Skip to main content

Race Entries

Races in Japan usually close entry at least a month beforehand, often much longer. They generally do not have race day entry and race organizers are not willing to make special exceptions for foreigners. If you are coming to Japan for, say, a business trip in two weeks, it is not possible to enter a race. If you are making longer-range plans then it may be possible to find a suitable event using the following services:

Samurai Running Japan is a long-standing entry service that focuses on smaller races to help overseas visitors "experience the 'real' Japan."  Along with entry it assists with accommodations and transportation.

Launched in September, 2015, Runnet Japan is an English-language branch of Runnet, Japan's dominant online entry service, catering to the international community.  The number of races offered on Runnet Japan is still limited but constantly expanding.

Other entry services like Sports Entry, TecNet and the new Sportsnavi Do still offer only Japanese-language and domestic address service, but with swelling numbers of international runners at races across Japan they are bound to get in on the action soon.

Japan's 25 Biggest Marathons
2015 finisher totals except where noted
1. Tokyo Marathon - 35,293
2. Osaka Marathon - 29,680
3. Yokohama Marathon - 21,561
4. Naha Marathon - 18,326
5. Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon - 18,150
6. Nagoya Women's Marathon - 17,231 (women only)
7. Kobe Marathon - 17,087
8. Shonan International Marathon - 16,173
9. Kasumigaura Marathon - 15,601
10. Kyoto Marathon - 15,452
11. Itabashi City Marathon - 14,119
12. Okayama Marathon - 12,412
13. Tsukuba Marathon - 12,290
14. Katsuta Marathon - 11,808
15. Hokkaido Marathon - 11,778
16. Kanazawa Marathon - 11,447
17. Nara Marathon - 11,244
18. Chiba Aqualine Marathon - 11,066 (2014, bi-annual)
19. Kumamoto-jo Marathon - 10,959
20. Toyama Marathon - 10,483
21. Tokushima Marathon - 9,738
22. Fukuoka Marathon - 9,360
23. Ehime Marathon - 9,074
24. Shizuoka Marathon - 9,035
25. Kitakyushu Marathon - 8,957

© 2016 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Ashley said…
How can I find out when some races are? I am likely moving to Japan in September and would love to do a 10km there end of September or in October. I however am having trouble finding a run (co-ed). If you could advise me on where to look, or if you know of any runs I would appreciate your assistance.

ajherridge@rogers.com
Jim said…
Brett, I lived in Chitose, Hokkaido from 1997-2000. It took me from October to April to sort out the race entry system. But in the winter there were no races locally anyway. Do they still use the post office system for race registration or is everything on line now?
I know travel in Japan is expensive, but I can heartily recommend the Hokkaido Marathon, Chitose JAL, and Okhotsk. But the prettiest course is Toya Ko in May.
Sean B said…
I am an ultra runner from Atlanta and I am looking for an ultra marathon or marathon Jan 22-30 in Japan, China, s korea etc...
can you help me out and or point me in the right direction?
thank you
Sean B
slimshaby@mindspring.com
Anonymous said…
Hi,

Im currently living in Ishikawa Ken and a friend of mine as well as myself have been considering entering ourselves into the kumejima marathon in Okinawa.

I have tried to research how to enter online and have so far only succeeded in finding out the date of said race and the closing date for entrees.

Any help you could possibly give me would be a great help!! Also, if you know of any running clubs in Ishikawa Ken that would also be appreciated!!

Tom Cole
tom_cole_@hotmail.com
Anonymous said…
Hi Brett

Thanks for your tips, really helpful.

I am very keen to enter the Niigata Marathon on 11 October 2015. I am wondering whether you are able to kindly provide any tips on how to enter or any sites I can go to for entry.

Cheers

Greta
Brett Larner said…
It looks like Niigata sold out on July 8, sorry.
Gilles Scheuren said…
Hi Brett,
thank you for providing your help :)

We are coming to visit Japan in May and I was thinking of running a Half-Marathon during my visit.

I was doing some research by myself and could only find 1 races in May:Gifu City.

Do you know if the Fuji Susono Half Marathon takes place this year?

Are there any other runs?

thanks in advance,

gilles

Brett Larner said…
Gilles--

Please contact me via the email address in my profile.

Most-Read This Week

Kazami Breaks 100 km World Record at Lake Saroma

Running on the same course where Japan's Takahiro Sunada set the road 100 km world record of 6:13:33 twenty years ago, 2:17:23 marathoner Nao Kazamibested a deep and competitive field to win the Lake Saroma 100 km Ultramarathon in a world record 6:09:14.

Part of a front group of at least five that went through the marathon split in 2:33:36, on pace for 6:04:01, Kazami lost touch with the lead as rivals Koji Hayasaka and Takehiko Gyoba surged just before halfway to open a roughly 30 second lead that lasted until nearly 75 km. But in the last quarter of the race Kazami, a graduate of university ekiden powerhouse Komazawa University, was the only one who could sustain anything close to the early pace, overtaking Hayasaka and Gyoba before pulling away to open a lead of over 11 minutes. Kazami's mark took more than 4 minutes off the world record, and he also bettered the 100 km track world record of 6:10:20 set in 1978 well before he was born by the late Don Ritchie.
Trying to sta…

Boston Marathon Champion Yuki Kawauchi and Olympian Suguru Osako Join 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Elite Field

A Bank of America Chicago Marathon press release

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon announced today that reigning Boston Marathon champion and “citizen runner” Yuki Kawauchi and 2016 Olympian and Nike Oregon Project runner Suguru Osako will join the elite competition as they both seek to become the first Chicago Marathon champion from Japan since Toshihiko Seko took the crown in 1986.

"I'm really happy to have the chance to race in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Abbott World Marathon Majors," Kawauchi said. "I'm looking forward to running the same race where Toshinari Takaoka set the former national record and so many other great Japanese athletes have run well. My results in the other American Abbott World Marathon Majors races, Boston and New York, were pretty good, and I'll do everything I can to line up in Chicago ready to produce good results there too."

“Yuki and Suguru are exciting additions to our elite field,” said Executive Rac…

Kawauchi Wins 7th-Straight Okinoshima 50 km

Running the Okinoshima 50 km Ultramarathon on his late father's home island of Oki for the eighth year in a row, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran 2:52:55 to win it for the seventh straight time. Starting strong on the relatively flat first 10 km where he clocked 33:26, low-2:47 pace, Kawauchi slowed to just over 2:50 pace on the course's toughest hills between 10 and 30 km. A sub-2:50 was still in range at that point, but over the last 20 km he faded further to finish in the second-slowest of his Okinoshima wins.



The day before the race Kawauchi paced children in Okinoshima's kids' run. Following that he greeted participants and local supporters at an expo event where he was hailed onstage as the Boston Marathon winner. As per his usual routine, his next race will be the July 1 Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved