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Cycling Japan

By Takashi Niwa

Tokyo Midnight Rambling

2016
ISSUE
60

The summer heat in Tokyo can be unbearable, even for those of us who grew up here. With the stifling humidity trapped between cement buildings, the effective temperature gets close to 40 degrees Celsius. Cycling during the day is not just arduous, it can be even dangerous.

So, how about cycling at night?

I have been hosting night-to-dawn Tokyo City rides for almost 15 years, and they are a blast. First of all, daytime heat subsides and traffic gets much lighter as you go deeper into the night — well, except for Roppongi, where bright streets are full of “random walkers” at these late hours. Here the eclectic sounds of foreign languages fill your ears, and you’re surprised when you hear some Japanese.

A 10-minute or so ride will bring pitch black darkness in Aoyama Cemetery. Here, I have my guest riders go solo at half-minute intervals, paying respect to a great summer tradition of Japan – kimodameshi, or a courage test. Pedal on and take a deep breather lying on your back on the grass of the Jingu Gaien park; you might even see a shooting star as I did. Enjoy Tokyo by night and then, as the new day dawns, roll up to Tsukiji Market and finish off the tour hopping from one sushi bar to the next.

Guided night tours using Docomo share bikes will be held daily for one full week in late August. For more information, please contact Niwa Cycling Tours (nct@ncycling.com)