RUNNING THE WORLD: Tokyo, Japan
NAME: Calvin Fisher
PROFESSION: Editor TopCar Magazine
It’s a bit cheeky, I know, but there’s no reason not to have a bit of fun on a work trip, right? By ‘fun’, I mean running, and by ‘work trip’, I mean gallivanting from one exotic location to the next, all in the name of motoring journalism. I’m one of the lucky ones; the spoilt kids who get to test-drive the latest hot metal, and call it making a living.
But while others are sleeping off their karaoke-infused hangovers, I’m running through the streets of Tokyo, Japan. Being a runner is like being in on a secret; privy to the truest nature of a place.
Tokyo is massive and congested – and so very alive, teeming with commuters, against a neon backdrop. It’d probably make more sense to rest when you’ve just landed after 26 hours of transit, but I couldn’t wait to don my running threads, and hit the streets and electric air of Shinjuku.
In the month of October the weather is cool and crisp, and come 5pm the sun had already set. But there was no shortage of illumination, thanks to the city’s iconic neon lighting and five-storey multimedia billboards. Even though I was ensconced, almost shoulder to shoulder, in bustling locals, I’ve yet to encounter a more thrilling location to hit the pavement.
So without even trying I bust out a five-kilometre run – then retired to my room at the Keio Plaza, hijacked the WiFi, and set about finding worthy running routes. The plain truth is that you can run anywhere in Tokyo and have an amazing experience, but here are three areas you simply can’t avoid if you’re staying in Shinjuku. And yes, it’s possible to do all three routes in one stunning 13-kilometre loop. A tip: don’t focus on your pace too much, because it’s all about the experience. Take things slowly, or you’ll miss too much.
Harajuku, Takeshita-Dori Avenue
You’ll know you’re there when you cross the digital-clock threshold, and make your way through 400 metres of the craziest shopping experience of your life.
What? You’ve been to Tokyo, but didn’t bother crossing the most famous (and busiest) intersection known to man? Shame on you! As a bonus, check out the statue of Hachiko, the faithful dog.
You can run around the perimeter of this huge urban garden, but I suggest you dive inside. Every Saturday, the park transforms into a crazy hive of activity for cosplayers (people who dress up as characters from video games or anime/manga. Don’t ask. – Ed), yoga aficionados, flash-mobbers and more. Don’t forget to visit the tranquil Meiji Shrine.
Best Time To Visit
For the best running weather, visit in November. And the beautiful Sakura cherry-blossom trees, for which Nippon is justly famous, bloom in April.
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