Places To Run In Tokyo
ArakawaArakawa is a river running on the north side of Tokyo. A path alongside the river is the site of the Arakawa Marathon in March. Accessible from various train stations, including Akabane on the Saikyo Line, this is a good area for a long run or bike ride.
The Imperial PalaceThe wide sidewalk around the perimeter of the Imperial Palace is the most central and popular place to run in Tokyo. Throughout the year many low-key races are held there, too. The course is accessible from Otemachi, Hibiya and Takebashi subway stations, and from the main Tokyo station. The loop, which does not cross any streets, is 4,974m going through the large Sakuradamon Gate and 5,026m staying on the sidewalk around the gate, so two loops inside and out is exactly 10K.
Koganei KoenA large park in the western suburbs. Several loops are possible, the longest being 5.25km (kilos and arrows marked with yellow paint). Located between Hanakoganei (Seibu Shinjuku line) and Higashi Koganei (JR Chuo line), but closer to Hanakoganei, which is 23 mins from Takadanobaba, 25 mins from Seibu Shinjuku.
Komazawa Koen (Park)This university sports park in southwestern Tokyo is home to one of Japan’s top ekiden teams. The park’s main attraction is a 2.148 km loop marked in 100m increments. An accurate half-marathon course is also marked. The park also has a 400m track located inside a stadium.Though it is not accessible to the public, there is a gym with showers and lockers there (near the 1300m mark on the running loop) that may be used for a moderate fee. An outdoor pool is also available during the summer.
Located near Komazawa Daigaku station on the Den-En-Toshi line, 6 min. from Shibuya (JR Yamanote line).
Kumotoriyama AscentBeyond Okutama, there is the Ushiroyama Rindo/Sanjo-no-Yu course if you can or want to spend an nice overnighter in the mountains.
Megurogawa (Meguro River)Megurogawa (gawa=river) runs roughly parallel to the southwestern part of the JR Yamanote line, emptying into Tokyo Bay south of JR Shinagawa station. The river has two distinct sections divided by a major road, Tamagawa Dori (also known as Route 246 or ni-yon-roku from the Japanese for "two four six"). The river passes under ni-yon-roku near Ikejiri-Ohashi station (on the Den-en-Toshi line 2 min. from Shibuya Station).
Akasaka PalaceThe footpath circumnavigating the outside perimeter of the Akasaka Palace, aka State Guest House or, more colloquially, Gosho, provides a popular 3.3 km running loop that incorporates two quite challenging hills. The course is located within a short distance of Shinanomachi or Yotsuya stations (JR Sobu Line) or Aoyama-sanchome Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line). A little further to run to get to the course is Sendagaya Station (JR Sobu Line), but Tokyo Gymnasium is nearby and offers access to the training gym and showers for 450 yen.
Oda FieldLocated across from Yoyogi-koen in Harajuku, the Oda Field 400-m running track is a well-kept facility originally built for the 1964 Olympics. Today it is operated by Shibuya Ward and open to the public Tuesday to Thursday and on certain weekend days each month. In addition, when the track is not rented, it is usually open for use by anyone. A schedule is posted outside the gate. The open hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day.
Namban Rengo trains at Oda Field every Wednesday night, starting at around 7:00 p.m. (warm-up) and finishing at around 8:00 p.m. A locker-room equipped with showers is available for use whenever the track is open. Click here for more information and a map.
Okumusashi Ekiden CourseIf you're willing to travel a bit or can think of it as an excuse to see the fringes of the Kanto area, there are some courses I'd recommend for Mt. Fuji training.
Okutama Ekiden Course
Tamagawa (Tama River)The Tama River has wide bike paths on both sides extending for many miles in the southern part of Tokyo. Excellent areas for running are accessible from many train stations, some of which have coin lockers that make them ideal as a starting and finishing point for a long run.
Tamagawa JosuiAn engineering relic dating back to feudal times and designated as a national cultural treasure, the Tamagawa Josui begins at the Tamagawa near Haijima station in western Tokyo and extends into central Tokyo, functionally as far as Shinjuku station. The most popular section for running extends from Haijima to just east of Koganei Koen between Tanashi (Seibu Shinjuku line) and Musashi Sakai (JR Chuo line). This section is primarily tree-lined dirt trails along the stream. Heading toward central Tokyo from this point, the Josui also passes through Inokashira Koen, a nice mid-sized park in Kichijoji (JR Chuo line and Keio Inokashira line).
Tamako JitenshadoA former train line converted into a paved, tree-lined cycling/running course with distances marked. The path starts at the Tamagawa Josui between Tanashi (Seibu Shinjuku line) and Musashi Sakai (JR Chuo line) and extends all the way out to and around Tamako, a lake in western Tokyo and site of a popular ekiden. This area is suitable for long runs and easily accessible from a variety of stations on the Seibu Shinjuku line, the easiest being Hana-Koganei, 20 min. from Takadanobaba (JR Yamanote line). At Hana-Koganei, exit the ticket wicket, turn right and go down the stairs. The Jitenshado is on the far side of the bus circle. Left heads back toward Tokyo, right goes out toward Tamako.
Wakojurin KoenWakojurin Koen, which is actually two mid-sized parks straddling the Tokyo-Saitama border, features a nice 3km cross-country loop, a 1km track-surface loop with each 100 m marked, and one of the only public-access 400 m tracks in Tokyo. Located near Wakoshi station on the Tobu Tojo line, 12 min. from Ikebukuro (JR Yamanote line).