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. The situation for running 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. If you’d like to have an in-person guided running experience in Tokyo, we highly recommend our friends at Go! Running Tours.
The best places to run in central Tokyo revolve around the Akasaka Palace, the Imperial Palace, and Yoyogi Park. There are also good paths along the along Tama, Meguro, Arakawa, and Sumida rivers. Another favorite run is a loop around Odaiba Island. If you’re in the Tokyo Disney/Chiba area, we’ve mapped a nice run along Tokyo Bay through several seaside parks. For a hill running adventure, head to Mount Kumotori. We’ve also created some special routes passing by Tokyo 2020 Olympics venues…that are also nice runs! See also our guide to Yokohama. NOTE: Some parks in Tokyo don’t open till 8am.
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. 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.Although staying within some proximity of these spots will allow for easy access to a good run, Tokyo’s extensive public transportation system provides easy access to all of our routes. 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.