Convenient Full-use Rental Cycles for Sightseeing in Kyoto ~ Regulated & Prohibited Zones Edition ~

[Local College Students Tell All!] There are many sightseeing spots dotted around the city of Kyoto so using a rent-a-cycle is convenient. However, the vicinity of Shijo Kawaramachi in the center of the town has many areas where bicycles are prohibited. Here is how to use rental shop Rent A Cycle Emusica as a base for getting around these regulation routes with pictures included!

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There are many regulated bike paths in the Shijo Kawaramachi area!

*The red areas on the map above are regulated bicycle traffic zones (*regulation zone times are specified)

Shijo Kawaramachi is one of Kyoto’s main shopping districts. It’s also a convenient area for sightseeing but since there are a lot of pedestrians, there are many areas where bicycle traffic is regulated. From that same area, there are various sightseeing spots: Gion to the east, Arashiyama to the west, Kyotogosho in the south, and Sanjusangen-do in the north. To get to these spots, you have to avoid the restricted areas. To arrive at your destination smoothly, let us first confirm the regulated and restricted zones.

First, let’s rent a bicycle!

Rent A Cycle Emusica grew out of 2 local shops. The Gion branch is located just out of Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan main line. As it’s based in the Shijo-Kawaramachi area, it’s a perfect shop for people thinking about sightseeing in Kyoto.

The rental fee is 1,000 yen for full use up to 8:00 PM on the same day. If you pay an additional 500 yen fee then you can use it for an extended period, till 10:00 AM the next day. In addition to that, there are also long-term use plans.

At the time of rental you need to make a 2,000 yen deposit as well as show identity verification documents like a passport. They have rental contracts that are in English.

The shop manager Takada Smile is a singer-songwriter based in Kansai. Inside the shop, his CDs and those of other local musicians are available for sale. Be sure to check out the music that’s chock-full of the feeling of Kyoto!

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Now we’re heading out!

From here there are several courses you can take:

A Course: Towards Gion (East)

B Course: Towards Karasuma (West)

C Course: Towards Kawaramachi Sanjo & Karasuma Oike (North & North-West)

D Course: Towards Kawaramachi Gojo (South)

Please be guided by the map for the regulated and prohibited zones.

The starting point is at Rent A Cycle Emusica.

・Let's go through A Course: Towards Gion (East) [Time required: about 7 minutes]

1.  When you leave the store, continue on the right side. When you get to the end of the street, turn right. 

2. Keep going until you get to the end of the street and this time, turn left. [Map point : A-1]

3. Keep going straight until you see a large street (Shijo-dori). While being cautious of cars and other pedestrians, cross the street and continue straight on. 

4. At this point, you will see a small bridge (Yamatohashi). When you cross the bridge, turn right. [Map Point: A-2]

5. When you turn to the right, continue on the road that runs alongside the river. Now, around here you’ll continue through a cobblestone road lined with shops that have that are full of that Kyoto atmosphere. This is a popular area for photos.

6. When you get to the big main street (Higashioji-dori), you will be able to see the gates of Chion-in Temple. When the light is green, cross the street and turn right. [Map Point: A-3]

7. Continue for a short while and then on the left side you’ll see Yasaka Jinja Shrine. Good work. You’ve arrived at the Gion area!

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・Let's go through B Course: Towards Karasuma (West) [Time required: about 8 minutes]

1.  When you leave the shop, continue on the right side and when you get to the end of the street, turn left. 

2. You can see Kawabata-dori which runs from north to south and a bridge. When you cross the road, go over the bridge.

3. Once you’ve gone over the bridge, turn left when you get to the end of the street and continue on the road running alongside the small stream. [Map point: B-1]

4. Once you can see the bridge on the right side, turn right and cross over. [Map point B-2]

5. When you get to the main road (Kawaramachi-dori) cross the road and turn right.

6. You’ll see a convenience store right in front of you and from that point, turn left. [Map Point: B-3]

7. Continue until you get to the end of the street and turn right.

8. Ahead of you, you’ll see shrine gates made of stone on the right and a convenience store on the left. Turn left in front of the convenience store. [Map Point: B-4]

9. Keep going straight ahead. There is plenty traffic along this road, so you’ll need to be careful. Also, around this area, there are many quiet cafes and restaurants. It’ll probably be nice to take a little break here.

10. You will see a large road (Karasuma-dori). Cross the road and turn right. [Map point: B-5]

11. When you see a building in front of you, to the left with a unique green wall then you’re almost there!

12. You will see a big crossing ahead of you. Great work! You’ve arrived at the Shijo Karasuma area!

Let’s go through C Course: ① Towards Kawaramachi Sanjo (North), ② Towards Karasuma Oike (North-west) [Time required: ① about 5 minutes, ② about 15 minutes]

1. When you leave the shop go right. When you get to the end of the street, turn left.

※① and ② follow the same route until you get to the bridge (Sanjo Ohashi)

2. You will see a large road (Kawabata-dori) right in front of you. Cross the road and go right. [Map point: C-1]

3. You can look at the Kamo River on your left side as you keep going forward. The greenery en route is lush and invigorating. On the way there is a slope on your left that descends into the riverbed. Once you go down though, you’ll have to take a roundabout way back so be careful!

4. To your right is Sanjo Station on the Keihan Railway and to your left you can see a large bridge (Sanjo Ohashi) [Map point: C-2]

From here the road separates for those who want to go to ① Kawaramachi Sanjo and those who want to go to ② Karasuma Oike.

① Those going to Kawaramachi Sanjo

5. Turn left, and cross the bridge then continue until the first intersection. Good work! You’ve arrived at Kawaramachi Sanjo.

② Those going to Karasuma Oike

5. Continue on without crossing the bridge (Sanjo Ohashi) in step 4. On the right you will see a large bridge (Oike Ohashi). Turn left and cross that bridge. [Map point: C-3]

6. Keep going straight ahead. The road along here is wide and easy to go along.

7. Go a little further and you will see the Kyoto Municipal Office on the right.

8. Continue on and you can see a shrine on the left side. If you’ve gotten this far then you only have a little more to go!

9. Continue until you get to the first large street. Good job! You’ve arrived at the Karasuma Oike area. 

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Let's go through D Course: Towards Kawaramachi Gojo (South) [Time required: about 5 minutes]

1. When you leave the store, go left. In the geisha district here, there are many elegant tea shops. If you’re lucky, you might even get to meet a maiko (apprentice geisha)!

2. If you keep going forward, you’ll get to the road that runs along the east and west (Matsubara-dori). Continue along the right-slanting road. [Map point: D-1]

3. Keep going on and you’ll come to a large road (Gojo-dori). Turn right here. [Map point: D-2]

4. Just a little further and you’ll approach an intersection, cross using the pedestrian bridge in front of you.

5. Cross the bridge ahead of you and continue till you get to the first intersection. Good work! You’ve arrived at Kawaramachi Gojo.

It’s extremely exhilarating feeling the breeze as you cycle through the old capital. If you carefully avoid the restricted areas, you can enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto via bicycle to your heart’s content!

Kansai Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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We're a group of local college students in Kyoto that produce information about Kyoto's charms to release to the world. We write articles about Kyoto using information that only locals could know. We hope you enjoy our work!
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