When you think of Tokyo, the image that often comes to mind is one of a bustling metropolis with towering skyscrapers, neon lights, and a vibrant urban atmosphere. While this is undoubtedly accurate, Tokyo is also home to pockets of tranquility and natural beauty, providing a striking contrast to the city’s hustle and bustle. Sumida and Profundo Asakusa, located along the Sumida River, offer a unique and picturesque glimpse into this serene side of Tokyo. One of the best ways to explore these neighborhoods is by embarking on a cycling adventure, taking in the stunning views, rich history, and local culture. In this article, we’ll dive into Sumida and Profundo Asakusa and guide you through a cycling journey that unveils their hidden gems.
Sumida: A Riverside Gem
Sumida is a special ward in Tokyo, known for its historic and cultural significance. The district is named after the Sumida River, which flows through its heart. The river’s calming presence and the neighborhoods along its banks provide a stark contrast to the urban pace of Tokyo. Here are a few highlights of Sumida:
- Sumida River Cruise: Start your adventure with a scenic river cruise along the Sumida River. It’s a great way to appreciate the area from a different perspective and get a sense of the local history. As you glide through the water, you’ll pass under numerous bridges, each with its unique character.
- Tokyo Skytree: One of the most iconic landmarks in Tokyo, the Tokyo Skytree, offers an incredible panoramic view of the city. Whether you decide to visit the observation deck or simply admire it from the riverside, the Skytree is an unmissable sight.
- Sumida Aquarium: Located within Tokyo Skytree Town, the Sumida Aquarium showcases marine life from Tokyo Bay. It’s a fascinating experience for visitors of all ages.
- Mukojima-Hyakkaen Garden: This traditional Japanese garden is a hidden oasis in the midst of Tokyo. It’s a place to escape the urban chaos and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature.
Profundo Asakusa: Deep Dive into Tradition
While Sumida introduces you to the serene charm of the Sumida River, the Asakusa district takes you deep into Tokyo’s rich history and culture. Here are some key highlights of Profundo Asakusa:
- Senso-ji Temple: The iconic Kaminarimon Gate, with its massive red lantern, welcomes you to Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple. The temple’s grounds are a vibrant hub of history and culture, and Nakamise-dori, the shopping street leading to it, is a treasure trove of traditional Japanese snacks and souvenirs.
- Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center: Before embarking on your cycling adventure, make a stop at the Asakusa Culture and Tourist Information Center. It offers a panoramic view of Asakusa and is a perfect spot to orient yourself and gather information about the area.
- Sumida Aquarium Asakusa: For a different marine experience from the Sumida Aquarium, you can visit the Sumida Aquarium Asakusa, where you’ll encounter aquatic life from Tokyo Bay and the Izu Islands.
- Asakusa Rickshaw Tour: If you want to explore Asakusa in a unique way, consider a rickshaw tour. Local rickshaw pullers will take you through the historic streets, sharing their knowledge and stories.
The Cycling Adventure: Sumida and Profundo Asakusa
Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with the charm of Sumida and Profundo Asakusa, it’s time to embark on a cycling adventure to explore these neighborhoods in depth. Here’s a step-by-step guide to your cycling journey:
1. Rent a Bicycle:
Before you begin your adventure, rent a bicycle from one of the many rental shops in the area. There are several rental options available, including traditional bicycles, electric bikes, and even guided cycling tours.
2. Start at Sumida Aquarium:
Begin your cycling journey at the Sumida Aquarium, where you can pick up your rental bike. From there, head toward the Sumida River, where you can join the riverside cycling path.
3. Cruise Along the Riverside:
Follow the Sumida River cycling path, taking in the breathtaking views of the Tokyo Skytree, the Asahi Beer Building with its distinctive golden “flame,” and the serene waters of the Sumida River.
4. Explore Sumida:
As you cycle along the river, you can make stops at various points of interest, such as the Tokyo Skytree and Mukojima-Hyakkaen Garden. Each stop will provide you with a unique perspective on Sumida’s charm.
5. Cross Over to Asakusa:
Continue your cycling adventure along the river until you reach Asakusa. To explore Asakusa’s historical and cultural sites, park your bike at one of the available bike racks and proceed on foot.
6. Discover Profundo Asakusa:
As you explore Profundo Asakusa, be sure to visit Senso-ji Temple and the bustling Nakamise-dori. Take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of this historic district.
7. Return to Sumida:
After immersing yourself in the culture and history of Asakusa, retrieve your bike and cycle back along the Sumida River to your starting point at Sumida Aquarium.
8. Reflect and Relax:
At the end of your cycling adventure, take a moment to relax along the riverbank, perhaps enjoying a bento (Japanese boxed lunch) or simply relishing the serene atmosphere.
A cycling adventure through Sumida and Profundo Asakusa allows you to experience Tokyo in a unique and immersive way. From the calming waters of the Sumida River to the historic and cultural treasures of Asakusa, this journey showcases the multifaceted beauty of Tokyo. Whether you’re a tourist or a Tokyoite, exploring these neighborhoods by bike offers a refreshing perspective on the city and a deeper connection to its rich history and culture.