Monday, June 28, 2010
Apart from never being far from the coast in Japan, the country also has an abundance of rivers which transform into popular playgrounds during the summer months.
A slightly landlocked city like Tokyo has more than a few rivers running through it. Two of the largest are the Tamagawa and the Arakawa rivers. These rivers begin in the mountains beyond Tokyo and flow through the heart of the city into Tokyo bay.
At first glance, riverside landscapes in Tokyo may seem somewhat overly “urbanized” to foreign visitors. It’s fairly common to have sections of rivers in Japan concreted to protect from flooding and Tokyo is no exception. Don’t let first appearances put you off however. During summer, the riverside is the place to go. Sports grounds are very common along the riverside. On weekends these grounds are packed with little leaguers and corporate sports teams. Aside from sports there are plenty of open spaces for picnics, fishing, kite-flying and even dog runs for your canine friends. Barbecuing however is forbidden in Tokyo parks and riverside recreation areas. Neighboring prefectures such as Kanagawa do allow barbecues though. On the Tama River for example you only have to walk across to the Kanagawa side where there`s a real party atmosphere to light fires and barbecue to your heart’s content.
Whether you’re on the Tokyo side or the neighboring prefecture’s side of the river, summertime down by the river in Tokyo is quite the experience. Music festivals, huge group barbecues, kite and lantern festivals are just a few activities you’ll see along Tokyo’s riverbanks in the summer. Of course the beach is great too, but if you can’t get to the seaside, the river offers a great time also.