CycleKyoto HP LInk

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bike Helmet in Kyoto

bike helmet in Kyoto自転車ヘルメット京都

Bike helmets are now mandatory for children 12 and under in Kyoto, and compliance seems to be pretty high.

Compared to just a few years ago, helmets can be sseen everywhere - on children.

Mothers (and Dads) are still steaming along bareheaded while behind them Junior is strapped in and sporting some pretty amazing headgear.

Read more about Safety.


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kiyomizu Temple by Bicycle

Kiyomizu dera Temple自転車で清水寺へ

Kiyomizu Temple is among the top sites to see in Kyoto. It is a World Heritage site that was founded in 798 C.E.

The hugely popular Kiyomizu Temple (Kiyomizu-dera, in Japanese) is a dramatic complex whose main hall is built out onto pillars. The effect is that of a deck reaching out from the foot of the mountain.

Kiyomizu-dera is made up of several Buddhist temples and has spacious grounds. The temple is named for a waterfall on the grounds ("kiyoi mizu" means pure water).

It is also close to The Path of Nene and the small beautiful streets Sannenzaka and Ninnenzaka.

From the center of Kyoto, it will take you about 20 minutes to ride to Kiyomizu Temple.


Kiyomizu Temple

1-294 Kiyomizudera Kyoto 605-0862
Tel: 075 551 1234

Entrance Fee: 300 yen


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Monday, August 23, 2010

No Cycling Nagoya

No Cycling Area!

In the land of Toyota, bicycles are not very popular.

These "stamps" - printed onto the pavement - are ubiquitous in Nagoya.

In spite of a few bike only lanes - very wide sidewalks make planning and execution fairly easy - cycling in Nagoya is not very inviting.

First is the size of the city. It is American in its sprawl, which makes it the anti-Kyoto. Getting from point A to B often means traveling many miles.

Second are the massive boulevards. The city was bombed to the ground during World War II, and when rebuilt it was laid out with huge, wide streets aimed at automobile traffic. Most are not bike-friendly.

Last is the resulting car culture. Nagoya is a car town. It is perhaps the only major city in Japan where living without a car makes life difficult.

Thus, drivers appear to be less aware of cyclists than in other cities. Riding around reminded me in ways of my commute years ago in the US, but minus the aggression.


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Slow Down Sign Kyoto

Slow down自転車スピード落せ

Around the corner from Chionin Temple and the museum area of Okazaki, we came upon this sign.

From a distance, I assumed it was for drivers. That would not have made sense though; it was facing the wrong way.

Once we came upon it, though, it was clear: yet another sign aimed at Kyoto's harried cyclists.

The orange background and black lettering scream:

Bicyclists, slow down!


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Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) by Bicycle

 Kinkakuji, Kyoto自転車で金閣寺へ

Kinkakuji is the fabulous temple complex in northwest Kyoto covered in gold leaf.

From the center of Kyoto, it will take you about 30 minutes to ride to the Golden Pavilion.

Kinkakuji is a World Heritage site and among the most famous temples in Japan. The main pavilion is covered in gold leaf and shimmers in front of a traditional pond - kyoko-chi (Mirror Pond).

The current building only dates to 1955 as it was burned to the ground by a monk in the early 1950s. That incident became the basis for the Yukio Mishima novel - The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

The temple was originally built in 1397 as a villa for court noble Kintsune Saionji. It was greatly improved by its second owner, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. His son, Yoshimochi, converted the building into a Zen temple.


The Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji)

1 Kinkaku-ji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto
075 461 0013

Entrance Fee: 400 yen; last entry at 4:30 pm


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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nijo Castle by Bike

Nijo Castle, Kyoto自転車で二条城へ

Kyoto's Nijo Castle is a vast complex just northwest of downtown.

It is possible to ride or walk easily from almost anywhere in the center of Kyoto.

Nijo Castle was built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns and finished in 1626. It is a massive fortified castle surrounded on all sides by a large deep moat.

In 1601, Tokugawa Ieyasu issued an edict that all feudal lords in nearby Western Japan had to contribute to the construction of the Castle.

It served as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns - where the real power lay. A bit north of Nijo is Gosho, the Imperial Palace, the residence of the Emperor - who was symbolic head of the country.


Nijo Castle

Nijo-dori Horikawa, Kyoto
075 841 0096

Entrance Fee: 600 yen


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Friday, August 6, 2010

Traffic Mirror

Driving Mirrors交通ミラー

On the sometimes narrow streets of Japan, mirrors help to prevent accidents and mayhem.

The mirrors were set up for automobiles, but are equally useful for cyclists.

This big, beautiful mirror is in a dense narrow area of Kyoto.

Few cars use these streets; however, the mirrors have saved us from more than one close call.

A quick peek up at the mirror - positioned on a pole on most corners - gives you a good sense of what may or  may not be heading your way.

More on safety tips.


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Monday, August 2, 2010

Woman in Kimono Man on Bike

kimono woman in kyoto着物と日傘の姿の京美人、ちゃり乗ったはるおっちゃん

A classic Kyoto scene.

An elegant woman of a certain age in a summer kimono carrying a parasol strolls north on Kiyamachi . She has been shopping and is signifying her taste and wealth with the bags she has in her left hand.

Not a hair is out of place. She is grace and perfection in motion.

In front of her, at the corner, is an "o-chan" (middle-aged guy) on his "chari" - the all-purpose Kyoto bike.

His shirt is hanging out, he has on a dirty baseball cap, the bike is oily and in need of a tuneup. And he is hot as hell and badly in need of a cold one.


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