By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler
Sitting high up on a rickshaw, you can experience the city in a new way. The perspective is different from walking through the streets. You can concentrate on the sights and sounds while you lean back comfortably in your seat. When it is especially hot or raining, the rickshaw drivers pull a roof over you. And your legs are covered with a blanket. All you have to do is look around, take pictures, maybe ask your driver about the places you pass, and enjoy the experience.
About 150 years ago, rickshaw developed as a kind of man-powered taxi. But a rickshaw ride today is nothing like taking a taxi. The driver becomes your personal guide and if you want also your photographer. Many drivers speak English and a few can also speak other languages.
Make a reservation in advance online, or just go to the main rickshaw point in Asakusa near Senso-ji Temple’s Kaminarimon Gate. Rickshaw rides are available every day. One rickshaw seats up to two adults and a small child. But it is also nice to take the rickshaw alone and speak with the driver during the tour.
Choose your tour depending on your time, budget, and interest. You can take a short ride for about 10 minutes or choose a longer course of up to two hours. Most rickshaw drivers work from around 9:30 to sunset. If you make a reservation, you can schedule a pickup from a hotel, restaurant, or other place of your choice in the Asakusa area.
For extra special memories and pictures, dress up in kimono for your rickshaw ride. In Asakusa there are many shops that rent yukata (cotton summer kimonos), and kimonos for women, men, and children. Some people rent rickshaw for special occasions, for example to go to Asakusa Shrine on their wedding day. Maybe you will see one when you are here.
Asakusa is the only area in Tokyo where rickshaw services are available. But it is also possible to go on a ride all the way to Tokyo Skytree. If you have questions or need assistance during your trip, please contact the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center for advice. It is located opposite of Senso-ji Temple’s Kaminarimon Gate.
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