Kyoto, in summer, is famed for its stifling humidity, but now as we head towards autumn and the weather cools it is a good time to visit the Imperial City and see some of the many sights – seventeen of which being UNESCO World Heritage Sites – for which it is celebrated.
While the city has well organised public transport systems including low cost day trip bus passes that are perfect for visitors wanting to get around, at this time of year busses and trains can be extremely busy as every man and his dog flocks the to one time capital. If you want to avoid the crush and but see everything this beautiful city has to offer, a great idea is to join a bicycle tour.
On the back of their success with Cycle Osaka, Cycle Kyoto have branched out to bring their experience of running small group cycle tours to Kyoto. Whilst understanding that hitting the big name sites is important, they also believe that it is the city – the narrow streets, the food vendors, the riverside paths – that take a great day trip and turn it into something fantastic. And when you are finished you can refresh with a shower and a cold beer at their beautiful old house just one minute from the station.
Kyoto Cycling Tour Project have various tours which take in different parts of the city. If there is a particular site you want to hit, they can take you there, or if you just want to meander the back streets, that is available too. There are five courses to choose from, or they can make a custom tour to match your requirements. Apart from the full Kyoto package, tours tend to be on the short side – up to 3.5 hours – meaning that tourists of all fitness levels can take part.
With operations in 124 cities across 84 countries Urban Adventures claim to offer an experience for those who want to get off the beaten path and really connect with a destination, taking travellers to interesting places to meet locals, and to really see what makes a place tick. Their 3.5 hour Kyoto tour takes in shrines, canals, the Path of Philosophy and educates on the history of the city.
As one of Japan’s largest travel companies, JTB’s 15km Real Kyoto Back Street Guided Cycling Tour should be pretty efficient and well run. Each booking is limited to a minimum of two people, and takes in many shrines as well as a run along the Shirakawa river that bisects the city. Perhaps its greatest selling point is that it includes a visit to the Miyagawacho Geisha Quarters.