Thursday, 15 December 2016

Running Around The Imperial Palace

Nijubashi or double bridge
Visiting Imperial Palace is one of the highlights for those visiting Tokyo.

The Imperial Palace is located a short walk away from Tokyo Station which makes it very convenient for visitors to visit.

For runners like me, there is another side of Imperial Palace that attracts us and that is to run around the Imperial Palace, following its 5K jogging track.
The dos and don'ts of running around the Imperial Palace jogging track.
If you read about my post on Adidas Runbase, where I met up with Toshi-san earlier; this is where we were headed to after putting our bags and changed into our running gear at the Runbase locker.

We walked towards the Imperial Palace which was just a 3-min walk from Adidas Runbase and started our run from this statue/fountain area.
I ran with Toshi-san and Shin-chan while Hubby took photography duties.
 
I was to run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon the next day so the run around Imperial Palace was just a short and easy one. The guys were obliging enough to slow down to meet my pace. Hahaha
 
The route is a popular one, both with local and visitors alike so expect a busy, filled running lane.
 
And it's also important to be mindful of not only other runners but also those on bicycle and those who are just sightseeing around the area.
In front of Sakuradamon; a designated important cultural asset as it is the largest of the remaining gates of the former Edo castle.

We could enter and enjoy the vast expanse of the exterior grounds of the Imperial Palace.
Broadwalk for a few hundred metres before we go out to the pavement again. Some areas are wide and some are narrow so we do need to me mindful of others.

The nice thing about running this track is that we didn't need to worry about traffic. The whole track is kinda unobstructed. We also do get a few inclines here and there within the 5K loop which was nice. Flat route can be pretty boring, right?
The track is open 24-hours and runners can run there anytime as it is well-lit and koban (police box) are stationed around the track.

There are also toilets and drinking fountains available for runners to make a pit-stop.
The clock tower which is a popular meeting spot after we enter Sakuradamon.
The track's map located beside the clock tower.
I ran 5.39K that day because I only stopped my watch when we got to a nearby sento called Bain Douche to meet other Japanese runners for our dinner gathering later.
In front of a public bath (sento); Bain Douche which is also just a few hundred metres from Imperial Palace.

Another fun option for visitors &/ runners to try, apart from Adidas Runbase.

Entrance with usage of the public bath and locker is around 400yen.

Details:
Bain Douche 1-5-4 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku
It is a 1-minute walk from Hanzomon Station on the Hanzomon Line;
Open Mon-Sat, 3-11.30 p.m.

A good place to relax the muscle after running around Imperial Palace! (or walking around Tokyo!)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Flying With ANA

Our October 2016 trip was our second time flying from KLIA to Narita direct, with ANA (Air Nippon Airways) since it started plying the KL-Tokyo-KL route in Sep 2015.

We used ANA in Sep 2015 and flew in to Narita before taking a domestic flight to Kansai Airport. We paid about RM1,000.00 per person for our tickets last year.

This year, we paid about RM1,200 per person for our tickets. Still OK lah and a bargain considering it's a full service carrier and not a budget airline.
It was a short trip, solely for the purpose to let me go run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon. It wasn't school holiday yet and Son wasn't keen on skipping classes so the trip was made with just the two of us.

A first time for me & hubby going to Japan without Son, since 2002!
We took the 8.00am and soon after take-off, we were served breakfast.

Breakfast was Halal-certified.
But not lunch, it seems...

Anyhoo, we only got breakfast and snacks served lah for our 7-hour long flight. Snacks served were Halal-certified, by the way.
In-flight entertainment was syiok of course. I watched Shin Godzilla movie and an anime, The Boy and The Beast.
 Our breakfast.
 Our snacks.
Our dinner for our return flight.

ANA is of course the choice for us for the time being, as their promo fares are still competitive and a bargain. JAL does offers promo price at the moment, and we do love flying with JAL too but ANA still trumps all full service carriers including MAS and SQ at the moment.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Tokyo's Adidas Runbase - The City Is Our Gym

Adidas Runbase Tokyo is a place for runners who are fans of the Adidas brand to not only purchase the latest Adidas products but also as a place where one can rent lockers (with excellent shower facilities, I might add), rent running apparels (shoes and clothing) and simply head out for a run.
No excuse not running because one forget one's running shoes!

Runbase 5 one feature:

  • From Nagatacho station (1 min walk), from Imperial Palace (3 min walk)
  • Latest shoes wear for rental
  • Stylish locker shower
  • Tailored running clinic
  • Professional staff advice 
The day before my Chiba Aqualine Marathon in October 2016, Hubby and I had set-up a meeting with a friend, whom we got to know when I ran in Tango Ultramarathon in 2015. Toshi-san was also the race director of  Tango Ultramarathon in 2015.

He had kindly offered to bring me to the store and later accompanied me to run around Imperial Palace jogging course before meeting a few other people for dinner.

We got off at Nagatacho station and head out from exit No. 4 and met Toshi-san who was already waiting for us at the exit's entrance.^^

First order of business for us was of course, to check out what Adidas Runbase Tokyo has to offer before changing into our running gear.
 The latest array of running apparels are available at the store.
Me, looking at the Adidas Boost shoes available for rental.

But I came ready! I had brought along my own running gears so I only needed to rent the store's locker.

I had done my homework and followed Adidas Runbase Tokyo Twitter account (https://twitter.com/adidas_RUNBASE) and got a discount for my locker fee at 600yen (700yen normal fee).

Shoes, running apparel and even watch can be rented at a fee, starting from 100yen  to 500yen for a set of jacket, shirt and running pants.
The staff were obliging and nice and most important, they are runners themselves. I even had the chance to talk with the store manager; Takanori Haraguchi who is also a competitive runner who had spent three years in US and Canada.
Me and my locker key.

Very onsen like. Ahahaha

Hubby and I, accompanied by Toshi-san later met another runner and we jogged from the store to Imperial Palace where we did the 5K loop.

The store offers a number of running clinic and the schedule can be viewed at their website (Japanese only).

After the run, it was time for us to get ready for dinner so it's shower & change time!

There are 8 showers available in each of the women & men locker room; apart from 248 lockers.

Towels can rented for a fee but other amenities such as body wash and shampoo; apart from hairdryer, lotions and other amenities are available in the locker room for free.
For those who wanted to check out the store, here's the map.

Have fun!

And oh, for those who is or will be in Tokyo this weekend; there will be a charity run held at Imperial Palace.
More information on the race can be found at my other blog: http://linasbackyard.blogspot.my

Entries are still accepted until race day so if you're in town on Dec 18, 2016 and want to meet fellow runners in Tokyo and also contribute to charity; why not drop by to Imperial Palace and join the run?

Monday, 31 October 2016

Chiba 2016 Trip - A Snapshot

We came back last Thursday from a 6-days' trip. The trip was so that I could run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon. It was great fun and while we visited familiar places, we also managed to do something different too.
We made our journey to Japan on Friday morning and flew with ANA on the 8am flight. 

For the first time since Feb 2002, it was just the two of us this time. 
We arrived Narita Airport at around 3pm but spent more time at the airport to sort out a glitch with our Japan SIM card.

It was almost 5pm when we took a local train to Chiba Station and after checking-in at our hotel, the first order of business was to search for dinner. Luckily, there were plenty of restaurants located near the train station.

Dinner and a night stroll with Hubby before we finally settled in our room.
Saturday was a busy day.

We went around the malls near Chiba Station before making our way to Tokyo Station. As always, whenever we are in Tokyo, a stop at the Central Post Office.

A great place to shop for souvenir and commemorative stamps.

We later met a few friends to run around the Imperial Palace jogging course and later a dinner gathering.
Sunday was race day!

I joined the half-marathon at the Chiba Aqualine Marathon held in Chiba. The run was interesting to me as it is only held once every two years.The run saw 12 thousand full marathoners and 5 thousand half marathoners running around Chiba.

Plus we get to run on the Aqualine Expressway up to the point where the bridge link goes through the undersea tunnel across Tokyo Bay. The bridge/tunnel connects Kawasaki in Kanagawa with Kisarazu in Chiba.
Monday was reserved for a hike. We started at Mount Takao and used the Inariyama Trail where it is less crowded with hikers/visitors.
We hiked 15 kilometres from Takaosanguchi Station to Mount Jinba. The hike down was using a shorter 4 kilometres route before taking a bus for another 10 kilometres trip to Takao Station.

From the start of the hike till we board the bus; we took about 8 leisurely hours to hike to the top of Mount Jinba (857m) and down again.

As a treat after the hike, we went to an onsen and later had a nice sashimi dinner.
Tuesday was cycling day.

We rented bicycles from Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel and went around Tokyo Bay and the neighbouring area.

Our rental was for 24-hours so we took our time cycling and enjoying the sights.
Tuesday night was spent in Akihabara, trawling the shops that were still open after 8pm; looking for toys. ^^
Wednesday was spent in Ueno and we spent most of our time in Ameyokocho for some final shopping.

And all too soon, it was time for us to return to Malaysia.

Next year, we plan to spend more days for our yearly vacation!

Total spent excluding airfares (plus omiyages and snacks to bring home): about 85,000 yen (around 4,050) for two.
Airfares : RM1,298.00 return with ANA.

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