Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Running in Japan

The hard part about training for a marathon is that when there is a vacation during the training schedule, you can't take a vacation from that either!

Of course it will be harder as it will be busier in terms of travel schedule.  For our 11-day trip in Japan, we ended up taking all sorts of transportations (train, subway, tram, ferry, bus) to get to the various cities.

I would schedule my runs on days where we would just go around the city.  No runs on days we need to travel to another city as we might end up missing the trains!

For Kyoto City I was able to do two 7.5km runs on two consecutive days.  Our hotel was located near Kyoto Train Station and although the weather was hot during the day, in the morning it had a nice and cool weather.  Japan had a lot of vendo machines so just bring a few bills or coins and you are all set in your run.  For Kyoto, I was able to discover a 4km loop around the city, which passed through two big city temples, for which I entered one on first day and the second on the second day.  So some sightseeing done in the city too!

The 4km loop passes through the quiet area of the city so that was a good place to observe their day to day activities too.

The scheduled long run for the week fell on the day when we were in Hiroshima,
which was a perfect place to do it as
city felt solemn as I was reminded of what happened to the city during World War II.

There were countless monuments to commemorate this fateful day.  My route took me to the Peace Memorial Park, around A-Dome and towards Hiroshima Castle, wherein I did 4 loops around its perimeter.  Went out again and this time I followed the river to the more rural section of the city.  In this part there are more runners and the road is more cushioned and quite similar to a 400-meter track.  It seems I have discovered where they secretly run in this city.  I wasn't able to finish the required 24.5km and did only 21.5km as our hotel stay included Japanese breakfast buffet and I had to get back before 9:30am to avail of it.

The next run was in Tokyo City, where the only place I could think of to run where it wasn't that busy in terms of traffic, people in the streets, countless traffic lights, etc. was around the Imperial Gardens.  From our hotel near Tokyo Station, it was a relative straight path to the Imperial Gardens, where one loop is equal to 5km distance.  This was bigger than Kyoto Castle but both routes are good for runners.

I planned to run inside the Gardens as well but unfortunately, they close the Gardens on certain days of the week.  Just my luck that Friday was one of those days.  But I was able to see the famous bridge nearby and also run around the perimeter 1.5 times.

The final run for our Japan trip was at Nikko, where we stayed in an Onsen, which overlooked A big lake.  a five minute walk nearby is one of the largest water falls in Japan.  

This was also a good place to run as it had a nice scenic view of the lake.  I passed two temples around here.  The path was more of trail kind so had to be careful in where I would run.  But good experience nevertheless.

All in all, even though I had to wake up early to do the runs in our vacation, it was still a fun experience and through these things I was able to discover Japan more.

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