Late in 2022, three guides appeared in local bookstores on identical or similar themes, all involving routes that focus on cycling through places of historical interest. Two of them focus specifically on the stations of the Tokkaido between Tokyo and Kyoto; the third, from the publisher that has already done that, focuses on several routes with a connection to the end of the Edo period and the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

Kyu-Kaido Jitensha-Tabi Sono Yon    Bakumatsu / Meiji Ishin no Michi-hen

The fourth volume in this excellent series takes a different approach: not one or two long trips but mostly shorter routes (around 50 to 75 km each) that explore the history of the end of the Tokugawa shogunate through the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The four locations are Kochi, Keihanshin (Kyoto to Kobe), Koya-san and Totsukawa (Nara Prefecture), and Nikko to Aizu-Wakamatsu. Presentation and maps/photos are outstanding as usual, and the reasonable price (¥1,320) means that this latest entry is, once again, highly recommended.

Suutsu de Iku Gojusan-tsugi Jitensha no Tabi


Kotsu (transit) YouTuber Suutsu (“Suits”?), who made his name covering train routes, travels the 500 km between Tokyo and Osaka on one of the ubiquitous power-assisted bicycles, making the trip in 9 days and covering every station on the Tokkaido. An unexpected surprise: nicely done, with good maps and many illustrations and photographs. However, NOT cheap (¥1800 which seems very expensive particularly compared to the next guide, which covers the same route). Still, well worth a look.

Jitensha de Yuku Tokaido Gojusan-tsugi

“Cycle the Tokaido in 10 days!” is the subtitle to this very nice new guide covering the 500km route along the 53 stations of the old Tokaido from Tokyo Nihonbashi to Kyoto Sanjo-Ohashi. The book consists mainly of excellent detailed maps (with elevation guides!) illustrated by photos along the way, and numbers on the road to mark each photo location so you won’t get lost. In between the route maps are nicely illustrated descriptions of the historical sights at those stations. Very, very nicely done, and a bargain at ¥1200.

All of these guides should be available in major book stores. Detailed publishing details are as follows.



Touring Book Update: Cycling Through History

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