View Full Version : Long Distance Running in Japan

May 7th, 2014, 01:35
Hey all,

I'm a UK short-lister who's into long distance running. I've done a few marathons, halfs and mountain marathons in my time, to which I'm keen to continue whilst on the JET Programme.

I was just wondering if anybody has any experience of running in Japan, either in urban or rural environments and/or participating in organised events such as the Tokyo Marathon?

I haven't been assigned to a prefecture/town yet so I can't narrow it down but it'd be good to hear from anyone's experiences.


May 7th, 2014, 08:22
Well, the Sendai half-marathon is this weekend (5/11 I think) - and my JHS principle is running, so maybe I'll get some answers if he feels like talking today.

May 7th, 2014, 10:34
I f*cking hate running and have pretty much given in to The Blerch. I like bicycling and swimming and sh*t, but running completely sucks fetid goat arse.

That said, I've done some running here, and if you're into it, Japan is the place to be. Hell, my school has an annual marathon (I ran it; it's horrid). There are marathons and long-distance running events in pretty much every city/town/village in Japan. A few of my ALT friends are into running in a big, big way; one of them recently ran in some big thing in Tokyo, apparently.

What do you want to know? It'll be ridiculously easy to find events in which to run. They'll almost always be on weekends so it'll be easy to join 'em. You can probably find running partners with a bit of searching, depending on your area. The only thing that might be difficult for you is finding running shoes if you wear anything larger than 28cm (again, kinda depends on your area).

May 7th, 2014, 10:42
Yeah, my inaka has tons of "marathon" (usually a 5 or 10k, but all long distance running is called "marathon" here). It'll be a good way to meet people!

May 7th, 2014, 12:05
RUNNET - 日本最大級!走る仲間のランニングポータル (https://runnet.jp/) Not available in Japanese but you can search for runs in your area, very handy site. Like windy said there are a lot more 5/10ks than halfs and fulls but they exist!

Re: running in Japan. You'll want to bring your own gear here to start with, the sizing on clothes and shoes and the availability of goods (depending on your area) can really suck. I live close enough to a big city that has a running store but to be honest it's pretty laughable compared to the shops back home (but they did offer the running check at least). You can buy a lot of running shoes online and have them sent to you so as long as you know what you need you should be OK (but check online first). I made the mistake of buying some running shorts online at rakuten but didn't consider the fact that a Japanese M and an American M would be different! Try to go in-person to a store to buy this stuff! If you are small and don't have big feet, though, I'm sure you won't have any problems--I'd just recommend bringing your own if you're attached to a certain style or brand.

Sidewalks here can be pretty shitty (earthquakes) and sometimes non-existent, pretty much depends on where you end up going. You'll be able to find somewhere in your town, though. If you're a lady you should know that you probably shouldn't go running in a sports bra and shorts unless you want to feel extremely uncomfortable, women here run in what's akin to full body suits.

There are gyms around (it'll depend, again, on where you are) but most of the countryside gyms are small and only have a few treadmills (which may be out-of-date or only go up until a certain speed).

May 7th, 2014, 15:39
I can't add much except that there are tons of 5-25K runs in the general area I am in. Just get in with your local AJET group, there are likely to be some run nuts already there with connections to all the major events.

That being said entry can be something of a bitch. I have heard a few ALTs complain about not getting entry tickets before they sold out so they couldn't go.

May 7th, 2014, 21:26
Cheers for some of the advice. I'll definitely bring my own gear with me and anything above 10k will be good to do.

I'll look into it more once I know where I'm going but I was just after a heads up to start with.

May 15th, 2014, 13:53
We have about five well publicized running events during the summer in my prefecture - the one in my town has three distances, 5k, 10k and half marathon. You get a free melon at the end.