The annual Tokyo Marathon is a highly-anticipated event, as running has always been a popular sport in Japan. It’s also one of the most famous races in the running world, and makes up part of the 6 World Marathon Majors alongside London, Berlin, Chicago, Boston, and New York City. Being there for the Tokyo Marathon is a terrific way to experience Japanese culture first-hand, learn how to celebrate like a local once the marathon is over.
The race starts in the morning at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Cheer the racers as they make their way downtown in one of the world’s most beautiful and futuristic cities. The marathon runners are famous for wearing crazy costumes, as well as the spectators! Lively music, vibrant dancers, and colorful parades at different areas in the course add to the nearly-tangible energy reverberating through the streets.
‘Stick around for the festivities that ensue at night, when the streets of Tokyo light up with neon colors, adding to its ultra-modern feel.’
Runners are required to be at least 16 years old for the 10km race, and at least 19 years old for the full marathon. It’s open to elite as well as recreational runners; tourists and foreign residents – speaking Japanese is not a requirement. What makes it even more awesome is that disabled participants are welcome to join in the Marathon too!
So, who will you be rooting for? The annual Marathon is an amazing experience that you will NOT want to miss.
The Tokyo Marathon course is over 42 kilometers long, so as a spectator it will require some planning. Thankfully, Tokyo is known for having the most efficient subway and train systems, which make it easy to view the race.
Don’t miss out on the starting line, which is a truly impressive spectacle. It starts at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where enthusiasm and energy explode. The Yasukuni Dori is an excellent place to watch the first 10 kilometers, which is located near the Kabukicho Exit of the Shinjuku Station. The gardens surrounding the Imperial Palace also provides excellent views.
Next, head over to the elegant area of Ginza to watch the runners, after which the course turns for Asukasa where you can find cafes and restaurants that are high up with awesome views. For the final stretch, go to Odaiba, a man-made island that has lots of space for spectators. The race will then wrap up at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center.
Tokyo is famous worldwide for its extremely extensive train and subway system. It’s impeccably clean and safe, and announcements are usually made in Japanese as well as English. Buses cater to the few areas that the train systems don’t. Taxis are expensive, but if you’re traveling in a group of three or more the price can be justified.
Tokyo is a massive city, so make sure that you book a hotel in a convenient location for the marathon. The best areas to stay in are around the Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, and Roppongi. It’s always a good idea to stay near a Tokyo loop line station so that you never have to travel too far to get around.
Tokyo is as close as you’ll get to a real-life sci-fi set. That’s how modern it is: think utopian buildings and edgy architecture combined with traces of the shogun city through sumo tournaments and cherry blossoms, punctuated by jaw-dropping ancient temples.
Be prepared to eat your way through Tokyo. It has more Michelin starred restaurants than anywhere else in the world. The Tsukiji Fish Market is worth the early call time, and be ready to eat the best sushi and sashimi of your life. Electronics and gadgets are a terrific bargain here, especially in Akihabara where electronics shops are comparable to theme parks with all the flashing lights and crazy screens. Make a furry friend at a cat café while having a coffee, and shop at the many weird but charming establishments at Harajuku.
The Marathon will be held on March 3, 2019.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Tokyo Marathon 2019 using the map below!
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