April 16, 2004
by Kai Kasumi
You will find rickshaw parked up near the Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama. Rickshaw drivers do not only take passengers to their destination like a taxi, but also give tours of temples and shrines with a detailed explanation and enjoyable chitchat.The most appealing thing about riding rickshaws is the people who pull them. I interviewed some of these special guides and would now like to relate to you something of their considerable charm.
Though this may seem like a small thing, passengers really do appreciate it. When the season to view beautiful autumn leaves comes around, they are very busy and can run up to 30 kilometers in a day. When the red leaves are past their peak, visitors to the area decrease, but they still have to run about 20 kilometers a day. Although everyone has confidence in their physical strength, it must be hard to run for 30 kilometers pulling a rickshaw. They say that the happy faces of their passengers keeps them going and spurs them on.They often carry visitors from foreign countries, so some drivers can speak English, but most of them do not. However, they do make foreign visitors feel very welcome. They try to make themselves understood with a lot of gestures and a smattering of English words. In order to really enjoy Kyoto, I recommend you ride a rickshaw if you get the chance. On a final note, please take a look at these messages from the drivers to prospective foreign visitors:
“In order to appreciate Kyoto, please ride our rickshaws!”
“If you see us, please talk to us, and ask about Kyoto.”