Run Tokyo: 6 of the best spots for seeing the city on two feet!
Planning a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, and intending to fill up on all the tasty food this country has to offer? If you're trying to balance that with staying fit and active on your vacation to Japan (or you just want to explore the city on two feet), you might be asking yourself "where are the good spots to run in Tokyo?"
You may be surprised to know that there are a number of great spots to run in one of the most heavily populated cities on the planet. Here are six of the best spots in and around Tokyo to enjoy if you need somewhere to stretch out those legs and sprint around!
Imperial Palace Trail
Run and appreciate royalty while you do it!
One lap is just a touch over 5 kilometers in length. You get some great views of the Palace as you go around, too - this is seen as probably the most iconic running spot in Tokyo these days!
The crowd that use the Imperial Palace Trail is varied, but you will often see inner city employees getting a run in either before work, during a lunch break, or after they've finished up for the day. It's a friendly spot though no matter if you're a beginner or an advanced runner - there's a great sense of camaraderie and spirit from everyone getting their kilometers in.
The trail has some rises in elevation but nothing too strenuous - the majority of the course consists of flat terrain, making it great even if you are a relative beginner to running. A couple of other benefits include the fact that there are water fountains around the course (convenient if you don't want to hold onto a water bottle as you run) and easily accessible public restroom facilities too.
Since this is a loop in the heart of Tokyo, there are a number of metro subway train stations that are close by to the trail (or just a short jog away). One of the best is Otemachi Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line (green line).
Green space in the urban jungle, with both paved and trail running.
Yoyogi Park has a number of great reasons to visit, but if you're a runner there are two main trails of interest here - the inner loop and the outer loop. The inner loop is just under 1.5km in length (and is completely paved), and the outer loop is just over 2.5km in length (it is about 1/5 paved, and 4/5 dirt trail).
The Yoyogi Park trails seem to draw in both young and old runners, as well as varying abilities - from relative newbies to the seasoned running crew.
The inner paved loop is great for anyone, including beginners. The outer loop (being unpaved for the majority) is better if you're used to trail running rather than inner city pavement running.
There are a couple of easy ways to get to Yoyogi Park. If you've got a JR Rail Pass, head to the JR Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line. If you're using the Tokyo Metro, either the Meiji Jingumae Station or the Yoyogi Koen Station are in close proximity.
Tama River Trail
If uninterrupted length is what you're after, this one's for you.
The Tama River Trail is perfect if you're a distance runner (or if you're training up for an event like a half or full marathon) - from start to finish it's 48 kilometers in length, so you've got plenty of space to get that mileage in.
The Tama River Trail is loved by runners and cyclists, through to parents with kids in strollers - and it's particularly popular during cherry blossom season, when the trees lining the river bank are blooming.
The main difficulty here is that it is a path used by both cyclists as well as runners. No one is usually zipping around so fast that you'd have any incident, but just keep your wits about you. As for the terrain, the trail is paved so it's pleasant to run on, and there are no unbearable incline changes. An added bonus is that you have plenty of great views along the way to keep your motivation kicking on.
Since the trail is so long for this one, there are a number of spots that you can access it from across the city. A good one to start at is the aptly named Tamagawa Station, on the Tokyu Toyoko Subway Line.
Bay, bridge and city views, with clearly marked run lengths.
Odaiba is perfect for runners, having several clearly marked routes to try - there's a five kilometer course, a seven kilometer course, and a 300 meter straight stretch that are all visibly signed. One of the most convenient things about running in this area is that certain hotels nearby have arrangements where shower facilities are available to use afterwards - so that you're not left hot and sweaty! Super handy if you've got somewhere to be right after your run is done.
Early mornings and later in the evenings see a lot of the hardcore runners out and about, but don't worry if you're a relative beginner or somewhere in the intermediate range - there's plenty of room for you too.
The terrain itself isn't difficult but there is a distinct lack of shade compared to some of the other running routes on the list. It can be tough during the dog days of summer if you're trying to run in the middle of the day - be sure to pack your sunblock and a hat (and have some hydration at the ready).
The best station to get off at if you're planning a run around Odaiba Seaside Park is the Odaiba-kaihinkoen Station on the Yurikamome Line.
Komazawa Olympic Park
A real paradise for the sport and fitness lover.
The course at Komazawa Olympic Park is 2.1 kilometers all the way around. You'll see two main "markings" around the track - a blue lane and a yellow lane. The blue is for cyclists, and the yellow is for joggers and runners - so just beware that you're not accidentally hanging out in the wrong lane. It's an interesting spot to go running particularly because of the history surrounding the area - a number of the facilities around the park grounds were used when Tokyo hosted the 1964 Olympic Games.
The crowd here consists of both sports lovers and families - this park is somewhere that appeals to both! You will catch quite a number of seasoned runners here though - since the area is a bit of a mecca for all things sports it's no wonder that this is the case.
Since the running course here is paved as well as clearly divided into a runner's lane, it makes for a great spot to run. Do just be aware of others running at different speeds - if you're a beginner or intermediate runner stick to the left hand side of the designated yellow lane, so that faster runners can still get past you if they need to.
The closest station to Komazawa Olympic Park is the Komazawa-daigaku Station on the Tokyu Den-En-Toshi Subway Line.
Meiji Jingu Gaien Park
Gorgeous, leafy space for runs (particularly in the autumn months).
The track around the park area is about one and a half kilometers in length. It's beautifully leafy the entire way (so it's great if you're looking for a shaded spot to get your run in). The park is particularly stunning to run through in the autumn months where the trademark gingko trees turn their signature yellow.
The area is used by many people - it's particularly popular with families and seeing people pushing jogging strollers with little ones in them is a relatively common sight.
One thing to bear in mind about doing the run here is that it's right by the Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium - if a game is on, you're going to find it nigh impossible to be able to run at any kind of decent pace as it gets crowded with fans heading to and from the arena.
Getting to Meiji Jingu Gaien Park is easiest from either Gaienmae Station or Aoyama-Itchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (yellow line). From there the park is just a short walk or jog away.
These six spots should give you plenty of opportunities to pound the pavement whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of Tokyo!
Happy Running, and Enjoy Japan!
Also, a couple of quick tips to keep in mind! Firstly, basically all of Japan's train stations have coin operated lockers where you can store your belongings while you're out on your run! They're a super handy way to keep your stuff safe while you get out and moving.
Secondly, the National Police Agency of Japan have published some English Guidelines for pedestrians (and cyclists). The document can be found in PDF form here and has some useful tips that can be applied to your run. Particularly handy is the part about street signs you may encounter along the way. Be safe!
this is japan
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