North of Ueno park and tucked away behind the Nishi-Nippori Metro station in Tokyo is the charming little bouldering gym of Rhino & Bird. Making your way from the station to the gym, you’ll think you may have strayed along the wrong path as you criss-cross the back yards of traditional Japanese houses, which makes eventually finding this gym such a pleasant surprise.
The initial registration fee is a little pricey at ¥ 1620 but the day fees run similar to other climbing gyms in Tokyo at around roughly ¥ 2000 per session, depending on discounts and times. Shoes and a chalk bag can also be rented for a small fee.
The gym consists of two floors, with changing facilities, lockers, stretching area and a beginner wall on the second floor, while the first floor hosts the bulk of the advanced climbing. The centrepiece here is the steep overhanging section which tops out at the second floor level.
The routes are labelled with coloured, numbered tape to signify difficulty but will use the same colour holds for hand and foot grips, which makes navigating the at first confusing setup relatively easy. I found the problems to be of good quality and really appreciated the steep roof area and the height of the tops outs. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed, however with not much space to boulder, I can imagine the gym becoming quite full during the busy periods. We visited early on a Saturday morning which meant we more or less had the place to ourselves. If you find yourself passing through Tokyo and the area, I can recommend a quick stop at Rhino & Bird!