after a day on the green you can enjoy a delicious meal and a comfortable night’s rest in their accommodation.
Image Source: gotembagolf.com
The Gotemba Golf Club is located in Shizuoka Prefecture and boasts some beautiful views of classic Japanese scenery including Mt Fuji and the Pacific Ocean. A par 72 hillside course with plenty of challenges, it’s worth the roughly hour-and-and-half trip from Tokyo. The Gotemba Kogen Resort is nearby and offers accommodation for those looking to make the outing into a weekend trip.
Image Source: Kagayagolf.com
The Aqualine Golf Club in Chiba Prefecture was designed by renowned course architect Shunsuke Kato and is the most accessible from Tokyo – an easy drive through the Tokyo Bay Aqualine Tunnel. The 17th and 18th holes are renowned for their challenging bunkers and water hazards so be cautious on the back half. The facilities offer some great relaxation too, with onsen-like baths, massage chairs, and a seasonal menu in the restaurant.
Golf in Tokyo with Simulator Lounges
Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson on flickr
When you don’t have time for a day out, or want to practice your swing in a relaxed setting, there are a number of simulator lounges that allow you to enjoy realistic golf in Tokyo proper itself.
The Tokyo American Club in Minato Ward is a private club, but if you’re a golfer, it might be worth joining for their two cutting-edge golf simulators that feature high-definition imagery of some of the world’s top golf courses. Beyond being a great spot for golf in Tokyo, the fact that they offer food-and-drink packages makes this club great for social and corporate parties; you can also get in on group trips to outdoor golf courses in Japan and overseas, or take lessons with a professional.
At Ginza Koso you can move from the fine raw-beef-sushi restaurant and softly lit karaoke lounges to a virtual golf reality in their simulator, a paragon of the Tokyo golf experience. Choosing from 56 world-famous courses and various scenarios, the simulator uses original technology to duplicate the feeling of playing on a real course. Foreigner friendly, this sophisticated setting is a great place to take friends or colleagues, or just practice your swing out of the weather.
In addition to featuring simulations of several renowned courses in various simulator rooms (including a VIP room), Kojimachi Golf also offers an extensive array of golf lessons by a highly experienced coach, including one for beginners. Whether you play for 2 hours or 30 minutes, they allow you to schedule around your busy city life. When you’re done teeing off, head over to Cafe Bo-log’ne, an atmospheric space where you can reflect on your game over a number of inexpensive dishes and partake in a diverse drink menu, which even has an all-you-can-drink option.
Driving Ranges in Tokyo
To increase your Tokyo golf options further there’s a plethora of driving ranges throughout the city, such as the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center named for the great golfer himself, Meguro Golf Driving Range, BoxGolf, Meiji-jingu Gaien, and Tokyo Jumbo Golf Center, where the range is 250 yards. You can find driving ranges in all kinds of places in Tokyo, even on rooftops and in an Akihabara shopping mall.
Head over to Shinjuku for Equipment and Apparel
Photo by ys* on flickr
Golf in Tokyo, as everywhere, does require the proper equipment. When it’s time to get kitted out with a new pair of shoes or set of irons, there are some great places in Shinjuku that offer a wide variety of everything you might need.
Festival Golf is a chain of golf stores offering second-hand and discount clubs from a variety of manufacturers. If you’re looking to save a little money but still want high quality, gently used clubs, this is the spot for you. There’s a branch in the basement of Shinjuku Center Building just west of Shinjuku Station.
Victoria Golf, another chain of golf stores around Japan, boasts a nine-story golf shopping paradise just outside the Shin-Minami exit of Shinjuku Station. They have everything from clubs to shoes to apparel for both men and women, so you can be sure to find what you need here.
Tokyo Golf Options are Plentiful
Photo by jmettraux on flickr
You may not have expected to maintain your game in Japan’s crowded modern capital, but as you can see, there are plenty of Tokyo golf options and no reason to let your swing get rusty. And if golf is not your only sporting interest, there are various opportunities for many different sports in this city. So whether it’s Japanese golf or something new, why not give it a shot?
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