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Wednesday night running

On Wednesday evenings after work, I’ve started running around Yoyogi Park with the Namban Rengo running club.  Everyone meets up at Oda Field, just across the road from Yoyogi Park, at 7:30pm on Wednesday nights.  While all the serious and good runners do some track work, I basically just turn up for a jog around the park, and then a soak afterwards in the sento (bathhouse), a few beers and dinner.  I start at the Yoyogi Hachiman sento and leave my gear in the lockers before heading out.

The track is open the public, and always busy in the evenings.

The big group meeting in the centre of the track are the Namban runners – a good mix of foreign and Japanese runners, of all levels of seriousness and levels.  There are always conversations about marathon times, triathlon training, and details of the next ekiden race.

Last week, I was pursuaded by James to come for a “short run” out to Akasaka Palace (Gosho) to see the prince.  I didn’t really think he was serious until he headed out of the park, ran past Harajuku Station, and up the street towards Gaien.

Things were still happy as we approached Gosho.  We were happy not to be running loops of Yoyogi Park, and wondered whether we might see His Highness emerge from behind the palace walls.

We posed at one of the gates to Gosho, after it became apparent that the prince and princess weren’t going to come out and come for a run with us.

The run back was a bit slower, and we even got lost somewhere around Shinannomachi Station.  After some backtracking, we were on the right road again, past all the sports stadiums.

We ran past the National Stadium, which was a bit forlorn in the dark.  We got back a bit later than expected, and our guestimate was that we’d run about 12km in a little bit over 1 hour.

Finally, after a soak (no photos inside the sento – but it’s a good traditional bathhouse, including the obligatory painting of Mt Fuji on the wall so that you can enjoy your bath with Fuji views), it was back to the local liquor shop in Yoyogi Hachiman for a few beers.  The proprietor puts some chairs and crates out on the footpath for us to sit on.  Then we grab a taxi and head back to Shibuya for nourishment.

One Comment

  1. Stephen Osmotherley says:

    Great post. Loved the photos.
    I’m travelling to Tokyo tomorrow from the UK and have been looking for some spots to run in and Yoyogi Park keeps coming up. I’ve never visited Japan before and am so excited. I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions?
    I’m staying near the Yutenji and Nakameguro stations and thought I could jog up through Shibuya to the park. I usually like to start running around 6.30 – 7am. Are the streets/pavements in the areas I need to go through suited to running? I keep reading about the traffic and pollution. At what roughly what time does this become unbearable.
    Cheers!

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