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Tokyo: Our insider’s guide to running the city

Vending machine meals or fine dining? Neon-lit skyscrapers or picturesque temples? Cat cafes or robot restaurants? Video game arcades or green spaces? In Tokyo, you don't have to choose. And the best way to see it all? You guessed it, running. Discover the next stop on our city running world tour.

 

Tokyo is a bucket list destination if ever there was one. And there's a long list of good reasons for this. It's a veritable mecca for fashion, culture, technology, food, architecture, and so much more. A fascinating city that looks and feels like nowhere else. 

 

From square watermelons to see-through toilets (sort of), cherry blossom parks to Michelin three-star restaurants – and pretty much everything in-between – the world's largest metropolis is packed full of exciting opportunities to explore and soak up new sensations. 

 

There are literally thousands of things you could add to your to-do list (and we can help with this), but to find the best running routes you need a local. And we've got the perfect person to help you out. 

  

 

Meet your guide

 

Airi Osugi is literally paid to explore. She makes her living traveling the world, visiting different countries for a TV show. She's always been an adventurer and loves nothing more than getting out there and seeing what places have to offer. Including her home base, Tokyo. 

 

"Tokyo is a city of chaos, in a good way, mixing the modern and historic. Each area has its own unique features. It's an always-changing city, but I hope the places rooted in history stay the same forever," she says. 

 

"I first started running for work, but as I continued, it became a hobby of mine that I began to enjoy outside of work too. Today I take part in running events and competitions. I like it so much that, recently, I started working as a running instructor. 

 

"Running is like a supplement of my life – it helps me feel refreshed physically and mentally."  

 

 

Just like in previous cities, we've got three different routes of different lengths (5, 10 and 15km) covering different parts of the city. The goal is to show you as much of the city as possible and provide you with a nice run at the same time.

 

5km: Harajuku and Yoyogi Park

    

 

"One of the interesting things about Tokyo is that there's always something new to see but that there are also lots of traditional buildings. On my 5km route, you get to see this on display as we start at the modern Kokuritsu Stadium before getting very near the historic Meiji Shrine. 

 

"Running through the Harajuku area is great because it's where younger generations hang out. Harajuku Street is very famous for its shopping options, but then there's also the Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park nearby. 

 

"I love how Tokyo streets have a huge contrast of the contemporary and the cultural – it really makes running more enjoyable."

 

"My favorite spot in Harajuku is the Yoyogi Park. It might be in the center of Tokyo, but you can still feel nature all around you."

 

Running route 1: Harajuku and Yoyogi Park
See on Strava

  

10km:Skytree and traditional downtown

   

 

"My 10km route goes through the area where I live. I love to run it in the sun first thing in the morning. It stretches along the Sumida River, where there are no traffic lights, so you can run for a good distance at a constant pace. A quick tip? Run over the bridge when it lights up at night – it looks great.

 

"After this, we end up in the Nedu area, which is one of Tokyo's downtown areas. There's a public bath here and I highly recommend you experience the feeling of running and then taking a bath at least once.

 

"As we reach the end of the route, we arrive in Ueno Park. It's famous for its zoo, but it's good for running too because it's full of greenery and has a fountain. It's also home to the Kokuritsu Museum (Tokyo National Museum), which is a lovely place to end our run as you can get a coffee at the cafe."

 

Running route 2: Skytree and traditional downtown
See on Strava

   

15km: Seaside to Tokyo Tower

  

  

"My longest route takes us to Odaiba, which is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. It's not an easy distance, but there are many beautiful spots along the way – especially when running in the evening. We start near the Marine Park and, as we're so close to the sea, it feels great when it's a little windy. 

 

"You won't miss Gundam the giant robot! It's pretty unique and quite well-known around the world – not just for anime fans."

 

"Moving on, we cross the Rainbow Bridge, which connects Shibaura Pier and the Odaiba waterfront. It has a great name and looks beautiful when it's lit up at night – I must like bridges, but it's true! 

 

"As we continue, on the other side of the water, eventually, we come to the Zojoji Temple. It's a Buddhist temple situated next to Tokyo Tower – which resembles the Eiffel Tower and also looks really cool." 

 

Running route 3: Seaside to Tokyo Tower
See on Strava

 

Airi's top running tips 

 

Tokyo is very busy and at times there can be lots of pedestrians depending on where you run, so always try to be careful when running on streets or pavements. 

 

Summer in Tokyo is extremely hot. Running early in the morning or late afternoon is best.

  

Rather hang out than work out?
Don't worry, we've got you. We asked our team on the ground in Tokyo for their top ten hangout spots. They didn't disappoint. Forget scrolling through hundreds of random websites with suggestions. This is your one-stop-shop for traveling in Tokyo.
Read more

  

Airi's best places to refuel 

 

"Looking for a burger? My go-to place shop called San Francisco Peaks. You can eat in or takeaway. They also do pancakes, hot dogs and omelettes but the burgers are my favorite." 

 

"For my 10km route, I recommend Our Our café. I enjoy dropping by for coffee and sometimes a light breakfast. You can also shower here, which is useful." 

 

Le Pain Quotidien Shibakoen is a great way to end our 15km route. The location is lovely, being so near to Tokyo Tower and the Zojoji temple, and you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the scenery post-run."

  

 

Airi's wearing 

 

The Performance-T
Made to perform when the heat is on, the Performance-T is crafted from class-leading materials to provide race-leading functionality. Feels like nothing, so you can give everything in total comfort.
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Running Shorts
These running shorts use an ultralight sweat-wicking fabric with a four-way stretch for distraction-free runs. Plus, the invisible-feel inner briefs keep you comfortable and supported.
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The Cloudflow
It's light. It's fast. It's won more medals than any other On shoe. It's the Cloudflow and it's the shortcut to runner's high. Perfect for training and racing. Or looking cool during downtime.
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