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Motomachi Swimming Pool, Yokohama

Oasis in humid summer season in Yamate

Motomachi swimming pool is an open air facility with 50 meter-long lanes. It is located in a quiet place between Yamate, a hilly area that used to be called the "Bluff" by westerners, and Motomachi. I like the pool very much and frequently go there to swim during the summer season every year. People of various ages from children to seniors come here throughout the season.

You hear the sound of water splashing, see small birds, butterflies and dragonflies fluttering above the water, occasionally hear bells from the nearby Anglican church. No noise of busy roads. Some people swim fast like Olympic swimmers. Others swim slowly and enjoying floating in the pool. At the poolside, many people time by reading a book or newspaper and some are lying down doing nothing but relaxing. They are spending time as they like in a calm and peaceful setting. At a distance from the pool stand high rises. But there is nothing other than trees around the pool. Even in a day of August, you feel comfortably cool when you stand at the pool side. Motomachi Pool is a Yamate oasis.

The water is around 28 degree C in the morning. You need a bit of courage when you dip into the water. I usually go there in the early morning on weekends when the pool is not crowded or in the evening during weekdays. To call it a day by swimming in such a peaceful mood is just wonderful.

The pool was built on the former site of a water factory which had been doing business here from the early era of the port opening until 1923. There is a ruin of the underground water tank used by the factory under the swimming pool. It collected spring water from Yamate here. The factory supplied water to ocean going ships some 150 years ago. I heard from somebody that the swimming pool is still using spring water from the hill. But I am not sure if it is true. The pool and its building are old although they went through renovations. It seems nothing has changed around here for the last 40 years. This place retains traces of the old days. I can remember swimming here when I was a student at a nearby elementary school some 45 years ago.

The facility is not modern. Locker rooms, toilets, showers are old. But they are okay when you think you can use everything for just 200 yen an hour during the day and for 300 yen total after 6 p.m. (They have a discount book of six daytime coupons for 1,000 yen and night ones for 1,500 yen.) Each locker is square and very small: about 30cm x 30 cm or 13 inches x 13 inches. A large bag cannot fit inside. Also please make sure to bring a 10 yen coin with you as the lockers are coin-operated. (Or I think you can ask for a change at the ticket office.)

They also have a point card system. Every time you swim there you get a stamp. You get a one-hour free ticket when you got 12 stamps. Please ask the staffers at the ticket office for a point card if you plan to swim many times this summer.

The pool is open from 9AM to 9PM every day until September 7 this year.

Enjoy the summer season!

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