- Introducing Toyama Park
- Warm up with some urban running
- Toyama Park (Okubo section)
- Toyama Park (Hakone-yama section)
- More than just running
Anthony’s previous running articles
・Araki-Cho: a runner’s hub for exploring Tokyo
・From Araki-cho to Tocho: Shinjuku’s most famous attractions in one run
・Araki-cho running: How to jog all the way around Shinjuku
・Araki-cho running: Circling the Akasaka Palace
Introducing Toyama Park
Exploring Toyama Park, located northwest of Araki-Cho, can be confusing at first. The park is split into two sections separated by the sprawling Toyama high school and a major urban thoroughfare. This article will take you to both parks, each one with its own unique landscape for running.
Warm up with some urban running
Since this article focuses on the destination instead of the journey, I’ll only cover general directions and landmarks. Thanks to Tokyo’s seemingly infinite number of winding roads and alleys, there are plenty of different ways for you to reach Toyama Park. Don’t hesitate to use your favorite mapping app for this journey.
For a basic route, consider starting your run at Akebonobashi station, just south of the Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan. Once you come across the bustling Akebonobashi-dori (street), head up Route 302, the wide road that heads northwest. There’s nothing like a good incline to get the blood flowing!
Stay on this road, and you’ll eventually reach Higashi-shinjuku Station. If you are a video game fan (or simply appreciate unique architecture), take a moment to circle the Square Enix head office and the beautiful greenspace that surrounds it. After that, head north on Route 305, Meij-dori (street), for about 500 meters, and from there, you’ll have a choice: head west for Toyama Park (Okubo Section) or east for Toyama Park (Hakone-yama section).
Toyama Park (Okubo section)
If you are looking for a designated course for sprinting, then this section of the park is your best bet. Having an “official” course is a godsend in a bustling city like Shinjuku. Park visitors are aware that the path is for running and should give you a wide berth to sprint at any speed you like. After you are done here, you can head back to Araki-Cho or head due west to the Hakone-yama section of the park.
Toyama Park (Hakone-yama section)
While the Hakone-yama section of the park lacks a dedicated running course, it’s no stranger to athletes. As you jog through this sprawling oasis of greenery, you’ll encounter locals engaged in all kinds of outdoor activities. This includes high school and college students giving it their all as they train for relay races.
So, as you navigate the park, be on the lookout for runners dashing along its paths. Better yet, let their efforts motivate you to run even faster. The key feature of this section of Toyama Park is the generously named Mt. Hakone. It’s really just a big hill, but it’s great for incline training or stair climbing.
More than just running
As you make your way through these park grounds, you’ll notice all kinds of peculiar sites. There are beautiful flowers to be seen all year round—especially the cherry blossoms in spring and the hydrangeas during the June rainy season. For a daily fee of 400 yen, you can even play basketball and lift weights at the Shinjuku Sports Center.
Or, if you need a breather, simply plop yourself down on one of many park benches, and take in the beautiful scenery. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find that a trip to Toyama Park is well worth the effort.