Running Long Distance in Tokyo Summer
6 Great Runs in Tokyo
Summer weather in Japan can challenge runners with staying hydrated. If you run for distance and have signed up for a race in the fall, then you need to train through the hot summer months, while still logging long kilometers. In August, the weather can get up to mid-30s with a great deal of humidity, pushing temperature into the 40s. The plethora of vending machines sitting around every corner lessens the burden of carrying drinks. But there you can also find some good, long courses that have fountains too.
If you are looking for some places to run this summer, here my 6 favorite throughout central Tokyo. I’ve selected these based on the different locations, various terrain, water stops, and ability to combine longer distance! The links to the maps are approximate. These courses are selected for the least amount of distractions, such as traffic lights and cars, but in doing so, unfortunately avoid some of the beautiful sight-seeing places that Tokyo offers. These routes are for runners who need distance.
1. The Palace. A common running Mecca in Tokyo. If you lack a GPS, you know this is a 5 kilometer loop with water stops (but no vending machines). If you have hill work, then you can run the opposite direction (clockwise) from Sakuramon to Takebashi for a longer hill run. For short hill repeats, the hill near Takebashi is excellent! http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3207868
2. Akasaka Palace. here is a shorter, 3 kilometer route. The location is central and you don’t have to stop. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3299943
3. Sumida River. Personally, my favorite course. The only draw back is with the stairs in some spots to cross bridges. However, from Tsukishima until well after Asakusa, you can put in 9 kilometers one direction. Also, using both sides of the river, you can vary your terrain. The challenge is the water, as their is only one fountain, which is just past the Asahi Beer Headquarters. There are plenty of vending machines. I’ve put an out-and-back route as only one suggestion. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6385072
4. From Toyusu to Daiba. This is a great run along the shores of Tokyo Bay. In a few years, Tsukiji will also be moving along this route, which may make it more scenic or just more crowded. But at this point, running from Toyosu, along the boardwalk in Daiba and along the Tokyo Bay docks, provides city and water views and plenty of water fountains. In the morning, the colors over the water and city give a relaxing, quiet view. Plenty of water stops! http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6385058
5. Arakawa River. This is a wonderful river with lots of water fountains. Many bike riders also use this route. In close to the end of the Sumida River if you wish to combine the routes. The Arakawa also starts down Kasai Park and then you can run for 40 kilometers one way. Perhaps further, I’ve just never done it! http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6384217
6. The Tamagawa is another excellent river that extends from almost Haneda Airport to Ohme. If you are in Setagaya, Shibuya, Meguro or Setagaya, then this is your place for long runs. If you start from Futakotamagawa or Denenchofu towards Haneda, then you have plenty of fountains. Running towards Ohme, you have better nature scenes, but less fountains. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6384218
In addition to these 6, I encourage you to check out Nanban Rengo http://www.namban.org. They run speed work once a week and the website contains a great deal of great running information, including in-depth ideas for trail running outside Tokyo--another great way to train in the summer.
Wishing you happy runs!