Auspicious running courses 2010

Detox and relax with an auspicious run to kickstart the year

Auspicious running courses 2010

If you’re thinking of making a fresh start in 2010, why not try to improve your fortune with a run around some of Tokyo’s auspicious temples and shrines? After all, in order to make room for the new, you first need to chase out the old. To take advantage of your improved luck you’ll also need to be in top shape. So put on those running shoes, sweat out those toxins and open the door to a fresh 2010.

2010 auspicious running course #1

Aoyama Kumano Shrine, Gaien and Shimizu-yu course
The course begins approximately two-minutes walk away from Omotesando crossroads at Shimizu-yu, a public bath house with facilities for runners to change and leave luggage before beginning their run. From there, the course follows Aoyama-dori towards Gaien. At Aoyama San-chome crossroads next to Aoyama Bell Commons, take a left onto Gaien-nishi-dori. Upon arrival at Jingumae San-chome crossroads, turn right and head towards Aoyama Kumano Shrine— a place full of greenery in which to relax. A forests and afforestation god is enshrined here, making it a shrine that’s particularly appreciated by those working in construction-related trades. Pass through the gateway of the shrine (torii) to find a pair of particularly rare and interesting stone-carved guardian dogs. One has horns on its head and mouth closed, the other, a jewel on its head and mouth open. Around this area, you’ll also find various temples worth visiting including: Ryugenzenji, Myoenji, Choanji, Jihoji and Kotokuji. When you’re ready to begin running again, head towards Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium and take a 1.35km lap around the perimeter of Meiji Shrine’s Outer Garden, past a line of Maidenhair trees and back onto Aoyama-dori. From here, if you’ve still energy to spare, consider including a lap around the perimeter of Akasaka Goyochi. This run totals approximately 5km when the lap around Meiji Shrine’s Outer Garden and Akasaka Goyochi are combined. If that’s enough for you, head back to Shimizu-yu to freshen up and wipe the sweat away. Refurbished and re-opened in April 2009, Shimizu-yu houses various baths and facilities including carbon dioxide-rich baths, carbonated spring water baths, baths that use silky-textured water, Jacuzzi baths and saunas— a place perfect for weary runners wishing to relax their muscles and bathe away aches and pains.

Aoyama Kumano Shrine
Address: 2-2-22 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3408 0065
Address: 3-12-3 Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3401 4404
Open: Mon-Fri 12noon-12midnight (last entrance 11.30pm), Sat-Sun and nat. holidays 12noon-11pm (last entrance 10.30pm), closed Fri.

2010 auspicious running course #2

Meiji Shrine, Yoyogi Hachimangu Shrine, Yoyogi Park and Hachimanyu course
The course begins at Hachimanyu, a public bath house located not far from Yoyogi Park’s west gate. Yoyogi Park, Tokyo’s fourth largest park, covers 54 hectares and contains three recognised running courses within its boundaries: a 1.2km course, a 1.9km course and a 2.4km course. Maps displaying each course in detail, along with their respective distances, are available from the park maintenance office. Starting at Hachimangu, enter Yoyogi Park through the west gate and head towards Harajuku. After exiting the park through the Harajuku gate, head for Meiji Shrine. Annually, Meiji Shrine sees more New Year’s visitors than any other shrine in Japan. With over 220,000 trees within its grounds, it’s a great place to take a break, relax and breathe in some fresh air. After paying your respects here, head back to Yoyogi Park, re-entering through Harajuku gate. Pass through the bird sanctuary and Sangubashi gate before returning back to the west gate. How many laps around the park you choose to do from here depends on how you, and your body, are feeling. When you’ve finished running, return to Hachimanyu to freshen up with a bath. The central area around the large bath is decorated with images of Mt. Fuji and as might be expected of a bath house established over half a century ago, its history can be felt as you relax and unwind. Finally, after a good soak, consider rounding things off with a leisurely visit to Hachimangu Shrine— a place known to house a deity with the power to ward off evil and grant better fortunes.

Yoyogi Park Service Centre
Address: 2-1 Yoyogi-kamezono, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3469 6081
Open: winter 5am-8pm, summer 5am-5pm
Yoyogi Hachimangu Shrine
Address: 5-1-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3466 2012
Address: 1-2-10 Tomigaya, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3468 0337
Open: 3.30pm-12midnight, closed Fri

2010 auspicious running course #3

Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Ueno-Onshi Park and Rokuryukosen course
This course begins at Rokuryukosen, a bath house located behind Ueno Zoo. Although there isn’t a specific pathway to follow, the best course of action from here is to circumnavigate Ueno Onshi Park, visiting famous establishments such as The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, The Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum, The National Museum of Western Art and The Ueno Royal Museum. If you want to stretch your legs a little further, from the southern side of Shinobazu Pond, exit the park and head towards Yushima Tenmangu Shrine. Enshrined here is the spirit of the famous Heian scholar, poet and politician Sugawara no Michizane. It’s an ideal shrine for any students or runners who wish to pray for success in any looming exams they might have. Also worthy of note is that the shrine grounds are home to some 300 plum trees. Expect to find it bustling with plum-blossom viewing parties in early spring. After completing your run around the park, head back to Rokuryukosen. Inside you’ll find a bath house with a distinctly retro feel to it that showcases various memorabilia such as a certificate dating back to 1931 that shows the composition of its water. The water here is reputed to help alleviate symptoms brought about by the cold and arthritis. Ask for the ‘Tebura set’ to make use of a towel, body soap and shampoo for an additional ¥100.

Ueno-Onshi Park
Address: 3 Chome Ikenohata/Ueno Park, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3828 5644
Open: 5am–11pm
Yushima Tenmangu Shrine (also known as Yushima Tenjin Shrine)
Address: 3-30-1 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3836-0753
Address: 3-4-20 Ikenohata, Taito, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3821-3826
Open: 3.30pm-11pm, closed Mon

Related articles
2009 Sports wrap-up
 Year-end flashback
One-of-a-kind adidas
 Order-made 'mi Performance' aim for a perfect fit
Tokyo hits the pavement running
 The city’s top runs, locations and events

By Akiko Toya
Translated by Brin Wilson
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


Add your comment

Copyright © 2014 Time Out Tokyo