By Scott Brause
Kashiwa City, located on the Joban local and express train lines, is an easy trip from Tokyo, and is bordered on the north by Teganuma, a vast marsh fed by springs. There, the open spaces, the blue of the sky reflected in the water, and the greenery, are relief from urban concrete and glass. This great getaway from city life is best appreciated by bicycle, and fortunately, Kashiwa City and its parks provide, for a small fee, rental bicycles to visitors.
There are two locations convenient for visitors to the city. Behind the police box at Kashiwa Station east exit, the city has a large bicycle garage from which visitors can rent bicycles by the day, or by the month. Kashiwa city’s bicycle rental is available daily (closed for New Year holiday only) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for only ¥100 a day. Be sure to bring identification to register.
At the edge of Teganuma is Kashiwa Furusato Park bike rental. This service, available on weekends and national holidays, allows day trippers to pick up and drop off bikes at any of three stations along the route - Furusato Park, Michi no Eki Shonan (the road station), and Teganuma Park. Various bus lines and taxi services can return you to the nearest train station. All for only ¥300.
The 18 kilometers of cycle paths around the marsh, winding through various parks and over bridges, are easy and flat, but take your time. Early morning rides are great for bird watching in the fresh air. In spring, Kashiwa Park is a great location for cherry blossoms and azaleas, and across the bridge on the Abiko City side, irises. In the summer, breezes from the nearby Tone River are a relief from the heat. Go early on summer mornings to see the lotus flowers open. Stop and soak your feet at the foot bath in front of Manten no Yu hot spring.
Kashiwa Furusato Park is 10 minutes on foot from Kitakashiwa Station on The Joban local line.
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You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too.