Join an “Imperial Palace Sightseeing Running Tour” and do some sightseeing while circling around the Imperial Palace

OMOTENASHI Runners at Imperial Palace

Do you enjoy going for a run? If so, why don’t you try out the “Imperial Palace Run” as a memory of your trip to Japan? This running course is the most popular one in Tokyo because there are no traffic lights around the Imperial Palace. Therefore you can run without annoying stops. Also, with many runners stations providing lockers and rental wear, the course is easy to use for beginners, too.

Imperial Palace Sightseeing Running Tour

Running around Imperial Palace

Are you interested in trying out something special? There is a group of volunteer runners called OMOTENASHI Runners providing running tours to customers from Japan and overseas. The volunteer staff will join you on a tour around the Imperial Palace and explain the charm of the area and the most important facts of the Imperial Palace.

No running area in front of Nijubashi Seimon Bridge
The OMOTENASHI Runners will guide you around the Imperial Palace in English.

When my friends and I joined the OMOTENASHI Runners tour, our volunteer guides were super friendly. They kindly taught us everything you have to know about the Imperial Palace Run guidelines. This is important because there are some things you have to know. For example, you can only run in one direction, etc.

Stretching first!
OMOTENASHI Runners volunteers

Every time we arrived at a tourist spot, we stopped and the volunteers explained the attraction in easy-to-understand English.

What are the highlights around the Imperial Palace?

Seimon Stonebridge at Imperial Palace

When exploring the sights around the Imperial Palace, the most famous place you shouldn’t miss is Nijubashi (the “double bridges”) which is the entrance leading into the Imperial Palace. Another beautiful spot and must-see is Sakuradamon, one of the historic gates.

Nijubashi is the most famous spot around the Imperial Palace. The two bridges spanning the moat are usually collectively called Nijubashi (double bridges), but actually, Nijubashi is just the steel bridge in the back. Its double structure is the reason for the name.
You will find parts of the moat and stone walls almost everywhere around the Imperial Palace. When you look closely, you will see that the way the stones are piled differs depending on the location. The way stones are piled changes depending on the time they were built up, which makes us feel a long history.

Sakurada Gate at Imperial Palace

When visiting Japan at the end of March in early spring or at the end of November in late autumn, we recommend going to Chidori-ga-fuchi and Imperial Palace East Gardens (Kokyo Higashi-Gyoen). Both places are famous for their stunning cherry blossoms and autumn colors.

When you are around Kitanomaru Park, be sure to visit Chidori-ga-fuchi! The cherry blossom season and the autumn foliage in fall are especially beautiful.
Chidori-ga-fuchi in spring
Chidori-ga-fuchi: The cherry blossoms are lit up at night, so don’t miss this super-romantic sight!
Chidori-ga-fuchi Boat Ride during fall season

Do you want to take a peek into the palace’s grounds? No problem! Visit the Imperial Palace East Gardens where you can still see the ruins of the castle tower of Edo Castle and a tea house. (You cannot go inside the tea house, though.)

Imperial Palace East Gardens (Kokyo Higashi-Gyoen)
Against the backdrop of skyscrapers of the city, you can see some remains of the Edo Castle Honmaru Remains. Other sites are historic stone walls, cherry trees, and the autumn foliage that flanks a large open lawn space. A great spot for taking a break!

There are a lot of places around the Imperial Palace where you can feel the history of Japan, and other spots where you can enjoy the beautiful nature of the four seasons. So if the weather is nice, why don’t you join an Imperial Palace Sightseeing Running Tour – or go on a walk around the palace?

Running along Imperial Palace

A list of the running manners for the Imperial Palace Run:

The OMOTENASHI Runner Association of Japan

Information about the release of the Imperial Palace East Gardens:
1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Map:
Closed: Monday, Friday
Nearest station: Takebashi Station