Kyoto is the spiritual, artistic, and cultural center of Japan. It is also the home to a thriving tourist industry, attracting nearly five million visitors in 2009. It is the city that all visitors to Japan go to. Its 17 World Heritage Sites are spread throughout the city, easily accessible.
The city was laid out in checkerboard fashion, some 1200 years ago, following the example of the ancient Chinese imperial capital Xian. With mountains on three sides of the city, the inhabited areas of Kyoto tend to be flat but sloping slightly as you travel north – all of which means it is a wonderful city to cycle in.
From Cycle Kyoto
I suppose I’m shooting myself in the foot a bit by sending you all over to the competition, but I really do feel impelled to recommend Sanborn Brown’s very excellent website Cycle Kyoto. Here you will find everything you need to know about cycling in the ancient city with information on where to rent a bicycle and suggested itineraries for cycle routes. Even if cycling is not your thing, there is also a wealth of information on hiking routes, temples, shrines, cafes and museums. Sanborn has obviously put a lot of work into his website and it shows. His alternative cycle tours especially look fascinating. Check out his Literary Kyoto, Creepy Kyoto and City of Tea cycling routes. And for those overwhelmed by the huge number of shrines and temples in Kyoto, Cycle Kyoto offers an inspired solution: 88 temples in a half hour hike! I’m very impressed by this website. Highly recommended!
Images used courtesy of Sanborn Brown.