This post is not so directly related to the holiday but it took place in Tokyo anyhow. I believe most people who read this are gonna go “What? Are you crazy or just pure obsessed?” I know that most people, when it comes to vacations, means taking a break from everything about daily normal routine life, which includes work, maybe family or commitments, and as well exercise. We often decide that when we want to rest we go all out, enjoy whatever we can of the place we visit, sights, shopping and of course, the food, and exercise takes a back seat. I do that too, but Tokyo is some place where I have visited often in the last few years. In fact, I think I have not really gone a year without visiting Tokyo, or at least some city in Japan. There are many places yet unexplored in Tokyo, and definitely the rest of Japan (like Hokkaido that I really want to visit soon one day), but I just like Tokyo a lot to keep going back, even if it means I am not having any planned itinerary of what my holiday is. To me, going on holiday means relaxing myself in a place other than Singapore (or rather going to some place that I really love and enjoy), and it doesn’t have to come power-packed with activities like sight-seeing or the likes.
Since it was a trip that I took at a leisurely pace, I thought it would be a great idea to check out Bikram Yoga in Tokyo since I picked this up recently. There isn’t a gym in the hotel otherwise I might have been tempted to just head to the gym and pound on the treadmill, but I have been experiencing some pain in my left hip so I had decided to keep my trainers for the time being. It would definitely be more convenient if it’s just going to the gym because going to yoga means I have to bring along with me shower stuff and all the rest of the works, outside of the hotel to the studio, which frequently means a huge bag of toiletries. Fortunately, the Bikram Yoga studio in Shinjuku was located fairly near my hotel, about 10 minutes’ walk away.
I first went to look for it one morning before I met my friends R and G for breakfast, but they weren’t open yet (the Shinjuku branch opens from 10:00am), so I went back in the evening and got their schedule, which is also available on their website. Within Tokyo, there are six outlets but this location worked the best for me although in terms of timings it isn’t. Nevertheless since I am on holiday, I could work the Bikram classes around my activities.
I dropped in for a class on a weekday morning, and it costs 3,000 yen per class (includes towel mat), which works out to be about S$40. It is not cheap I would agree, but in Singapore that is perhaps also the kind of rates we are talking about for a one-time class I think, or at least from what I recalled what a friend told me in the past, several years ago. I paid an additional 150 yen for rental of a set of bath and face towels, but you could bring them yourself (maybe from the hotel) if you want. I didn’t want the hassle of bringing additional weight of towels so I paid the 150 yen. This is one row of the lockers, where the lock and key are provided.
And this is how the locker looks like. Pretty compact but I was surprised I could fit everything in, my huge bag plus the carry-all I brought along for the gear and my toiletries, the bath towel, coat and the layers of clothing I had.
The dresser; I like that they are so thoughtful to provide cotton squares with make-up remover for us! Wished they would do this in Singapore but I’m pretty sure us Singaporeans will just abuse and maybe bring such things home. Besides, in terms of the membership base, as this is a one-studio place, at any one time there are not as many yogis so the place doesn’t become packed and crowded.
And the shower cubicles. Again as you can see, everything is neat and compact, and this is about 10 shower stalls we see. The shower cubicle isn’t big or roomy but it sufficed for me. What I really am impressed with is that the cubicles are all very clean, and the flooring used in the stall is of some material that dries really fast because after I showered and towel-dried myself, the floor is almost already dry.
The Shinjuku studio is relatively new, from what I read from the website so that probably also explains its cleanliness and maintenance. When I compare it with the state of (dis)repair of the studio that I go to in Singapore, the latter really pales in comparison. Of course, our facilities are all heavily used and abused, so it is tough to maintain it well and also many members are not civic-minded and considerate enough to help upkeep the place. I really enjoyed the experience I had despite the price I had to pay for the three sessions I attended. Maybe in future when I return to Tokyo I will check out the other outlets to see if they also offer the same kind of good experience and facilities, or if they will also suffer from the same problems once the studios entertain high numbers of practitioners. Even when I went for a 8:45pm class one night, as the 7pm class was emptying out, it wasn’t that packed, not like we are used to seeing in our own Bikram yoga studios.
I didn’t manage to take any photos of the studio itself as there was a class going-on and on another occasion the lights were already off. Besides, I don’t know if photos are allowed since I didn’t ask… so if the above pictures are not allowed and someone from Bikram Japan wants me to take them down, please let me know! I took care to snap the photos only when everyone left the locker room in order not to risk snapping anyone in the buff.