Urban running Essay

There is something uniquely different, as you revisit the city’s allure – on a pair of running shoes. Urban Running It began as the alternative running movement, and has now evolved into a worldwide social campaign. Urban running is the discovery of a city’s urban landscape, usually in a close-knit group, aptly dubbed urban running crews. It is hardly about cardiovascular training or setting personal bests, but more about the company, the thrill of weaving past the uncharted and the untrodden, while embracing street culture. Exploring Tokyo The bustling Japanese capital is an amalgamation of wonders, destined to fascinate any traveller. Cutting-edge conceptions mesh flawlessly with convention; the contemporary blends soulfully amongst the time-honoured. Over in Eastern Tokyo, the region around the Kuramae and Asakusa District is splashed with old-world vibes. Just across the Sumida River that flows adjacent to the precincts, stylish high-rise buildings soar spiritedly, visible inland. As you race around the neighbourhood, bask in the area’s refreshingly modern construct, and distinctively old-school aura. Whizzing past the sprawling skyscrapers, through the nostalgia-infused streets and amongst the quaint, artisan shops, all within close proximity to each other, the experience is certain to confound and astound. Whilst this route was curated for the sightseeing runner, if you are heading off to Tokyo, but not intending to strain your body, do not hesitate to follow the track as a walking guide! Begin your urban discovery at Kuramae Station. Kite-specialist and souvenir store Tako Kimura Shoten is nearby. Kuramae This balmy and laid-back locale is home to several trendy cafes and local creative boutiques. The enclave sports a pleasant, inviting outlook; pastel-dyed walls and doors, delicately adorned store fronts and clean, minimalist interiors add an alluring texture to the district. Along the route: Dandelion Chocolate Factory & Café Kuramae Handmade chocolate store, produced on-site. Maito Design Works, Kuramae Textiles atelier and boutique, employing the kusakizome dyeing technique (plant-based dyes). Kakimori Speciality stationery shop; their made-to-order notebooks are extremely popular. More within the area: CAMERA Part bakery, part leather accessories store. Nakamura Tea Life Store Family-run business selling a wide range of fine, organic tea. M+ Leather crafts on display. Jet off to the Asakusa neighbourhood. On the way: Dengama Japanese pottery and tableware shop. ASAKUSA Museum 40 square metre contemporary art exhibition venue in a residential property. Asakusa Remarkably redolent of “Old Tokyo”, the entire district is teeming with tradition and sentimentality. An air of festivity pervade the streets. There is palpable clamour and frenzy. Forget the glitz and glamour of the modern sky-high city and embrace the ebullient razzmatazz of the Shitamachi’s bazaar-like esprit. Along the route: Kaminarimon Grandiose temple gate. A gigantic red lantern is poised regally, in between several domineering pillars that stands securely in guard. The kanji inscribing translates to “thunder gate” in English. Denbouin Street Passageway vividly reminiscent of the Edo-era with many speciality stores selling traditional crafts. Yonoya Kushiho Along Denbouin-dori, producing boxwood combs since 1717. Tokyo Hotarudo Vintage goods and antiquities up for grabs. Asakusa ROX Retail complex. Curious, given the surrounding olde worlde atmosphere. Don Quijote Asakusa Popular discount chain store. Marugoto Nippon Modern shopping compound. Classy façade; odd placement, again. Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum Museum showcasing the best of Edo arts and crafts. Hanayashiki Amusement Park Japan’s oldest theme park. Established since 1853, this compactly arranged funfair is a gleaming dose of retro charm. Strikingly evocative of 20th century charm, the playground’s positioning at that exact turf, within an antiquated district, is utterly felicitous. Sensō-ji Buddhist temple; hallmark of Asakusa Said to have been founded in the year 628, this temple is dedicated to Kannon Bodhisattva, Lord of Compassion. More within the area: Nakamise Dori One of Japan’s oldest shopping avenues, with an Edo-period dated flair. Asakusa Shrine Built to honour the three founders of Sensō-ji; site of the famous Sanja Matsuri festival. Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Centre Queer architectural design. Boasts brilliant views of the Nakamise Dori and Sensō-ji. Cross the Sumida River via the Kototoi Bridge, where you can observe the lovely cherry blossoms along the river banks in spring. Across the Sumida River Leave behind the retro flavour and be hurled into the modern era where glossy, architectural behemoths rise in dazzling fashion. Along the route: Ushijima Shrine Peaceful Shinto shrine. Sumida Park Riverside park with gorgeous cherry blossom views during the season. Asahi Beer Headquarters Operations centre of the Japanese beverage company; eccentric design draws many. The headquarters comprises of two structures. The larger Asahi Beer Tower resembles a golden beer mug, with the white roofing replicating beer foam. The iconic smaller Asahi Beer Hall has a shape of a beer glass, with an odd flame-like structure perched on top. Conclude your journey at the Tokyo Skytree 634m tall television broadcasting tower. Catch marvellous Tokyo cityscape views from the two Observation Decks. From the other bank of the river, lingering in the backdrop of the historical Asakusa neighbourhood, this modern architectural feat is a glorious reminder of the Japanese capital’s mighty technological progress.

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