Japanese Marathon Guide> Tips to understand a course map in Japanese

Tips to Understand a Course Map in Japanese

Unfortunately, there are few Japanese races having race maps in English or other language. Therefore, only map you can see is likely to be in Japanese. Here, I would like to show several Japanese words, which are frequently used in race maps. With these words as clues, you can conquer the Japanese map of your interest races.

Before showing actual words, I want to start from the basics of Japanese character system. We Japanese use THREE different types of characters; Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

Hiragara (50 characters)
Generally, Hiragana has simple figures with curved line. They are mainly used with a combination of Kanji.

Katakana (50 characters)
Each Hiragana has corresponding Katakana, like capital and small alphabet. Katakana is used for the word imported from foreign language, such as start, goal and marathon.

Kanji (= Chinese Characters) (more than 5,000 characters!!)
Even native Japanese speaker has problems reading complicated Kanji because of their huge numbers and their diverse combinations. Each Kanji has its own meaning, while Hiragana and Katakana have no particular meaning as one character rather than pronunciation.

Thank you for your patience to understand Japanese character system. Let me point out one more thing. Japanese can be written not only in western way (from left to right), but also be written in oriental way (from top to bottom). Don't forget the latter case!!
Now, let's take a look at common Japanese words appeared in race maps.

time or hour
water aid
point or place
check gate
sea level
altitude difference

These words would be enough to get the basic information from the course map.You can access to some of Japanese course maps from the links (shown as "MAP") in the top page. Try some and enjoy !!

If you have other Japanese words you need to understand, feel free to ask ME.


Japanese Marathon Guide> Tips to understand a course map in Japanese