Let me tell you where to jog, breath fresh air, enjoy nature and relax in the middle of Tokyo!
In the heart of Tokyo, next to the imperial palace, still remain the ancient pit and walls protecting the Edo castle along the Sotobori park. You might expect a place full of tourists, buses and shopping souvenirs. Not al all!
On week days, some people living in the area and university students walk on the stone paving path and on weekends, the walking path gets a little more crowded in the afternoon. However, on Sakura season time, beginning of spring, there are so many people enjoying a cherry blossom contemplation picnic that don’t even think about running there. You might bump into a group of friends savoring sushi and drinking sake while staring at pink flowers following from the bulky trees.
Except during Sakura season, you can easily enjoy a nice run on Sunday morning without any people on your way. I would like to give my impression about jog in Sotobori. Even though, an evening jog is also possible during the Sakura season and it is even better because you can run under cherry blossom trees, a perfect time for Hanami.
From Yotsuya station
Yotsuya is a very interesting place in Tokyo. Between Shinjuku and the imperial palace, it has large road where no buildings block your view which is very rare in this city.
On the Yotsuyamitsuke bridge, your can start running towards the state guest house Akasaka palace, a building which looks like a 19th century European castle serves to accommodate world leaders and diplomats.
Don’t be surprised to see a large road crowded with cabs, they all go to Akasaka, a night district, you just keep running until you reach a red light. On the right side, you will notice a huge wooden gate with police keeping the gate. Perfect! Cross the bridge on your left and go to the other side of the road. From there, the bulky Sakura path start.
On the right side, a steep slope going down to a sports field where students from the university Sophia near there are practicing rugby or soccer.
Yotsuya station will be near and you will have to cross the Yotsuyamkitsuke bridge again and stay on the left side, go up to the walking path and cross a beautiful parc with different kind of trees an plants. On your right side, you will start to see the water pit and reach the ichigaya station.
From Ichigaya station.
Ichigaya is an interesting area with a min-fish pond next to the station where you can catch carps and goldfish. We can see the fish pond up from the running path. From here, you will run under old and big sakura trees. Perfect place to relax. At night, the light of the pit cafe shop is amazing makes a romantic atmosphere to the scenery.
From Iidabashi station
Final stage, at iidabashi station, take the slope next to the starbucks, you are now in Kagurazaka. A very cozy with an Edo style atmosphere. Surronding by shops and a beautiful temple, on the left side, you can really appreciate the atmosphere.
At the top of the slope, you have finally reach your destination. Congratulations! Now, turn on your right and you will see the bath house on your left side next to vending machines.
- Get off at Yotsuya station (JR Chou line or Sobu line. Metro Marunouchi line or Namboku line). Take exit "Sotobori Avenue".
- Start running along the Sotobori avenue on the left side. Within few minutes, you will see the Akasaka Imperial Guesthouse on your right. Just keep running on the left part of the road along the sports field.
- After 200 meters, you will come to a traffic light and turn right, cross the bridge, stay on left side of the bridge, you will see a small stair that lead to the left bank of Sotobori. From here, you can start easily your journey, it's very simple you go straight.
- You will reach Yotsuya station, cross it and continue along the path and go up the small stairs on your left, continue straight along the path, you will arrive at Iichigaya station.
- Then, cross the crossroads, reach the edge of the canal on your left and continue your path along the canal until you reach Iidabashi station.
- At Iidabashi station, turn right. Walk up Kagurazaka street and you will come to a traffic light.
- Cross the street, turn right and the sento public bath is a few meters on your left.
Distance : 5km (If you start from iidabashi and reach the end of sotobori at Akasaka and then come back to Iidabashi, you can double your running distance.)
Public bath : Daisantama no yu "第三玉の湯" 1-4 Shiroganecho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0816
Access : 5 minutes from Kagurazaka station.
Opening hours : From 15:00 to 01:30
If you are looking for more articles about bathing culture, Spa in Tokyo and natural thermal sources "Onsen", give a look at these following articles
Also, if you wish to make your own Japanese bathing atmosphere at home, I recommend the following Japanese bath accessories