New Route Again! Downtown Riverside Ride

March 10, 2016

 

荒川サイクリング<Arakawa Cycling Road>

Yes, we will launch a new route again! – Tokyo Downtown Riverside Ride.This tour takes you to the east side of the city, where we will ride a lot along the river and canals. Very relaxing 26 km long course is relatively flat and there are cycling roads and parks, and you will see local people walking with their dogs, playing tennis or cycling with their beloved bikes.

CIMG4681 旧中川 やまゆき<Nakagawa>

Beautiful cherry blossoms trees are planted along the river, so the scenery in the end of March to early April is stunning!! But other seasons are also enough lovely🙂

We’ll pick our food at popular local shopping street, called Sunamachi Ginza. This shopping street has about 180 small individual and unique shops. It is very interesting to have a fun chat with the owners of those retail shops and this is the reason the street is still bustling even a new big supermarket chain was built in the same area.

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We will walk pushing our bikes and buy our food to take those to the river side for our picnic lunch.

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Of course, we will stop at some sightseeing attractions, like Japanese Garden, Shinto Shrine etc. The below picture is in front of Kameido Shrine.

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We will ride again along rivers and canals to back to our office.

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If you want to try this new route with us, please send us a booking request through our website. The website is not ready yet for “Route F” but please tick “special” and mention “Route F” on others column.

Sakura forecast 2016

February 16, 2016

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It’s still pretty cold here in Tokyo, but we can find some signs of early spring here and there in the city. And, yes, we need to talk about this topic – when the cherry blossoms open flowers? According to the forecast companies it is likely they will start to bloom on March 27 and the best timing to see full bloom is between April 1 – 8 in Tokyo area.

If you want to see cherry blossoms now, there are a few places that you can see early cherry blossoms. There are more than 600 different species of cherry blossoms, but more than 80% of cherry blossoms we normally see in Japan is just one type called Somei Yoshino. When we talk about Sakura, it normally indicates Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms and they usually open flowers in the early April. But for example, Kawazu Sakura has its full bloom season earlier like mid of February, yes now is the time!

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Somei Yoshino

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Kawazu Sakura

If you travel to Kawazu, they have Kawazu Sakura festival until March 10th. It takes 2.4 hours from Tokyo station to Kawazu station by JR. If you don’t have enough time to travel there, then how about to walk along Oyoko River next to Kiba park. There are about 100 trees planted along the river.
(Tokyo Great Kayaking Tour has a tour on Feb 21, 2016 and we will paddle along this river!)

In front of Tokyo Metro Takebashi station, near  Hirakawamon of the Imperial Palace is also a famous place to see Kawazu Sakura.

 

New Route – Tokyo Hills and Backstreets Ride

June 29, 2015

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We will launch the new route in a short while.  “Tokyo Hills and Backstreets Ride”, as this name indicates, we have many hills and take small backstreets on our way. There are 12 hills (half of them are uphills) and some of them are quite steep🙂

miyakezaka  We will depart our office at around 9 am then pedal through Ginza to our very 1st. hill – Miyake-zaka along the inner moat of the Imperial Palace. By the way, “Zaka” or “Saka” means slope or hill in Japanese. We will have a quick visit at Yasukuni Shrine known as War Shrine.

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After the shrine, we will go up another hill called O-Saka, which is quite steep and challenging. Even our guide might dismount from the bike and walk… The area is now Kagurazaka, the area’s name itself contains the meaning of slope, so there are lots of hills in this area. Some time ago, Kagurazaka had many Geisha houses and still there are many small and nice restaurants at their hidden backstreets.

Cycling up and down some more hills, we must become very hungry. Yes, now it’s lunch time!

After lunch, we will stop at Japanese garden, Rikugien.

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When you see Shinobazu Pond, you have nearly done all the hills already and now we take flat way back to our office. We will finish the tour at around 3 pm.

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Total distance is 30 km, although this is a hard course with many hills but we will promise you will enjoy the entire route and find different part of Tokyo, and will also promise the beer after the tour is very tasty without a doubt!!   beer

What a Universal design

April 2, 2015

Hi there. I am Masa. Today’s story is also about monkeys. That is Chimpanzee.

You may know well , if you have once been to Japan, there are so many vending machines. Especially in the center of Tokyo we feel we can find them every 50 steps.

Then, in Japan not only people but also Chimpanzee know how to use vending machine. You can see Chimpanzee using them in order to get canned drink at Tama zoo in Hino city. And they also know how to recycle the can. Please take look at these pictures.

mash the can
 First a Chimpanzee smash a can that he(or she) drank up.

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Next he drop it in the recycle box and get a coin.

putting a coin

Then he put a coin in the vending machine and got to get canned drink he want to drink.

got a drink can

Tama zoo is located west of Shinjuku. It takes about 1 hour from Shinjuku. You can take Keio-line from Shinjuku station and get off at Tamadobutsu-koen. Tama zoo is wide and a bit mountainous. I sometimes go there with my children and spend whole a day. There are some food shop but we usually enjoy picnic lunch.

Tama zoo is also famous by Lion bus.

http://www.tokyo-zoo.net/english/tama/index.html

Enjoy!!

There is a happy hell in Japan !

March 12, 2015

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Hi there. I am Masa.

I visited snow monkey park in new year holiday with my family.

We saw many monkeys soaking in the natural hot spring.That was very interesting.

The official name of Snow monkey park is Jigokudani- Yaen-koen (地獄谷野猿公園) which literary means Hell valley wild monkey park.

In Japan hot spring where we can see the steam of geothermal heat comes out from the ground is often called as Jigoku (hell). It is a hell but like the Paradise!

Jigokudani Yaen Koen is the only place we can see wild monkeys soaking in the bath.

The way monkeys enjoying the bath is completely same as human being taking bath.

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There are many monkeys in the park.They all are wild monkeys living in mountains. Actually they are coming down to the park every morning to enjoy hot spring and food and they go back home every evening.

Though they are originally just called Saru (monkey) in Japan, overseas tourists who saw monkey soaking in the hot spring surrounded by much snow found interesting and started to call them Snow monkey and now they become world famous. Lots of tourists from all over the world come to see them.

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The park is located in Nagano prefecture north-west of Tokyo, where is mountainous area with deep snow in winter and also good Onsens. Shiga Kogen ski resort is reachable in 30 min. by car.

http://www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/

Did  you know in Japan even capybaras (or capibaras) are also big fans of Onsen? They are originally from southern America. Maybe the winter in Japan is too cold so that they come to fall in love with Onsen ! You can see them at Izu Cactus park, Saitama children’s zoo and some other zoos in Japan.

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Cherry blossoms forecast 2015 – Vol. 1

January 29, 2015

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Japanese weather forecast company, Weather Map announced today that they forecast the cherry blossoms may start to bloom in March 24 in Tokyo. Maybe it is too hasty to react nervously to this kind of announcement. Tomorrow’s weather forecast says it will SNOW in Tokyo !(@_@;).

But anyway we are such looking forward to cherry blossoms!! The tour in this season becomes very popular and easily becomes full. So if you are considering to join our bike tour, it is better to fix your schedule and book the tour😉

Who’s gonna wear these?

January 13, 2015

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IMG_4368 So many kawaii small cloths hanging on the shelf for sales. Many different designs and different color variation. Families and young couples are looking at them and wondering which one to take. Are they looking for something good for their kids? Yes, definitely for their kids, but they don’t look like much…

Here are their kids!

dog in kimono

 

According to the official data, there are about 20 millions dogs and cats as pets in Japan and especially in Tokyo people live in smaller apartments, small size dogs or cats are more popular. The shops sells many different types of cloths, fancy dress, sporty shirts, cap, socks, shoes, rain gear etc. etc…

The shop also sells the buggies for them.

IMG_4370 It is very interesting to look around the shop even though you don’t have any pets.

 

 

New “Free WiFi” service at Tokyo subway

December 1, 2014

東京メトロと都営地下鉄で無料WiFiサービスがスタート(12月1日より)

Starting from December 1, 2014, Tokyo Metro and Toei subway companies start to offer free WiFi service to all the visitors to Tokyo. If you have an app “Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi” (iOS/Android) on your smart phone, you can use internet at free of charge for three hours. This service is available at 143 stations of Tokyo Metro and Toei as well as Seven-Eleven or Narita and Haneda airport etc.

Rinko (輪行) to Hanamigawa cycling road

October 6, 2014

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This is Kazu writing. Peter and Kathy, our friends who are repeat guests of our bike tour had wanted to try something new. So we had suggested them to join our trial tour to Hanamigawa, Chiba Prefecture to test our plan by RINKO, train and bike. They had got interested in this idea, so that we decided to do the bike tour on September 19, 2014.

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(Rinko literally means “putting bike into a bag”. Black bag next to Peter is the Rinko bag and a bike is inside.)

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There are cycling roads in good condition and adequate distance along three rivers; Tamagawa, Arakawa and Edogawa in Tokyo and its neighborhood. Compared with these three cycling roads, Hanamigawa Cycling Road is not so famous but much better, I think. It has more varieties in scenery. It starts from sea shore in Tokyo Bay. As we go on along the river, it leads to a valley rich with woods and then open field of Inba-numa, swamps.

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(Rice paddy is so beautiful and rice stalks are ready to be cultivated.)

 

The weather was just nice, neither hot nor cold on that day. Four of us, Peter, Kathy, Yuki and I enjoyed cycling, viewing Autumn flowers such as cosmoses, red spider lily and ripe rice just before harvesting.

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As it was a trial, we made a few U-turns. Sorry, Peter and Kathy for the inconvenience. The distance we ended up was about 41 km and it took about 6 hours including breaks, sightseeing and lunch. It was a fun to explore countryside of one-hour train ride from Tokyo.

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(A short break at the old Samurai’s house. Me, Peter and Kathy)

Tsuyu …. Rainy season is not fun at all but…

June 12, 2014

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As you may already know, it is the middle of  rainy season in Japan. This year it has been raining a lot, Tokyo has the most rain in the last 1/4 century… Oh, just too much… we look outside of the window with the bitterness when we need to cancel the tour.

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Rainy season is called “Tsuyu (梅雨)” in Japanese, it literally means “plum rain”, and actually this is a season for Japanese plum fruit. You can easily find the light green or yellowish fruits on the trees in the gardens, shrines or temples even in Tokyo.

With these plum fruits, someone make plum jam, another make pickled plum (Umeboshi) or maybe plum juice. For us it is definitely, “Umeshu (梅酒)”!!  Umeshu, or plum wine is a Japanese liqueur made from steeping Ume into “Shochu” (Shochu is a kind of Japanese distilled beverage) and sugar. After three months or more maturing in the jar, it becomes very smooth and mild Umeshu, normally Umeshu contains about 10 % of alcohol.

On the other rainy day, we made TGCT home made Umeshu, we may be able to start tasting in this winter, so please come to our shop to try them before we finish them all by themselves :-p

umeshu


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