Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kyoto by bike

Kyoto cycling

The last post about the Shimanami Kaido was written with info and images I'd gathered online, but I remembered that earlier this year before we begun this blog, we took a trip to Kyoto and rode around on rental bikes quite a bit. We did write about our trip on our Japanese blog fairly extensively, but I thought maybe we should share that experience here as well.

Kyoto
as you may or may not know is the old capitol of Japan where the emperor had resided for most of Japan's history, so it is old and has a lot historical architecture and old culture. I had visited there briefly during elementary school, but I think I was way too young to really appreciate all that Kyoto had to offer back then. So, it was really cool to spend one full week there as an adult and explore the city.

We explored Kyoto with various modes of transportation including the train, bus, bicycle and by foot and the bicycle was by far the most efficient and pleasant way to see Kyoto.

Kyoto cycling

We rented our bikes from Kyoto Cycling Tour Project. Their bikes are their original brand called "Gin Rin" (Silver Wheels) and I found them to be pretty nice, definitely far better than your average rental bike. It has a very solid frame and comes with nice fat tires, front basket and 3 speeds which suffices for most city riding.

Kamogawa

Kyoto is very bike friendly and is easy to ride on most streets and you can get to most destinations from the center of the city within 30 minutes or so. It was pretty cold as it was January when we were there, but I found it much nicer to travel by bike rather than taking the train or the bus which are disorientating.

Kamogawa

The Kamogawa (or Kamo River) runs through the city from North to South and it's a very scenic place to ride your bike. We rode on it quite often on our way to various sights we were going and it has a nice relaxing atmosphere to it.

和久傳

I'm not sure what more to say about without going into specific routes we took which would be very complicated, but if you are planning on visiting Kyoto which I recommend at least once in your life, renting bikes to see the sights will add so much to your experience.

Here's my Flickr set of our Kyoto trip. (including non-bicycle related pictures)

8 comments:

  1. Fantastic pictures of you two! Looks like a beautiful city. I agree that those rental bikes look much nicer than usual.

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  2. Thanks! We're not so photogenic, but we took more pictures than usual as we were on a vacation, so some have turned out OK. Those bikes had disc brakes and lights that came on automatically. Couldn't ask much more of a rental bike.

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  3. Wow -- dyno lights on a rental? That's nice. Will have to remember Kyoto's the place for biking if I ever get to Japan. :)

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  4. Yes, I definitely recommend it! Kyoto is really like a treasure chest of traditional Japanese culture too.

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  5. That rental bicycle is a really nice shade of blue; perfect old-style cerulean. Wonderful photo crossing the water!

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  6. Kyoto people are very culturally sophisticated, so I'm sure when they designed the bikes, they were very careful in choosing their colors.

    Those stones in the river were a nice touch. It was fun walking across the river on them. Did you notice some of them are turtles?

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