Now that I’m the proud owner of a (stylish) Simple 7 bicycle back home in Cape Town, I decided to add a bicycle meander to my Tokyo tour itinerary. It was so much fun. Our guide Yasushi took us all over the place and I was in great company with Manuel, Eugene and Sean, from Shanghai/ Germany and NYC respectively. I (obviously) got a bit lost finding the group at 09:00 but they waited 25 minutes for me (thanks guys, totally. grateful!!) and all was fab from thereon out. We started at Kachidoki station (the Kachidoki area was reclaimed from Tokyo Bay in the late 19th and early 20th centuries); and then rode part of the way alongside the river through quaint side streets; our second stop showed us a great view of the Sumida river…I loved the mix of the small old homes and the very modern sky rise apartment blocks- some prime real estate around there. After stopping at the Sumiyoshi Shinto Shrine, Yasushi gave us each some coins to spend at the candy store so we could make like the local kids who typically stop at a candy store every day after school. After that we took in the Tomiokahachimangu Shinto Shrine (it has the biggest portable Shinto Shrine in Tokyo) and then saw the impressive Sumo memorials. To be honest, I’m now over shrine / temple visits but what really stood out for me was the fire ritual at the Fukagawafudo Buddhist Temple – entering the labyrinth-like passage with floor to ceiling rows of illuminated glass cubes and miniature Buddhas, to the congregation’s earnest chanting and the powerful drumming (huge drums FYI)…it was fantastic. I mean this with the utmost respect when I say that watching the monks perform their tasks was like watching a small production – it was so precisely and beautifully presented, with the head monk exquisitely dressed in a robe that seemed to be made from purple silk. Anyway, I digress…after that visit, we moved on down the cutest lane to buy rice cakes (nothing like those dry circular things that taste like cardboard back home) and scoffed them in the beautiful Kiyosumi Japanese Garden where I spied two spectacular Sakura trees in deep pink bloom. Best!- I want more of that please Tokyo! Lunch was at Ryogoku (great sushi), visited the Sumo stadium and museum, the Azumaya bag musem (the owner is highly entertaining), and finally we cycled through the Oyokogawa water park very near the Sky Tree where we took cool pics in the circle mirror.
So if you like to cycle and do tours that are different and totally fun and a bit off the regular tourist track, this is for you. I’ve done a few tours in Tokyo so far and Yasushi stands out as the guide who most went out of his way to make the experience memorable. Enjoy the pics….
Sumiyoshi Shinto Shrine
Amazing view across the Sumida river
Manuel and the sumo handprint…
Cycling quartet 🙂
Sakura trees in the Kiyosumi gardens
Warning tickets….totally unusual…
Email Yasushi Watanabe at firstname.lastname@example.org / http://cyclingtourstokyo.com/sub6.html / https://www.facebook.com/yycycling