One popular place to go running in Tokyo is around the Emperor’s Palace. On the weekends, you can find many people there getting their exercise. I like running but I’ve been finding it a little difficult to find good places to run. One weekend I decided to just plan a running trip to the Palace with one of my friends. We put our bags in a locker at the station and then walked over to the main running course and just joined in with the stream of people that were already well into their jog. The area is really beautiful, with a big lake around the palace, and a lot of greenery. It was nice and sunny that day, too, and this was before it started getting cold.
Actually, neither me or my friend is actually that good at running, so we got kind of distracted by a lot of things along the way. What I mean is after about 15 minutes of running we just gave up. In my defense, there were a lot of opportunities for “breaks” along the trail. For example, we came upon a big area with a huge fountain and many people lazing about. They looked so comfortable, we just had to join them. I watched a man take his dachshund from his doggy backpack and place it carefully on a blanket he had laid on the ground, and then pour some water into the pup’s special dish. Then the man read the newspaper while his dog sat loyally by his side. It was so cute! I wanted to pet it, and my Japanese friend even taught me how to ask if it was okay to pet it in Japanese. But I got nervous. I regret not petting it to this day. So my advice is: don’t be nervous, just ask!!! (this applies to everything). There were a lot of little kids playing around too, as there are all over Tokyo.
After that stop, we found many places to view different parts of the palace. They were all so grand and majestic. I felt a little out of place in my running shorts and tennis shoes. We also came across the Palace’s Museum, which we weren’t expecting to see. But it was free, so we had a look around. It’s very quiet, and there’s a huge garden and green lawn there. It’s the perfect place to go read a book when it’s warm, as many people were doing that day. I think I will go back there in the spring. The area also has parts of buildings that are original, from a long time ago. It was fun to see those, too, and imagine what is was like. Then somehow this museum led us to a short cut off the running trail, and before you know it, we had finished the whole thing.
After running, we went to Omotesando to go to a bookstore that my art professor had recommended called Ultrech. It was really cool, I recommend it as well. In Omotesando, we also stumbled upon an awesome street fair type of thing, with lots of trendy food stands, and to my delight, delicious natural milk ice cream. It was okay to eat ice cream since I went running, right? Right. I had a good time talking with the girl who was selling ice cream, whose English was very good. It seems like Japanese people are always really happy when you say their English is good. The thing is, their English is really good in comparison to most English speaker’s Japanese, and it’s really impressive!