EXERCISING IN JAPAN: STAY FIT WITH MEMORABLE ACTIVITIES
It’s no secret that exercise does wonders for our physical and mental health — a fact that remains true, perhaps especially, while traveling. From reducing stress and promoting better sleep to increasing energy levels, a little exercise goes a long way. Spending precious vacation hours in the gym or doing crunches on a hotel room floor hardly sounds enticing, especially when the wonders of Japan await. We have gathered more memorable ways to get your heart pumping even while far from home.
Try Local Running Routes
Lacing up for a run is a fantastic opportunity to see Japan from a different perspective. Running is a chance to soak in the sights and appreciate Japan’s varied and incredible beauty. From parks and trails to city streets and riversides — there are routes for every type of runner.
This scenic run is great for those staying in the city. With marked paths for 5K and 7K runs, the route stays along the waterfront and offers views of the city, Rainbow Bridge, as well as beautiful parks.
Two Palace Run, Tokyo
How often does a route lead past not one — but two — palaces? This 6.8-mile route is both hilly and historic. Beginning at the Akasaka Palace, which was originally built as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince of Japan, and looping past the Imperial Palace, this route is a unique way to check off a bit of sightseeing.
Toyohira River Path, Sapporo
This scenic portion of the Sapporo Marathon is regarded as the best place to run in Sapporo. A paved path follows the Toyohira River, allowing for an in-and-out run of any length. Parks along the river add to the area’s beauty and offer relaxing pit stop locations.
Fushimi Inari & Mt. Inari, Kyoto
Located at the base of Mt. Inari is Fushimi Inari Taisha, the head shrine of Inari. This Shinto shrine draws visitors who make their way up a 4km path under Senbon Torii (Thousands Torii Gate) and up red stairs to the mountain’s summit. This trail run is best attempted at non-peak hours.
Hiroshima ‘Run-seeing’ Tour, Hiroshima
Dubbed a ‘run-seeing’ tour for a reason, this 10K route begins at and leads past some of the area’s most significant locations. The loop begins at Hiroshima’s Gates of Peace and stretches past the Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Castle (Rijō), along the Tsurumi Bridge, and past Shukkeien, a 16th century garden on the Enko River.
Experience Distinctly Japanese Fitness
Mixing things up and trying a new practice may just be the motivation necessary to get moving. Popular locally, these exercise options are an excellent opportunity to take part in Japanese culture.
Taking part in Rajio Taiso, or radio calisthenics, is as easy as heading to a local park first thing in the morning. Tuning into broadcast programs that lead the low-impact exercises, locals old and young join in on the exceedingly popular fitness routines.
Merging samurai sword fighting with light sabers, sassen is a modern sport with ancient roots. Located in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, sassen makes for an excellent group activity, but solo travelers can also join in on the fun. Trial and practice sessions are available, just be sure to check the studio schedule as timing varies.
Exercise and travel, actually sound pretty great together — at least when Japan is the destination.