Asia Pacific

Kyoto, Japan

Formerly the Imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city of 1.5 million located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan. The city sits in a valley and is surrounded by mountains on three sides. Since Kyoto is one of the few Japanese cities that still have an abundance of prewar buildings, such as the traditional townhouses known as machiya. This is our guide to running in Kyoto, Japan.

Like many Japanese cities, Kyoto is densely populated. The central part is laid out in a grid pattern. The best places to run in Kyoto are the garden-like grounds of the Imperial Palace, and nearly 30 km of paths along the Kamo River. The main business district lies just to the south of the Palace, while Kyoto’s greener sections are to the north.

Kyoto has fantastic transportation system consisting of municipal buses, rail, and two subway lines: the green colored Karasumal line and the vermilion colored Tōzai line.

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Some of our favorite runs in Kyoto, Japan

Kamo River Paths

The signature running route in Kyoto, with many km of lovely, unpaved paths. Pleasant green spaces, and... more...

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Kyoto has a humid subtropical climate, which means hot, humid summers and cool winters. Runners should prepare for the heat of summer, where average high temperatures are near 33C (92F), and nights stay very warm. Winters are relatively mild, with average January highs about 9C (48F), with temps sometimes dipping below freezing, and occasional snow. Spring is delightful, highlighted by the cherry blossoms. Kyoto gets its share of rain, with greater amounts in summer due to thunderstorms.

Kyoto has an abundance of hotels, with a large number in the central business district just south of the Imperial Palace. This is a good area to stay from a running perspective, due to proximity of the Kyoto Gyoen (grounds of the Imperial Palace) and the Kamo River paths.