Japan Today
Image: Pakutaso
lifestyle

89-year-old Japanese man rides bike 600 kilometers to visit his 61-year-old son

17 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

A couple of weeks ago, Mitsuo Tanigami, a resident of Kobe, decided he wanted to see his kids. However, both his son, Naoya, and his daughter, Sayuri, are grown up and moved out of the house, so it wasn’t as simple as sauntering into the living room and giving them a fatherly pat on the head.

Naoya lives all the way in Tokyo, about halfway across the country from Kobe, so you might expect Mitsuo to hop on the Shinkansen and ride the bullet train for three hours to the capital.

Screenshot-2024-04-11-at-9.42.30.png

But Mitsuo had a slightly longer ride…since he rode his bicycle from Kobe to Tokyo instead. He wound up riding roughly 600 kilometers over the course of nine days.

Based on his physically ambitious choice of transportation method and his kids already being self-sufficient adults, you might be imagining that Mitsuo became a father very early in life, and is still in his early 40s, or maybe even 30s, with his children being very recent college graduates. But nope – son Naoya is 61 years old, and dad Mitsuo is 89.

Mitsuo ran a photo studio until seven years ago, and about a year ago he bought an electric-assist bicycle for himself. Seeing Naoya continually challenge himself, often traveling overseas for his job, Mitsuo decided to take on a challenge too, which is how he got the idea to ride his bike all the way to Tokyo. Oh, and he did this without using GPS, Google Maps, or any other sort of digital pathfinding aids. Instead, he carried a paper map (1:200,000-scale), marking his route as he went in pencil. When he got lost, he’d ask for directions from parking lot attendants or other locals, who’d direct him to landmarks so that he could get back on course.

Setting out early on the morning of March 17, Mitsuo made it all the way to Takatsuki City in Osaka Prefecture on his first day.

▼ Kobe to Takatsuki

Screenshot-2024-04-11-at-9.42.43.png

From there, he kept pedaling towards Tokyo, passing by sites such as Lake Biwa and Mount Fuji. Along the way, he’d spend the night at hotels or inns along his route, but that doesn’t mean he had an easy trip. Mitsuo’s journey coincided with heavy rains and strong winds in the parts of Japan he was passing through, and he estimates that he fell from his bike around 20 times before arriving in Tokyo.

Still, he kept making progress. On the third day, he reached the town of Fuso in Aichi Prefecture, where Sayuri lives. He spent two days with her at her house, and also paused for one full day of rest elsewhere en route to Tokyo. Again, though, this doesn’t mean that Mitsuo was pedaling the path of least resistance, as his route through Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo’s neighbor to the south, took him through the steep mountain passes of Hakone.

Finally, on March 25, Mitsuo made it to Tokyo. Though he’d been navigating by paper map, Mitsuo did have a smartphone on him so that Naoya could track his progress, and he came out to the street to greet his octogenarian dad as he pulled up on his bike. “It was a tough experience, but I’m happy that I was able to make my son happy,” said Mitsuo at the end of his journey.

During his stay with Naoya, the father and son took in the local sites and, yes, went for bike rides together. However, Mitsuo opted to take an easier route home, apparently either by train or plane, and so he left his bike at his son’s place in Tokyo. He hasn’t asked Naoya to ship it to him, though, and instead says he plans to come pick it up this summer and ride it back to Kobe.

Source: Kobe Shimbun Next via Yahoo! Japan News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Uniqlo opens its first Furugi Project secondhand clothing pop-up shop in Tokyo

-- Enjoy viewing Kyoto’s cherry blossoms from above on a guided zipline tour

-- Imitation crab meat shrine built in Kobe

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
Login to comment

Great story.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What a great story. You could almost see this being made into a movie or something! Good for you Mitsuo Tanigami!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Amazing journey for the very old man.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Dad of the year!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

When we see very old ladies walking up the hills surrounding our place in the country side,{something I cant do...heart disease }, my wife calls them "shaming Obaa chan "...they shame us with their genkiness.

Inspirational story from the old timer.

I''ll start exercising more ...tomorrow.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

That is so awesome.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Awesome story!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Fantastic positive story and an amazing achievement by Mr. Tanigami. Now I feel a little bad for bemoaning the weather being not the best for cycling recently (rain, wind, pollen) and this fellow went and did 600km anyway, and in style! Makes me think of “The Straight Story”.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Awesome story. My story is not as great as this man's, however, one I believe will inspire others long into their old age. My friend's father, a man I met in his mid 80's would get up every morning at 4 am and go to his son's fish shop and make deliveries on his bike to his son's customers he did this every day of the week except Sunday up to his late 90's to his death which was in his sleep in his bed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I hope I can do the 600km when I am his age!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Mitsuo ran a photo studio until seven years ago, and about a year ago he bought an electric-assist bicycle for himself.

That's cheating!

Just kidding, what an amazing achievement. I hope I will be half as sprightly as Mr. Tanigami is when I am that age.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I like this. In fact, as retirement approaches, I think I’m inspired.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A ride from Hokkaido to Kyushu would be a great way to see the country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Google Maps gives cycling routes in Tokyo, but is hit-and-miss outside of it.

Recently when pedalling out in the sticks on car navigation, it kept suggesting 'faster' but longer routes : |

1 ( +2 / -1 )

[ Oh, and he did this without using GPS, Google Maps, or any other sort of digital pathfinding aids. Instead, he carried a paper map (1:200,000-scale), marking his route as he went in pencil. When he got lost, he’d ask for directions from parking lot attendants or other locals, who’d direct him to landmarks so that he could get back on course.

Setting out early on the morning of March 17, Mitsuo made it all the way to Takatsuki City in Osaka Prefecture on his first day.

From there, he kept pedaling towards Tokyo, passing by sites such as Lake Biwa and Mount Fuji. Along the way, he’d spend the night at hotels or inns along his route, but that doesn’t mean he had an easy trip. Mitsuo’s journey coincided with heavy rains and strong winds in the parts of Japan he was passing through, and he estimates that he fell from his bike around 20 times before arriving in Tokyo.

Still, he kept making progress. On the third day, he reached the town of Fuso in Aichi Prefecture, where Sayuri lives. He spent two days with her at her house, and also paused for one full day of rest elsewhere en route to Tokyo. Again, though, this doesn’t mean that Mitsuo was pedaling the path of least resistance, as his route through Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo’s neighbor to the south, took him through the steep mountain passes of Hakone.

Finally, on March 25, Mitsuo made it to Tokyo. Though he’d been navigating by paper map, Mitsuo did have a smartphone on him so that Naoya could track his progress, and he came out to the street to greet his octogenarian dad as he pulled up on his bike. “It was a tough experience, but I’m happy that I was able to make my son happy,” said Mitsuo at the end of his journey. ]

An inspiration. Take it easy, Tanigami–san. :)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Awesome story, average writing.

You could almost see this being made into a movie or something!

The Straight Story

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Feel good story.

Japanese movie 1999 Messengers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites