Good runners are good at business. Business people train with Imperial Palace running.

Running is quietly becoming popular among business people in Japan. The reason is simple: all you need is yourself and a pair of running shoes, and you can start running anytime and anywhere. Unlike other sports, you don’t need to make a schedule with teammates or prepare special tools. There is no other sport as cost-effective as running, and it also promotes good health.

Running is a secret trendRunning is a secret trend

According to statistical data gathered in 2015 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology about physical strength, sports ability, and fitness habits across the country, walking was most popular with 50.8% of the population, followed by gymnastic exercise (radio gymnastic exercise and calisthenics) with 30.8%, bowling with 12.7%, and running with 12.7%. The data is divided along gender lines. Gymnastic exercise is popular among women while bowling and running are attractive to men. The closer it is to the center of a city, the greater the popularity of running. By age bracket, walking is popular with advanced age, and running is popular for people in their 20’s and 30’s. Since urban areas have street lamps and bright streets, people can run safely. In the Imperial Palace, more than a few runners run late at night.

Since 2007 the Tokyo Marathon has spurred the popularity of running as well. In the 2017 Tokyo Marathon, 322,703 people applied for the full marathon (42.195 kilometers / 26.219 miles), which is about 12 times higher than the number of available positions (26,370 people). If you look at the odds, you would not be surprised to learn that there are people who have not won a seat for 10 years straight. In addition to a quota where runners must complete the full distance within 6 hours, Japanese runners must pay 10,800 yen (including tax) for the application fee. Seeing that so many people are interested in the Tokyo Marathon despite entry being such a narrow gate, it’s proven that running is a popular national sport.

The Imperial Palace is a so called holy ground among runners who work in Tokyo. People call it the “Kōkyo Run (Imperial Running)”. One circuit of the Imperial Palace takes around 5 kilometers, which makes it easier for runners to set their goals. Looking at cherry blossoms while running in April is also fun. Imperial Palace runners change their clothes at a facility with showers and lockers, the Running Station, take a shower after running at their own pace, and go home. Advanced runners even make a run during their lunch break, and go back to work after taking a shower.


Adidas RUNBASE TOKYO, a popular running station among runners, is one minute by foot from Nagata-cho station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line, and 3 minutes from the Imperial Palace. In addition to basic services, such as lockers and shower rooms, the running station holds regular professionally staffed running clinics according to users’ goals, so beginners can use the facility with ease. The affordable 700 yen per visit fee includes the use of a locker and shower room. They also offer sportswear for rent for 500 yen and shoes for 100 yen, so you can enjoy running without bringing anything by going to adidas RUNBASE. Currently, they are running a campaign where they will take 100 yen off the original price just by following their account on Twitter.

You can rent Adidas’ latest sportswear and shoes.You can rent Adidas’ latest sportswear and shoes.

There are people who want to listen to their favorite music while they run. However, more than a few think that swinging cables while running are annoying. Last year Apple released wireless earphones, AirPods, and this solves this long-standing issue with earphones.

Apple’s Wireless Earphones AirPodsApple’s Wireless Earphones AirPods

AirPods are Apple’s wireless earphones which connect with Apple products, such as the Apple Watch. Both left and right earphones have completely independent power supplies, so they are truly cordless earphones. Therefore, you can enjoy running while listening to your favorite motivational songs.

You can pause the music when you take out one of the earphones, and it plays automatically when you put it back on. You can also adjust the volume by voice with Siri (voice recognition) by double tapping the earphones. AirPods are open-ear earphones, so you can still hear surrounding sounds, which means you are able to hear the sound of the cars while running in the city. When someone calls you, you can answer the phone by double tapping your AirPods. You do likewise when you want to hang up the phone. It goes without saying that you should stop running when you talk on the phone.

Runners’ favorite smartwatch, Apple Watch Series 2Runners’ favorite smartwatch, Apple Watch Series 2

Advanced runners may feel bothered by carrying their iPhones as their running speeds are fast. To solve this issue, connect your AirPods directly to an Apple Watch and add your music beforehand, so you can listen to music via your Apple Watch. If you add Suica and credit cards to your Apple Watch Series 2, you can shop at convenience stores with Apple Pay.

Workout is a built-in app for Apple Watch that monitors your workout in various sports. When you select Running , the app automatically records running distance, pace, active calories, heart rate, and running time. The app uses a motion sensor function, so it pauses when you stop running, and starts recording again automatically when you start running. Since Apple Watch Series 2 has built-in GPS, it can tell you your running route after the run without you carrying your iPhone.

Takamasa Ushizaka (42), a businessman who runs the Imperial Palace regularly, says about running, “I think running is similar to a job.” Mr. Ushizaka’s motivations for starting running were just trivial things like health maintenance. But as he exchanged information with his fellow runners, he decided to try out for a marathon competition. He regretted not achieving his goal at his first marathon competition, and started applying his ingenuity to running. He analyzes what is missing after a running competition and reflects on his daily practice in order to overcome his weak points. He says a long succession of small improvements is the secret to improving at running, and the experience he draws on is his improvement at work.

Like George Mallory, the British mountain climber who famously answered, “Because it’s there,” when asked why he climbed Everest, business runners like Ushizaka will keep improving as runners as long as a road is there.

Photographer Hiroyuki Uchiumi
Model Haruka (Michelle Entertainment Inc.)

Related information

2-16-1 Mori Tower 1F, Hirakawa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3261-9980
(Monday-Friday: 7:00-23:00, Saturday, Sunday, and holiday: 7:00-22:00)
1 minute by foot from Nagata-cho station via Tokyo Metro Yūrakuchō, Hanzōmon, or Nanboku Lines
6 minutes by foot from Akasaka station via Tokyo Metro Ginza, or Marunouchi Lines

adidas Runners

Tokyo Marathon

2015 Physical strength, sports ability, and fitness habits across the country by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

Apple Watch Series 2


@japan introduces Running front line, by Haruka, CM model, and Takamasa Ushizaka, a business runner.

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