Sunday, 16 April 2017

Fancy Running In Tango Ultramarathon In Kyoto?

I did the Tango Ultramarathon to celebrate my 40th birthday in 2015 and the ultramarathon continues to have a special spot in my heart.
Registration is made easier now for foreign participants to join, with Runsociety/Spacebib.com being onboard as their registration portal. 

Tango Ultramarathon is held in the city of Kyotango, Kyoto Japan and will be held on September 17th, 2017 and is rated as Top 100 Best Races by Runnet Global. Tango Ultramarathon is also a Bronze Label race certified by IAU (International Association of Ultrarunners).

My race recap of the 2015 edition that I did, here.
Spacebib registration link here.
R-Wellness webite here.

Anyhoo, rather than talk at length about the race info itself which we all can find through the registration portal and the run's website; I'm sharing what we did during our 7-day trip in 2015.
It was a short trip so we focused on just the Kansai region and got ourselves JR-West Kansai Wide Area Pass, which allows us to take unlimited rides on the shinkansen (including Nozomi and Mizuho between Shin-Osaka and Okayama), Limited Express and local trains (including Rapid and Special Rapid service); on non-reserved seats, Kyoto Tango Railway, Wakayama Electric Railway and West JR bus.

A 5-day pass is priced at 9,000 yen for adults and 4.500 yen for children and if you reserve it online, you can get additional discount.

With this pass, you pretty much get the trip to the starting line of Tango Ultramarathon covered.

Stuff we did before/after the ultramarathon:
Visit Osaka.
Stop by Universal Studio.
Head to Kyoto.

Enjoyed the sights in Arashiyama and see the Hozu Boat Tour drifts by.
And of course the famous Bamboo Groves.
Visited Fushimi Inari Shrine at night, instead of during the day.
The shrine felt more mystical at night and there were less tourists too.

Climbing up the stairs felt like we were climbing towards a different world, through the vermillion torii gates.
We walked on the pine covered sandbar of Amanohashidate, which is 3km long and span the mouth of Miyazu Bay.

It is one of Japan's three most scenic view; apart from Miyajima (which we visited in 2008) and Matshushima (which we visited in 2010). 
And witnessed the rotating bridge of Amanohashidate in operation, to let a ferry sail by.
Travelling from our hotel in Toyooka to REPC site in Amity Tango and Amanohashidate; we used this cute train. There are three trains, the Ao-Matsu, Kuro-Matsu and Aka-Matsu.

The blue one is the Ao-Matsu and we also managed to board the black Kuro-Matsu.
More info about the train line here.
What do you do after running in an ultramarathon?

For us, we visited an onsen town.
We bought day passes that allows us to enter all 7 public bath houses (sotoyu) in Kinosaki Onsen which is a top onsen destination in the Kansai region.
 We visited Onsenji.
And also enjoyed making onsen tamago.
While doing our sotoyu hopping, we also enjoyed the lovely scenery of Kinosaki Onsen.
The next day, we traveled to Kii-Katsuura Station to do part of the Kumano Kodo trail. A nice recovery hike after all the running that I did.
We started our hike from Nachi Station and our aim was to hike to Nachi no Otaki, a 133m waterfall.
 The route.

 The Daimon-Zaka, 267 steps of 600m long cobblestone staircase.
For us to finally reach the Nachi no Otaki.

Of course, one can simply opt to take a bus straight to the waterfall (and the nearby Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji) but where's the fun in that?
We later enjoyed a footbath that overlooks the port and sea while waiting for our train back to Osaka.

And the Tango Ultramarathon itself?

The route is super nice with lovely scenery and plenty of good eats at the water stations.
So if you're looking for a warm, September run (I hate running in cold weather), Tango Ultramarathon is highly recommended.

Registration is open now. Have fun and good luck!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

JIBTV's Discover & Explore Chiba With Chiba Aqualine Marathon

I haven't been updating much here and much less about our Chiba trip in October 2016 when we visited Chiba for me to run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon.

But, I found this excellent documentary on JIBTV.com about Chiba Aqualine Marathon and Chiba.
Truthfully, I entered Chiba Aqualine Marathon last year because of these few reasons:
1. Running on the bridge section of Aqualine Expressway
2. The Marathon is held bi-annually
3. Limited slots for foreign participants (always a draw for me)

Here's the documentary about Chiba Aqualine Marathon and Chiba, for those planning to visit Chiba and also for those researching about the Chiba Aqualine Marathon. The next marathon will be in 2018. 
Hubby & I didn't explore Chiba much during our trip because of time constraints so we do need to make a return visit someday. 

Maybe we can spend a day or two there this year, when we visit Kanagawa Prefecture (I plan to run a race in Dec) ^^

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Running Around The Imperial Palace

Nijubashi or double bridge
Visiting Imperial Palace is one of the highlights for those visiting Tokyo.

The Imperial Palace is located a short walk away from Tokyo Station which makes it very convenient for visitors to visit.

For runners like me, there is another side of Imperial Palace that attracts us and that is to run around the Imperial Palace, following its 5K jogging track.
The dos and don'ts of running around the Imperial Palace jogging track.
If you read about my post on Adidas Runbase, where I met up with Toshi-san earlier; this is where we were headed to after putting our bags and changed into our running gear at the Runbase locker.

We walked towards the Imperial Palace which was just a 3-min walk from Adidas Runbase and started our run from this statue/fountain area.
I ran with Toshi-san and Shin-chan while Hubby took photography duties.
 
I was to run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon the next day so the run around Imperial Palace was just a short and easy one. The guys were obliging enough to slow down to meet my pace. Hahaha
 
The route is a popular one, both with local and visitors alike so expect a busy, filled running lane.
 
And it's also important to be mindful of not only other runners but also those on bicycle and those who are just sightseeing around the area.
In front of Sakuradamon; a designated important cultural asset as it is the largest of the remaining gates of the former Edo castle.

We could enter and enjoy the vast expanse of the exterior grounds of the Imperial Palace.
Broadwalk for a few hundred metres before we go out to the pavement again. Some areas are wide and some are narrow so we do need to me mindful of others.

The nice thing about running this track is that we didn't need to worry about traffic. The whole track is kinda unobstructed. We also do get a few inclines here and there within the 5K loop which was nice. Flat route can be pretty boring, right?
The track is open 24-hours and runners can run there anytime as it is well-lit and koban (police box) are stationed around the track.

There are also toilets and drinking fountains available for runners to make a pit-stop.
The clock tower which is a popular meeting spot after we enter Sakuradamon.
The track's map located beside the clock tower.
I ran 5.39K that day because I only stopped my watch when we got to a nearby sento called Bain Douche to meet other Japanese runners for our dinner gathering later.
In front of a public bath (sento); Bain Douche which is also just a few hundred metres from Imperial Palace.

Another fun option for visitors &/ runners to try, apart from Adidas Runbase.

Entrance with usage of the public bath and locker is around 400yen.

Details:
Bain Douche 1-5-4 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku
It is a 1-minute walk from Hanzomon Station on the Hanzomon Line;
Open Mon-Sat, 3-11.30 p.m.

A good place to relax the muscle after running around Imperial Palace! (or walking around Tokyo!)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Flying With ANA

Our October 2016 trip was our second time flying from KLIA to Narita direct, with ANA (Air Nippon Airways) since it started plying the KL-Tokyo-KL route in Sep 2015.

We used ANA in Sep 2015 and flew in to Narita before taking a domestic flight to Kansai Airport. We paid about RM1,000.00 per person for our tickets last year.

This year, we paid about RM1,200 per person for our tickets. Still OK lah and a bargain considering it's a full service carrier and not a budget airline.
It was a short trip, solely for the purpose to let me go run in Chiba Aqualine Marathon. It wasn't school holiday yet and Son wasn't keen on skipping classes so the trip was made with just the two of us.

A first time for me & hubby going to Japan without Son, since 2002!
We took the 8.00am and soon after take-off, we were served breakfast.

Breakfast was Halal-certified.
But not lunch, it seems...

Anyhoo, we only got breakfast and snacks served lah for our 7-hour long flight. Snacks served were Halal-certified, by the way.
In-flight entertainment was syiok of course. I watched Shin Godzilla movie and an anime, The Boy and The Beast.
 Our breakfast.
 Our snacks.
Our dinner for our return flight.

ANA is of course the choice for us for the time being, as their promo fares are still competitive and a bargain. JAL does offers promo price at the moment, and we do love flying with JAL too but ANA still trumps all full service carriers including MAS and SQ at the moment.

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