With temperatures at record highs in Australia and record lows across much of the United States, we are reminded that winter cycling in Kyoto is not bad at all.
Indeed, except for the worst month and change of high summer - mid-July to the beginning of September when you should avoid going out in the middle of the day - one can cycle fairly comfortably year-round.
At the coldest point in winter - which we are fast approaching - long johns ("heat tech" here at Uniqlo), a good pair of gloves, and a scarf should be enough during the early morning ride to work or the train station.
Low temperatures in Kyoto in late January and early February hover just below freezing. Anything below -3 or -4 (25 degrees Fahrenheit) is unusual.
Snow moreover on city streets is also unusual. In the fifteen years we have lived in Kyoto, there have been three serious snowstorms. For each, it snowed about 10 cm (3-4 inches), was lovely to look at, and the roads more or less free of said snow by mid-afternoon.
In a bit of a bonus, though, snow can often be seen for weeks if not months at a time in Kyoto. Because of the location of the city - built in a bowl, surrounded on three sides by mountains - there is often a dusting of snow on Mt. Hiei, Mt. Atago, and the hills north of the city towards Kumogahata.
Thus, while riding, you can enjoy the beauty of snow without having to ride in it.
Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese