Asakusa, Jinrikisha

Ride in style on a human-powered jinrikisha tour

Asakusa, Tokyo

In Tokyo of a previous era, carts pulled by men on foot—known as rickshaws—dominated the transportation industry. The rickshaw is believed to be invented in Japan around 1879, during the Edo era. In fact, the word rickshaw comes from the original Japanese jinrikisha, which literally means “human powered vehicle.” In modern-day Asakusa, you can experience this traditional method of transportation, complete with a tour from your strapping rickshaw operator, called a shafu. Make no mistake—operating a rickshaw is an athletic feat in itself. The shafus pulling these wooden carts on wheels all day probably don’t need to spend any extra time at the gym. Tours range from 3,000 yen (USD $25) for a ten-minute trip around the block to upwards of 20,000 yen (USD $200+) for a two-hour tour of Asakusa and its environs. A stop at Sumida River provides the perfect backdrop for a photo with Tokyo Skytree, Japan’s tallest structure and the second tallest in the world (after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa). Step back into the Edo era and enjoy a rickshaw ride for a lasting memory.

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