Good Places to Run in Okinawa
Here are some of my favorite places to run on the Okinawa mainland, arranged from south to north. I've provided a short description, map, and picture for each location. I frequently run in many of these locations, especially the first three, so please say hello if you pass me on the street. Drop me an e-mail if you know any other great places for running.
LIST OF LOCATIONS
Manko Park (Naha City)
Onoyama Park (Naha City)
Shintoshin Park (Naha City)
Urasoe Athletic Park (Urasoe City)
Ginowan Kaihei Park (Ginowan City)
Chatan Park / Araha Beach (Chatan City)
Okinawa Comprehensive Park (Okinawa City)
Route 58 / Route 330
Manko Park (Naha City) -- Manko Park is one of the most popular places for running in Naha, so you'll never have to run alone. In fact, running groups often meet here. Apart from the two bridges, the course is perfectly flat, and within the park, there's both a dirt and an asphalt path. Since the path runs along the river, the scenery is quite nice. The Manko Park jogging path is about 1.5K, but there is also a nice path that circles around the river. I've marked the (precisely) 4.12K loop that I usually run. Going back and forth over the bridge in the middle will extent the course to an even 5 kilometers. The park itself is relatively well lit, but a small section of the path on the opposite side can feel a bit creepy late at night. I've never felt at risk, however, and this is one of the nicest places to run in the city. I only wish it were closer to my home.
Midway point of Manko Park
Directions to Manko Park
Return to Top of Page
Onoyama Park (Naha City) -- Diagonal from Manko Park and right next to the new baseball stadium, Onoyama Park is a popular and fun place to run. In addition to the 1066 meter padded running path, there are numerous asphalt paths throughout the park. Over the past couple of years, many improvements have been made. There are numerous soda machines, a stretching corner, tennis courts, an archery facility, a shrine, a track, and of course, the huge stadium. Ekiden (relays) are often held here during the weekends, but overall, this is a fun place to run. The only down side is that the running path is the only path with distance markers. With a monorail stop (Onoyama Park) right at the entrance, the park is quite accessible.
Onoyama Park Running Path (Just before an “ekiden” relay; usually not so crowded)
Directions to Onoyama Park (Red square at the bottom is the monorail stop)
Shintoshin (Ameku) Park (Naha City, Omoromachi) -- Diagonal from Naha Main Place, the large shopping center with the Cinema Q movie theatre, Shintoshin Park has tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, a skateboard area, a basketball court, and most importantly, a padded 850-meter path on its perimeter. The last 200 meters of the path are a bit steep, but the soft material (which looks like brick) is very easy on the legs. The parking lot is locked at 9:00 p.m., and the lights go out at 10:00, but there is still enough light from the street, and you can run here as late as you like. I usually prefer to run after 9:00 because the path is a bit crowded with walkers and people walking their dogs from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Even at those busy times, however, I've never had to alter my pace. I also like that the distance is marked every 100 meters. I live right across the street, so I do a lot of my running here.
Directions to Shintoshin (Ameku) Park
Urasoe Athletic Park (Urasoe City) -- Situated about 5K from Naha, Urasoe Athletic Park has the nicest track in the entire prefecture and is often used for track and other events. On most nights, there are a hundred or so walkers and runners. Pets and smoking are forbidden. The bright blue track is soft, and the entire facility is well lit until 10:00 p.m. This is a great place for doing intervals or other speed training, and a nice soft place to give your legs a break from the asphalt. The Park also has two separate facilities for weight training, both of which are quite cheap. The pool, though, is small and not worth the entrance fee.
Urasoe Athletic Park
Directions to Urasoe Athletic Park
Return to Top of Page
Ginowan Kaihei [Marine] Park (Ginowan City) -- Although most of the paths are asphalt or brick, Ginowan Marine Park is a beautiful place to run, especially during the cooler months. The short 200 meter loop that goes out into the ocean is especially beautiful. This location is much too hot during the summer, but the ocean breeze is quite refreshing in the evening. I don't do a lot of running here, but I usually stop off here for a couple of kilometers when I run to Chatan. The Okinawa Convention Center and popular "Tropical Beach" are also located here, so if you like to "people watch" during your runs, this might be the spot for you. Another advantage to running here is that there is a canteen and many vending machines.
Ginowan Marine Park (near Ginowan Convention Center)
Location of Running Paths at Ginowan Marine Park
Chatan Park (Chatan City) -- Located to the south of Jusco, Chatan Park provides numerous running paths, including a beautiful coastline running path along Araha Beach that stretches down to the south. The coastline path is padded, making it ideal for running. Although the coastline path is probably too hot for the summer months, the beautiful sunsets and cool ocean breezes make this an excellent place to run in the early evenings. The asphalt running paths further to the north (near Jusco), which circle around the stadium and tennis courts, provide more shade. In addition, the beautiful track, located directly next to Jusco, offers an excellent place to do intervals or other speed training.
Location of Running Paths in Chatan Park
Return to Top of Page
Okinawa Comprehensive Park (Okinawa City) -- Although I almost never run here because I live too far away, Okinawa Comprehensive Park is a must-see for anyone living in Okinawa. With two tracks and numerous jogging paths (including clearly-marked routes of 3K, 4K, and 5K), many of which are shaded by large trees, the park is undoubtedly one of the best places for running in the entire prefecture. As the largest sports facility in Okinawa, the park has something for everyone: beautiful landscaping, nature walks and trails, ponds, camp grounds, picnic areas, playgrounds, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a gymnasium, indoor and outdoor soccer fields, cycling paths, a fitness center, and much, much more. Various classes, events and programs are also offered.
Okinawa Comprehensive Park Running Path
Directions to Okinawa Comprehensive Park
Return to Top of Page
Route 58 and Route 330 (all of Okinawa)-- Of course, the easiest place to run in Okinawa is along Route 58 or Route 330, both of which extend for the entire length of the island. Although bumpy in spots, the asphalt sidewalks are generally smooth and good for running. I often run to work along Route 330, which is the better of the two routes. I've mapped out the distance for both routes, heading north from Onoyama Park in Naha.
Route 58 Course
Route 330 Course