Welcome to Tokyo!

Welcome to Tokyo.

I’m a little unsure where to start. I’m obviously not the first person to go to Tokyo…so whilst I want to write about my impressions (WOW WOW WOW by the way), I don’t want be all stereotypical. I’m also conscious that this is a running/trying-to-be-healthy blog as opposed to an All About My Holidays blog but the boundaries may blur a little during this Japan escapade. It’s all so new to me that I may struggle to draw the lines. So if you get sick of photos of sushi and heated toilet seats, let me know. I won’t be offended. I would welcome the feedback. I do however intend to focus more on the Running in Japan side of things on this blog but I would welcome the feedback if it gets a bit holiday-photos over here. Jen wrote some great stuff on her blog about Japan, it’s been really useful. Read it here.

Firstly. Tokyo. Wow wow wow. It’s incredible. Like a CGI fairy-tale city. I am already smitten by Tokyo and by its people. We have been bowled over by the kindness of the Japanese people. Having a cute boy does undoubtedly help. We are staying temporarily in a hotel in Chiyoda, the centre, until we move into our flat on Wednesday. And guess what I have in my bathroom.

NOTHING is as nice as a surprise heated toilet seat in the night.

We’ll talk about the blurriness later.

Right. Running.

I am feeling VERY out of shape. I have run very little in the past two weeks. On Friday, before our flight, I ran 5 miles (no watch, no iPhone, all packed). It felt rough. I felt really really unfit. We landed late Saturday night in Tokyo (due to the date line – we are totally clueless about what time it is in the UK and US and our stomachs are so confused) and on Sunday, we had a LONG walk around the centre, including a 5k loop of the Imperial Palace. It’s a moated island in the city centre with a running/cycling path round it and it was PACKED with HUNDREDS of runners, all going in the same direction. Most grievously, my lovely DSLR camera died as we got there (and it looks like it’s pretty much dead) so I got no photos that day which is a shame because the running outfits here are truly spectacular. But that’s another post…I’m surreptitiously trying to snap the best ones for you.

There were two races on whilst we walked round. A Santa Fun Run and another more serious one. As we walked, my well-trained son and I cheered on the Santa runners. A handful had santa hats on, but they all waved back at us and grinned. The more serious runners were unsure what to make of being cheered on by a gaijin (foreigner) and her dude. A few girls ran with sashes across them, like beauty queens. NO idea what that was about. One girl with a sash was walking it with heels. As you do.

Anyway, come Monday, the Husband headed off to work and the Dude and I went for our first Tokyo run. Rain was forecast for the day but apart from a few drops, we escaped. It was cold though. We ran down our street to the Imperial Palace and then ran round, in the correct direction. No sunshine this time, boo! We saw about 10 runners max and most of them were running in the wrong direction – I wonder if the direction rules are only on Sunday or if it was a race thing. We passed three runners twice, and both times they recognised us, smiled and said hi (I assume). One older couple were very excited to see the Dude the second time, it was so sweet. Having circuited the Imperial Palace and got some photos, we then ran back for a shower and our next adventure.

4.75 miles in about 46 minutes. Neither number particularly accurate. Photos taken: 15.

The Imperial Palace on a grey morning

This path goes all round the palace. It changes as it goes but it’s lovely.

We interrupt this run to play in a playground

The Imperial Palace is surrounded by a moat.

The path merges onto the parade ground overlooking the business district

The Dude and I at Nijubashi, the most photogenic part of the palace.

Part of the Palace

And to finish, some totally random, unrelated (poor quality) photos of the brain-frying Tokyo Dome and the Cosplay teenagers who inhabit it on a Sunday night. Our eyes were on stalks.

Fairy light spectacular at the Tokyo Dome

Cosplay – Japanese kids dressing up as Manga characters

They dress up and then take photos of each other with spectacularly expensive photographic equipment!

By the way. Guess whose hotel is near a little street marked on her map as ‘Sports Shop Street’? 😉

About Cathryn

I'm from Wiltshire, a beautiful rural county in the south of England. My husband, son and I moved to California in August 2010 with my husband's job, whilst I stay at home with The Dude, our gorgeous five year old son. I love running and cycling. I'm a Christian. I am finally learning to cook (about time too). I'm loving exploring this new part of the world and meeting its wonderful people.
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8 Responses to Welcome to Tokyo!

  1. Jen says:

    I don’t care if you hardly write about running (though I AM curious about the running outfits!); I’m very excited to hear about all of your thoughts and adventures! Thanks for the link to my blog, btw. 🙂

    p.s. don’t you love the toilets? I really miss those heated seats and bidets.

  2. Cathryn says:

    Okay, more Tokyo photos!! 🙂 But JEN, THOSE TOILETS!!! The heated seats are seriously amazing…nothing like the pleasant surprise during a midnight pee!

  3. I want to hear everything about Japan! Everything. Don’t hold back.:)

  4. Bean says:

    Wow already so amazing. I think you should write about whatever you want, it is your blog. We can get back to running when you return to the boring U.S. :).

  5. Kristen says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I am so glad you could tag along. Love the heated toilets! Can’t wait to read about it.

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