Cycling along the Sumida

Seeing Tokyo from a bike seat

By Suwannee Payne   Sep 18, 2014 - 3 min read

Fresh smells, wind in your face and freedom in your hand, that’s what cycle touring is all about. “The World Looks Different from a Bicycle Seat”, I am definitely in agreement with that quote. Cycle touring gives you the opportunity to see and feel a place, its people and all its surroundings. My tour along the Sumida River gave me an incredible experience that will be in my memory for a long, long time.

I started my tour at Sumida Park, a riverside park that is famous for its sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms) in spring. The park is not far from the famous temple of Asakusa, Sensoji Temple. To my surprise it turns out Sumida Park also has the best view of the Sky Tree tower. I had some time to enjoy the view with some locals and a few tourists until 2 or 3 big tour buses unloaded their cargo. At that point, I made my escape cycling south along the bank of the Sumida River towards the ocean.

The Sky Tree was still with me for some time and then I saw an unusual building that is famous for its golden beer foam (or something else up to your imagination), the Asahi Beer Tower. At one point I could even capture them both with Shuto Expressway No. 6 below and of course the Sumida River all in one picture frame.

I then came across the very busy Sumida River boat terminal and the Azuma Bridge. The Sumida River boat terminal is where you catch the Sumida River Cruise boats, another way to see the river. Azuma Bridge is quite interesting with nice looking lamp posts and a bright red color. Actually I find most of the bridges across the Sumida interesting. There are a lot of them and they come with different colors: red, blue, green, yellow and more. I love taking pictures of bridges and was quite happy that I was on my bike and not in a car or bus. I could stop and enjoy each place as I wished. That is what cycle touring is all about: the freedom to see and experience places at your own pace. As I pedalled along the river I got to see many things around it that were so vibrant and full of life.

At one point I was on the Sumidagawa Terrace. There were some displays of famous Japanese prints on the terrace that I stopped to enjoy. They were all about the Sumida River, the old bridges and the people in the Edo era. It’s nice to see the pictures of what this place used to be once upon a time.

Then I came upon Yanagibashi Bridge. The Yanagibashi Bridge crosses the Kanda River right where it empties out into the Sumida River. There are some old wooden shacks among the modern looking buildings lining both sides of the Kanda River. With some Yakatabune parking in the river, it is an interesting scene. Yakatabune are old-style Japanese houseboats; they are used for dinner cruises that will give you another option to see the Sumida.

After that I crossed to the other side of the river to my final destination of this days tour, Kiyosumi Garden, in time for viewing their beautiful wisteria and I got to see another beautiful blue bridge, Kiyosubashi.

Oh, the joy of bicycle touring! And I know you'll love it too!

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Suwannee Payne

Suwannee Payne @Suwannee Payne

I am a Thai woman who has spent half of her life in beautiful Ottawa, capital city of Canada. I enjoy crafting, gardening, photography, bicycle touring and my new found love blogging. You can visit my blog (In Thai) at here It is a beautiful site. The name Ban Suanporpeang means 'Humble little village'. Thank you for dropping by.

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Wouter Thielen 4 years ago
Try cycling in Holland! We have special bicycle lanes ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o
Suwannee Payne Author 4 years ago
I have been cycle in quite a few places: Ottawa, Toronto (Canada), Birmingham to Bath (UK), a lot of place in Thailand and you know what! Cycle in Tokyo is so easy compare to them, because we bikers are allow on the side walk. That's haven!
Chris White 4 years ago
Great article! I'm a wobbly cyclist, but that looks good fun, I'd love to try it (need to get a bit braver first though)