Kyoto is one of the most interesting places to visit in Japan – no wonder given that it had been the capital of Land of the Rising Sun for well over 1000 years and still remains one of the most important to this very day.
There are many things to see and explore in Kyoto, and also many different ways to go about doing so. The city and prefecture offers much of the outdoor variety to its visitors, from the lively night market to the impressive Imperial Palace and scattered temples across the city and countryside.
One of the most dynamic ways of exploring Kyoto’s wonders is to rent and ride a bicycle. This is especially appealing to those wishing to save on transportation cost, which might be especially useful for backpackers on a budget who don’t want to compromise their experience of Japan due to the lack of transportation means. It’s also ideal for those with a liking for the outdoors and can be more convenient than renting a car or using public transportation for almost all year around – and for those who don’t mind the coldest months of the year, even all year around.
Cycling in Kyoto is truly a pleasure. Most of the city is evenly flat and like most other cities in Japan, is home to very well maintained roads and strictly enforced traffic rules and regulations that make the entire affair a lot safer than it might be in other southeast Asian nations. For those not quite as comfortable on a bike as others, or perhaps those riding with children, biking is still an option since it is legal, and commonly accepted, for bikers to ride on the pedestrian sidewalks. It is recommended that one rents a bike with a bell in order to warn those walking of one’s approach, though.
Even as a tourist, it is very easy to come by a renting station for bikes. Some even offer guide maps indicating the best spots to ride a bike to, while others offer guided tours that will take the visitors around the city with a guide providing insight into the local Japanese life in Kyoto and could be seen as a more fun and interactive version of a tourist city-tour bus.
There are specific zones designated for parking one’s bike, especially around the frequently visited tourist hotspots such as temples or other sights. They are generally safe and very much convenient and make exploring Kyoto on a bike a breeze.
First image by kyoto.travel
Second image by kyotoguide.com