Culture, Experience, Lifestyle,

Tokyo from a different angle: Join other runners at the “MINATO City Half Marathon”!


December 2, 2018, was the day the brand new “MINATO City Half Marathon 2018” was held for the first time. In recent years, a “marathon fever” has spread throughout Japan, which has led to the population of runners increasing noticeably. Being one of the big marathons, “Tokyo Marathon” is famous worldwide.  For beginners however, a full marathon is a huge challenge. For those beginners who are up to a challenge, a half marathon might be the right choice!

Today, I will introduce the “MINATO City Half Marathon 2018” – a fun way to explore the city from a different angle!

finish line

One of the fastest runners close to the finish line at Tokyo Tower

The best feature of “MINATO CITY Half Marathon” is the running course. Starting at Shibakoen Park, from where you can see the Tokyo Tower, you pass Zojoji Temple, cross the canals at Shibaura close to Tokyo Bay and see the futuristic skyscrapers around Toranomon Hills, before you finish at Tokyo Tower. It’s also a way to do some sightseeing without cars disturbing you.


The main gate of Zojoji Temple


upper left: tents a the registration area; right: Toranomon Hills

Many tents were set up at the Shibakoen Park area near the starting point, and it was impressive to see who many staff members actively supported the runners. As some foreign staff saw me, they waved their hands and called me over: “Come here! Come here!”. I went over, wondering why they called me. They asked: “Do you run today?” I answered honestly: “Sorry, I’m just watching today.” All of us laughed. Anyway, it is really nice that they had English speaking staff for foreign runners! (Actually, I did spot some foreign runners.)


Runners rushing off

The runners finally started! Family, friends, and co-workers were cheering for them at the start line before moving to the finish line at Tokyo Tower, to wait for them there. A young singer was singing an original song composed for the half marathon each time a group of runners started. In front of the big gate at Zojoji Temple, a Japanese drum group played a powerful drum concert to support the runners of the “MINATO City Half Marathon”.


upper left: the ward headman of the Minato ward waving at the runners; right: drummers at Zojoji Temple

finish line

At the finish line after 21.0975km (13.1095 miles)

The half marathon is still too hard?

After the 5,000 half marathon runners speeded off, another 500 people gathered at the start line to join the fun run. Since the running distance of the fun run is only about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) this course is suitable even for small children. This is why there were a lot of parents, and even grandparents with children – a very heartwarming sight!

MINATO City Half Marathon

The whole family – even the ones that can’t run on their own yet – are joining the fun run


Teachers of a local elementary school running together with their young students

The “MINATO City Half Marathon” was my first time to watch a marathon. Still, I’m not so much of a runner – but the fun run actually seemed doable! Maybe, next year…….. 😉

Why don’t you join the “MINATO City Half Marathon” and do some sporty Tokyo sightseeing?

“MINATO City Half Marathon” Information:


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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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