Kyoto, where the major tourist spots are spread within a 10km range, is perfect for sightseeing on a bicycle. Feeling the air of the town on your skin while going through back alleys is the kind of sightseeing that can be enjoyed with the help of a bicycle that can turn in a small radius. Here are some rent-a-cycle shops in Kyoto.
1. Kyoto Eco Trip (Kyoto Station)
Located in a prime spot that is just a minute away from the Hachijo Exit of JR Kyoto Station by foot, Kyoto Eco Trip is a shop that is dedicated to bicycle rental. They have a free service that will allow you to store your belongings, so you can start your Kyoto journey right away. You can also have the bicycle delivered to your hotel for a fee, making it all the more convenient when renting a bike for at least two days. Don't forget to use the original map they give out for free when you rent a bike because it contains a lot of detailed information that was carefully compiled by its staff, including a model course of bicycle tours, the time needed to get to each tourist spot, and the location of toilets and parking areas. Bicycle rental fees here vary depending on whether or not you will get a bike with gearshifts and electric assist system, but they range from 800 JPY to 2,000 JPY per day (9:00 am - 6:00 pm (with an option to rent beyond such period)). They also have bicycles (with free helmets) with child seats and bicycles for kids. We recommend making a reservation if you plan to use the bicycle on consecutive holidays and Saturdays because this shop could get packed.
*The picture is for illustration purposes.
2. Hankyu Rent-A-Cycle Arashiyama (Arashiyama)
Hankyu Rent-A-Cycle Arashiyama is located right in front of Hankyu Arashiyama Station, just 40 seconds away from the ticket gate. Sightseeing by bike is very efficient since the tourist spots in the area, centering on the Hankyu Arashiyama Station, can be reached in 25 minutes for those on the north and in 15 minutes for those on the south. Arashiyama is also home to many scenic spots that could be enjoyed more if you just walk, including the Togetsu-kyo Bridge and the Bamboo Forest, so try to use your bike efficiently.
Bicycle rental at this shop costs 900 JPY per day. On weekdays, they offer special prices of 500 JPY for two hours and 700 JPY for four hours, except in November. Their rates are higher in November only as it is their peak season when throngs of tourists come for the autumn foliage. Wear another layer of clothing when you go to Arashiyama in autumn because the temperature there is 1-2 degrees lower than the temperature in the city. Arashiyama transforms into a magnificent landscape every season. So, how about going around by bicycle rather than by bus or car that could get crowded?
*The picture is of the autumn foliage at Togetsukyo.
3. Rent-A-Cycle EMUSICA (Demachiyanagi)
EMUSICA is located in front of the Demachiyanagi Station of the Keihan Electric Railway and Eizan Electric Railway, a little to the north of the city Kyoto. They do not take reservations, but if you are renting a bicycle for more than four days, it would be more economical to utilize their Mochippanashi (Unlimited Ride) promo of 2,000 JPY for one week. Even its daily rate is reasonable at 500 JPY. You would need to make a deposit of 2,000 JPY, though, which they will keep until you return the bike you rented. The shop is also conveniently located as it is within 30 minutes of the iconic sightseeing spots within Kyoto. Just nearby are tourist spots where you will strongly feel the colors of Kyoto such as Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine that is famous for the Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival), one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, and the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It would be more efficient to go around by bicycle rather than ride buses and trains. We definitely recommend this shop to those who plan to stay long and travel all over Kyoto on a bicycle.
*The picture is of Kinkakuji.
4. J-Cycle (Shijo)
Situated near Shijo Karasuma at the heart of Kyoto, J-Cycle is the perfect starting point to your sightseeing tour of Kyoto. Going around by bicycle is far more convenient than riding a crowded bus or car. Kyoto is built on a grid, so even if you get lost, you will immediately be able to figure out where you are. And since you're there already, why not try to go through the back alleys where you can feel the atmosphere that is distinctive of Kyoto? You might end up at unexpected cafes and shops. Bike rental at this shop is from 800 JPY to 1,700 JPY per day, with the shop offering standard type bicycles to electric assist bicycles. The roads of Kyoto are relatively flat, so a standard bicycle would do just fine. If you want to rent a bicycle for two or more consecutive days, you can only do it if your hotel has a parking space for bicycles or if there is a pay parking nearby. You can make a reservation through the reservation form up to two days before your arrival. Oh, they will also give you a raincoat for free if it's raining. Won't that make you happy?
*The picture is for illustration purposes.
5. Hayashida Jitensha Shokai (Uji)
Located about 200m from the JR Uji Station, this shop is a precious spot in Uji, a town with only a few rent-a-cycle shops. With just 15 bicycles available, this shop may be quite small compared to the other shops we have introduced thus far, but they accept reservations. You have to pay 1,000 JPY per bike when you rent a bicycle, but you'll get back 500 JPY when you return it. Among the must-see tourist spots in Uji are the Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site that is on the 10-yen coin, and the area around Byodo-in Omotesando, which is lined with old stores selling Uji tea. That road leads to the temple and can be sufficiently explored by walking. What we hope you'd try is to go around by bicycle from there. You can feel the relaxed atmosphere of Uji in your whole body by cycling along the Uji River and then passing through the Ajirogi-no-michi or by crossing the Uji River and then passing through the Sawarabi-no-michi to feel the tranquility of the World Heritage Site Ujigami Shrine. When you go back to the area near Uji Station, we recommend resting your tired body at the Uji matcha sweets shop Nakamura Tokichi Honten.
*The picture is of Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple
Bonus: Delivery Rent-A-Cycle Kyoto Chirin-Chirin
Kyoto Chirin-Chirin is a rent-a-cycle shop that delivers to your hotel. There is no staff at its shop all the time, so you need to make an appointment if you are dropping by. You can reserve a bike through their reservation form (available in English) at least three days ahead of actual use. After that period, you can reserve a bicycle by phone. This shop has a wide array of bicycles that you can rent, from standard bikes to electric assist bicycles and mountain bikes, with the rental fee ranging from 1,000 JPY to 2,000 JPY per day. You will have to pay a separate fee of 300 JPY per bike for the delivery and retrieval of the bicycle to and from your hotel. However, if you pay a drop-off charge of 200 JPY for each bike, you can leave your bike at any of the 40 designated places within the city, including Kyoto Station and other major train stations. When you make a reservation, they will deliver the bike to you at your desired time, so even if you are nowhere near a rent-a-cycle shop, you can start your journey according to you and your group's schedule. Isn't that convenient?
*The charges vary depending on the place of delivery and return, so please confirm their rates through their website or by phone.
*The picture shows Kawabata Oike by the Kamo River.
When sightseeing, make sure to lock your bicycle at the parking area (you will inconvenience others if you park in a no-parking area, and your bike will be taken away by the city government and you will be charged a penalty for its return). So, enjoy the view on a bike while following the traffic rules.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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