Tokyo Runners Guide
The Tokyo Marathon is fast approaching, and we are thrilled to welcome runners from around the world to our home city. To assist runners in preparing for race day, we have created this guide, with tips on where to go for a shakeout run, where to eat, and where to purchase any last-minute items or forgotten running goods.
I. Where to Run
Imperial Palace Running Course
The 5km perimeter course circling the Imperial Palace may be Japan’s most popular running spot. Easily accessible from multiple subway stations and Tokyo Station, this is a route of contrasts. Run counterclockwise—keep the palace to your left and the skyline on your right. While running, you will s Imperial Palace’s traditional gardens, gates, and bridges on your left. On the right, you can take in Tokyo’s modern skyline, including government buildings, the Marunouchi and Otemachi business districts, the British Embassy, and Tokyo Station. Although runners can be found on this circuit nearly every hour of the day, it is a public sidewalk, be sure to stay alert for other pedestrians and bicyclists.
Located steps away from Harajuku Station on the Japan Rail Yamanote Line, the lush green spaces of Yoyogi Park are easily accessible. A favorite of Tokyo runners, authors Haruki Murakami and J-pop star Ayumi Hamasaki have been spotted running in the park. On the outskirts of the park is a 3.2 km dirt loop, while a shorter paved loop runs through the center. Throughout Tokyo’s history, the grounds have served several purposes, memorialized in various places. Be on the lookout for the Olympic Memorial House, originally a dormitory for Dutch athletes competing in the 1964 Olympics, the Black Pine Tree of Imperial Troop Review, where Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) is said to have conducted imperial reviews of the Japanese Army, and the Monument to Flight which commemorates Japan’s first successful powered flight by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa in Yoyogi Park on December 19, 1910. There are also over 700 cherry trees in the park and a rose garden that contributes to the park’s beauty and makes the park a favorite gathering place for Urban bird watchers.
Tama River Trail, Sumida River Trail, and Arakawa River Trail
If you want to run a bit longer, head to the riverside. Nearly all the trails are accessible by public transportation and will allow for hours of running without stoplights. Fellow runners, bicyclists, recreational walkers, and commuters use these paths, and depending on the trail, weather, and direction traveled, you might get a glimpse of Mount Fuji towering off in the distance.
II. Where to Eat
Tokyo has something for everyone. There are over 150,000 registered restaurants and the 2024 Michelin Guide to Tokyo includes 183 restaurants awarded at least one Michelin Star. While an additional 504 restaurants received the Michelin Bib Gourmand award. Good food is clearly in abundance in Japan’s capital. The list below is nowhere near comprehensive and highlights a few places runners visiting Tokyo might enjoy.
Tsukiji Outer Market
While the world-famous fish market has moved to Toyosu, the food stalls and restaurants that once surrounded the Tsukiji market still serve some of the freshest sushi available at incredibly reasonable prices. Nearly everyone has a different favorite location in the market. We recommend simply walking around the outer market and finding a place that looks good. The chances you will be disappointed with your selection are slim!
Address: 4 Chome-16-2 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0045
Toei Oedo Line Tsukijishijo Sta. on 1-minute walk
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Tsukiji Sta. on 1-minute walk
Toei Asakusa Line Higashi-ginza Sta. on 3-minute walk
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Higashi-ginza Sta. on 3-minute walk
Tokyo Athlete Restaurant
Located on the first floor of the 10 over 9 Run Cube (floors 2-4 are a studio and day-use lockers for runners), the Tokyo Athlete Restaurant specializes in “asu-shoku,” a portmanteau word combining the words athlete and meal. Daily lunch sets include soup, rice, and three side dishes. For dinner, the menu is customizable with dishes meeting nutritional goals, such as protein, carbs, and low fat. In addition to the typical information on receipts, the Tokyo Athlete Restaurant also provides a nutritional analysis of your meal. The menu is overseen by dietitians from the National Institutes of Fitness and Health to ensure that the meals meet athletes’ nutritional needs.
Address: 3-21 Kanda Nishikicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0054
3-minute walk from exit 3b of Takebashi Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line)
7-minute walk from exit C2b of Otemachi Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line)
Enjoy slurping on vegan ramen while surrounded by digital art created by the teamlab art collective come together at Vegan Ramen UZU’s teamLab Planets. Vegan ice cream and other treats are on the menu. Vegan Ramen UZU is recommended in the Michelin Guide to Tokyo which described the restaurant and the ramen as “revolutionary” and stated the restaurant “prefigures the arrival of a new generation.” If this is the future, we can assure you it will be tasty.
Address: 35-0061 Tokyo, Koto City, Toyosu, 6 Chome−1−16 teamLab Planets TOKYO
Public Transportation: 1 minute walk from Shin-Toyosu Station (Yurikamome Line)
Baird Beer Tokyo Taprooms
Baird Taprooms are an ideal place to celebrate post-race. Reservations are recommended, as the taprooms are popular. While the food menu varies (pizza, yakitori, kushi-age, and American Southwest) based on location, each location focuses on ensuring customers can enjoy a variety of Baird’s Beers.
Address and access by train for all four Tokyo locations are available on the Baird Beer homepage.
With only one thing on the menu (Pork Vindaloo), there are no hard decisions to make when visiting this Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant. The only choice is the regular-sized serving (1,000円) or the large size (1,200 円).
50-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 41−26 204
Public Transportation: 10 minute walk from Shibuya Station
Bear Pond Espresso
This small coffee stand, located in Shimokitazawa, is said to be the birthplace of the dirty latte. Specializing in espresso drinks, Bear Pond is a must-visit for coffee lovers interested in Tokyo’s coffee culture.
155-0031 Tokyo, Setagaya City, Kitazawa, 2 Chome−36−12
6 minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station
III. Running Specialty Stores
Stride Lab Tokyo
If you need more gels, realize you’ve forgotten something or the airlines lost your baggage, Stride Lab has you covered.
Stride Lab Tokyo: 206-002 Tokyo, Tama, Ichinomiya 2-19-1
3 minute walk from Keio Seiseki Sakuragaoka Station.