Located in central Tokyo, Yoyogi Park (代々木公園, Yoyogi Kōen) is a staple destination for runners of Tokyo.
Given it’s central location it is easily accessible by public transport, with train stations ‘Harajuku‘ (Yamanote Line) , Meiji-jingumae and ‘Yoyogi Kōen‘ (Chiyoda Line) all taking you to the parks doorstep.
Yoyogi Park hosts all the facilities you need for an enjoyable run as there are plenty of toilets, water fountains, vending machines throughout the park. The paths are superbly maintained and if you are looking to go for an afternoon or evening trot, the inner loop paths are well lit.
One less common known points about running in Yoyogi Park is that it offers not only one, but two running routes; an inner loop and an outer loop.
This one is as simple as following the footpath around the park from any of the main entrances. It is possible to weave around a little as there are a number of foot paths to choose from that are all connected, just stick in one direction (for some reason, counter clockwise is the standard in Japan) and you can easily explore the options. The example pictured below is the very inner loop.
Length: Approx 1.3 km long
Track: 100% Pavement
Good for: Interval training, short jog under 10k, people watching while you jog.
This is also pretty easy to find as long as you know it’s there! Locate one of the main entrances and look for a worn path that follows the outside of the park. You can traverse the park and see a different perspective of Yoyogi and enjoy a trail run like feeling. Depending on the weather you might want your trail shoes for this path as it can be muddy in parts if it has been raining. This loop is slightly longer and offers a trail run feel despite being in the center of Tokyo city.
Length: Approx 2.6km long
Track: 20% Pavement / 80% Dirt Trail
Good for: Trail run feeling, longer runs (longer distance means fewer loops)
Tips for running in Yoyogi Park
- It can get very busy and a congested during weekends and public holidays when the weather is good. If that is the case when you plan to go, head out early to avoid the crowds
- There are a number of large crows living in the park. Generally they are a bit of a nuisance as they sometimes do like to swoop low as you run past but I haven’t heard of them ever causing any harm
- Careful to avoid cyclists as there is a cycling route in the park that’s used mostly for parents with young children to enjoy so keep an eye out especially when you are crossing the cycling path
- Don’t run in the Meiji Shrine area of the park (the right side entrance to the park after exiting Harajuku station) it’s forbidden to do so and there are too many tourists to make it a comfortable location to jog anyway. Stick to the routes above.
- Take a break from your run by the dog fenced area (you will pass it on the inner loop) and enjoy watching the dogs at play
- If you would like a locker, a place to shower and change after your run the check out Nohara by Mizuno. This service is especially for runners and as shown in this google map and as you can see it is conveniently located in Harajuku. The service is available to the public for a small fee.