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Exploring Kyoto on Two Wheels

From Kyoto Station to Gion


Kyoto Station: Off we go!


Up the steps and into the grounds of the shrine


See the many lanterns hanging?


The restaurant windows facing the river have elegant bamboo or reed blinds to give protection from the sun.


Maybe you'll see some maiko (apprentice geisha) praying at this small shrine to the deity of traditional performing arts.


A pretty path beside the river. Look out for the narrow bridge!

Kyoto Station

Starting from Kyoto Station, go north along Karasuma Street, the north-south avenue that runs through the center of Kyoto. Turn right at the Karasuma-Shichijo intersection, and after crossing the Shichijo Ohashi bridge go north along Kawabata Street, which runs along the river. At Gojo Street, turn right. When you come to Higashioji Street, cross to the right hand side of the road and go north along the sidewalk.

Yasaka Jinja Shrine

At the junction with Shijo Street, on your right you will see Yasaka Jinja Shrine, the Shinto shrine that protects the city of Kyoto. (The gate to the shrine is undergoing refurbishment until November 2007.) Through the two-storey gate, which is mentioned in poems of the Heian Period (794-1192), you can see Maruyama Park at the end of the shrine grounds. The park is famous for its shidare-zakura (weeping cherry trees). Why not park your bike and go in for a look around!

Gion Shirakawa

Leaving Yasaka Jinja Shrine, continue north along Higashi-oji Street. At the first crossing, turn left into a narrow alley. There will be cars coming in the opposite direction, so ride carefully! After the next crossing, you'll see a narrow river. This is the Shirakawa River. Get off your bike at the Shinbashi Bridge, and rest a while to enjoy Kyoto's calm atmosphere.

Along the Shirakawa River

Leaving the river briefly, go north along Hanami-koji Street until you can see the river again. Ride beside the river once more. Cross Higashi-oji Street and continue to ride along the Shirakawa. After passing the Chion'in Gate, ride along the right-hand side of the river, where you will find that cars are coming towards you. Here you can get off your bicycle and enjoy watching the carp and ducks swimming about.

Look out for these sights!


Before going up to the shrine, first scoop up some water with the ladle to purify your hands and mouth.


This beautiful narrow street is typical of Kyoto.

Optional Route: Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Just before you get to Yasaka Jinja Shrine, you will see a road called Kiyomizu-zaka on the right. If you get off your bike and climb this slope you will come to a famous Buddhist temple called Kiyomizu-dera. There is a wide veranda jutting out from the Main Hall of the temple that gives a wonderful panoramic view of Kyoto. (The wooden posts supporting this veranda are 12 meters high.)