Bicycle leaning against one of two large upright dark brown signs with blue and white decorations and lettering. The sign the bicycle is leaning against says Gate 1, and the other says Haneda Airport Wharf. Between the upright signs is a low horizontal sculpture in dark brown with seagulls in silver and the words Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi in Japanese.

Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi

The day dawned very hazy with little sign of the warmth and sunshine in the forecast. It was hard for me to get going, and Nana asked if I wasn’t genki. I said I was fine, just no energy.

When I finally got moving, I wasn’t sure what to wear. The forecast high was 22C (in fact we hit 23), but at the moment it was 14C. I opted for my lightest long-sleeve jersey, shorts and fingerless gloves. I figured I might be a bit chilly when I set out, but I was most likely going to be too warm once the sun switched on.

In fact when I departed at 9:21, I wasn’t the slightest bit chilly. There was a brief detour around some construction about the 5km mark, and then a much larger one around an enormous flea market near Setagaya Station that spanned several blocks. Traffic was light in Futako, for a change, and soon I was heading downriver on the Tamagawa as the sun finally burned through the clouds and the sky turned blue.

With the late departure, I gave up any thoughts of a long ride. I decided to head to Haneda, and then continue on to the Tamagawa Sky Bridge. I’ve been meaning to visit this bridge, which opened in March 2022 between Haneda and Kanagawa Prefecture.

As I cycled downriver, I was glad I’d pushed myself to get on the bike. With the sun warm on my face and arms, I’d shaken off the morning’s listlessness and was completely genki.

When I arrived at the shrine where I usually stop at Haneda, it took me a moment to figure out how to proceed. There was a path by the shrine, but it was clearly marked for pedestrians only — no bicycles. I went back to the road and saw some cyclists on the street leading towards Haneda, so I followed them. They soon brought me to the Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi.

A word about that name

ソラムナード羽田緑地 — Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi — is a mouthful. The first word is most likely a portmanteau of 空 (sora — sky) and “promenade.” Haneda of course is the name of the airport, and Ryokuchi means “green space.” The promenade extends for a couple of kilometers along the bank of the Tamagawa river, and is clearly marked that bicycles are forbidden at each entry point. There is a cycle course parallel to the promenade, adjacent to the street, and I followed this, stopping to view the river, the airplanes taking off, and the airport monorail.

The one thing I didn’t find along the promenade was a way to get a bicycle up on the Tamagawa Sky Bridge. I’ve seen people posting photos from the bridge, so I knew there must be a way, but when I reached the entrance it was again marked: bicycles verboten. I shrugged and cycled back the way I came until I reached the Former Anamori Inari Shrine where I usually stop, and sat down for some of Nana’s world famous onigiri.

It was just 11:30 when I reached the shrine, despite my slow start and my lackadaisical wanderings around the promenade. I wolfed down three mentaiko onigiri and set off for home in less than 15 minutes.

I’d racked up a few extra kilometers in my wandering even if I hadn’t made my goal of crossing the Tamagawa Sky Bridge. Even so, I was on track to make it home by the original estimate I’d given Nana: 2 p.m. The weather was good, the bicycle was working fine, and there weren’t too many stupid people on the cycle course (for a change). My hands were just starting to get numb when I reached Futako again. After crossing the river and waiting far too long for a light, I got a bottle of water from a vending machine and then climbed out of the river valley to my usual park.

It wasn’t yet 1 p.m. I messaged Nana that I was in Futako and ate the last onigiri. It was still a few minutes shy of 1 p.m. so I messaged that I would be home by 2 and set off home. There’s nothing more to tell except for the usual stuff with idiot drivers. I remembered the detour when I got to Setagaya Station and avoided the worst of it, although traffic was backing up even on the roads that were not blocked off. I refrained from checking the time on my way home, and just concentrated on pedaling and looking out for traffic.

I sped down the hill by Central Park and came to a stop at the light — the last red light of the day. Soon I was coasting to a stop near the entrance to the bicycle parking, and I stopped the Garmin. I messaged Nana at 1:44 that I was home.

GPS record of cycle ride
Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi

On a moving time of 3:21:21, I’d averaged 20.5km/h. Very satisfying. Once I’d showered up and relaxed with a beer, I had a look on Google Street View for the area around Tamagawa Sky Bridge, and I soon found the bicycle ramp up to the bridge — on the opposite side of the street from the promenade. There’s also a cycling course on the Kanagawa side of the river to take me back upstream, which I don’t recall seeing when I checked last year after the bridge opened. So that’s something to look forward to on the next visit.

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One response to “Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi”

  1. […] hawing, I decided to give Tamagawa Sky Bridge another try. On my previous visit, I’d ridden up and down the length of the Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi but failed to find the bicycle entrance to the bridge. Having consulted Google Street View, I was […]

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