Travel tips, stories, and adventures from around the world.

Author: From Pineapples

Walking Tokyo Series: 2019 Tokyo Yamathon

We did it! We completed the 2019 Tokyo Yamathon and walked all 29 Yamathon-sen stops in ~9.5 hours. Continue reading to find out how you can explore Tokyo too! Don’t forget to set your reminder to join us at next year’s Yamathon!

TL;DRWe walked the Yamanote-sen in the 2019 Tokyo Yamathon! It took us a little over 9.5 hours, but if we can do it, so can you! Set your reminder to join us for next year’s Yamathon! Is there anywhere in Tokyo that you’re curious about? Let us know below and maybe we’ll walk it or like a few of you have, message us so we can check it out together!

Tokyo [email protected]#

The Yamathon is a fundraising challenge where teams of three or four people compete to walk through Tokyo.  The Yamathon is a unique endeavor in that there is no set course. Basic directions are provided to all participants – part of the navigational challenge is to be creative and take shortcuts provided you visit all 29 Yamanote stations.

If you’re wondering how far this is, the “Full Yamathon” is ~40km or ~25 miles. For you 80’s babies, it has a “Choose Your Own Adventure-ish” feel as there’s no set route. For reference, here’s the path we took which I imported from a Plot A Route user.

Yamanote-sen Route

Walking Tokyo: 2019 Tokyo Yamathon Route

2019 Tokyo Yamathon Route

[email protected]

I know a lot Sara’s friends asked her this question, but answering for myself, there’s a few reasons:

  • We love to walk cities.  We’ve walked every large metropolitan area we’ve ever lived; NYC, SF, Honolulu, and now – Tokyo.  I think of it as literally “walking the walk” because it allows us to give a plethora of travel tips to friends and family.
  • We value shared experiences. It’s an event we’ll reminisce about in our old age. We don’t spend a lot on material items – I don’t see a problem if that’s your thing, it just isn’t ours. We tend to splurge on experiences such as travel, activities, dinners with friends and what not. This puts the Yamathon right in our wheel house.  Since even most Japanese people have never been to all 29 Yamanote-sen stops, it’s an added bonus to check something off the bucket list.
  • Setting goals and accomplishing them. Admittedly, I don’t know if this is a good reason, but I’ve always pushed the physical boundaries of what my body can do. It’s a good feedback loop that builds confidence for many of life’s adventures.

Photo Gallery

Results

Walking Tokyo: 2019 Tokyo Yamathon Team808 Finish Line Photo

Only the strong!

 

From the published 2019 Tokyo Yamathon Results, Team808 (how original, right?!) finished 86 out of 200+ entries. Not bad for a bunch of 40 year olds (and Sara)! However, I will admit that I’m too old to get up on a Saturday and walk 30 miles. Therefore, next year we will have more training and better costumes. Are you going to join us?

Walking Tokyo: Tokyo Yamathon 2019 Stats

Step stats from the 2019 Tokyo Yamathon

 

Overall Recommendation

🍍🍍🍍🍍🍍 – 5 out of 5 Pineapples!

First, special thanks to Dave and Dan for accompanying Sara and I with very little notice! Life is always more fun when you have more suckers friends involved.

Second, I would highly recommend this for anyone that loves to get out and explore cities. Structured as a team activity, it’s a chance to talk story and see parts of Tokyo you’d never get to explore otherwise. Not to mention, it’s all for charity so grab a few friends, some costumes, a few beers and we’ll see you next year!

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Walking Tokyo Series: Kichijoji Station to Nakano Station

Walking Tokyo gives an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of Tokyoites. Read our notes from the 5.5 mile (~2 hour) walk Kichijōji Station to Nakano Station. Join us as we walk Tokyo!

TL;DRWe’re walking Tokyo (this time from Kichijoji Station to Nakano Station) to practice for next year’s Yamathon! Is there anywhere in Tokyo that you’re curious about? Let us know below and maybe we’ll walk it or message us to come join us!

Kichijoji Station to Nakano Station ?! [email protected]

Check out our first post to learn more about why we love to walk the cities we live in. We originally went out to Kichijoji to check out the Round 1 (because I love games) and decided to just walk home. I know, don’t ask – we make these kinds of decisions to just walk home a lot. 😀

Kichijōji Station to Nakano Station

Our Route

Walking Tokyo: Kichijoji Station to Nakano Station Route

Route

Walking Tokyo: Kichijoji Station to Nakano Station Statistics

Statistics

 

Statistics

  • ~2 hours
  • A little more than 5.5 miles
  • This was an extremely flat route with everything to see centered around the stations. Every station has its own charm!
  • We followed the train line so we passed the following stations: Kichijōji, Nishi-Ogikubo, Ogikubo, Asagaya, and Kōenji
  • #FromPineapples difficulty: 🍍 (of 5)
  • #FromPineapples things to see: 🍍🍍 (of 5) – (only around the stations).

Neighborhood Notes

  • Kichijoji has a really large Round 1 where we played メダルゲーム (medal games, my personal fav). Not as good as the one in Odaiba, but I think it’s great for an area outside of central.
  • Ogikubo is famous not only because it’s a ‘ramen battleground’, but is known specifically for Ogikubo Ramen – a Tokyo style ramen prepared from fish. I have a few places that I wanted to try on my Foursquare list, but we didn’t get to try any – specifically Harukiya. If you get out there and try some, let us know which ones!
  • Even though the stations have its own charm, the paths between the stations are what I would describe as pretty boring (at night).  It might be different during the day, but I say this because if you’ve ever walked in a Japanese residential neighborhood away from a station and outside of central (and even some in central), you’ll know that Japanese neighborhoods are eerily quiet – I often wonder if people actually live in them. The ambiance is akin to a horror flick – right before the monster appears and devours you – so you generally walk quickly and quietly as to not disturb the peace.
  • Originally home to Tokyo’s punk scene in the 70’s, Kōenji is famous for its vintage clothing shops. You’ll find a ton of them in the PAL shopping street and around the station.
  • Also, while you’re in Koenji, if you like curry – make sure to check out the 100 Hour Curry B&R which won the Kanda Curry Grand Prix in 2016. It’s ticket machine so you’ll need very minimal Japanese to order and try some.
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Walking Tokyo Series: Rainbow Bridge

Walking Tokyo gives an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of Tokyoites. Read our notes from the 5 mile (~2 hour) walk across Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge. Join us as we walk Tokyo!

TL;DRWe’re walking Tokyo (this time over Rainbow Bridge) to practice for next year’s Yamathon! Let us know in the comments if there’s anywhere in Tokyo that you’re curious about or if you’d like to join us! Thanks @noellechun for coming along this time! It was awesome catching up!

Rainbow Bridge?! [email protected]

Why Rainbow Bridge you ask? Why not?! Check out our first post to learn more about why we love to walk the cities we live in. This week we’re posting our weekend adventures with our friend from Hawaii, @noellechun! She was an awesome sport as we navigated and adventured around Odaiba. We ended up in Ginza with the intent of eating a GIANT cream puff, but didn’t realize we needed to reserve that thing a week in advance. Our spirits weren’t crushed though, since we still ate a ton of amazing food at the Taste of Tokyo event – and ended the night with some Cremia🍦!

Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge

Our Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Statistics

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Statistics

 

Statistics

  • Odaiba to Rainbow Bridge – 4.92 miles
  • ~2.5 hours
  • Odaiba is pretty flat, but the bridge had a steady uphill on one side (as all bridges do 😂)
  • If you’re afraid of heights – this is NOT the walk for you.
  • Sunset views on both Odaiba Beach and the bridge are amazing.
  • On Rainbow Bridge, you pick North or Southside to walk on. North gives nice views of Tokyo’s skyline and a glimpse of the setting sun until you hit the turn in the bridge. The South path has nicer views after that.
  • Coming from Odaiba, there are two places to choose which side you want to walk on: once at the very beginning and again (you can switch sides) before the bridge turns.
  • Not much to see on the walk from Ariake Station area to Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station area, so hopping on the Yurikamome line is an option.
  • Neighborhoods we passed through: Odaiba, Shibaura Island
  • #FromPineapples difficulty: 🍍🍍 (of 5)
  • #FromPineapples things to see: 🍍🍍 (of 5)

Neighborhood Notes

  • There’s always something going on in Odaiba on the weekends and this Sunday was no exception! There were three outdoor festivals and a tourism expo:
    • Fiesta Mexicana – Mexican food, drinks and performances on the West Side of Odaiba near Daiba Station.
    • Mercari Flea Market – Similar to the Swap Meet at Aloha Staidum, there were tons of people selling their stuff on the cheap! This was in the West Promenade area near Diver City.
    • Tokyo Ajiwai Festival (Taste of Tokyo) – Food vendors from all over Japan as well as vendors representing various countries and ethnicities in the world! On the Southeast side of Odaiba, near the Ariake and Kokusai-tenjijo Stations (right in front of Tokyo Big Sight)
    • In Tokyo Big Sight, there was Tourism Expo Japan (we didn’t get a chance to check this one out)
  • To get to Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba, walk through Odaiba beach which was reminiscent of Ala Moana Beach at sunset – complete with standup paddle boarders (okay, there was one guy) and hula dancers. Lots of folks relaxing and just hanging out.
  • From the North side of the bridge, you can see both Tokyo Tower and (way off in the distance) Tokyo Skytree.
  • The pedestrian path on Rainbow Bridge is suspended below the cars, so you can’t see above you except in the lookout areas.
  • We walked through Shibaura Island and it was quite fancy looking. A quieter area, but the buildings were noticeably nicer than the area directly off the bridge.
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Walking Tokyo Series: Hatchōbori to Nakano

Walking Tokyo gives an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of Tokyoites. Read our notes from the 10 mile (~5 hour) walk between Hatchōbori station and Nakano station. Join us as we walk Tokyo!

TL;DRWe’re walking Tokyo to practice for next year’s Yamathon! Is there anywhere in Tokyo that you’re curious about? Let us know below and maybe we’ll walk it or message us to come join us!

Walking Tokyo?! [email protected]

One of my favorite things to do when I travel abroad is to catch public transportation because it gives you an intimate glimpse into the daily life of someone local to the area.  Having lived in a few large cities, one of the first things Sara and I do is figure out how to walk it. Similar to catching public transportation, walking a city is immersive and gives you insight into the socioeconomic structures as well as the daily lives of those who live in a particular area.

Protip: Walking a city also allows you to scope out future places to live!

When we lived in NYC, we walked almost all of lower Manhattan (below 60th – it’s also why we know it so well!) and so when we moved to Tokyo, we figured we’d do the same – but this time, we’ll try to document our strolls so that they’ll hopefully give you some ideas for your own adventures.

In addition to the route and how long it took, we’ll have snippets about places we detour to along with neighborhood notes. To kick this series off, this past weekend, we walked Hatchōbori Station (a little East of Ginza) to Nakano Station.

Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station

Our Route

Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station Route

Walking Tokyo: Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station Route

Route

Walking Tokyo: Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station Statistics

Statistics

 

Statistics

  • ~5 hours
  • A little less than 10 miles
  • A little uphill north of the palace, but overall, a pretty easy stroll – this looks a lot scarier of a walk than it really is.
  • We stopped at Lawson Station in Ichigaya to get a drink and some lemon cheese pancakes (for fuel, of course!).
  • We walked around: Yasukuni Shrine and the exterior of the Imperial Palace.
  • Neighborhoods we passed through: Tsukiji, Ginza, Chiyoda, Ichigaya, Shin-Ōkubo
  • #FromPineapples difficulty: 🍍🍍 (of 5)
  • #FromPineapples things to see: 🍍🍍🍍 (of 5)

Neighborhood Notes

  • Ginza has a lot of shopping areas. Duh, it’s obviously famous for them – but walking the area gives a very different perspective of just how many shops there are here. Narrator: there’s a lot of them!
  • Ichigaya is noticeably fancier than a lot of Tokyo neighborhoods – not quite Roppongi Hills fancy, but still very, very nice. The building facades and overall atmosphere oozes upscale.
  • Shin-Ōkubo is (in)famous for its Koreatown and it shows – everything around the station is cheese this and cheese that. From cheese dakkarubi to cheese corndogs – you’re going to encounter a ton of younger folk here – even younger than Kichijoji. If you know Sara, you’d also know she’s already been here to eat Korean food, but we’re definitely coming back to try all these チーズ (cheese) dishes.
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