Even if you haven’t been to Japan yet, you’ll surely have heard about the punctuality and efficiency of its public transport. Being one of the major cities in Japan, Kyoto is well served with rail transportation networks that connect it to the other important cities, but also provide service in the urban areas and in the suburbs. There are plenty of possibilities to move within Kyoto, it is provided with a municipal bus service and two subway lines, the Karasuma and the Tōzai. However trains and buses are not the only ways to move from a place to another.
If you’ve already visited Kyoto you’ll surely have noticed that Japanese people love using their bike, it’s cheap, fast and ecofriendly, besides that, it allows you to discover lots of places that are out of the tourists’ itinerary. Personally I prefer walking, both cause I’m clumsy and because I like taking my time wandering through the narrow picturesque streets and paying attention to every detail.
Whether you decide to visit Kyoto for just few days or to move here, it’s very easy to get a bike. If you are planning to stay for a short time you can rent a bike in one of the many rental shops, instead if you have decided to live here for some months, it’s better to buy one. It’s possible to buy a second-hand one in good conditions for around 7000 yen.
Once you’ve decided to buy a bike, take note of what you have to do:
First of all, you have to register your bike. In Japan each bike has its own registration number, a sort of license plate that allows public officiers to identify and reach out for the owner in case of need or emergency. If you buy your bike in a shop, you simply have to fill in a form and pay a fee of 510 yen, in that way you’ll get a sticker to paste on your bike. You also have to do the insurance, the price is around 1000 yen per year.
After completing this procedure, you’ll finally be able to use your bike. However, be careful and follow the rules. For example know that it’s forbidden to use your phone and listen to the music while you’re cycling, of course you mustn’t cycle if you’ve drunk alcohol or you’ll have to pay a very expensive fine. Lastly you can’t park your bike wherever you want but you have to use a bike parking or police will take it away.
Kyoto is considered one of the best bicycle cities in Asia, so why don’t take a ride? This time of the year, along with spring, is the best to use your bike. The temperature is neither too hot, nor too cold and as the momiji season is approaching, you’ll surely love admiring the leaves change their colour. Also cycling along the Kamogawa at dusk, as the lights of the restaurants and bars turn on, will certainly make appreciate this city even more.