Kyoto Cycle Tour

Since Kyoto is a relatively small town with so much to see, and I didn’t have a lot of time, I opted for a full-day cycle tour so I could see the highlights while still getting exercise and enjoying the nice weather. It ended up being such a great day with a really fun group!

We met in the morning at Cycle Kyoto, picked out our bikes, and headed out with Jay, an interesting guy from New York who has lived in the city for the past 11 years. He works at the University, plays music, and is an artist. He knew a lot of history and was also able to teach us about the culture and answer any questions that came up throughout the day. As much as I love having local guides, it was also nice to be able to chat with someone who is familiar with the American culture and understands the differences.

Ready to hit the road! Represented by US, UK, France (living in Switzerland),
and Ireland (living in UAE)

We headed out down the alley and through the streets where until we reached Nishi Hongwangi, one of the least visited Buddhist temples in the city, and one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. When we arrived, there was a large celebration going on and the halls were full of followers as drums were played and everyone chanted. Just seeing the amazing architecture was a treat, and learning about how the huge timbers were transported to the site wrapped in human hair as protection was interesting!

Nearby, we made a stop at one of Kyoto’s world heritage sites, To-ji Temple. Its five story pagoda is the tallest wooden tower in Japan, standing 54.8 meters (180 feet) high. Unfortunately we did not get to go in, but it was still gorgeous from a distance with the cherry blossoms!

Cycling on, we stopped at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine where we rubbed our hurting body parts, and then the same body part on the bull to heal. I’m not sure it worked, but it was worth a try!

Next stop, Kinkakuji Temple, one of the most visited temples in Japan, with its famous Golden Pavilion. It was a definitely a highlight!

After the excitement from the Golden Pavilion, we were all a bit hungry, so we stopped for a nice lunch at a cute restaurant near Gion, the famous Geisha (or more properly Geiko) district in Kyoto. Jay explained, Geiko is preferred as “sha” means worker in Japanese, so this can be considered negative. It is a really beautiful area with many old tea houses, although many have now become bars, restaurants, and shops. We did not see any actual Geiko girls, but did catch someone dressed up for an event.

After leaving Gion, we made a quick stop to see Tofuku-ji Temple, one of the oldest and largest Zen temples in the country. It is know for its beauty in the fall when the leaves are changing.

Then, a quick pit stop to see some beautiful cherry blossoms before our last stop, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, with its 12,000 Torii gates. Dedicated to Inari, the deity of a good harvest and success in business, Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head of all of Japan’s Inari shrines. Each gate is sponsored by a business, hoping to bring success to its company. Of course, the more you spend, the bigger your Torii gate!

At the end of the tour, we dropped the bikes off and a few of us met for a beer to celebrate the day! We were so lucky with the beautiful sunny weather!

See you again soon!

Hugs, Michelle

11 Replies to “Kyoto Cycle Tour”

  1. How beautiful your pictures are! You look so happy and healthy. I love reading about your travels and all the amazing sights you are experiencing! Everything looks wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the informative story about the bike ride, miss riding a bike here! Beautiful crisp and fresh air pops out from the stunning pictures

    Liked by 1 person

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