Kyoto, nestled in a valley in the central part of Honshu, was once the capital of Imperial Japan. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Kyoto differs from the concrete and glass jungles of Tokyo and other urban cities. The scenic beauty is a welcome relief for anybody who wishes to get away from the city, and step into nature for a short while. The natural beauty has made it very popular city for runners, who can enjoy a run anytime, around the city gardens and beside the river that flows through the city. Here are some of the best spots for running around Kyoto.
1.Imperial Palace Garden / Kyoto Gyoen
The gardens of the Imperial Palace at Kyoto are some of the most popular destinations for runners. What Central Park is to New York, the Imperial Palace Garden is to Kyoto. Access to the Imperial Palace Park is free of charge. The narrow pathways across the park criss-cross with large boulevards, and are covered with weeping cherry trees and manicured gardens. Runners can easily get a good run of upto 1.4 kms from the north to the south, and double back for more. This is perfect for some casual jogging and light exercise.
Name: Imperial Palace Garden
Address: Kyoto Gyoen 3, Kamigyo-ku
Best Time To Go: The garden is open 24 hours, and you are guaranteed to enjoy a run here almost anytime.
Getting There: Imperial Palace Garden is about 3 minutes walk from Maratumachi Station on the Karasuma Line
Official Website: http://www.env.go.jp/garden/kyotogyoen/english/index.html
2.Along The Kamogawa River
Another popular place for a long run in Kyoto are the paths that run beside the Kamogawa River. Regular runners often start their runs on the West side, near the Ritz Carlton Hotel. There are at least two popular routes along the river : One heads north to Nishigamo Bridge for 6.4 kms while the other runs south to Jujo Dori, for 5.3 kms. Together, the entire stretch covers a running track of almost 11.5 kms, over flat even ground, making it the perfect spot for some high distance training in peace. The path also has several exercise spots tucked away on the route, in case you wish to switch over from running to other forms of physical activities. There are also several resting spots for those times when you want to catch a breath and just relax.
Name: Kamogawa River pathways
Best Time To Go: 24 hours. Best time to go running is in the early morning, or mid-day.
Getting There: To start your run close to the Ritz Carlton, catch the Tozai Subway to Kyoto’s Shiyakusho-Mae Station. It’s a three minute walk from there to the Ritz. It’s also a close walk from Jingu-Marutamachi Station.
3.Yoshidayama Park and Green Space
About 3 kms to the east of the Imperial Palace Gardens is the Yoshidayama Park, home to multiple pagodas, as well as the Yoshida shrine. Shaded paths and stairs, make up the trail thats lead up to the shrines located here. The hilly terrain makes it perfect for serious runners, who are looking for more than just a normal flat terrain to run on. The trail is fairly short – about 1.5 kms one way – but the hilly terrain makes it quite a complex run, especially if you double back down the path. The lush green gardens of the park make it an ideal spot for a quick, fast faced run.
Name: Yoshidayama Park & Green Space
Address: Yoshidakaguraokacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8311
Best Time To Go: Mornings or late evening is an ideal time to go for a run here.
Getting There: Its about a 20 minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station on Kaihan Line.
4.Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari Taisha, at the base of Mount Inari, is one of the biggest shrines in Kyoto, and definitely one of the most popular tourist destinations. The 4 km run across hilly terrain and stairs makes a challenging trail run for even experienced runners. Thousands of vermillion gates (torii gates) cover the path, as a token of gratitude by visitors who had their wish granted after praying there. At last count, there were at least 10,000 torii gates around the premises of the shrine. At night, the lit-up trail has a mystical and alluring look to it. However, please do note that this is a shrine, and you will need to respect the sentiments of the people who have come there for praying. Please ensure that your run does not cause any inconvenience to any of the worshippers.
Name: Fujishimi Inari Taisha
Address: 612-0882 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Fushimi-ku, Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, 6 8
Best Time To Go: Mornings or late evening is an ideal time to go for a run here.
Getting There: It’s a 5 minutes walk to the east of Fushimi-inari on the Keihan Main Line
Kyoto has some great spots for casual as well as experienced runners. So, whether you live in Kyoto, or are visiting, there is no excuse for giving up your normal run. Just put on your running shoes, pump up the volume on your music player, and head out for a run.
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