Favorite Routes Lists

Favorite Runs in Japan

Japan has a fantastic running culture, with special facilities for runners, a plethora of running groups, and some of the world’s most iconic races. There’s also been a big effort to develop decent spots for running, given the fact that it’s not always easy to just step out the door and go for a run anywhere in Japan’s famously crowded, dense cities. This is a list of our 18 favorite running routes in Japan, culled from our coverage of eight Japanese cities: Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo, and Yokohama. The list is in alphabetical order, by city. Our favorite city for running in Japan: Osaka.

Kobe Promenades

Kobe, Japan

By far the best running in Kobe is along the waterfront promenades of Osaka Bay. There is no one continuous path, but runners can find good sections near Harborland, Suma, Wakinohamakaigandori, and Maiko.
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Kamo River Paths

Kyoto, Japan

The signature running route in Kyoto, with many km of lovely, unpaved paths. Pleasant green spaces, and bridges made of stones. We've mapped 11.7 km, with the most pleasant section on the west side, heading north.
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Fushimi Inari & Mt. Inari

Kyoto, Japan

One of the most important sites in Kyoto and a unique run. The shrine sits at the base of Mt. Inari, which has a 4 km hike to the top, through thousands of gates. This challenging trail run is a combination of path and stairs.
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Shonai and Yada River Paths

Nagoya, Japan

One of the best spots for a longer, off-road run in Nagoya. Gravel paths line the Shonai River and Yada River, for 13+ km. The best section is from Daiko Park, west to Shonai Ryokuchi Park. There are some lovely parks and sections with cherry blossoms.
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Heiwa Park

Nagoya, Japan

This peaceful spot is located on hills above Nagoya in the Chikusa Ward is a great opportunity for a longer, greener, and less manicured run. There's a popular 6.5 km course around the park. Woodland paths lined with cherry trees, fields, stairs...and hills!
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Nara Park and ‘Runseeing’ Tour

Nara, Japan

A scenic running tour of Nara's principle sites, including Nara Park, iconic gardens, and numerous shrines and temples. Use our mapped route as an outline to create your own route on the paths and grounds around these sites.
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Heijō Palace and Area Lagoons

Nara, Japan

A few km west of Nara Park, our 8 km route featuring the grounds of Heijō Palace and paths around three lagoons just northeast of there make for a nice run, combining historical sites and some pleasant waterside roads.
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Rinku Park

Osaka, Japan

A perfect waterfront sunset run near the Kansai Airport in Izumisano City. Multiple options, including ~7 km or ~11 km routes along mainly waterfront paths.
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Toyohira River Path

Sapporo, Japan

The top running route in Sapporo, this paved multi use path stretches over 25 km along the Toyohira River. Start from out from or run to Nakajima Park or Makominai Park for the best sections.
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Hokkaido University

Sapporo, Japan

The airy public campus of Hokkaido University has a very park-like feel with plenty of runnable paths and sidewalks. We’ve mapped a 7.5 km tour of the highlights, including Gingko Ave.
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The Tama River Trail

Tokyo, Japan

One of the best ways to go on a long, uninterrupted run in Tokyo. Though not right in the central city, it is easily accessible along most of its length via subway. A good 10k loop is between Numabe and Futakotamagawa stations.
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Odaiba Island

Tokyo, Japan

Odaiba is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. If you have the time, this is one of the best runs in Tokyo. There are great paths for running, with water views and pleasant greenery. Marked 5k and 7k courses.
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Minato Mirai (Bay Area)

Yokohama, Japan

The favorite running route in Yokohama, the bayside parks and promenades of Minato Mirai offer scenic views of the waterfront and its futuristic architecture. We’ve mapped 5k and 10 km routes, but there are lots of options for variation.
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