Have you ever noticed many tourists to Japan tend to populate their Facebook or Instagram with plenty of photos of food? Does this ring a bell? Are you one of them? It is certainly fun to enjoy the food, would a combination of food and exercise make the trip more complete?
To realize this is as simple as ABC. What you need is an excellent weather and your joyful mood, forget about carrying racquets or making reservation, there are plenty of running tracks out there. If you happen to be in Tokyo, jogging around the Imperial Palace is definitely a perfect option! Something worth considering.
Where is the Imperial Palace?
The Imperial Palace (originally Edo Castle) is in the heart of Tokyo. When you travel on Tokyo Subway, do you notice these stations: Hanzomon, Sakuradamon, Nijubashi-mae? The first two are the gates to the Imperial Palace and the latter is located beside the bridge connecting to the Palace entrance. In addition, there are Otemachi, Hibiya and Takebashi stations in the vicinity – unquestionably an accessible location.
It is self-explanatory that the Imperial Palace is the residence of the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
Why Imperial Palace?
For very simple reason, this is the most popular spot to run in town! To jog near the Imperial Palace area is simply “extraordinary” for the locals, not to mention the foreigners. If “popularity” is still not a strong selling point to you, you might want to explore below to find out why such a big crowd is attracted to this area.
Route and starting point advices
Most runners will circumnavigate the Palace along Uchibori-dori. The distance of 5km is just right. There is no traffic light and easy to maintain the pace.
portable water (5 spots); washrooms (6 spots)
While considering the starting point, it would depend on where you are, your personal plan or the availability of the facilities you need.
Closest stations along the track:
Sakuradamon (Tokyo Metro – Yurakucho Line) exit 3 / Takebashi (Tokyo Metro – Tozai Line) exit 1a or 2
Otemachi (Tokyo Metro – Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line, Marunouchi Line, Tozai Line and Toei Subway Mita Line) exit C10 or C13b / Nijubashi-mae (Tokyo Metro – Chiyoda Line) exit 6 / Hanzomon (Tokyo Metro – Hanzomon Line) exit 3a or 3b / Hibiya (Tokyo Metro – Hibiya Line or Chiyoda Line) exit B6 / Yurakucho (Tokyo Metro – Yurakucho Line) exit B6
Among the stations, Sakuradamon, Otemachi and Hanzomon have pay locker facilities near the exit of each respective station.
If you consider other starting point, for instance, Kudanshita (Tokyo Metro – Tozai Line, Hanzomon Line or Toei Subway – Shinjuku Line) and Kasumigaseki (Tokyo Metro – Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Line and Chiyoda Line), each has its uniqueness. The former is in proximity with Kitanomaru Park and the Nippon Budokan. The latter is compact with government offices. Another perspective of the picturesque Tokyo.
“Running Station” is there to serve you
Apart from the benefits above of jogging around the Imperial Palace, there are “Running Stations” for the convenience of runners. What precisely is a “Running Station”?
Say you visit a place and would like to do some exercise, what are your concerns? You found the running track, but it is far from the hotel. You might plan for a breakfast right after jogging, but you are too lazy to return to the hotel for a shower. Running Station is there to solve all your inconveniences.
Each Running Station is equipped with showers or lockers, some might rent out sporting goods (running shoes, pants, towels and so forth). You could change before running and store your belongings in the lockers, then return for a shower and freshen up yourself before heading to your meal or sightseeing. The station serves both long term customers and visitors with a fee ranging from JPY500 to JPY1,000 per use.
Raffine Running Style (Hibiya branch)
This is a relatively new Running Station inaugurated in January 2014. Conveniently connected to Hibiya Station of Tokyo Metro (exit A5). JPY500 per use, membership card will be provided to each new user. Locker key will be issued upon presentation of the membership card.
Address: Floor B1, Toho Twin Tower Building, 1-5-2, Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 7.00am – 11.00pm (Mondays – Fridays) / 7.00am – 8.00pm (weekends and public holidays)
Lockers: total 138 (male: 72 / female: 66)
Showers: total 18 (male: 10 / female: 8)
10 OVER 9 RUN CUBE Nishikicho
Its strategic location at Takebashi has attracted many running fans (3 min walk from Takebashi Station exit 3b of Tokyo Metro – Tozai Line). It is adjacent to Kanoya Athlete Restaurant where this restaurant serves nutritious meals dedicated to sport fans. New user requires to bring along the passport for membership registration.
Address: 3-21, Kanda-Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 7.00am – 10.00pm (Mondays – Fridays) / 8.00am – 8.00pm (weekends and public holidays)
Fees: JPY700 (medium locker) / JPY800 (large locker)
Lockers: total 112 (male: 60 / female: 52)
Showers: total 9 (male: 4 / female: 5)
Facing the Imperial Palace, separated by Uchibori-dori. Located merely 3 min walk from Hanzomon (exit 1 and 2) of Tokyo Metro. Largest in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace.
Address: Floor B1, FM Centre, 1-7, Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 7.00am – 10.30pm (Mondays – Fridays) / 7.00am – 7.00pm (Saturdays) / 7.00am – 6.00pm (Sundays and public holidays)
Lockers: total 180 (male: 90 / female: 90)
Showers: total 13 (male: 6 / female: 7)
adidas RUNBASE TOKYO
A Running Station operated by the sport goods brand, adidas. If you intend to rent running shoes and athlete wares, they provide all adidas products. Quality guaranteed and chic – a boost to your run in Tokyo centre.
Address: Hirakawacho Mori Tower, 2-16-1, Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 7.00am – 10.30pm (Mondays – Fridays) / 7.00am – 8.00pm (weekends and public holidays)
Lockers: total 164 (male: 82 / female: 82)
Showers: total 16 (male: 8 / female: 8)
To ensure the comfort and discipline of all runners, the organizer has set a series of rules (total of 10) for using the facilities. The selected few below are worth paying attention to:
- Keep left
- Run in counter-clockwise direction
- To run inline along narrow path (avoid blocking other runners)
- No littering
More runners are expected along the more popular stretch. It is advisable to strictly follow these rules and demonstrate mutual understanding and share this common space. This will be never be the last time you come here.