89-Year-Old Japanese Man Bikes Over 370 Miles to Visit Children Halfway Across the Country

Beautiful landscape of mountain fuji around yamanakako lake Japan

Photo: mrsiraphol/Depositphotos

An 89-year-old man named Mitsuo Tanigami set his sights on a mission—to visit his children Naoya and Sayuri. Although both are adults who live far away, he opted to take the scenic route by bicycle. Making the trek from Kobe to Tokyo is an incredible achievement, and the devoted dad pedaled a few hundred miles during his nine-day journey halfway across the country.

Tanigami purchased an electric-assist bicycle after many years of operating a photo studio. Equipped with his bike, a paper map, and a sense of adventure, the Kobe-native embarked on one of the most heartwarming voyages to visit family. Whenever he wandered off course, the fearless father would consult locals for directions. This created an opportunity for him to connect with people as he traveled through different places.

Beginning on March 17, Tanigami headed east on Japan's National Route 2. This stretch led him to his first official stop in Takatsuki City in Osaka. His journey continued as he biked past Mt. Fuji, the mountainous terrain of Hakone, and soaked in the waterscape of Lake Biwa. Tanigami paused to sleep at hotels or inns along the way to recharge.

Without hesitation, the octogenarian took the road less traveled, as he embraced the unpredictability of nature. High wind speeds, heavy rain, and rough terrain are a few different natural elements that Tanigami overcame during his quest. He recounts falling from his bike nearly 20 times and expressed difficulty hearing, according to Kobe NP News Japan. The adventurous senior mentioned how the rain impaired him from seeing through the lenses of his glasses. No stranger to a challenge, Tanigami hopped right back on his bike and kept moving forward.

Day three marked his arrival at his daughter Sayuri's house in Fuso in Aichi Prefecture. After spending two days there, he continued to Tokyo, arriving at his final destination on March 25. His 61-year-old son, Naoya, greeted him and expressed a deep sense of pride for this incredible achievement. The brave voyager recounts the trip by stating, “It was a tough experience, but I'm happy that I was able to make my son happy.” Although he opted to take a more accessible form of transportation back to Kobe, he plans to make the bike trip back during warmer months.

His journey to Tokyo is a true testament to a parent's love and and the importance of spending time with family. Tanigami's story is proof that exciting adventures can be had at any age.

An 89-year-old Japanese man named Mitsuo Tanigami decided he wanted to ride his bicycle to visit his children who lived hundreds of miles away.

Tokyo, Japan. An elderly person cycling on a city street with a bridge and buildings in the background.

Photo: HenryStJohn/Depositphotos (Not a photo of the actual man.)

The octogenarian began his 9-day bike journey in Kobe, and made a stop in Fuso to visit his daughter Sayuri.

Mitsuo Tanigami biked over 370 miles to visit his children. This map identifies a potential route from Kobe to Fuso, where his daugher lives.

After resting for two days with his daughter, Tanigami continued towards his son, Naoya, in Tokyo.

Mitsuo Tanigami biked from Fuso to his son in Tokyo. This map highlights a route that is possible to bike from Fuso to Tokyo.

He biked more than 370 miles to visit family—a heartwarming reminder that adventure can be had at any age.

Mitsuo Tanigami biked from Kobe to Tokyo. This map shows the overall journey that he took via bike over nine days.

h/t: [SoraNews24]

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Mia Santarelli

Mia Santarelli is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Based in eastern Kansas, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Italian Language Studies from the University of Kansas and received an MA in Art History from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Visual storytelling mediums such as photography and film inspire her to capture her own snapshots of the most unexpectedly beautiful places throughout her travels. She also has a passion for learning languages, fueling her desire to learn more about different cultures.
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