This past weekend, a friend and I cycled from Kyoto to Osaka completely along bicycle paths. The first part of the journey follows the Katsura River, on one of Japan's best cycling roads. It goes from Arashiyama all the way to Kizu, which is not for from Nara.
For those heading to Osaka, at the confluence of the Katsura, Kizugawa, and Yodogawa rivers - at the town of Yawata, which is roughly halfway to both Kizu and Osaka - one leaves the Kyoto to Kizu route, crosses a bridge, and then heads down a utility road that parallels the Yodogawa River.
It has to be noted that the Kyoto portion - built and paid for and in Kyoto Prefecture - is far superior. The Osaka portion - from Yawata to Osaka - is a mix of utility roads, bumpy pavement, and lots of gates (see below). Still, it is no problem to cycle.
The trip to Osaka was smooth, clear, and quick. We made it to Osaka Castle, where the path ends, in three hours.
After lunch in Shinsaibashi and a trip to a great bike shop in Honmachi, we started back to the Yodo River for the return trip. Headwinds made it harder, but we made it back in four hours.
Getting to the Starting Point
The Kyoto to Yawata part of the ride can be picked up at any point close to the Katsura River, in Kyoto, from Arashiyama to Nishi Kyogoku to parts in south Kyoto.
The Kyoto to Yawata part of the ride is marked with bollards that display the name - in both Roman letters and in kanji - of the area or bridge and the number of kilometers remaining.
The key to not getting lost is this: on the way to Osaka the river (Katsura and Yodo) is on your right. On the way back, the river is on your left.
Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese