Despite Japan being a rather mountainous county, its cities are relatively flat, meaning they are well suited to that most universal of exercises: running. Fukuoka, down on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, is no exception to that rule. As a new visitor to the city, or even as a wizened resident, there are few better ways to explore than by running. To get you started, here are three of the best spots to go running in Fukuoka.[VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6yn4bZJecc">
1. Ohori Park (大濠公園)
Ohori Park is Fukuoka’s running Mecca. Morning through night, it is packed with runners who flock to the park to enjoy the specially surfaced 2km running track. The track circumnavigates the park’s central lake, which is filled with koi, terrapin and swan-shaped pedal boats. There are several cafes, including a popular Starbucks, lining the edge of the track, where you can get much needed refreshments. The surface is springy, and the track relatively flat.
2. Nishi Park (西公園)
If you want to do some hill training, or enjoy a run in amongst the spring cherry blossoms, then Nishi Park is the place for you. A 10 minute walk to the north of Ohori Park, Nishi Park provides fantastic views of the city and mountains to the south, and to the harbour and the sea to the north. There's no dedicated track, but the roads are secluded and only infrequently used by cars. There are also some unpaved tracks crisscrossing the park that can add interest to your run. Get your thighs burning by running the steps beneath the main temple.
3. Momochihama (百道浜)
Out to the west and pressing up against the coast is one of Fukuoka’s most iconic landmarks,
Fukuoka Tower. Beneath it are artificial beaches made of golden sand, which are perfect for running. There’s a path linking several of the beaches together, meaning runners can enjoy a coastside path that extends for several kilometres down the beach. There are icecream stalls open throughout much of the year, and you can easily access the Yahuoku! Dome from the beachfront.
When to run:
For ten months of the year, conditions are pretty perfect in Fukuoka for running. The summer is the most unpleasant time to attempt a run, due to the excessive heat and humidity, but outside of the summer months, Fukuoka is typically pleasantly warm and dry. You might need a pair of gloves and some layers for the middle of winter, but it rarely drops below freezing, and you’ll quickly warm up on any run.
Where to get Gear:
There are a million and one shops dedicated to running across the city. In the Daimyo area, you’ll find brand names such as Nike & Addidas, as well as more generic shops such as Mont Bell. The Hakata area has a similar collection of shops housed in Canal City, including a large Sports Xebio. For really cheap sports gear, try the Sports Depot in Marinoa City