Archive for the ‘Bike – other’ Category

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.

 

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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 😉

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)

Rinko to Kamakura – Bike and train

April 4, 2014

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This is Kazu writing. TGCT has been operating three wonderful bike tours in Tokyo downtown and getting good reputations from many guests who had experienced them. There are also nice places to visit outside Tokyo in about one hour range by train. So we have made a plan for an optional bike tour to Enoshima and Kamakura by “RINKO”; traveling with wheels in Japanese, which means to put a bike in a light weight but strong textile bag, then get on a train and ride a bike again from the destination. By this way, we can skip dangerous and uncomfortable bike ride on heavy traffic roads.

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Four of TGCT tour guides, Yukiko, Yakko, Keita and me went together for a trial bike tour on March 24, 2014 to check how the plan works. We took conventional JR Tokaido Line to Chigasaki Station, Kanagawa Prefecture. We started the tour there and went along a beach bike lane facing the Pacific Ocean and then stopped Enoshima, Kamakura Daibutsu; about 760 years old big bronze Buddha statue, Tsuruoka Hachimangu; about 830 years old shrine and Hohkokuji Temple famous for its beautiful bamboo garden. We went on back streets in Kamakura where we enjoyed old and quiet atmosphere of the city. Our tour ended at Kamakura Station and we took JR Yokosuka Line back to Tokyo.

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When you carry a bike of about 12 kg weight in a bag on your shoulder, you may feel heavy and not easy to walk. But your efforts would be rewarded when you see shining blue sea at the beach or taking Japanese green tea at a breathtaking bamboo garden outside Tokyo.

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Arizona bicycle tour

March 27, 2014

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Hi, I’m Yakko. This is the first time that I will write a blog in English.
I want to write about my bicycle tour of Phoenix. I went to Phoenix in the US for one week on vacation.
This was the first trip to Arizona. The aims of this trip were to meet friends from Hawaii, watch MLB spring training, and of course participate in a bicycle tour !
There are several bicycle tours operated by several companies. I chose one which looked exciting on the Internet. Also the tour fee is reasonable.
On the day of the tour, I went to the office early because I was a little nervous. I had never participated in a tour which targets English speakers.
But as soon as I met the guide named Rob, I relaxed. He is kind and friendly. The other guests from Chicago were also nice.
Rob drove us to Mount McDowell with the bikes. Before starting the tour, Rob gave our instructions and tips.
Since my husband and I were beginners at mountain biking, Rob thoroughly taught us how to control the bikes on the sandy mountain.
At the first 15 minutes, it was awful. I felt tired and was out of breath. Maybe it was because of the altitude. So I wanted to quit the tour.
But I thought that since I had come all the way from Japan, that I should continue. After 30 minutes of riding, I got used to it and felt much better.
I naturally learned how to control the bike on the sandy roads. At the break, Rob explained about the wildlife and native plants on the mountain.
That was so informative that I learned a lot about nature. Luckily I encountered a coyote with a rattle snake in his mouth. He was cuter than I thought he would be.
The time flew so fast. The enjoyable 2-hour tour ended. I had a great time on this tour.
Though the scenery was completely different from our TGCT tour, the tour was adventurous and very interesting.
In Tokyo we should be careful of cars and pedestrians while riding. When in Phoenix we had to be careful of cactuses.
If I have the chance to go to Phoenix again, I will definitely participate in the tour again, and try the intermediate course!

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Cold but beautiful winter morning in Tokyo

January 16, 2014

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Hi there I am Masa.

We had the coldest morning in Tokyo today.

Temperature dropped to -2c.

Please take a look at above photos. Some part of the moat, surrounding the Imperial Palace, were frozen. Can you realize that on the photos?

I shot these photos on the way to our office. I bike to work every morning. It takes about 40 minutes for 11 km from my house to the office.

I also sometimes enjoy kayaking in the downtown Tokyo, in the canals, small rivers or in Tokyo bay.

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There are 13 million people living in Tokyo. But it is seldom to see other kayaks on the water, especially in winter.

I like the feeling to row the kayak in the mid of Tokyo.

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January to February is the coldest moment In Tokyo.

But we are operating the bike tours.

I will be the guide for the tour on 26th. so hope to see you soon on our bike tour!!

Karuizawa Great Cycling Tour in Golden Week

May 17, 2013

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Hello, I am Kazu. I would like to write on 2013 Karuizawa Great Cycling Tour (KGCT). It was held at Karuizawa, Nagano, known as an old and famous resort area in Japan, on May 4, 2013, in the middle of Golden Week, national holiday week.
It was a beautiful day, just blue sky without clouds, perfect for cycling. Participants of the tour were fifteen(15) ; Yukiko, Carlos, Masa, Naoko, Akane, Yayoi, Etsuko, Haruna, Nobutaka, Takk, Linda, Jan, Yoshiko, Yoshiko’s daughter and myself.
We joined either A-Course with a hill of 250m elevation or B-Course without it. Both courses merged in a half way and all of us went on the same course after that.
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The spring has come here in Karuizawa, which is about one month later than in Tokyo. We enjoyed seeing beautiful flowers including cherry blossoms and vivid green leaves on trees under sunshine on our way. We stopped at a park and had lunch under cherry blossoms, viewing Asama Mountain in the distance.
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We also stopped at a popular sweet shop for coffee break and enjoyed chatting at open air space of the shop. All of us finished the tour after 3 p.m. with feeling of satisfaction. Nobody failed. Good job, everyone!
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Seasonal Sweets, Seasonal Tours

March 6, 2013

Do you like Japanese sweets? I do! Japanese traditional sweets are called “wagashi (和菓子)”. Wagashi has developed along with Japanese tea ceremony, and wagashi craftsmen try to express seasonal beauties in every piece of sweets to please your eyes and palates. Now cherry blossom season is just around the corner, “Sakura-mochi (桜餅)”, cherry-blossom flavored rice cakes are on display.
There are two types of Sakura-mochi; one is named “Domyoji (道明寺)”, the other is “Chomeiji (長命寺)”. Roughly speaking, the former was from Kansai area (around Kyoto and Osaka) and the latter originated in Tokyo. People have their favorites of the two, but both have a perfect combination of a sweet soft mochi with a scented cherry leaf. Then, how about leaves? To eat or not to eat? (That is the question.) The leaves are edible and I like to eat a lightly salted leaf together with a sweet mochi. But some people do not eat it.

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This is a “Domyoji” type.

To celebrate one of the most festive seasons in Japan, we have arranged special tour weeks in the peak bloom weekends of cherry trees. Besides our regular bike tours, kayaking and running tours are scheduled in late March and early April. Choose your style and join us!
For details and reservation:
 Tokyo Great Cycling Tour HP  
 Tokyo Great Kayaking Tour HP
 Tokyo Great Running Tour, see Facebook page.

Gingko, an indispensable tree of Japan in this autumn/winter season

December 19, 2012

Japan is a country with four distinct seasons. Autumn is the season, when the color of the leaves changes.

Among many trees is Gingko, which changes the color of its leaves into yellow from late autumn till early winter. Tokyo has several passages that are surrounded by many Gingko trees, which cover the passage with their yellow leaves in these days.

Ginko is not only beautiful, but also tasty and useful. You can eat Ginko nuts. It is loved by Japanese people as a seasonal cuisine. You can also find Ginko as an ingredient of various cosmetics products.

If you are interested in how the Ginko trees are in Tokyo in these days, feel free to visit our facebook page. We’ve uploaded various photos there as well.

rent a bike in Berlin

October 26, 2012

Hi there,

It was such a sunny day here in Berlin. So I decided to go out for tourism by bicycle. Then the question was how I could get a bicycle. The hotel I stayed had some bicycles for rent, but they were a bit pricey. There were some shops that rent inexpensive bicyclies, but they were a bit distant from my hotel and I was unable to access there on foot.

My choice was gong to the DeutscheBahn-operated bike stands and rent a bike there. The picture shows the stand. We can rent a bike, and leave it any of the DeutscheBahn-operated bike stands. I used the bike to reach a rental bike shop, then changed my bicycle, and enjoyed tourism with the bicycle. Well, I could have used the DeutscheBahn bike, but the one from the rental bike shop was cheaper and comfortable for ride.

I feel that tourism by bicycle is becoming more popular among tourists. Indeed, there exist traffic lights for bikes in Berlin. The city is very friendly for bikes. Well, Tokyo is also changing and becoming more friendly for bicycle riders than ever, but yet to be improved further. I hope our activities in Tokyo will expedite the trend in Tokyo.