jogging with the Emperor

I’m staying at a hostel in Jimbocho, … the used book and outdoor gear district.

Nearby is the Tokyo Imperial Palace. His Imperial Majesty has yet to invite me in.

… the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda area of Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and contains several buildings including the main palace (Kyūden (宮殿?), the private residences of the imperial family, an archive, museum and administrative offices.

It is built on the site of the old Edo castle. The total area including the gardens is 7.41 square kilometres (2.86 sq mi). During the height of the 1980s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds were valued by some as more than the value of all the real estate in the state of California….

I’ve been running in the surrounding gardens, the most popular jogging area in the downtown. There’s a 5-km (3-mile) loop. But more typically I run — take some photos — walk — then run again.

Every once-in-a-while, a uniformed guard will flag me down, insisting that running is not allowed on that particular section of the hallowed grounds.

The population of greater Tokyo is over 32 million, the world’s most populous metropolitan area by far.

Yet I find it green and calm. There’s never much traffic. You can always find empty parking spots.

Elegant simplicity in the midst of Metropolis is quite magical, at times.

more photos

Avoid the subway at rush-hour, though. 🙂

related – CNN – Running rings around the Imperial Palace

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