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Real Kyoto on Bike: Cycle Along the Ancient Canals

Badge of ExcellenceKyoto, Japan
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From $53.29

Price varies by group size

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 3 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English
  • Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

Pedal through the historic streets of Kyoto as you visit its magnificent temples and shrines by bike during this small-group tour limited to 9 participants. Take a spin down the Path of Philosophy on this Kyoto tour that gives you an overview of the city while using a mode of transport preferred by locals: the humble bicycle. See shrines, temples and mountains — this is an enlightening escape from the city.
  • Explore scenic Kyoto like a local on this small-group biking tour
  • Travel light—bike and helmet are provided
  • Maximum of 9 participants ensures a more personalized experience
  • Receive illuminating commentary from your guide

What's Included

  • Join the Local English-speaking guide
  • Cycle along the ancient canals of Kyoto(bike and helmet rental includede)
  • Learn about the city’s history at Heian-Jingu Shrine
  • Stroll through the expansive grounds at Nanzenji Temple
  • Cycle under the shade of hundreds of cherry trees
  • Get tips on what else to see, do and eat during your stay
  • Gratuities
  • Food and drinks, unless specified

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Kyoto Eki mae
    Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8216, Japan

    In front of Kyoto Tourist Information Center on 2nd floor of Kyoto Station next to Isetan Department Store. In Japanese: “Kyoto-kan-koo-annai-jo”. Address: 600-8216 2nd Floor Kyoto Station, Karasuma, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City , Kyoto Prefecture Find the exact meeting point with what3words: ///cascade.paving.romance

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Wind your way through the charming side streets and elegant temples of ancient Kyoto by bicycle, allowing an unexpected way to explore this famous Japanese city. Your small-group bike tour is the perfect chance to experience the daily rhythms and important attractions of one of the world’s most picturesque urban areas.

Start your bike excursion in the morning from Kyoto Station, where you’ll meet your guide and proceed to get your bike, helmet and brief safety instructions. Pedal off into the city by heading for the Kamo River, a route that affords excellent views of downtown, along with a collection of traditional restaurants that line the river banks.

Head next to Heian-Jingu Shrine, an important religious center known for its visually-striking red torii (sacred gate), where you’ll also have the chance to admire reconstructions of structures from Kyoto’s old palace complex.

Continue your cycle trip by riding along a network of charming canals, eventually reaching Nanzenji Temple, which embodies many of the typical stylistic details of classic Zen Buddhist religious structure. Take a few moments to explore the site’s collection of eye-catching small temples before proceeding on to the famous Path of Philosophy.

Arrive at the Path of Philosophy, a beautiful thoroughfare lined on both sides by hundreds of cherry trees. This iconic path was named by Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro, who used the walkway to practice meditation during his commute to nearby Kyoto University. After visiting the Path of Philosophy, return by bicycle to Kyoto Station where you ride concludes.

Please note that this tour covers about 9 miles (15 kilometers) by bicycle, and can be quite strenuous for travelers who are not used to cycling. This tour is recommended for guests who have at least a medium level of fitness ability.

Kamo River

The main river in Kyoto city and popular for walking and cycling among locals and tourists. The famous Japanese performing art Kabuki was born on makeshift stages on its dry riverbed some 400 years ago. We will cycle alongside the river enjoying the fresh breeze

20 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Heian Jingu Shrine Shinen Garden

One of the most important places for locals as it was built to commemorate the commencement of imperial reign in Kyoto. Beautiful Cherry blossoms in spring. You will learn about Shintoism and its relationship with Japanese culture here.

30 minutesAdmission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 12 years
  • Please note that this tour covers about 15 kilometres by bicycle, and can be quite strenuous for travellers who are not used to cycling. We recommend this tour for guests who have at least a medium level of fitness ability.
  • Small group tour, maximum group size is 8.
  • While we strongly recommend that all travellers are vaccinated against COVID-19 to reduce the risk of transmission and avoid putting undue strain on healthcare services, vaccinations are not a requirement to join an Intrepid Urban Adventures tour.
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

about cancellations.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


The tour does involve some uphill biking so you will definitely feel it in your legs if you are out of practice.
Reviews
4.5
266 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 266 reviews
small group, but guide was zipping ahead constantly
argonaut9, Nov 2019
Good view around parts of Kyoto we would not otherwise have visited (or spent a lot of time finding!) but our guide, Miyaki, was really powering around much too fast for us to appreciate the scenery, and I'm an in-shape 30 something who runs marathons. He would get so far ahead that the circumstances would change (by which I mean, the traffic light, or a line of schoolchildren would appear) and our group would have to navigate this by ourself. On one occasion we even lost him because he was so far ahead! So that was sort of persistently annoying. Otherwise it was a nice trip, just would have enjoyed it more with a different guide.
Lovely guide
bettybud0ck, Oct 2019
It was a lovely tour which took us around the quiet streets of Kyoto to visit temples and shrines. The bikes were well maintained. The route was very flat so easy cycling
Fantastic
Stephen_H, Aug 2019
We were taken to so many spots I just wouldn't have gone without this tour Guide was very knowledgeable and even followed up the tour with an email confirming everywhere we visited! Would recommend to anyone who visits Kyoto
Binking in Kyoto
Irene_G, Aug 2019
Interesting tour of a part of Kyoto. Good guide. Old bikes not very adaptable to the size of each person.
A lovely evening
Jacinta_M, Jul 2019
Delightful evening tour, felt more like a local than a tourist walking through the cobbled streets of Kyoto - truly lovely guide Zen Horiuchi, his knowledge of Kyoto was weighted with great enthusiasm. He was incredibly generous with his time.
Best way to see Kyoto!
Voyager54845345760, Jun 2019
This was the best way to get an overview of Kyoto. It was nice to have an active tour that did not involve busses and walking. We rode our bikes across town and back along the river and to several shrines and temples. Our guide provided some background on the differences between Shinto and Buddhist practices which was helpful as we continued touring. The tour does involve some uphill biking so you will definitely feel it in your legs if you are out of practice. Overall not too difficult though.
Great Tour!
Rick S, Jun 2019
I love exploring new areas by bicycle, so this tour was the first thing I booked in Kyoto. It didn't disappoint! The tour guide, Leah, was excellent with her knowledge of the sights, the culture, and her willingness to share her views of life in Japan. Her English was also excellent. The tour covered ~20 km, and had great variety of sights, both natural, and historic. Highly recommended!
Fun tour!
Scenic09144132835, Jun 2019
Despite the rain (they provided ponchos) it was still a fun and interesting tour and we got a good look around Kyoto
Didn't show up
Celina_R, May 2019
This group didn't show up. I was at the meeting point 20 minutes early. Never received a call or heard from them.
Great guide, interesting sights, friendly group and lots of fun
Ann_S, Oct 2018
Our guide Ryo was wonderful! Friendly, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and had lots to tell us about the history, customs and local life of what we saw as well as stories from her own family life. We learnt a lot, had fun and enjoyed getting off our feet and being on a bike. This group size worked well too Highly recommend this trip!
Getting to know Kyoto while doing your daily fitness work
carlos_h, Oct 2018
this is a unique and creative way of touring places. great for me! my compliments and profuse thanks to Kohei for giving a a great enlightening experience. perhaps, though, we can still improve it further by providing the customers a short written summary of the places we will be touring. and passing through. perhaps even a map of the route to make it easier to understand. but by and large, a wonderful experience for me and my wife. will do it again in a heartbeat.
Just returned home from my amazing trip...
Stephanie L, Oct 2018
Just returned home from my amazing trip to Japan and had a wonderful time with Yuta our guide on this bike trip. I hadn't ridden a bike for many years and had no trouble keeping up, except I had to keep stopping to take so many photos of the beautiful scenery. Thank you Yuta for a wonderful tour and your great company! Excellent guide and lots of fun touring this way! Cheers, Stephanie from Australia
Entertaining and educational
David S, Jun 2018
Excellent tour with plenty of information, opportunities for photos and beautiful scenery. The ride is easy and not at all strenuous.. our guide Juan was well informed and knowledgeable and very easy going
It was probably one of the more...
MayCooc_T, Jun 2018
It was probably one of the more enjoyable activity that we booked during our Japan vacation. I would recommend it to everyone. The ride takes you throughout Kyoto and away from the main street. We felt safe and protected from the main traffic most of the time. Our guide was fantastic Rika?. She provided us with a lot of Kyoto history. The only feedback is that, I wished we had more time at one of the temple we visited.
Absolutely fantastic bike tour. Our...
Debra S, Apr 2018
Absolutely fantastic bike tour. Our guide was amazing and the scenery was beautiful.
We are a family of 5 with 3 boys...
Rachel S, Apr 2018
We are a family of 5 with 3 boys ages 12, 14 and 16. After a week of sight-seeing on foot it was a pleasure to get on bikes and this was a really lovely way to see bits of Kyoto I'm sure we wouldn't otherwise have seen. Our guide was absolutely delightful - knowledgable, friendly and spoke excellent English. The instructions on where to meet were clear and the meeting spot was easy to find. We were out for 3 1/2 hours, stopping now and then to look at temple/shrines/lovely views. There were three other people on the tour with us all of whom were fun and good company so all in all we had a wonderful morning. Thoroughly recommend.
9 years ago I thought I'd be ok...
Steph_W, Apr 2018
9 years ago I thought I'd be ok hiring a bike and seeing Kyoto with my travel buddy - we were delusional. Instead we spent most of our time stopped, looking at a map and stressing out where to go. This time I did it right, in a group with a tour guide who gave just insightful knowledge about the places we visited and extra bonus info. I did not have to worry about lefts or rights, back streets and cycleways were taken so as to avoid car traffic. I smiled the entire time and loved my morning exploring Kyoto by bike. Next visit I will do a whole day.
I would have given this 5 stars if...
Tanya_D, Apr 2018
I would have given this 5 stars if we were taken into the gardens of the first shrine. I went in rather than follow the guide and it was really worth the extra time and money, I would have been gutted to miss what I thought were the loveliest gardens I saw in Japan. This should be included and the tour extended. Otherwise highly recommend this for a lovely day out
Awesome tour and guide who was very...
Paul M, Apr 2018
Awesome tour and guide who was very passionate about Kyoto, Japan and even had lunch with us afterward as my wife was in search of good Vegan food. He took us to a good ramen place with good Vegan options :
Loved it. It is an amazing way to...
Eduardo_S, Mar 2018
Loved it. It is an amazing way to see the best of Kyoto and find spots that otherwise one would have not gone to. I recommend taking this tour early in your trip to Kyoto in case you want to go back to any of the places you discover during the tour.
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Product code: 5263JPUA