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Writer:Yuta Sakaguchi

Hi, I’m Yuta. I grew up and live in Yokohama, a port city near Tokyo. I once lived in Kichijoji, located in the western part of Tokyo. I love walking around a street and taking pictures. On my article I introduce attractions mainly of Tokyo with many wonderful pictures. Please enjoy them!

Enjoy Jinrikisha (Rickshaw) in Asakusa, Tokyo!

December 25, 2015

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Jinrikisha (Rickshaw) and Kaminarimon Gate

Outline

I highly recommend riding on a Jinrikisha (Rickshaw) when you visit Asakusa. Jinrikisha is a 2-wheeled passenger cart that is pulled by a rickshaw runner. It was invented in Japan in 1869 and the commercial operation of Rickshaws started in Nihonbashi, Tokyo from 1870. At the time, it was a relatively cheap mode of transportation and passengers could get to their destination more conveniently than before. As a result, it became very popular and spread to other Asian countries in the early 20th century. Their usage as a means of transport declined in Japan after the middle of the 20th century, however, they are still well-known for being used as a unique mode of transportation for guided tours in sightseeing locations such as Asakusa, Kamakura and Kyoto. Many of the Jinrikisha have two-person occupancy seats. This time I had a chance to speak with Mr. Sugiura of Kurumaya, who introduced me to the finer points of Jinrikisha and how to further enjoy it in Asakusa.


Jinrikisha (Rickshaw)

The appeal of Jinrikisha

3 factors make the Jinrikisha a unique and great experience: a comfortable ride, the guide (rickshaw runner) and being able to take nice photographs. The speed of the Jinrikisha is somewhere between walking and riding a bike, and although the rickshaw isn’t the smoothest ride, a lot of people like the comfortable vibrations and would describe them as “soothing”. The runner is very knowledgeable about the area and can provide you with a lot of inside information about the history and culture that you wouldn’t normally get otherwise. If you are interested in taking photos, he will take you to places where you can get great shots from your camera. Did I mention that you can do all of this from the comfort of your very own seat! The training period for rickshaw runners in Kurumaya is one month, and the many attractions of Asakusa and recommended courses are thoroughly hammered into the students via a very thick textbook.


The training for rickshaw runners in Kurumaya


A special picture of Jinrikisha's own

How to enjoy Jinrikisha in Asakusa

With many historical attractions, such as Sensoji Temple, Asakusa is a town that complements the Jinrikisha very well. Currently, there are over 150 Jinrikisha operating in Asakusa! The Asakusa Engei Hall, Kannonura, Demboin Street and Sumida Park (you can see the Tokyo Skytree very well from Sumida Park!) are all highly recommended locations. If you want to ride a Jinrikisha, you can catch one at the front of the Kaminarimon Gate of Sensoji Temple, where there will be some runners eagerly waiting for their next passengers. Provide the runner with information, such as the amount of time you’d like to spend and the places you’d like to go, and the runner will figure out the best course for you!


The Asakusa Engei Hall


Kannonura


Demboin Street


Sumida Park

Although there are an infinite amount of Jinrikisha courses available depending on your parameters, Kurumaya’s one section courses and their 30 minute courses are particularly popular. The one section course starts from Kaminarimon Gate to a location roughly a kilometer from the gate; it’s a quick and easy way to experience the Jinrikisha. Another route through Demboin Street and Sumida Park (a great place if you want to see the Tokyo Skytree) is also highly recommended. The 30 minute courses are great for people who would like to delve deeper into what Asakusa has to offer. Popular courses include, a westward course running west of Nakamise Street towards the crowded Asakusa Rokku and Demboin Street area, and a course running eastbound from Nakamise Street to locations such as the Nitenmon Gate of Sensoji Temple and Sumida Park.

The experience of riding in a Jinrikisha, with your very own rickshaw runner feeding you inside information about the area, will undoubtedly provide you with a special one-of-a-kind perspective of Asakusa. So why not take a ride in a Jinrikisha next time you’re in Asakusa?

Kurumaya’s runners are located a short ways from Kaminarimon Gate in the direction of the Sumida River. Kurumaya has many highly-knowledgeable runners and some of them can even speak English and/or Korean. They will provide you with an industry best, record-low price! Furthermore, if you show this article to the runners of Kurumaya, you can get a 10% off their 8,000 yen, 30 minutes course!


Jinrikisha of Kurumaya


Of course, you can go in the direction to Tokyo Skytree

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