Tokyo, Japan is one of the largest and most densely populated cites in the world. It is a fascinating city, mixing history and tradition with commercial interests and glitz. Tokyo is also a significant destination for business and leisure travelers.
A quick geographic orientation: the Imperial Palace is the heart of the city, and many of the government and administrative offices are in that area (Kasumigaseki). Main commercial areas are Ginza and Shinjuku to the south, and Ikebukuro to the north. The Yamanote Line is the the railway that circles much of the main part of the city. Japan is a mainly mountainous country. The central downtown part of Tokyo is relatively flat, but becomes hillier to the west and the north. Tokyo is also defined by its rivers and by Tokyo Bay.
The running situation in Tokyo is better than you might think. It might not be possible to step right outside your door and go for a great run, but with some planning there are some wonderful running possibilities. The iconic runs in central Tokyo revolve around the Akasaka Palace, the Imperial Palace, Yoyogi Park, and some bike/running paths such as the Tamagawa River Trail. Staying within some proximity of these spots will allow for easy access to a good run. The other thing to consider is that life in Tokyo revolves around its hyper-extensive and efficient public transportation system, which provides relatively easy access to some routes that you might at first blush consider to be further afield. Every route in this guide is reachable by subway. Even better, in some spots there are hotels and other facilities that allow you to change and shower, for free or for a modest fee.
Many thanks to Namban Rengo, a wonderful running club in Tokyo, for their help in preparing this guide. We’ve also mapped out the best places to run in Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, located 35 km south of Tokyo.