The Costumed Runners of Tokyo Marathon 2016

Tiffany

Over the years, Tokyo Marathon has acquired a reputation for having runners in wacky costumes. One runner even dressed up as Jesus – complete with a cross – for years in a row, leading amused spectators to anticipate his appearance each year. Despite the marathon taking place in February, when spring is on the way but the weather isn’t all that warm yet, some (the running Jesus included) would even run in thin or skimpy clothing – now that’s dedication!

However, with the organizers cracking down on costumes by imposing stricter regulations such as not allowing large props and a catch-all rule against “inappropriate” or “unpleasant” clothing, it seems that costumed runners have decreased. Even more specifically, the number of runners in stand-out costumes have decreased. It could also be that the selection process might have gotten even more competitive, and that there has been an increase in competitive runners as opposed to those just running for fun. Whatever the reason, I’ve noticed that, compared to the first Tokyo Marathon I attended (in 2014), there were fewer runners in costume in 2015 and again this year.

In any case, costumed runners still seem to be a staple of the Tokyo Marathon. This year, there were, as usual, a lot of generic costumes such as Mt. Fuji, beer mugs, and animal onesies, but there would also be the occasional character — a few Batmans (which I sadly didn’t get on camera), some anime characters such as Son Goku from Dragon Ball and Saitama from One Punch Man, and more.

If you want to attend the Tokyo Marathon to take pictures of costumed runners,we recommends not taking them close to the starting point in Shinjuku, as many runners will still be running too close for you to take good individual shots. Moreover, they will most likely be running at their fastest. Instead, head somewhere further down the course – Iidabashi, Asakusa, Tsukishima, etc

Visiting Tokyo soon? Don’t leave without downloading our ebook!
33% off coupon code till end Nov: KOYOCHEAPO.

I’ve been taking pictures of the runners at Tsukishima Bridge since 2014; it’s close to the finish line and it isn’t too crowded. And if, like me, you have trouble waking up early, Tsukishima is also a good location in that the costumed runners tend not to show up until later in the day (a few start showing up at around 11:00, but most show up much later, from around 1 pm onwards.) However, the disadvantage of waiting to take photos there is that there’s also a chance that some runners might already have dropped out of the race by then.

Without further ado, here are some photos from this year’s Tokyo Marathon:

Join a friendly English-speaking guide on a tour of Japanese bars in Shinjuku and Ebisu—Tokyo's most loved areas for good pub grub and drinks. Enjoy local dishes click here for details
 Suggested Activity 

IMG_0454 IMG_0453 IMG_0455 IMG_0457 IMG_0459 IMG_0460 IMG_0462 IMG_0465 IMG_0466 IMG_0468 IMG_0470 IMG_0472 IMG_0474 IMG_0475 IMG_0476 IMG_0479 IMG_0480 IMG_0481 IMG_0482 IMG_0483 IMG_0484 IMG_0486 IMG_0488 IMG_0490 IMG_0491 IMG_0492 IMG_0493 IMG_0496 IMG_0497


Watch this next

New Video: Tokyo City Flea Market

Tokyo flea markets are a great for bargain-hunting, pick up a new kimono or snag a new book on a shoestring!





Get our Tokyo Cheapo Hacks direct to your inbox




Questions or comments about this article? Start a thread on our community forum