TOKYO- Another city around the world succumb increasingly to biking. In line with the recent movement of environmental conservation and health-consciousness, commuting by bicycle is in fashion in Tokyo these days. Such trends encourage more and more Tokyoites to cycling to work. The benefits of cycling are not only limited to locals. For tourists, cycling is also turning increasingly convenient and provides a good and cheap way to discover the Japanese capital.
Tokyo is an easy place for cycling. It is rather flat, especially around the waterfront and eastern parts, and there are many exciting out-of-the way places. Relax and cycle the metropolis amongst the skyscrapers and tall towers on smooth streets near the ocean, a river, or in a lush green park.
Before taking off on a bicycle, basic rules for cycling in Japan must be learned, such as riding on the left side of the road. It is not allowed to ride on side-walks but also restricted to ride side by side with another cyclist, to use an umbrella or a cellular phone. Visitors caught when trespassing the law are subject to a fine of up to 50,000 yen (about 630 USD)!
The office of tourism has however edited four routes for cycling with English explanation provided as well as the location of bike rental shops. The map is available on Google. Route n°1 is called the ‘Deluxe Route’ and pass through many of Tokyo’s most famous sightseeing. The route is 16.2 km long and connects popular places, including Tokyo Station, Tsukiji, Ginza, Odaiba and the Imperial Palace. Route n° 2 is also a popular one. Called the ‘Fashion Route’, it connects the districts of Aoyama, Shibuya and Harajuku with a visit in Yoyogi park. The route covers a distance of 13.5 km. The route n°3 is a circuit around Tokyo Bay Area in the Odaiba district. It covers a distance of 9.8 km while the route n°4 is the Asakusa - Oshiage Route taking visitors to Tokyo new symbole, the TokyO Skytree. The distance covers 9.3 km.
They are also dedicated cycling trails around the Tokyo Metropolitan area: the Tama Cycling Road runs along the Tama River from Haneda Airport to Hamura representing a distance of 56 km; the Arakawa Cycling Road facing Tokyo Bay and going up to Saitama prefecture about 80 km away from the city centre. The Edogawa Cycling Road goes northward of the metropolis along the Edo River.