Running the Yamanote - Hachiko (Goal at 41.4km)Hachiko, Shibuya, where the run started and finished.

Quiet an achievement for me today – I circumnavigated inner Tokyo by running the Yamanote train line, visiting every station along the way. The 41.4km route took me almost 5 hours to run, and was quite painful towards the end – but worth it for the sense of achievement, and for the new perception I have of how the city fits together.

I didn’t actually think it would be that far. Yesterday I did a rough plot with Google maps, and measured it at 34km. Then, when I was running, I thought it was only about 39km ish – but then when I got home and checked the route as uploaded by my iPhone (was using Everytrail, the GPS tracking app) I saw that actually, it was a bit longer. Like 0.3 of a mile off a full marathon (I’d done a bit of twittering along the way – everytrail only adds ground covered when the app isn’t active after you upload to the site) My time was pretty crap, but then I did take a lot of photos along the way, and also, I’m not a ‘runner’ as such.

Here’s the route and slideshow. It looks better in full size on the Everytrail site (flash required).

41.4km Tokyo Circumnavigation

Map your trip with EveryTrail

In other totally dull techy news – I now have my own custom short URL domain (woo!). I can automatically shorten domains system wide on the mac, and in my twitter client on the iPhone to start ‘’ – how exciting is that (my middle name is ‘Peter’)?! I’ve also bought my own name –, which I again rather sadly thought was pretty cool. I’m going to use that for my email address domain too, although emails sent to my old addresses will still be delivered.

And, got paid another 120 dollars for linking two words in an 8 year old blog post to someone else’s site. This website thing is actually starting to not be a complete money waster!

Righty ho, on with the show.

Have a good week all!


13 Responses

  1. Thanks for this! I’m going to Japan this summer and I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the Yamamote line 😀 It’s a continued relief to see most all of the signs have english for the stations 🙂

    Very impressive you ran the whole thing!!

  2. Nice work Joseph. I love the concept of running around a loop line. I also would not have though that it was that far. The everytrail embed above is very cool with the images.

  3. So Joseph, what’s the reaction in Japan to the Toyota fiasco? I find it very interesting, and sad in a way….when I lived in Japan in the 1980’s it was all about “Japan is #1” and there was a very arrogant attitude among the Japanese about their superiority to everyone else, LOL! It was though they had won the economic war (and they had, in a way) and were avenging their defeat in World War II… All I heard was “Japanese product better”!

    Now their economy is in in the sh*tter, China is poised to overtake them as the 2nd largest economy (gasp), and their flagship product (Toyota) is likely to take down the entire nation with it…What are your thoughts and, more interestingly, what are the thoughts of the average Japanese man-on-the-street?

    1. Hi JC,

      Good to hear from you.

      Well, I must say the circles I walk in don’t really care much about the Toyota fiasco. Life goes on, the company will no doubt recover in time. I mean, it seems the JAL bankruptcy never even happened now that the media has lost interest, and this will probably be the same. I don’t think young people attach much importance to things like ‘japan as no.1’ etc.

      People will keep on buying stuff, break pedal or no break pedal.

  4. Great run, Joseph!

    Inspired by your effort, today I’m going to attempt to run a loop around my Tokyo neighborhood, stopping at every (and I mean every) vending machine along the way. Should be finished by sometime later in the week, but if you don’t hear from me again, please post my obituary at The Daily Mumble. Would appreciate it.

    1. Cheers Billy, g;ad to have inspired you! I’ve really enjoyed exploring the city on foot.

      Every vending machine – that’ll take you years! 🙂

      Will watch out for signs of you being dead.

  5. Thanks for your input- they just announced on BBC that Japan has just narrowly retained it’s place as the #2 economy, after USA, holding off China for now…so we will see 😉 Perhaps Japan’s future will be, and should be, as a smaller economy specializing in niche sectors rather than attempting to be the economic powerhouse it once was.

  6. Love the site. I lived in Tokyo for a little while in college and thought the place was terrific (and the Japanese were surprisingly *not* arrogant).

    I had a great time running in the grittier area down by the port and was shocked to find out how sushi kept me in good shape with little exercise (and lots of beer).

    Your blog brings back lots of great memories.

  7. Toyota recall: Akio Toyoda to testify on Capitol Hill today before the US Congress- I’m fascinated to see where all of this will go. Many interested eyes in Japan will be watching. I truly feel badly for the Japanese that this has happened- I’ll always have a deep affection and respect for Japan and its people. There’s talk of this one crisis affecting the very future of Japan and its place in the world, so it’s a big deal. Wish I were there to hear what (Japanese) people are saying…