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Kyoto - Bike Hire

Cheshire - England
Level Contributor
748 posts
21 reviews
Kyoto - Bike Hire

Am going to Japan for the first time soon and will be in Kyoto for two days. As we are staying (Me 55 and wife 53) in the centre bike hire looks like a good idea to get round as most of the places we want to visit are within a 2 or at a maximum 3 mile radius.

How easy is it to cycle round this city? Can we cycle on the pavements? Any other advice very much appreciated!

Level Contributor
1,585 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: Kyoto - Bike Hire

Kyoto traffic can be really difficult to navigate on a bike unless you know what route to take. It is doable if you can stay away from congested areas, I've seen several accidents and many near misses with bikes on the sidewalks, and there usually isn't enough space on the roads to ride.

So talk to your hotel concierge or the owner of the bike shops for advice about where to ride. For example, a very nice ride is along the banks of the rivers, where there are narrow walking/riding paths. But those aren't really going to get you to the tourist destinations.

I have found that the best way to navigate Kyoto is to take the subway to the stop closest to where I want to go, then catch a cab the rest of the way. There are buses, but you can waste a lot of time on a bus as they stop at every stop. I never feel like I want to waste my Kyoto time sitting on a bus, for me it's worth the taxi fare to get where I want to go.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
3 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: Kyoto - Bike Hire

Biking in Kyoto is a truly wonderful experience. I rented a bike from J-Cycle, great company and very helpful. Visit them at


The first day was harrowing but I quickly learned that the city is easy to negotiate. You can almost always take side roads with less traffic and you can ride on the sidewalk or in the biking lanes, which are great fun. There are some wonderful rides to the temples on the outskirts of town, very serene and a great way to see the city. After a few days I felt comfortable enough to ride at night, the bikes are equipped with lights.

This is not for everyone, especially since they don’t rent helmets (if I did it again, I would bring my own). If you have quick response on a bike and have been riding recently you should be fine, mountain biking experience is definitely helpful as there are many obstacles (light posts, curbs, pedestrians etc.) that need to be negotiated. I had never done any real city riding and found this to be one of my highlights of my trip; I am a recreational (not very good really) mountain biker in my late 40’s.

If you want the thrill of riding in a much less dangerous situation you can take a train to Nara (rentals can be found at the train station) and ride there, much less traffic, a wonderful park and charming side streets for riding.

Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
1,823 posts
7 reviews
3. Re: Kyoto - Bike Hire

Kyoto Cycling Tour Project company has good information about

1) Advice about Kyoto Cycling -- How to get around Kyoto


2) Bike Rental


3) Bike Tour


Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara
Level Contributor
9,235 posts
4. Re: Kyoto - Bike Hire

Biking around sounds nice, but the problem is, in case you go in different places of interest, perhaps you'll have trouble locating a proper place to park. Yes, there's parkings for 4-wheeled vehicles in many places. Umm, in some less frequently visited venues, maybe they won't blame you for parking (illegally) even right outside the gate to their free temple/shrine, but when it comes to doing the same thing at around well-known ones monks/priests/security guards will perhaps come around to press you to leave together with your bike... Sorry for the downer.

Edited: 26 October 2010, 05:56
Kyoto, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kobe, Kyoto
Level Contributor
5,782 posts
162 reviews
5. Re: Kyoto - Bike Hire

I'm kind of 50-50 with the biking option. It depends on where you are going and on what day you are going to be using bikes. If you are there on a busy Sunday or holiday then you will have a hard time getting thru the crowds of people. I think it can be pretty dangerous in some areas of the city so just be careful if you decide to do it. I got hit by a taxi on my mountain bike over 3 years ago and that was after many close calls so after I sprained my wrist, I knew I had been lucky up to that point and I sold my bike. It can be fun on the quiet side streets but if you are going to the main attractions it could be a little challenging. Sorry if this sounds scary but I wanted to give you an idea of the daily reality here.

6. Re: Kyoto - Bike Hire

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