Run Through Kyoto

essay, Feb. 2019


Chion-in Temple, the Philosopher’s Walk, Yoshida Mountain, and Kamo River. These are some of the best tourist destinations in Kyoto, but for me, they were all running courses. I joined the track and field club at Kyoto University and went to these places to run about three times a week. It’s ten kilometers to Nanzen-ji Temple and back, five to the Philosopher’s Walk, and three to Kamo River. Yoshida Mountain—it was more than just running.

That was a quarter century ago already. At the time, I thought those courses were long enough on their own. Today, however, I ran from Kyoto Station through Gion Temple, to Yasaka Shrine, Nanzen-ji Temple, the Philosopher’s Walk, Yoshida Mountain, Kamo River, and finally to Shijo Kawaramachi. I went through all the courses I did twenty-five years ago all at once.

Heian Shrine

I definitely had much more physical strength back then, but for some reason I feel these courses are shorter than they seemed before. It’s like how the wide path you walked as a child suddenly seems very narrow. I always thought that this happens because your body is smaller when you’re a child, but that’s not it. At least, not for me.

For me, it was probably that living in China and the United States—that is, living abroad—changed my perspective. I went through lots of experiences that I would never be able to have living only in Japan.

It’s been a while since running first became a regular habit for me; I’ve been running for a long time, but after today’s run, I finally grasp that I can run more easily and with more pleasure now that I’ve put on some more years.

Yoshida Shrine

Kamo River

written by


Lived in the US, China, Taiwan and HK. Love visiting Japanese traditional places with run. Want visitors to know the unique and deep mystery of Japanese history and enjoy Japan more.

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