Just because you are on holiday or business is no excuse to let your fitness routine slip, especially not when there are so many interesting places in Tokyo to work up a sweat. Whether you want to run, lift or stretch your yogic muscles, we have you covered for the best places to work out while in Tokyo.
Imperial Palace ©JNTO
Hands down, the most popular place to run in Tokyo is around the Imperial Palace. The massive grounds are surrounded by a 5.3K loop that affords views of Ginza, Tokyo Tower and the cherry blossoms at Chidori-ga-fuchi if the season is right, all without having to cross any traffic. The route is mostly flat, with a few gentle elevations, and at any time of night and day, you will be joined by packs of Tokyoites getting their daily dose of endorphins. The only down side is the vehicle traffic alongside the route. If you aren't staying nearby and are feeling extra adventurous, finish up near Hanzomon Station and try the sento, or public bath, experience at Bain Douche. Bain Douche: Gol−５−４ Koujimachi, Chiyoda-ku, www.1010.or.jp
Another popular runner's course can be found at Komazawa Park, one of the venues of the 1964 Summer Olympics. The 2.148 km loop has lanes for runners and bikers and is clearly marked at 100 metre intervals so you can track your progress. The park grounds will be packed during nice weather, so it is ideal if you enjoy a little people watching with your pavement pounding.
Park Hyatt fitness centre
Of course, your hotel is bound to have some kind of fitness centre, though the size and amenities vary widely even in the luxury class. If having extensive facilities in-house is important, consider staying at the Park Hyatt, where the 47th-floor fitness centre offers a large, well-equipped space with machines and free weights, personal training services, a private mat work area, a variety of daily English classes and a gorgeous pool, plus superb views of the Shinjuku area from its floor-to-ceiling windows. Park Hyatt: 3-7-1-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, tokyo.park.hyatt.com
Otherwise, you can try Gold's Gym, which offers more space and equipment than the average hotel gym and has locations all around Tokyo. The largest branches are in Ginza, Higashi Nakano and Harajuku, which is popular with Japanese celebrities. Visitors can get a 5-hour day pass or a two-week pass, though prices differ by location.
Tokyo's frenetic pace can definitely leave you longing for some peace and relaxation. Luckily, there are several English yoga studios in town. On the west side, try Yogajaya near Daikanyama. It's registered with Yoga Alliance and offers English-friendly classes at all experience levels. They also hold regular workshops and events, so be sure to check if they are hosting any famous yogis or yoginis while you are visiting. Pay per class or buy a book of tickets. Yogajaya: 1-25-11 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, www.yogajaya.com
On the south side, there's Sun and Moon Yoga in Gotanda. American director and author Leza Lowitz brings a laid-back California style to the studio, which offers Hatha classes in English for all skill levels. No reservations are necessary. Sun and Moon Yoga: 3-16-44 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, sunandmoon.jp
Mt Takao, ©JNTO
Sometimes the best way to work out in the city is to get out of the city, or at least close to it. Tokyo actually boasts a mountain within the city limits: the 599 metre tall Takao-san. In under an hour, you can be getting your exercise where the air is a little fresher, the greenery a little greener, and there are views of Mt. Fuji on clear days. Takao tends to be crowded on weekends, especially during the autumn foliage and spring cherry blossom seasons, so go on a weekday if possible.
Most people take trail number 1 to the top, which is paved the entire way and passes various attractions such as a monkey park and Yakuoin Temple. However, trail number 6 or the Inariyama trail, both of which have trailheads near Takao-san-Guchi Station, offer much better hiking experiences. Trails are clearly marked and all meet up at the summit.