CycleKyoto HP LInk

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yamauta 2013 Festival


One of Japan's main peace, renewable resources, vegetarian, campout, live music, hippie confabs is now taking place in the mountains of Shiga Prefecture, which is just across from Kyoto.

The annual Yamauta festival features live music, workshops, and lots of family fun.

The three kanji that make up the title mean "mountain," "water," "person."

Yamauta runs until September 16.

Admission is not free. A pass for the entire two weeks is 6,000 yen (4800 if bought online in advance). A day pass is 3,000 yen.

The easy non-environmental way to get there is drive in your own car. For those not driving, access from Kyoto Station is:

1. Take the JR Kosei line from Kyoto Station JR Adogawa Station (about 30 minutes).

2. Change to the Ewaka bus Kutsuki Line and get off at "Kutsuki Shisho Mae - Bus stop"

3. Take the Takashima community bus from there to "Oisugi bus stop."

4. It is about 15 minutes on foot from there.

For the ironmen and women out there, it is 45 km on a bike from the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.  We have done the ride to Ohara, which takes about 45 minutes, but have not gone beyond that point.

It would be hard riding on mountain roads. Godspeed.

View Yamauta Festival Map in a larger map

© CycleKyoto Home Page Tags

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kyoto Bicycle Shop Takenaka Opens at New Location


The venerable bike shop TAKENAKA is moving to a new location on the first of September.

It will remain close to the Imperial Palace.

The new location is on Teramachi Street north of Imadegawa.

Takenaka-san is one of the few English-speaking bike shop owners in Kyoto and long popular among the foreign community.

He closed the original shop on August 10 and will open the new shop on September 1st.

Telephone: 075 256 4863

Kyoto Bicycle Shops Map

View Kyoto Bike Shops Map in a larger map


CycleKyoto Home Page


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bicycle and Automobile Statistics Japan


In 1960, Japanese owned just under 20 million bicycles. In the same year, there were only 2.29 million automobiles on the road in Japan.

Flash forward to the 21st century. In 2005, there were more than 86 million bicycles in Japan. Car ownership has increased in the same half century by a tremendous amount, but still has yet to eclipse the number of bicycles. In 2004, 74.9 million cars clogged the narrow roads of Japan.

With young men - the main demographic for car sellers - showing less and less interest in car ownership, those figures look to diverge in the future.

Moving on to road fatalities, in 2005 cars led the way. 6,871 people died in automobile accidents. In comparison, 846 cyclists were killed in accidents in the same year.

Road fatalities for drivers are trending down while those for cyclists are increasing, which is due to the increased number of people riding bikes in Japan.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Commuting by Bicycle in Japan Statistics


According to the Cascade Education Foundation, 25% of the U.S. population cycles. The definition of "cycles" is not unfortunately spelled out.

Moreover, 60 million Americans bicycle at least once per year.

In contrast, in Japan 15% of commuters bicycle to work. That however compares poorly with the Netherlands, where 50% of commuters do so by bike.

Back in the USA, though, only 1.6% of American commuters bicycle to work.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Percentage of American and Japanese Children that Cycle or Walk to School


In the United States, just 13% of children walk or ride a bike to school.

That information comes courtesy of Bicycling magazine, which quotes the advocacy group Safe Routes to School (SRTS).

Back in 1969 when we were entering elementary school in Philadelphia - and walked to John S. Jenks Elementary School - the percentage of Americans who walked or cycled to school was 48%.

Suburban sprawl is the number one culprit, and perhaps nervous parents a distant second.

Here in Japan, the percentage of elementary and junior high school students who walk (cycling is forbidden; however, according to one comment below this is not the case at all schools) to school is 100%. Some disabled students or those in rural areas may use alternate means of transportation, but in urban Japan all elementary school students walk to school in groups made up of students from the area in which one resides. Groups are led by a sixth grader.

We have no data on Japanese high school students, but most appear to cycle or take the bus, train, or subway.

Obesity among Japanese young people remains rare.

© CycleKyoto Home Page


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kumogahata Matsuage at Koun-ji Temple & Fukuzo-ji Temple

Tradtional House Kyoto雲ヶ畑松上げ

In the mountain village of Kumogahata, August 24 will witness the annual Matsuage burning.

The Tanicho and Nakahatacho sections of the village light piles of wood that create a Buddhist symbol to pray for a good autumn harvest and fire protection.

Every year a different Buddhist character is chosen - and is a tightly held secret.

There is no public transportation after a certain hour. Those going should drive or cycle - and on the return trip do so carefully.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Friday, August 23, 2013

Sento Memorial Service at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple

Adashino Nenbutsu Temple千灯供養

On the evenings of August 23 & 24 from 17:30 to 20:30, hundreds of lanterns will be lit around the roughly 8,000 stone monuments and statues in and around Adashino Nenbutsu Temple.

Long ago, this area was the site of a large graveyard - where corpses were often just dumped.

The ceremony is a prayer for the souls of the many dead.

It is peaceful and ethereal - but can be crowded.

If possible, get there early.

There is a fee of 1,000 yen.


Access: Kyoto Bus #72, get off at Toriimoto

Sento Memorial Service at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji Temple
Telephone: 075 861 2221

For those cycling, parking is available outside the temple.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Transportation and Public Health


An important article in Annual Review looks at the connection between transportation and health.

Americans often wonder why the French, Japanese, etc. stay slim while eating so well.

We are not experts but would posit that one factor - the act of commuting on a bus, subway, train or better yet a bike - plays a large role in keeping one relatively fit.

Outside of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, there are few places in the United States where riding public transportation is safe, clean, efficient, and and convenient. Ergo, Americans walk from their front door to the car door, drive on subsidized oil on subsidized roads to a subsidized parking space in a lot at the suburban office park.

And gain weight.

We are not making a moral argument - Americans are not bad - but a practical argument. The "best" form of transport in 9 out of 10 (99 out of 100?) cases is the car. Therefore, Americans make the logical, practical decision to get behind the wheel.

Here in Kyoto, driving is something of a luxury. Gas prices are at world levels - not US levels - an annual automobile tax is expensive, parking is at a premium, roads are crowded, and good public transportation is available. Thus, Japanese make the logical, practical decision to walk, ride, or cycle.

Here is the abstract. For those not a member though, there is a fee to read the entire article.

"This article investigates various ways that transportation policy and planning decisions affect public health and better ways to incorporate public health objectives into transport planning. Conventional planning tends to consider some public health impacts, such as crash risk and pollution emissions measured per vehicle-kilometer, but generally ignores health problems resulting from less active transport (reduced walking and cycling activity) and the additional crashes and pollution caused by increased vehicle mileage. As a result, transport agencies tend to undervalue strategies that increase transport system diversity and reduce vehicle travel. This article identifies various win-win strategies that can help improve public health and other planning objectives."


CycleKyoto Home Page


Friday, August 16, 2013

Kyoto Daimonji Gozan Okuribi Sacred Fires

Kyoto Daimonji大文字五山送り火

Tonight there will be magic in Kyoto.

The annual Daimonji festival takes place tonight from 8 pm.

Every August 16th, giant Chinese characters carved into the hills that surround Kyoto are lit on fire.

This night is the climax to the annual Bon holiday, which is Japan's All Souls Day. The dead come back once every year, and tonight the fires are lit to guide their return to the other world.

From around 8 pm, the characters are lit in order, beginning with Dai (the character pictured above).

With the exception of well-positioned hotel rooms, it is very difficult to see all of the fires.

Our personal favorite spot is along the Kamo River near Demachiyanagi. Crowds come and sit along the banks of the river, drinking juice and beer.

The atmosphere is hushed and respectful.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

US Government Withdraws Claim That Bike Helmets Are 85 Percent Effective


Courtesy of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association comes this report on the efficacy of helmets.

The 85% has been the governments lodestar, a long-standing claim that helmets prevent that percentage of head injuries.

It is based on a 1989 study from Seattle.

However, many later studies have been unable to replicate that data.

However, the media continue to repeat the figure.

We will continue to wear the helmet in crowded bicycle-lane free Kyoto, but the article gives pause.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Monday, August 12, 2013

Kyoto Sanga August 2013 Update

kyoto purple sanga京都サンガ2013年

Kyoto Sanga lost 2-0 today to also ran Ehime, which is in 17th place. Kyoto, in spite of the loss, remains mired in 4th place.

With 14 games remaining in the season, three of the four top places in J2 are held by Kansai teams: Gamba Osaka in first place, Kobe Vissel in second, and in fourth place Kyoto. (JEF United in Chiba is in third place.)

Of those three have a chance at promotion next season to J1.

Next week Sanga travels to Yokohama.

Please, please, please score and win and make us happy.

Ticket Information (in Japanese)

Cycling for home games at Nishikyogoku is a flat and easy 20 minutes from central Kyoto and parking is free and readily available.

View Cycling to Kyoto Nishi Kyogoku Stadium in a larger map

Asics running shoes, now up to 40% off!


CycleKyoto Home Page


Sunday, August 11, 2013

World Cycling News 11 August 2013

tofu seller bike kyoto今週のサイクリング2013年08月11日

The Specialized Turbo: An Electric Bicycle With Scooterlike Speed New York Times

Arnaud Demare wins London-Surrey Classic BBC

What Boris can learn from the Mayor of Rome’s plan for the Colosseum London Cyclist

Le Québec à portée de guidon ! Vélo Québec

After the pain, the euphoria: my RideLondon 100 Guardian

Cada día mueren 7 personas por contaminación del aire en la Zona Metropolitana del Valle de México Bicitekas

Big Pulley Any Good?
昨今話題のプーリーの大型化はほんとうに効果があるのか?その効果に影響するものとは? Cycling Time

Drivers who hit cyclists ‘should be presumed liable’ The Times of London

Zabel resigns from advisory group after doping confession Yahoo

Last Week's Cycling News

Bicycle Goods

New Official Prudential Ride London clothing range now in stock


CycleKyoto Home Page


Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Man Who Lived On His Bike Video


Here in Kyoto, the bike(s) we own is/are a source of transportation, a machine, the horse we use to shop and carry things around town, our taxi when we need to go somewhere at night when the buses and subway and trains have stopped running, and a source of joy.

However, our use and joy pales compared to Guillaume Blanchet.

In Montreal, Blanchet “lived” on his bicycle for 382 days. Literally.

He cooked, showered, shaved (not recommended), rapped, cooked, went online. did more or less everything.

This period has been documented in a short film “The Man Who Lived on His Bike.”

Extreme, yes, but we loved the short film.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Friday, August 9, 2013

Shimogamo Used Book Festival

Near Shimogamo Shrine下鴨納涼古本まつり

The Shimogamo Used Book Festival is one the Big Three vintage book festivals in Kyoto. It takes place this year from August 11 - 16.

The books - as many as 800,000 in some years - are overwhelmingly in Japanese.

Even for those who do not read Japanese, however, there is much to find and perhaps purchase.

Many of the books are visual - art, manga, etc. - or just evoke a bygone era that needs no translation.

The festival takes place in the Tadasu-no-mori forest, which is a short walk from Demachiyanagi Station.

For cyclists, there are many places to park.


Summer Book Festival (August 11 - 16)
Shimogamo Noryo Furuhon Matsuri (下鴨納涼古本まつり)
10:00 - 17:30 (until 16:00 on the last day)
Access: Kyoto City Bus #205, get off at Shimogamo-jinja-mae
Tel: 075 231 2971

Spring Book Festival (May 1 - 5)
Haru-no-Kosho Daisokubai-kai (春の古書大即売会)
Miyako Messe (Kyoto International Exhibition Hall)

Autumn Book Festival (October 30 - November 3)
Aki-no-Furuhon Matsuri (秋の古本まつり)
Chinon-ji Temple
10 am to 5 pm


CycleKyoto Home Page


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kyoto Gojo Pottery Festival 2013


Kyoto’s Gojo-Zaka Kiyomizu-yaki Pottery Festival is now taking place.

It is an annual affair that has been held since 1920.

From morning till night for three days, a street market specializing in pottery opens.

Stall after stall sprout along the slope Gojo Dori from Kawabata up to Higashi-oji.

The area is famed for its Kiyomizu Yaki type of pottery. It was home to many artisans, their kilns, and pottery shops.

Japanese pottery can quickly get very pricey. At this festival, however, bargains abound.


August 7 - 10
9 am - 11 pm
Along Gojo Dori
Access: Keihan Gojo station

Cyclists should park along Kawabata Dori, which runs on the east side of the Kamo River, then walk.

Details in Japanese


CycleKyoto Home Page


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Myoshinji Temple Kyoto Illumination


Myoshinji Temple in western Kyoto will illuminated on the evenings of August 9 and 10.

The lights go on at 6 pm and will stay on until 10 pm.

The zen temple was founded in 1337 and is a vast walled complex of many sub-temples.

It is a beautiful night.

For those cycling, parking is available in and around both the north and south gates.

Asics running shoes, now up to 40% off!


CycleKyoto Home Page


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kyoto Star Festival Events

Kyoto-Tanabata天の川、足元に浮かぶ 「京の七夕」3日開幕

The Japanese Star Festival known locally as Tanabata is now being celebrated in Kyoto.

Until August 12th there will be artistic illumination representing the Milky Way every evening.

Between Oike Bridge and Shijo Bridge on the Misosogi River - the narrow canal that abuts the restaurants on Kiyamachi and sits between the pedestrian walkway and the Kamo River - 100 LED bulbs will be set up.

The illumination will be lit every night between 7 and 9 pm.

For those going on bike, parking is available on Oike.

More Tanabata events can be found here.

Photo©Kyoto Shinbun

Asics running shoes, now up to 40% off!


CycleKyoto Home Page


Monday, August 5, 2013

Kyoto University to Break Ground This Fall on IPS Research Center

Kyoto IPS CenteriPS新研究棟、整備へ 京大・今秋着工

Kyoto University will begin work on a new IPS (Induced pluripotent stem cell) research facility on its main campus in Okazaki. It will be the third such facility at the university, home to more Nobel Laureates than any other university in Japan.

One of them is Shinya Yamanaka, who is leading Japan's charge to take stem cells and use them to regrow unhealthy cells.

The facility in which Yamanaka now works is five-stories and 12,000 square meters.

A second facility is already under construction next to the current building and will be complete in 2014.

The third will be 7500 square meters and we expect ever more Nobels to flow towards Kyoto.

Photo©Kyoto Shinbun

Asics running shoes, now up to 40% off!


CycleKyoto Home Page


Sunday, August 4, 2013

World Cycling News 4 August 2013

tofu seller bike kyoto今週のサイクリング2013年08月04日

Cyclists Take Nighttime Ride Through Moscow's History NPR

Inaugural London cycle race 'does not fulfil Olympic legacy' BBC

Your guide to RideLondon 2013 London Cyclist

Le Lac, le Fjord, le Fleuve… une 20e édition tout de bleu! Vélo Québec

England's forests: One urban family's forest adventure Guardian

La universidad de la bicicleta El Pais

Astana for 2014
アスタナが早くも動く!2014年に向けた補強を発表!ウエストラとペリッツォッティと契約、しかしペリッツォッティとの契約は所属するMPCCの規約に違反しているため早くも問題に Cycling Time

Turn axed Beeching railway lines into cycle paths, says Boris Johnson The Times of London

Zabel resigns from advisory group after doping confession Yahoo

Last Week's Cycling News

Bicycle Goods

New Official Prudential Ride London clothing range now in stock


CycleKyoto Home Page


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Racist Kyoto?


These signs were plastered on many of the homes and businesses to the north of the Kyoto Prefecture government building.

They are noisily, unabashedly opposing the construction of a dormitory for foreign students.

A loose translation:

Disregarding the local neighbors, dumping a dorm for foreign students on us - we oppose!!

To be fair, if plans came to light for such a dorm in our neighborhood we would be concerned. The thought of many drunken noisy American, European, and Asian students all living in the same place - close to us - would not be pleasant.

However, the nation of Japan and city of Kyoto depend heavily on the money those students spend and, one hopes, the warm feelings for Japan and Kyoto that they take back to the their home countries.

Why do nearly all Japanese universities continue a policy of "Dejima" dormitories. Dejima was of the course the man-made island built in Nagasaki harbor to keep the Dutch away from the local population, and the locals away from dangerous Dutch ideas and practices.

To segregate students who are majoring in Japanese, have studied the language and culture for several years, traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to be in Japan - is self-defeating for the foreign students, Japanese students, and the host universities.

Why not instead build dormitories for all students? That is, put the foreign students in the same dorms with their Japanese classmates. This would promote exchange and, in the event of trouble, the local students could mediate the situation better than their foreign peers.

And, to the neighbors we say, we understand your concerns - noise, putting out trash on the wrong day, etc. - but a broader more welcoming attitude is in order. We do not all of the details, and many homes did not have the signs - but this is not the message Kyoto should be broadcasting to the world.


CycleKyoto Home Page


Friday, August 2, 2013

Kodaiji Temple Kyoto Illumination

Kodaiji Temple高台寺夜の特別拝観灯明会

Kyoto's Kodaiji Temple is now being illuminated nightly until the 18th of August.

Kodaiji is always beautiful, but is ethereal at night when lit.

The gardens will be lit up every night.

Cyclists can park on Nene no Michi (The Path of Nene) below the temple.


August 1 - August 19
Sundown until 9:30 pm
Fee: 600 yen


 CycleKyoto Home Page


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Horikawa Kyoto Illumination


Along the Horikawa River - it is more of a narrow canal and landscaped park - there will be an illumination to celebrate Tanabata according to the old Kyoto calendar.

Tanabata is the Japanese star festival that celebrates the once a year meeting of Vega and Altair.

The Milky Way, according to Chinese legend, separates the two lovers for 364 days of the year. On one night, July 7, they are permitted to meet.

This takes place on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. Following the Gregorian calendar, that date is July 7. However, according the older Japanese reckoning, it would be in August.

Kyoto celebrates both dates, but the illumination takes place only in August.

After a brutally hot day, a cold beer under the stars as you enjoy about as good as it gets.

There are also events at Nijo Castle and Kamogawa Kaikan.


August 4 - 13
Along Horikawa Dori (below ground)
7 pm - 9:30 pm


CycleKyoto Home Page