THE ECHOES OF EDO: A RUNNING TOUR CHASING OLD TOKYO – 17K

Unlike Kyoto or Nara, known for historical heritage, Tokyo is famous for its modernity. However, this running tour teaches you how to read Tokyo’s vibrant past in a city where few historical sites remain.

THE ECHOES OF EDO: A RUNNING TOUR CHASING OLD TOKYO - 17K
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THE ECHOES OF EDO: A RUNNING TOUR CHASING OLD TOKYO - 17K

Unlike Kyoto or Nara, known for historical heritage, Tokyo is famous for its modernity. However, this running tour teaches you how to read Tokyo's vibrant past in a city where few historical sites remain.

Runner on the ground - IHOR

Tokyo, a city where the ultra-modern meets the historic, has undergone dramatic transformations since the catastrophic Kanto earthquake of 1923 and the intensive bombings of WWII. Unlike Europe, where buildings can be dated back hundreds or thousands of years, it’s challenging to find a building in Tokyo that is at least a century old. Our tour is a journey in search of the remnants of Edo—the city that was reborn as Tokyo in the late 19th century—while navigating through a maze of skyscrapers and bustling highways.

We will start our tour from Ueno Park, a hill that once faced the waters of Tokyo Bay. This area was populated before any city appeared here and later became home to Kannei-ji Temple, established by the Tokugawa shogun to protect the city from evil spirits from the unlucky direction.

From Ueno, the run leads towards Nihonbashi, the historical commercial district where shopping malls owned by the same family for 400 years stand. Here, the old bridge now supports the rush of modern commerce and traffic of the highway above, linking Edo’s past to Tokyo’s present.

Our route then follows the old human-made water channels to the Sumida River, an area where the past lives in the form of art by Hokusai and Utagawa. Their works are displayed where the scenes were originally depicted, offering windows into the city’s vibrant Edo-era life.

As we run into Asakusa, it’s clear why this area has always attracted visitors. The venerable Senso-ji Temple continues to draw people from around the world, much like it did with Japanese pilgrims in the past. By visiting in the early morning, we can enjoy the calm before the tourist rush and appreciate the serene start of the day at this historic site. Surrounding the temple, the neighborhood thrives with sushi bars, comedy halls, and souvenir shops, maintaining the lively atmosphere of a pilgrimage site. Asakusa is rare in Tokyo for retaining some of the city’s oldest structures, resonating with our search for tangible pieces of old Edo.

Our route then takes us to Yoshiwara, the most notorious red-light district of Edo, once the heart of the Ukiyo, ‘floating world’, —a term that described the ephemeral, pleasure-seeking lifestyle of its inhabitants. Immortalized in the vivid art of ukiyo-e, Yoshiwara was a place where art, entertainment, and fleeting beauty flourished. Today, the character of Yoshiwara has evolved, but its streets still echo this fascinating past. During our run, we’ll see how much of this colorful history is still palpable in its modern incarnation.

The tour concludes where it started, in Ueno, but this time we will see the park as the site of the last battle that marked the end of the Edo period. Ueno, with its Western-style museum space next to ancient temples and shrines, symbolizes Tokyo’s shift from traditional to modern, without disrespect to tradition.

Tokyo’s urban heritage cannot be experienced in the typical European way, by walking through quaint cobblestone streets lined with beautifully restored historic townhouses. Instead, it is often experienced by the continuation of the function or program of a certain location, building, or public space. The building may have been demolished, but the purpose of the space has been maintained over time. Tokyo has still preserved a lot of its historical narratives and patterns, manifested not in monuments, but in the soft urban tissue and neighborhood identities.

Join us on “The Echoes of Edo,” where every step is a stride through history, and every breath is a whisper of the past. Discover the Tokyo that once was, and appreciate the metropolis it has become. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a casual jogger, this journey through time promises not just a physical challenge but a historical adventure that captures the essence of Tokyo’s transformation.

For those interested in a deeper dive into local traditions and experiences, an optional visit to a traditional sento—a Japanese public bath—offers a relaxing end to our run.

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Facts about the tours

15 km

Private tour

Moderate

Individual

Ukrainian, Japanese

Flexible

Run start location - Hotel meetup or Standard Meeting Point

Price

1 person99.00/person

2 persons71.50/person

3 persons60.50/person

4-20 persons49.50/person

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