Jogging in Yokohama
Following up on the sports and exercise theme discussed in one of my previous post, what if you are in Yokohama area instead of Tokyo? What if you feel like you want to take a break and find a nice place to run?
The prettiest place to run, in my opinion, is not a park, but is the bay area near Minatomirai. The reason why I find it pretty is because it is integrated with the urban surroundings and yet it is open and green.
Since the bay area in Yokohama has been designed to be more modern, a lot of attention was given to open wide areas, green spots and pedestrian-only areas. I can't but think of Yokohama as a European city: buildings are catchy, the bay area is just a walk away, restaurants and bars have tables outside in the good season, there are mimes and magicians in the square, there are tree-lined streets.
So, the running trail. You can start from outside JR Sakuragicho station, where the Landmark tower is, and run along the pedestrian promenade that connects the station to the man made island just in front of it. In spring it's so beautiful, all green and pink! Then you can continue all the way to Aka Renga Soko, the red brick warehouse building, and go past it.
Once in the island, there is the choice of running around its perimeter on the roads sidewalks. The pedestrian walkways are wide enough for comfortably avoiding passersby. Another option is to keep running along a second pedestrian bridge that brings you back to mainland, right to Yamashita park and continue your jog there. Whichever the route, it is a very enjoyable run through the spacious and green roads of MinatoMirai district.
Yamashita park is another spot on its own for running. The park faces directly the water, it has a very wide waterfront promenade that gives great views of the Landmark tower and the ferris wheel reflected on the sea surface on one side, and the boats and ferries on the other side. The downside of jogging in Yamashita park, however, is to be very close to Chinatown: with all the good street food you could buy there, it is very hard to fight temptation and stick to your fitness plan!
There is another big athletic ground in Shin-Yokohama, equipped with fitness facilities, so that before or after running one can stretch and exercise other muscles as well. Shin-Yokohama park is very conveniently located, between JR Shin-Yokohama station and Tsurumi river (this one representing also a very good spot for running), so that even busy people have no excuses: from the train to the trail in just 5 minutes. The park is more than just a park, though. Together with a pond, jogging trails, baseball and tennis courts, the park is home of the Nissan Stadium, where soccer games are played every weekend. It is even possible to arrange tours of the stadium when no games are played.
As I mentioned, you can also run along the Tsurumi river, right from this park for many kilometers down the end where the river meets the sea. The jog though might not be always pleasant, because the trail is interrupted at every road crossing the river. Very often those are large and trafficked roads, so if you decide to do that, be careful!