In the summertime, when the living's easy but the coast seems just that bit too far away, there's no shortage of pools for a cooling plunge or freshening frolic.

Besides all the pricey health clubs and hotels ever ready to soak up your yen, there are plenty of public pools where you can not only swim, but often also dive (or jump) from diving boards or enjoy facilities such as water slides, wave-makers, saunas, Jacuzzis, solaria and cafeterias. Many pools also stay open late and have free parking, though most charge under 500 yen for all this.

One way to seek out a splash is at operated by indoor-pool enthusiast Taro Fujiki. Alternatively, check out the following public pools in the metropolitan areas of Kanto and Kansai. Remember, though, that most do not allow the use of sunscreen, and insist on swim-caps being worn. They may also have break times when everyone has to leave the pool. Also, it's best to check the pool isn't closed for competitions, especially on weekends.