One of the half dozen World Marathon Majors on the international competitive-running circuit (the others being Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City). And this year, a record number of runners have registered for the 13th Tokyo Marathon (more than 331,000), with 38,000 actually hitting the streets and at least a million spectators along the route of the marathon from 9:10 am to 4:10 pm (there’s also a much shorter, concurrent 10K race, as well as a 3.5K “Friendship Run” the day before).
The route runs through some of the Japanese capital’s main neighbourhoods, including Iidabashi, Kanda, Asakusa, Ryogoku, Ginza, and Takanawa, with the starting point being the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (above) in the Shinjuku financial district, one of the city’s most iconic buildings, 202 metres (663 feet) high and with two high-up observatories (one for each of its towers) from which visitors can get spectacular 360-degree views, and free of charge. And while many of these tens of thousands of runners are naturally Japanese, inevitably the top ten finishers for both men and women are from the running powerhouse countries Kenya and Ethiopia.
And of course those who’ve never visited this extraordinary city can explore its compelling sights and culture, both modern and traditional – and even those who have can enjoy the spectacular annual sakura (cherry blossoms), blooming this month and approaching full glory the last week of March. Tanoshinde kudasai (enjoy yourself)!