I’m going at least once a quarter to Tokyo in Japan for business. The one million dollar question has been where to go running when I was training for for my first marathon ? After a bit of research and queries to my Japanese friends, I found 2 places and identify couple of others where I could potentially go running.
Photo courtesy of http://www.meow.fr
The main issue with Tokyo is that like most of the business travellers, you will stay in the city center and there aren’t so many places that are nice for running… My rule of thumb to find them:
- Browse runners website or blogs
- Look for Green lungs / public parks
- Look for walkways by the sea side
- Check your running online community (Garmin Connect / Endomondo / Strava / Sunto)
The cool thing about the internet is that you can do it from your living room before leaving to Japan. Google Map is a great tool especially Street View. I usually use it to verify how usable a walkway is or if the park looks nice. In some places, you can even see runners !
Of course, it will all depend on the location of your hotel, the time you have for your workout and the type of workout you want to do. In general I prefer to go somewhere do my running as opposed to run for a long time to reach a nice place then run there before going back. This being said, for long runs there is not much alternatives to that… On the other hand it’s a fun way of exploring the city and seeing the main landmark (Tokyo tower, Emperor place, …). I’ve done that once on a long run and that was fun, but you need time (couple of hours).
Below is my list for Tokyo. I did not have the chance to go to every places but intend to do so in the coming year. Usually the location of my hotel and duration of trip will condition where I can go run.[full_width]
Most of the travellers would stay near the Shinagawa train station. It’s very convenient as you have a direct metro access along with direct access from the high speed train from Narita airport. It’s also a popular place for conferences and business travellers as there are many business hotels nearby.
It’s a great place by the river to go running. I went there 2 times for an easy run and for some speed work. There are dedicated walkways for pedestrians (no bikes allowed though I saw one or two). There are benches along the course, which is basically very close to 3km if you follow the course on the map on the right hand side. There are many road bridges but you do not need to stop and cross them: they have built-in small suspended walkways under the bridge close to the water level to allow pedestrians to cross seamlessly… This is great as you can have a long work out. Alternatively, you can go up to the road side, stay on the bridge without crossing the road to join the other side of the river.
From the look of the map, you could in theory extend toward the south by crossing one bridge and joining another walkway on the river side. I tried to do that when I was there but the section of the park I had to cross was closed for renovation. You can probably add close to 1km and do a full loop. Do let me know if you try this.
This is a very safe area. I went running in the evening (9 to 10pm) and there were many runners, pedestrians, … couples on the bench, … There are numerous lights along the way, which makes it very pleasant. It’s very accessible from Shinagawa train station or the hotels area. The only drawback of the place (yes there is one small one) is that due to the relatively tall buildings, the GPS signal is weak in the middle of the loop.[/full_width] [full_width]
2 – Tokyo station area / Emperor Palace, Hibiya park
One of the nicest place to run and see in Tokyo. This is the residence of the Emperor in Tokyo. Of course it is closed to public but you can run around. It’s basically a big loop of 5km which goes uphill then downhill. You run on the side walkways of the road and on large dedicated walkways in some places. There is water all around the palace which makes it very enjoyable. There are many runners there, just follow the flow to know where to go 🙂
I was told by some local friends you can find small lockers shops around the outside of the loop where you can rent space to store your office attires and have a shower before going to office ! The famous Tokyo Station is just across the road (on the right on the map). To be noted the small park adjacent to the emperor place on the right bottom of the map is also quite nice.
When I went there, I did the normal loop once only (I was coming from Sheraton Miyaku near Shinagawa) and had to turn back right after that to go back to the hotel. Looking at the map, I’m wondering if one can extend toward the north of the emperor palace on the other side of the road. There is a green area there wit water on the side. Maybe extending to do that is nice, however I don’t remember how the road was at that spot.[/full_width] [full_width]
3 – Akasaka Palace and National Stadium[/full_width] [full_width]
4 – National Gardens[/full_width] [full_width]
5 – Yoyogi Park
I never went there yet. Probably my next running place in Japan. Looking at the description on some running web sites and the[/full_width] [full_width]
6 – Institute for Natural studies[/full_width] [full_width]
Great Tokyo running websites