Bicycle rental for sightseeing in Kyoto

京都サイクリングツアープロジェクト KCTPKyoto Cycling Tour Project

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Exploring Kyoto by bicycle

Read on for our Kyoto cycling and parking advice, recommended routes, and tips for visiting some of our favorite Kyoto areas.
See the handy distance table and start planning your trip!

Kyoto bicycle parking lots

There are many bicycle parking lots in Kyoto, and almost all temples and shrines have bike parking or are close to a parking area. If you can’t find it, it’s best to check with the facility to avoid parking illegally.

Bicycle parking top tips

Pick up the handy 1-day bicycle parking pass
Buy a 1-day bike parking pass for 200 yen and you can park your bike in any of the following areas on the day it’s issued. Passes can be purchased at areas 1 to 6. See the link above for info and a map.

  1. Kiyomizuzaka Tourist Parking Lot (Kiyomizuzaka)
  2. Arashiyama Tourist Parking (Arashiyama)
  3. Ginkakuji Tourist Parking Lot (Ginkakuji)
  4. Takao Tourist Parking Lot (Takao) *Bicycle parking tickets are only sold in November
  5. Okazaki Park Parking (Okazakikoen)
  6. Nijo Castle Parking Lot (MotoRikyuNijojo)
  7. Misayama Parking Lot (Misayama)
  8. TominokojiRokkaku Parking Lot (Tominokojirokkaku)
  9. Pontocho Parking Lot (Pontocho)

Try the bicycle parking search

Kyoto City’s parking lot search conveniently shows both public and private parking lots.

Carry the original Kyoto Cycling Map

This map shows recommended tourist spots, suggested routes, plus gives information on parking areas, public conveniences, and even public baths.
Pick it up for 100 yen at either our Kyoto Station Cycle Terminal or Kyoto Station Hachijo Gate Cycle Terminal.

Kiyomizu Temple

In the Kiyomizu Temple (Kiyomizu-dera) area you can feel the rich atmosphere of old Kyoto. This is also one of Kyoto’s most popular attractions, so it’s busy throughout the year. There are many steep slopes and stairways leading to the temple. The best way to approach the area is to park your bicycle at the Kiyomizuzaka sightseeing parking area and continue on foot.

It’s 3.3km (about 20 min) from Kyoto Station to the Kiyomizuzaka parking area.

Bicycle parking information

Kiyomizuzaka sightseeing parking lot
200 yen per day

From Kinkakuji to Arashiyama: Cycling the historic Kinukake Road

Many people visit both Kinkakuji (Golden Temple) and Ryoanji in northwestern Kyoto and then return to the city center. They are missing out! The road between Kinkakuji and Ryoanji leads to the temples Rengeji and Ninnaji, the pleasant Hirosawa Pond, and then continues on to beautiful Arashiyama (famous for the Arashiyama bamboo forest). This is the historic route called Kinukake Road and is a great route to follow to explore Kyoto.

At Hirosawa Pond, note that the road is sometimes quite narrow and the traffic can be heavy. Please take care cycling along here.

Bicycle parking information

Kinkakuji Temple
Parking located on the north side of the intersection in front of the temple entrance (free)
Ryoanji Temple
Available on site (free)
Ninnaji Temple
Located next to Niomon Gate (free)
Hirosawa Pond
Bicycle parking is possible near the pond (free)
Arashiyama sightseeing parking lot (200 yen per day)

Saga Arashiyama

Saga Arashiyama is one of the three most popular tourist spots in Kyoto, and is home to the famous bamboo forest. During the cherry blossom and autumn leaves seasons the area is overflowing with people. But visit in the quieter months during summer and winter and you’ll find it much more peaceful – perfect for enjoying the special atmosphere of this area.

Saga Arashiyama has a long history as a preferred resort for the aristocracy. When you experience the nature and stillness of the area, you can start to understand why. It is a outside the center of Kyoto, but can easily be accessed by bicycle – and the scenery along the way is beautiful too!

Bicycle parking information

Arashiyama sightseeing parking lot (200 yen per day)
Tenryuji Temple
Available on site (free)

Cycling to Arashiyama from Kyoto Station Cycle Terminal: 3 recommended routes

  1. Kizu Arashiyama Cycling Road route: 12km (about 50 minutes)
    Safe and comfortable, this is the best route for cycling through nature.
  2. Marutamachidori route: 12km (about 60 minutes)
    On this route you can stop at Myoshinji Temple and Hokongoji Temple. It follows main roads so you’re less likely to lose your way.
  3. Sanjo-dori route: 10km (about 50 minutes)
    The unique route lets you cycle alongside the ‘Chin Chin Densha’ line – the Keifuku tram line. You can stop at Konoshima Shrine, Koryuji Temple, Kyoto Studio Park, Kurumazaki Shrine, Rokuo-in Temple and other spots. Note though the road is narrow and there is a lot of traffic.

The Keifuku tram line

You can take the Keifuku tram from Hakubaicho to Arashiyama. This tram, known as the ‘Chin Chin Densha’ passes through some beautiful scenery. Although the views from the tram are good, it is also worth trying this route by bicycle. There’s lots to discover along the way!

Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden: the Central Park of Kyoto

The grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace are open to visitors, and a highlight of the palace is the large surrounding Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden (Kyoto Gyoen), which can be explored any time of day or night.

Kyoto’s spacious ‘Central Park’ changes with the seasons, allowing garden-lovers to enjoy the different blooms throughout the year. The park is good for cycling in the morning, for taking a relaxing lunch break, or for an atmospheric cycle in the evening.

Bicycle parking information

There are no particular restrictions on bicycle parking in the gardens, but for security reasons, please don’t park your bike alongside any structures in the grounds. Also, please don’t park your bike for a long period.

The Kamogawa Promenade: Cycling between north and south Kyoto

The footpath along the Kamo River (Kamogawa) is the best cycling route between north and south Kyoto. This is a wonderful footpath not just for walking. There are some locations where you may need to carry your bicycle down some stairs, but there are no stop signs, and you can really enjoy a comfortable and bracing ride.

However, please pay attention to your speed so as not to bother pedestrians by going too fast.

Bicycle parking information

There is no specific parking area for bicycles, but when parking a bicycle, please treat it as a temporary bicycle parking area so as not to disturb pedestrians and other cyclists. Also, please refrain from parking for a long period.

Find peace in Rakuhoku

The green and scenic Rakuhoku area is often overlooked by tourists who flock to the bigger-name sights, which means it’s a great place to enjoy a quieter Kyoto. See Kamigamo Shrine, Ota Shrine, Entsuji Temple, and Jisso-in Temple in this off-the-beaten-track area.

Bicycle parking information

Kamigamo Shrine
Available on the grounds (free)
Ota Shrine
Entsuji Temple
Bicycles can be parked in the parking lot (free)
Jisso-in Temple
Bicycle parking is available near the parking area (free)

The village of Ohara

The peaceful village of Ohara is in the mountains in northern Kyoto, about 20km from the city center. It’s well worth a visit for the rural scenery, Sanzen-in Temple, and the surrounding shops and teahouses. This highly recommended area can also be accessed by bicycle. There are uphill roads on the way out – no problem with an electric-assist bike!

Bicycle parking information

Sanzen-in Temple

Kurama and Kifune

Tucked away in the mountains in Kyoto’s north, Kurama and Kifune are great for getting close to nature and are popular hiking areas. The area is about 16km from Kyoto Station, with uphill climbs giving strong cyclists a good workout – perfect for mountain or electric-assist bicycles.
A less strenuous way to get to Kurama and Kifune is to park your bike in the parking are next to Demachiyanagi Station (150 yen) and take the Eizan train to Kurama (400 yen one way). It takes about 30 minutes to get there.

Bicycle parking information


Cycling in the Kitayama Japanese cedar (cryptomeria)

Sightseeing in Kyoto is not only about going to tourist attractions. Kyoto is surrounded by mountains and we recommend heading out into the nature-filled outskirts of the city.

Cycle along the upper stream of the Kamogawa (Kamo River), cross the Mochikoshi pass and you can breeze along surrounded by Japanese cedar trees (cryptomeria). You’ll also find a spring and a traditional teahouse on your journey. This is a great way to experience a different aspect of Kyoto and a refreshing change to all that temple-hopping!

Kyoto sights distances and cycling times

Distance (km) / Time (minutes)

JR Kyoto Station Kiyomizu Temple Kinkakuji Temple Ginkakuji Temple Nijo Castle Arashiyama Fushimi Inari Shrine Ohara
JR Kyoto Station 3.0 8.5 8.0 4.0 11.0 3.5 20.0
15 45 40 20 55 18 100
Kiyomizu Temple 3.0 9.0 5.5 5.0 11.5 4.0 18.0
15 45 30 25 60 20 90
Kinkakuji Temple 8.5 9.0 8.0 5.0 7.0 12.0 16.5
45 45 40 25 35 60 85
Ginkakuji Temple 8.0 5.5 8.0 4.5 11.0 9.0 13.0
40 30 40 25 60 45 65
Nijo Castle 4.0 5.0 5.0 4.5 7.5 7.0 17.5
20 25 25 25 40 35 90
Arashiyama 11.0 11.5 7.0 11.0 7.5 14.0 25.5
55 60 35 60 40 70 130
Fushimi Inari Shrine 3.5 4.0 12.0 9.0 7.0 14.0 22.0
18 20 60 45 35 70 110
Ohara 20.0 18.0 16.5 13.0 17.5 25.5 22.0
100 90 85 65 90 130 110