Translated by Shinji Takaramura
A Throwback To Old Japan: Take A Ride On Asakusa's Rickshaws
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
They're probably the first things you'll see on the streets when you arrive in Asakusa. Here, we'll show you how to get around Asakusa in these man-powered rickshaws.
Asakusa, The Rickshaw Town
Tourists arriving at Asakusa are greeted by the sight of rickshaws dashing through the streets.
A rickshaw is a man-powered car, made for two people. Sightseeing on a rickshaw is a staple attraction in Asakusa, as you can see them everywhere.
This article will introduce how to enjoy a rickshaw-ride in Asakusa.
We interviewed the company, Jidaiya, located near Kaminarimon.
While there are many companies which offers rickshaw services, Jidaiya welcomes many tourists from abroad. They also offer opportunities to experience Japanese culture, such as tea ceremonies and kimono try-ons as well.
The reception for the rickshaw service is located at Jidaiya's office, which is called Meijikan. It is a straight walk from Kaminarimon, along Namiki Dori. There is a mannequin wearing a Meiji period costume standing at the entrance, so it shouldn't be hard to find.
Mr. Miyakubo, who is very agile and moves briskly, will be our rickshaw driver. In Japanese, the rickshaw driver is called a shafu.
Jidaiya offers the following rickshaw services, according to the riding time and purpose. The payment can be made either before or after the ride.
Thirty Minute Lite Course
For those who doesn't have much time, or want to try the rickshaw for the first time.
- 1 Person 7000 yen
- 2 Person 9000 yen
- 3 Person 13,500 yen
Sixty Minute Course (Recommended Course)
The standard course, where you can enjoy the main sightseeing spots in Asakusa.
- 1 Person 13,000 yen
- 2 Person 17,500 yen
- 3 Person 26,250 yen
Hour and a Half Course
For those who want the full commentary, or want to enjoy all of Asakusa.
- 1 Person 19,000 yen
- 2 Person 25,000 yen
- 2 Person 37,500 yen
Princess and Prince Course (Three Hours)
For couples who want to thoroughly enjoy the rickshaw-ride. There are Japanese customers who use this service as a part of their wedding ceremony.
- 1 Person 32,500 yen
- 2 Person 47,500 yen
- 3 Person 71,250 yen
Choose a Course and Go!
The driver will explain how to get on a rickshaw, and how to fasten the seat belt to customers riding a rickshaw for the first time.
Jidaiya will look after your luggage for you during the ride, so there's no need to worry about bringing large items with you.
Let's take a look at the 30-minute course.
Jidaiya is located along Namiki Dori, which leads straight to Kaminarimon.
From Kaminarimon, where many tourists gather, the rickshaw will take a wide right turn.
The golden Asahi Beer Tower can be seen across the Sumida river. Your driver will be commenting on the famous sightseeing spots along the way.
This is the water bus stop, where many passengers gather to ride the ferry from early morning. The rickshaw keeps moving at a brisk pace, faster than the pedestrians. Tourists from abroad are often surprised at this lively pace.
This street runs along the Sumida river. In the summer, sunlight filters down through the trees, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in spring. Asakusa's various attractions change according to the seasons, and you can actually feel the season around you while on a rickshaw-ride.
The drivers know everything about Asakusa, such as good photo spots where you can capture a great view of the Tokyo Skytree and other important points.
If you come across a spot where you want to take photographs, don't hesitate to ask.
This is Denpoin Dori, where many souvenir shops are lined up. The rickshaw then heads for the back alleys of Asakusa from here.
Check out the shops along the way, as it might be fun to make plans for later, like "going to that tempura restaurant," or "look for souvenirs at that shop".
If you're interested in shrines and temples, or about Japanese history, tell the driver in advance. The course, along with the commentary, can be arranged to satisfy your interests.
Some drivers can speak English or Chinese too, so if you prefer commentary in some specific language, call in advance, or ask about the drivers at the reception.
The rickshaw then returns to Meijikan after the ride. Thirty minutes will have passed by in an instant.
Jidaiya's Other Attractions
Besides the rickshaw service, Jidaiya also offers opportunities to experience Japanese culture.
There are various courses such as tea ceremony, calligraphy, and kimono try-ons to choose from. If the rickshaw piqued your interest in Japanese culture, why not try the other options offered at Jidaiya too?
Address: Tokyo, Taito, Kaminarimon 2-3-5
Open Hours: 10:00-17:30
Closed: Tuesdays *Rickshaw sightseeing service is available 24/7.
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Access: 1 minute walk from A4 Exit of Asakusa Station (Toei line), or 3 minute walk from Exit 2 of Asakusa Station (Ginza line)
Price: from 7000 yen~