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Tokyo by Bicycle

October 03, 2018

Sprawling over more than 2,000 sq km, and cramming in upwards of 13 million residents, Tokyo might not at first seem the easiest metropolis to navigate, but it is remarkably cyclable. Throw your leg over a bicycle and hit the pavements – you’ll avoid the traffic gridlock and pack in double the sightseeing you can achieve on foot. Here are some of our favourite routes.

Hip and Happening Joyride

So many buzzy retail and entertainment precincts, so little time! Begin your city-bisecting bike ride in label-haven Ginza, where main boulevards Harumi Dori and Chuo Dori are closed to traffic on the weekends, giving them a festive vibe and easy wheelable access. You’ll see big name brands galore here, plus a host of lesser-known jewels like stationer G.Itoya.

Put your foot down and cruise west, skirting the Imperial Palace gardens, and head for Aoyama, home to the the world’s prettiest cemetery and retail archi-marvels like La Perla and Prada.

Next up is Tokyo’s answer to the Champs Élysées, Omotesando Dori, where megawatt designer one-stops like Omotesando Hills nestle up with local favourites including Tokyu Plaza. From here, veer northwest to Yoyogi Park’s star resident Meiji Shrine for tranquil repentance (via young and colourful Harajuku of course), or else dip southwest towards Daikanyama, where yet more swish shops and charming leafy cafes are sitting pretty for a pitstop.

Parks & Recreation

If your predilections bend more towards the natural and historical, begin your bike ride on the outskirts of the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda-ku, where a scenic 5km loop not only takes you around the famous manse. Complete the circuit in the north of the grounds, and cycle a few blocks further up to ancient Edo-period oasis Koishikawa Korakuen, where during the autumn, you can expect a fantastical foliage spectacle. Push on further north for a quick skittle through Koishikawa Botanical Gardens, then hang a right and cycle east past the history-steeped Nezu Shrine to heritage nabe Yanaka, where winding lanes, wooden houses and sweet little shops will take you back in time and soothe megalopolis overload all at once.

Island adventure

A trip to Tokyo rarely passes without the excess consumption of some of the freshest and most succulent seafood to be found anywhere in the world. For those seeking a deeper understanding of the history of the local fishing culture, beeline for Tokyo Bay and charming fishing islet Tsukudajima. While modern day land reclamation and development may have already overshadowed the island’s Edo origins, village vibes still abound, and you can still get a taste of traddy tsukudani (soy and sugar-preserved seafood) at little wooden cabins like Tenyasu Honten.

Back on your bike and pop over the bridge joining Harumi and Odaiba towards the water bus dock by the Odaiba Statue of Liberty replica, where you can hitch a ride back to the mainland with beaut views of the Rainbow Suspension Bridge. Once on land, hop back on your bike and speed north to Tokyo Tower, for a spectacular landmark finale.

Originally produced by LUXE for PenCities

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