Riding in a rikusha can be a great introduction to Kamakura. The drivers called ‘shafu’ know all the quiet backstreets and have a wealth of information on what temples and sights to see at any given time. Although there are only a few who speak English, they can still show you the most popular sights of any given season. As you glide along, they will point out delicious places to eat as well!
You can find the drivers at the west-side rotary of Kamakura Station, or on the east side as you stroll up Komachi Shopping Street. There are at least 3 different companies providing rikusha services in Kamakura, and several self-employed drivers too. You can get great video footage from a rikusha and the driver will be happy to take photos of you at sights along the way.
Kamakura’s longest running shafu is Noboru Aoki (pictured above), who has been driving rikusha in Kamakura since 1959. He has even written a guide book from his experiences. Needless to say, Mr. Aoki is the most sought after driver, often guiding celebrities and visiting dignitaries.
Although the price can seem a little high, it is a once in a lifetime experience and the shafu work hard to make sure your enjoy the ride, often giving little souvenirs to guests at the end.
The people of Kamakura are very proud of the rikusha drivers for the charming air they add to the city.
If you would like to make a reservation for Mr. Aoki, you can contact his official website Yuufuutei, which also offers tea ceremony and kimono rental.
Yuufuutei (in Japanese)
If you would like to make a reservation in English before arriving, Ebisuya has an English website where this can be done.