Have nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon in Tokyo? Want to take a special someone on a date in the heart of the city? Want to spend a relaxing Sunday with your family? Well, look no further than the Imperial Palace!
Every Sunday, a 3 km stretch of road around the famous palace in Tokyo is closed as bicycles take the streets.
Don’t have a bicycle? Well, don’t stress – you can easily get any type of bicycle from the rent-a-bike stall next to the track. You can get adult bikes, children’s bikes, tandem bikes, bikes with baby seats, bikes with fairy wheels – anything you like!
So after hearing this thrilling sales pitch, I decided to make my way down to the Imperial Palace on a crisp, sunny October Sunday. Easy enough to find, the bike rental is an easy system with minimal queues. In fact, not many people seem to know about this wonderful system that pops up every Sunday. Otherwise, I think it would be one of the most crowded hot-spots in Tokyo.
Costing exactly 0 yen (that’s right, it’s free), all you have to do is fill out an application form – basic Japanese required – and off you go for one lap of the 3 km track. You can also chose any type of bike. So, for my first ride, I decided to take a tandem bike – something that I thought would be rather challenging, but actually turned out to be quite the treat.
Going along that closed-off 3 km stretch was great (even though my tandem partner did no pedaling whatsoever). Many casual and serious cyclists take to the road next to you and you can see all the cars whizzing by one road over. There’s even a little kiddie area where your young’uns can try their hand at riding bicycles under your watchful supervision.
And if cycling ain’t your thing, you can still have a lekker picnic and relax on the grass around the palace itself. (But be careful! Some grassy areas are still out-of-bounds!)
- 10:00 to 15:00 on Sundays
- Closed on rainy days, and days when special events are held.
Number of Bicycles
- A total of 150 bicycles, such as city bicycles, tandem bicycles, children’s bicycles and infant’s bicycles
- Free of charge
- A course covering a round trip of about 3 km from Iwaida Bridge to Hirakawa Gate