RAGBRAI prep in Kyoto

Kyoto Imperial park (shades of the Brandenburg gate three years ago

Kyoto Imperial Park (shades of the Brandenburg Gate bike ride three years ago)

imageWith the weather making Kyoto even more of a furnace today, cycling was the way to go and it did feel at times like RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) as sweat dripped down my face while peddling inrelentlessly bright and hot sun. But what a great way to see Kyoto, especially since it is so flat in town (unlike the nearby mountains) and the streets are bike-friendly. Everyone is riding, it seems, young, old, Japanese and not.

We ended up renting (for 10,000 yen/$10 each for the entire day) from a bike shop owner near Sanjo station and the bikes were big and sturdy, 5-6 speeds with a big wire basket. Worked great! We rode to the Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle, way up the river (further than planned since we were riding on the river trail and missed the turnoff street to the Silver Palace and had to backtrack.

When we finally got to the Silver {alace, the place was choked with tourists (which we did not miss while biking) so instead we rode on a country lane alongside the Philosophers Walk, a one-mile or so lovely shady footpath along a canal.  Again, biking made it much more pleasant given the heat. From there we rode near the Goji bridge to a hip cafe in a hostel called Lin that we discovered during our recent dinner at nearby Giro Giro. No food available but I had superb pineapple juice (I am dying for fruit here but it’s hard to find and very pricey when I do…a peach for $4) a croissant and mixed nuts. I did find fresh pineapple served on a stick outside the terrific craft store on Shiro Dori (street) in Gion. Such a fun day, even when we came back to our hotel dripping with sweat and sunburned.

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Filed under bike trails, biking, Japan

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