My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: January 7, 2021
Taking a walk by some of the rivers that flow through the concrete jungle that is central Tokyo is a great, scenic way to explore the city on foot. And you will be surprised by what you can encounter. From the traditional along the Sumida River to the trendy Meguro River area, the affluence along the Tama River and the cooling nature of the Todoroki Valley inspire relaxation.
Explore Tokyo's old district of Asakusa, juxtaposed against the modern Tokyo Skytree, as you walk along the Sumida River to the sumo town of Ryogoku. The stroll, by itself, would take about 30 minutes—though you should budget at least half a day for the numerous points of interest on either riverbank. See the iconic Sensoji Temple, then shop and snack your way down the Nakamise souvenir street at Asakusa. Later, stop by the laidback artisan neighborhoods of Kuramae and Asakusabashi, where the stylish coexists alongside respected traditional handicraft businesses. At Ryogoku, learn about Japanese history at the Edo-Tokyo Museum and Sumo Museum, then sate your hunger by feasting on the 'chanko nabe' hotpot that is the staple diet of sumo wrestlers.
Start your journey along the Meguro River at the trendy Nakameguro area with its range of fashion shops and art galleries, as well as hip riverfront cafes and eateries. Be surprised by what you may find while exploring the stores tucked away inside the side streets. Stop by for coffee along the way, and check out the Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo. The walk, by itself, takes about 30 minutes—though it is also possible to walk all the way to Gotanda and Osaki, both areas are on the JR Yamanote Line. If you are visiting in spring, the cherry tree-lined Meguro River turns a pretty shade of pink. Bask in the festival atmosphere as huge crowds descend on Nakameguro, where street food, beers, and rosé are the order of the day.
Take a relaxing walk along a 5-kilometer segment of the Tama River, which stretches 138 kilometers. Starting at the Tamagawa Station on the Tokyu Toyoko, Meguro, and Tamagawa Lines, wander the wooded pathways and riverside paths towards the shopping area of Futakotamagawa. There are loads of cafes, restaurants, and bars in the neighborhood to rest your feet after your hour-long walk. If you are visiting in summer, be sure to check out the Setagaya-ku Tamagawa Fireworks Festival that is one of Tokyo's most popular.
Take a short but interesting walk into the quiet, cooling depths of the Todoroki Valley, which is located just 20 minutes from Shibuya. The trail runs 1.2 kilometers and is a great way to cool off in summer, with a distinct drop in temperature as you descend into the gorge. The calming flow of the Yazawa River and the sounds of the chirping birds are worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya. Picnic at a small grassy family park, and make your way to Todoroki Fudosan Temple, which has a wooden viewing platform overlooking the ravine.