Whenever we start packing for a trip (usually a few hours prior to leaving) the first things I put in the luggage are my running related gears. Shorts, check. Sports bras, check. Shoes, check. There’s no better way to get to know a city than running it’s streets and parks. Not just that you will reach places that you’d never do just by walking but it helps you to really pick up the vibes of the city and it’s people. One of my favorite experiences from Vietnam for example is our morning runs when we got to sweat with the local elders in crazy humidity around 5 am. I would have never guessed that side of their culture if I slept in.
Tokyo, and Japan in general are huge on running. And I guess it’s not a surprise if I say that everyone I saw out running in the last couple of days were pretty bad ass runners. Not one of them looked like that they were out for a light jog. Nope.. they all meant business. Japanese people are very commited in anything what they do so no wonder I saw runners looping around Imperial Palace at 10 pm on Sunday night with a full on ultra gear. Kudos! Their serious work ethic and the pride they take in their every day life reflects on their running style as well.
So here’s the deal. Tokyo’s summer is hot, humid and the city is quite hilly. It’s rather challenging to run here, especially that many streets are packed with people but there are some great stretches where you won’t be bumping into anyone. Also it’s very predictable where are the busy areas so you can avoid them easily. Yesterday, hubby and I were running the first half of our run separately since he needed to log some fast miles on his own. We both did a loop around Imperial palace (3+ miles, about 6km) then met up and ran to a coffee shop what we wanted to check out not far from Shibuya.
We would have not discovered this absolutely adorable neighborhood if it wasn’t for running. It’s by Yoyogi park, you can get here by taking the Chiyoda line or… by running. 🙂
Later in the day we stumbled upon on a tiny corner building which is dedicated to runners from the bottom to the top. I’ve never seen anything like this before (only in my day dreams). The first floor has a reception area and a hang out space plus a studio where I believe they offer cross training for runners.
Such a cool concept. The restaurant is very reasonably priced. They make healthy and nutritious packed meals. A menu is 900yen which is about $9 and you can choose a three course lunch which includes a soup, a rice and 3 mains(out of the ~12 options). By the way tonight’s schedule was a 15k run at 3:50-4 minute pace. Hmm.. Thank you, but I’ll skip that. 😉
Our short trip is coming to an end but we had to sneak in a last short run before heading out to the airport. We walked so much in the last few days that running was actually a breath of fresh air to my legs. Usually some extra work helps to shake out those tired and heavy legs. 🙂
Ps: Today we stopped by at the Nike Running store in Nakameguro. They offer plenty of different runs throughout the week so if you are ever in the area keep that in mind.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure that you check out my Sydney running adventures here.