Before the impressive network of trains roars to life, early morning in Tokyo is remarkably still. Nighttime revelers wait for the first train inside ramen shops, outside karaoke bars or hanging out in the streets. The roads and intersections that within hours will be choked with pedestrians are virtually empty and all is quiet – ideal conditions for an exploratory run.
Make the most of the serenity and head straight to what will become the bustling daytime heartland – Shibuya. Cross the intersection that will shortly live up to its reputation as the busiest crossing in the world and head north towards Yoyogi Park. Here you can run around the park towards Harajuku, famed for its kooky fashion and style. Jog down the lovely Omotesando strip and reach the railway station at the foot of the hill. Here is a great pocket to explore your surrounds, feeling the city wake up around you. Watch tiny shops open their doors, notice cyclists begin to take to the streets and see the first of the office workers make their appearance for the day.
The drifting smell of buttery croissants assures you that you’re not the only one awake when exploring this dreamy city in the wee hours. With a pack of street cleaners working hard to sweep and power wash the avenues and rues for the day ahead, you’ll have company as you roam the streets discovering another side to this historic wonderland.
Start at the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Élysées and follow this famous avenue down with the Seine river on your right. Jog through the magnificent Jardin des Tuileries past the Louvre and along Rue de Rivoli. Head towards the river around Bastille and cross over, looping back to take in Notre Dame Cathedral and finish up exploring the eclectic university district of Saint Germain.
Before the boats start crowding the harbor and the workers fill the city streets, another side of Sydney waits to be discovered. From leafy parks, narrow inner city streets crammed with history and the odd jogger and dog walker, the early run promises a flip side to this city that’s worth waking up for.
Start in Surry Hills and tackle the hilly Foveaux Street first up, turning left at Crowne Street. A hive of activity throughout the day and evening, in the early morning Crowne Street is quiet and still. Edging left at Oxford Street, run through Hyde Park and onto the beautiful botanical gardens. Reaching the water, follow it around past the Opera House and Circular Quay. Take in the quiet of these usually bustling tourist spots and come back up through the Rocks. Jogging through the CBD, take George Street, soon to transform into a crowded shopping strip and turn left at Eddy Avenue and back to the welcome downhill of Foveaux Street.