Half Marathon, Hot Spring & Art Museum

I finished my first half marathon yesterday in Echigo-Yuzawa, Niigata. It took me almost 1.5 year since I started running last year. This time I just quit worrying too much about fitting the race into schedule (training, travel, etc) and entered this race.

Kids race before the marathon.

Turned out it was a good idea. True, I can’t say I was 100% ready but at least I now know how it feels to do this.

I took it easy and made sure to keep my own pace. The experience wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be – as far as I can tell right now 🙂

The best thing about running in Japan is that there is a good chance you can find a hot spring or nice bathhouse. They gave all runners a free pass to one of the hot springs around the race course.

Komako-no-Yu hot spring.

After lunch I took a train to visit a new art museum. Then I saw this in-train mini planetarium show! What!? This went on through a few stations while we went through tunnels.

Planetarium inside a Hokuhoku-Line train

Planetarium inside a Hokuhoku-Line train.

The museum I visited is called KINARE. It’s in a complex based on a building used for Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, and has a hot spring, restaurants, radio station, and event space on the same location. They were having a local craft fair.

Courtyard of Kinare

Courtyard of Kinare

Tokamachi Handmade Craft Fair

Tokamachi Handmade Craft Fair

The contemporary art museum has a nice natural feel to it. An interesting thing about the exhibition was the staff talks to you one-on-one about the art pieces, not just standing around. One guy explained that this is a characteristic of the Triennale too – using art to connect people.
To read more about the Echigo Tsumari Art Field (some pieces are still open to public after the Triennale), visit their web site.

It was a nice day trip to somewhere I probably wouldn’t have gone without the race. Running by itself is quite rewarding but setting a goal for a race is something I want to do more in the future. Now… getting back to training, for the next half marathon on October 21st!