For those lacing up their running shoes, Tokyo offers runners a panoramic variety of options. Tokyo’s running routes are as diverse as the capital, whether you crave the tranquility of riverside trails, the energy of bustling urban landscapes, or the charm of historic districts,.
Japan has always been a land of runners. Running culture is strong, and there are special facilities for runners, a plethora of running communities, and some of the world’s most iconic races. This includes one of the largest marathons worldwide, the Tokyo Marathon, while the Hakone Ekiden relay race is one of the most popular races nationally broadcast on television.
Here are ten routes for runners of all levels who want a good run across Tokyo. They vary in length but are all easily accessible.
Choose your next running route from the list below. From scenic routes to routes where you won’t have to dodge pedestrians at every turn, which would be your next running route?
1. Asakusa Jogging Route
This route takes you from Sumida Park, where you’ll have the best view of SkyTree, before going down the pavement to a pathway right next to Sumida River, where you’ll see boat cruises and about to set out. Spot the shimmering gold Asahi Beer headquarters before going up the stairs at Komagata Bridge, where you can also head to the iconic Sensoji Temple for a quick look. The trail is wide and flat, making it easy to run. Dogs are also welcome on this route. However, be careful on warm days as much of the route is on concrete, which can be hot for our little animal friends.
2. Meiji Jingu Gaien Jogging Route
The Meiji Jingu Gaien route totals around 1 km. Lined with beautiful gingko trees, easy access and a flat path, it is a popular running route despite its short distance. There are no traffic lights, and few cars are around, making it an easy run. Run around this area, especially during Autumn, to admire the golden colors of the gingko, or head towards the National Stadium designed by architect Kengo Kuma to admire the dedications of past and recent Olympics. Dogs are welcome on this route. Don’t confuse this with Meiji Jingu, as the shrine prohibits running on shrine grounds.
3. Meguro River Jogging Route
For those seeking a leisurely city run, the Meguro River route is perfect for a quiet run. This tree-lined path stretching from Nakameguro station towards Meguro station has tons to see and do along the way, including cafes, bars, and art galleries, and it is lined with cherry blossoms the entire length of the run in the Spring, making it especially lovely. This path is popular with walkers, cyclists and the occasional car, so soundproof earphones are perhaps not the best option.
4. Tama River Jogging Route
Tama River is a little further out of the city center towards the west. Enjoy the view of fall colors in the Autumn and cherry blossoms in the Spring while running along the Tama River. The route is a mix of pavement and gravel and is one of Tokyo’s best and most beautiful distance-running routes. Look out for cyclists and double-check the signs on the ground to not venture onto the cycling lane. Start from Futakotamagawa Station and end at Tamagawa Station.
5. Odaiba Running Route
Choose from two marker courses that loop around Odaiba. You’ll spot the popular Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo’s mini Statue of Liberty. Opt for some light shopping when running by malls along the way, such as Aqua City and Venus Fort. Perfect for those wanting to explore Odaiba off the beaten path.
6. Yoyogi Park
In the book The Way of the Runner, Adharanand Finn writes about elite Kenyan runners training in Yoyogi Park. Yoyogi Park is beloved by runners for its soft dirt path and slight incline terrain. With paved routes of varying lengths on the park map, choose from your preferred route, including routes with more elevation. Popular with the weekend crowd, opt for weekdays to avoid picnickers and crowds on the weekends.
7. Komazawa Olympic Park
Located in the Meguro ward in a residential neighborhood, Komazawa Olympic Park offers runners a paved path with little elevation and color-coded markers for runners to keep track of distances. The path is shared with cyclists, so do not stray into the cycling lane when running in this beautifully green park.
8. Kasai Rinkai Park
Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa ward is built on man-made reclaimed lands and overlooks Disneyland across the sea. It includes a bird sanctuary, aquarium, ferris wheel and waterfront views. With a barbecue site also available, it’s a great park for a social run with friends and activities to check out after. This route is slightly elevated and recommended for runners looking for something that isn’t too strenuous.
9. Showa Kinen Park
This loop trail on the outskirts of Tokyo is a moderately challenging route recommended for runners and walkers. Run around the park and admire its beautiful seasonal flowers and plants. Enjoy the golden ginkgo trees in Autumn and cherry blossoms in the Spring. Choose from three different routes, or be ambitious and run the most photogenic spots of the park. The park has multiple bathrooms around the park, which makes for a convenient run.
10. Koganei Park
Koganei Park has a strong running community with a local running club based out of the park. Check out the club’s recommendations for running courses catered to runners of all levels. Opt for other sports facilities at the park along with your run, including archery, tennis and a playground for children. It’s a park where you can spend a whole day enjoying yourself while making new running friends.