Tokyo Imperial Palace moat1/2
Photo: Alan Ko/Unsplash
People jogging in a park2/2
Photo: wal_172619/Pixabay

The most scenic jogging routes in Tokyo

Get in a good run while sightseeing around Tokyo Bay, Imperial Palace, Asakusa and Nakameguro

By Youka Nagase
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Taking a jog through Tokyo is glorious if you know the right places. It's easy to get lost with so many small streets, but as long as you stay on the right path, you'll get to see some beautiful sights on your daily run.

We've compiled a list of four scenic jogging routes that will take you through some of the city's best sightseeing spots. Routes range from short to long distances, and are easy to follow. We even recommend nearby lockers to store your belongings as well as a few cafés to get your post-run fuel.

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Hit that step count

Nakameguro Running Route
Nakameguro Running Route
Illustration: Ayako Kojima

Nakameguro jogging route

Distance: 3km

Home to many trendy shops and cafés, Nakameguro makes a great jogging spot for beginners with its picturesque river paths that are perfect for a leisurely run. This charming neighbourhood is especially busy when the cherry trees flanking the river are in full bloom, so get here early in the day to avoid the crowd.

From Nakameguro station, which has a limited number of coin lockers, take East Exit 1 and head towards the Tsutaya bookstore and on to the Meguro River. Whichever way you decide to run, you’ll be running under the endless brigade of cherry blossom trees and passing by cool coffee shops, gastropubs, minimalist home stores and indie art galleries. Make sure to cross the iconic red Nakano Bridge and get some photos, too – it’s usually less crowded there. Then, it’s a simple loop back to the station.

Post-run: Visit Trueberry Nakameguro (9am-6.30pm daily) for a light breakfast and fill up with green smoothies and acai bowls. For something more substantial, the Onigily Cafe (8am-4pm daily) offers a breakfast set with a choice of two onigiri, pickles, miso soup and a drink for only ¥540.

Asakusa Running Route
Asakusa Running Route
Illustration: Ayako Kojima

Asakusa jogging route

Distance: 4km

Asakusa has more to offer than Sensoji Temple – it also makes a good jogging course. If you venture out east, you’ll find a less crowded area by the Sumida River.

From Asakusa station, follow the white pavement north along the river through Sumida Park for about two kilometres. Take the Sakura Bridge across the river and head south along this flat course until you see a set of stairs – right before Kototoi Bridge – to take you to the main road. Run past Ushijima Shrine and head towards Tokyo Skytree until you hit Kome-dori Avenue-West, where you take a right turn and run while basking in the view of the iconic tower up close. Once you pass Tokyo Skytree station, turn right and the road will take you back to the Sumida River.

There are plenty of lockers available in and around Asakusa station, but Asics Connection is located just across the river, equipped with showers and a cafe on the first floor serving healthy eats.


Post-run:
A four-minute walk from Asakusa station, Cafe Tomorrow Asakusa (Mon-Sat 6.30am-3pm) serves breakfast sets for around ¥600, with a menu including hot sandwiches, omelettes, onigiri and even curry. If you’re looking for something quick, visit Tomtom Bakery Azumabashi (Wed-Mon 7am-8pm, closed Tue) for baked goods and coffee.

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Imperial Palace Running Route
Imperial Palace Running Route
Illustration: Ayako Kojima

Imperial Palace jogging route

Distance: 5km

This gentle course in the city centre lets you take in the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace. It’s accessible from nine different stations, but we recommend starting at Hibiya, Sakuradamon or Nijubashimae stations. All three have coin lockers for your belongings and boast easy access to our starting line: the Imperial Palace front gardens, where you’ll see the iconic Nijubashi Bridge leading into the inner palace grounds. Run anticlockwise following the pedestrian path along the moat and walls surrounding the East Gardens.

You’ll reach the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo about two kilometres in. Further up, there’s a park on the left with water fountains; rehydrate here before the last leg of the run. The final kilometre takes you downhill along the treelined moat that expands until the Sakuradamon Gate. There are run stations nearby – including Joglis (Hanzomon), Adidas Runbase (Nagatacho), Raffine Running Style Neo (Hibiya) and Run Pit (Takebashi) – equipped with showers, running gear rentals and energy drinks.

Post-run: Le Petit Mec (8am-8pm daily) serves up freshly baked goods and ciabatta sandwiches. For an egg and toast breakfast, seek out Q Cafe (8am-10pm, Sat, Sun & hols 11am-10pm). Both venues are located just outside Hibiya station.

Odaiba Running Route
Odaiba Running Route
Illustration: Ayako Kojima

Rainbow Bridge jogging route

Distance: 15km

If you’re looking for a jog that lets you enjoy the Tokyo skyline, we suggest the Rainbow Bridge, stretching across Tokyo Bay to Shibaura Pier. The bridge walkway is only 1.7km end to end, but if you want more out of your run, you can conquer an additional 13-kilometre course in just under two hours.

Once you’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba, turn right and head north along the Yurikamome line and past the Hamarikyu Gardens. If you have some time, take a detour through the gardens for ¥300 – get a sip of matcha from the teahouse before continuing your run. Cross the Tsukiji-o Bridge and keep going straight for about three kilometres. You’ll see several Tokyo Olympic venues on the way. When you hit Ariake station, take a right to circle back to Odaiba, where you’ll see the Giant Sky Wheel in Palette Town.

Daiba, Odaiba-kaihinkoen, Tokyo Teleport and Aomi stations all have lockers. For the ultimate warm-down, go to Oedo Onsen Monogatari to soak in natural hot spring baths or relax in a rock salt sauna or foot bath.

Post-run: Fuel up with bagels or an acai banana smoothie at Crux Kafeo (7.30am-7pm, Sat 12noon-6pm, closed Sun & hols). The Open Bakery offers baguette and ciabatta sandwiches along with its premium Daiba roasted coffee.

More to see in Tokyo

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