Happy World Bicycle Day!
Following yesterday’s mechanical, I set out optimistically today on another 60km ride — but with a bit more climbing. My butt didn’t like the idea of a second consecutive day of riding, but once I applied a liberal dose of Lotion No. 5, everything went well.
It’s a 60km ride around Tokyo, hitting a number of landmarks. I’ve done it several times now. Today I was in no hurry and I was riding solo, so I tried to stop and photograph the major landmarks as I passed them.
(I just nabbed them with the smartphone from wherever I happened to be — including in a traffic island at one point — so they’re probably not the most brilliant photos. But they should give a good idea of the sights on this ride.)
The following descriptions crib freely from Wikipedia and other sources. (If there is no pronunciation guide following the Japanese characters, then the pronunciation is roughly the same as in English.)
Meiji Jingu Gaien
Meiji Jingu Gaien (明治神宮外苑), the outer precinct of Meiji Jingu (shrine) is entered via a long avenue flanked by gingko trees. (The best view is in the fall when the leaves turn a brilliant gold.) Gaien is home to the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, Jingu Stadium (home of the Yakult Swallows) and the forthcoming Olympic Stadium (now under construction).
Akasaka Palace (赤坂離宮 Akasaka rikyu), originally built for the crown prince in 1909, is now the State Guest House (迎賓館 Geihinkan). It is designated a National Treasure of Japan.
National Diet Building
The National Diet Building (国会議事堂 Kokkai-gijidō), home to Japan’s legislature, was built 1920-1926.
Tokyo Tower (東京タワー), at 333m tall, was built in 1958 and has long been emblematic of Tokyo. It was built as a communications and observation tower. It has recently been supplanted by the 634m Tokyo Skytree.
The Imperial Palace (皇居 Kōkyo), home to the emperor, was rebuilt after World War II. The garden opened to the public in 1968, while the Imperial Residence is private. Pictured is part of the moat and some outbuildings.
Bank of Japan Main Building
The head office of the Bank of Japan (日本銀行 Nippon Ginkō), currently being restored, moved to its current location in 1896 and is an Important Cultural Property.
The present building of Tsukiji Hongan-ji (築地本願寺), not far from the Tsukiji fish market, was built in 1931-1934 and features architecture inspired by temples in South Asia.
Rainbow Bridge (レインボーブリッジ) spans Tokyo Bay from Shibaura to Odaiba. The 798m bridge was built between 1987 and 1993 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
Tokyo Big Sight
Tokyo Big Sight (東京ビッグサイト) is the capital’s convention and exhibition center. It sits in Waterfront City and opened in 1996.
Toyosu Market (豊洲市場 Toyosu Shijō), the replacement to Tokyo’s revered Tsukiji Fish Market, is set to open in October 2018 following enormous cost in construction and delays caused by toxic waste in the land on which it was built.
Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー), a 634m broadcasting and communications tower, is the tallest tower and the second-tallest structure in the world, after Burj Khalifa. It was built for digital terrestrial broadcasting because Tokyo Tower is now surrounded by tall buildings, making it unfit for the purpose. Tokyo Skytree has been a popular tourist destination since its opening in May 2012.
Tokyo National Museum
Tokyo National Museum (東京国立博物館 Tōkyō Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan), established in 1872, is the largest museum in Japan and one of the largest art museums in the world. Among the treasures housed here are 87 Japanese National Treasures and 610 Important Cultural Properties. The museum is located in Ueno Park.
University of Tokyo (Todai)
The University of Tokyo (東京大学 Tōkyō daigaku) was originally established in 1877 as the first imperial university. It enjoys a high reputation in Japan, where it serves as the equivalent of Harvard, Wharton and Georgetown universities rolled into one.
Tokyo Dome (東京ドーム), home to the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, opened in 1988. It seats 57,000 under its flexible, air-supported roof.
Budokan and Chidorigafuchi
Nippon Budokan (日本武道館) was built as the martial arts hall for the 1964 Olympics. It remains a popular venue for both martial arts competitions and rock concerts. Budokan sits among the Imperial Palace complex of moats, adjacent to Chidorigafuchi (千鳥ヶ淵 — named for being shaped like a plover bird), which is a popular destination for cherry blossom viewing. Budokan is reached through Tayasumon gate (環境省), originally part of Edo castle and an Important Cultural Property.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building complex (都庁 Tochō), the seat of Tokyo government, stands tall in Nishi Shinjuku. The complex was designed by Kenzo Tange and completed in December 1990 at a cost of ¥157 billion.