NEW! Top 6 Best Rated Kyoto Cycling Tours

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Rob Dyer The Real Japan

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For many a Japan traveller Kyoto is a dream destination. 

But could a Kyoto cycling tour be the perfect way to make seeing this former capital's magnificent sights even better still? 

After all, the locals cycle everywhere and have been doing so since the 1880s.

From its world-famous and iconic sights, alongside its ancient canals, exploring its quiet backstreets, family-friendly routes and discovering 'secret' spots, here's my guide to 6 of the best-rated Kyoto cycling tours, each based genuine customer reviews... 


Kyoto Cycling Tours The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Top 6 Best Rated Kyoto Cycling Tours
by Rob Dyer



How the tours were shortlisted

To compile this list I turned to the Viator website.

I reviewed all the cycling tours rated the highest by customer reviews, then applied a strict rating threshold to come up with the shortlist. I filtered the tours by ranking them based on the volume of 5 star reviews - the highest possible review rating.

With one exception, every entry included is 5-Star rated by genuine Viator customers. That's real people who have actually taken these specific tours. The Real Kyoto on Bike: Cycle Along the Ancient Canals tour comes in at 4.5 overall, but impressively has more than 260 reviews in total.

To help you decide which is the best fit for you r particular Kyoto cycling tour needs, I've included a representative review by a genuine customer for each of the tours. 

Let the peddling commence!



The Cycling Tours - Quick Guide

NORTH KYOTO

5/5

Bike Tour Exploring North Kyoto

Currently the highest-rated cycling tour on the Viator website with over 730 five star reviews!

north Kyoto bike tour The Real Japan

ANCIENT CANALS

4.5/5

Real Kyoto on Bike: Cycle Along the Ancient Canals

Pedal through the historic streets of Kyoto as you visit its magnificent temples and shrines by bike during this small-group tour limited to 9 participants.

Kyoto ancient canals bike tour The Real Japan

HIDDEN KYOTO E-BIKE

5/5

Hidden Kyoto E-Biking tour

Cycle past a mix of Kyoto’s most-famous sights and its lesser-known 'secret' spots during this half-day Hidden Kyoto bike tour.

Hidden Kyoto e-Biking tour The Real Japan

KYOTO BEAUTY SMALL GROUP

5/5

Kyoto Beauty Small Group tour

Discover the beauty of Kyoto on this highlights tour that has over 190 five star reviews.

Kyoto highlights bike tour The Real Japan

5 TOP HIGHLIGHTS

5/5

5 Top Highlights of Kyoto Tour

At 40km (25mi), this is the longest route included here, taking between 7-8 hours to complete. So not one for the faint-hearted or those short on time.

5 top Kyoto highlights bike tour The Real Japan

ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO FOREST

5/5

Arashiyama Bamboo Bike Tour (Early Bird)

This cleverly conceived tour currently has over 100 reviews and they're ALL 5-star rated!

Arashiyama bamboo bike tour The Real Japan

SLACKER'S BONUS!

5/5

Kyoto Rickshaw Tour

For those who don't much fancy all that cycling, take the easy option with this bonus tour and let someone else do all the hard work instead!

Kyoto rickshaw tour The Real Japan

The Cycling Tours - In Depth

Bike Tour Exploring North Kyoto

Rating:  5/5 Stars

Duration: 5-6 hours

north Kyoto bike tour The Real Japan

Overview

Currently the highest-rated cycling tour on the Viator website with over 730 5 star reviews.

As its title suggest, this tour provides the opportunity to explore the northern parts of Kyoto by bike. Your local guide will make sure you don’t get lost (always reassuring!), and will show you to back alleys and hidden corners that you might otherwise completely miss.

Of course, you'll also get to see some of Kyoto's most famous attractions, so you won't miss out on those. Cycle on a comfortable bike, pausing for an authentic Japanese lunch, fueled up and ready for the afternoon stint.


What's Included

  • Temple and shrine entrance fees are included
  • Stop off in Gion - Kyoto's famous geisha district
  • Enjoy a delicious Japanese lunch
  • Get to know Kyoto on an intimate level by traveling by bike

Customer Review

Bike Tour Exploring North Kyoto plus Lunch review The Real Japan

Is This Tour For You?

The day itinerary (and price) includes entry to Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples along the way, including the magnificent Kinkakuji Temple, aka The Golden Pavilion. 



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



Real Kyoto on Bike: Cycle Along the Ancient Canals

Rating:  4.5/5 Stars

Duration: 3 hours

Kyoto ancient canals bike tour The Real Japan

Overview

Pedal through the historic streets of Kyoto as you visit its magnificent temples and shrines by bike during this small-group tour limited to nine participants.

Take a spin down the Path of Philosophy on a tour that gives you an overview of the city while using a mode of transport preferred by locals: the humble bicycle. See shrines, temples and mountains - this is an enlightening escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

What's Included

  • Explore scenic Kyoto like a local on this small-group biking tour
  • Maximum of 9 participants ensures a more personalized experience
  • Receive illuminating commentary from your guide
  • Learn about the city’s history at Heian-Jingu Shrine

Customer Review

Real Kyoto on Bike Cycle Along the Ancient Canals review The Real Japan

Is This Tour For You?

Takes in several of my favourite spots in Kyoto, including Kyoto Station (where the tour starts and finishes), the Kamo River, Heian Jingu Shrine, Nanzen-ji Temple and the Philosopher's Walk.



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



Hidden Kyoto E-Biking Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

Hidden Kyoto e-Biking tour The Real Japan

Overview

Cycle past a mix of Kyoto’s most-famous sights and its lesser-known 'secret' spots during this half-day Hidden Kyoto e-bike tour.

Take an 8km (4.9-mile) ride that starts by winding past iconic Kyoto temples and shrines like Kinkakuji, Koto-in, and Kitano Tenmagu.

You’ll continue ‘off the beaten path,’ discovering intimate Zen gardens and charming backstreets known only to the locals. It's a chance to see of the city’s more intimate spaces, lesser-known side streets and quiet gardens

This is a safe and easy ride suitable for all fitness levels and anyone over age 13, and is the perfect chance to ‘go beyond your guidebook’.

What's Included

  • Foldable rental e-bike and helmet included
  • Visits to top Kyoto temples like the UNESCO-listed Kinkakuji and Kitano Tenmagu
  • Visits to key religious sites including Daitokuji Temple Complex and Kitanotenmangu Temple
  • Cost of tickets to enter shrines and temples is included in the tour price

Customer Review

Hidden Kyoto E-Biking tour The Real Japan

Is This Tour For You?

Customer reviews frequently praise how informative and knowledgeable the English-speaking guides are on this tour, saying that it gave them the chance to see and learn about 'hidden' spots they would otherwise not known about and missed. 



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



Beauty of Kyoto Small Group Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes

Kyoto highlights bike tour The Real Japan

Overview

Discover the beauty of Kyoto on this 'highlights' tour that has over 190 5 star reviews.

Cover a lot of ground while getting an intimate perspective of Kyoto on this fun bicycle tour.

Avoid the risk of getting lost in this busy city with maze-like lanes when you tour with a guide and a small group of no more than six. Along the way you'll learn about Kyoto’s history and culture as you cycle past geisha houses, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and through the old parts of town.

Ideal for families, first-timers to Kyoto, or those who want to 'check off' several of Kyoto's best-known sights in a single day.


What's Included

  • Includes several of Kyoto's 'must-see' attractions
  • Heian Shrine, Ginkakuji Temple, Philosopher's Walk, Gion Shirakawa, Miyagawacho Koan and Nanzen-ji Temple
  • English, German and French language options available
  • Admission tickets for all temples and shrines included in the price of the tour

Customer Review

Discover the beauty of Kyoto on a bicycle tour The Real Japan

Is This Tour For You?

The praise from reviewers for the tour guides at this company is second to none, showing that the staff not only must love their jobs but can clearly convey that to their customers by providing top service and assistance.



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



5 Top Highlights of Kyoto Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 7-8 hours

5 top Kyoto highlights bike tour The Real Japan

Overview

Kyoto’s traditional neighborhoods and scenic parklands are ideal for exploring by bike, and at 40km (25mi), this is the longest Kyoto cycling tour route included here, taking between 7-8 hours to complete. So not one for the faint-hearted or those short on time.

This tour around the city focuses on visiting five of Kyoto’s most popular attractions in one day. 

Enjoy stunning views of the Golden Pavilion and views over Kyoto from the magnificent Kiyomizudera Temple; pose for photos by the red torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Hop off to stroll around Arashiyama, Kyoto's bamboo forest and explore Gion - Kyoto's world-famous geisha district.

Only the active and energetic should book this one.


What's Included

  • Bottled water, admission fees, light lunch and snacks
  • Three magnificent temples: Kiyomizudera, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), and Fushimi Inari
  • Geisha spotting as you explore Kyoto’s traditional Gion neighborhood
  • Personalized small-group tour with a maximum of 8 people

Customer Review

5 Top Highlights Kyoto Bike Tour review The Real Japan

Is This Tour For You?

This tour will take some effort as it covers around 40km (25 miles) across a day lasting 7-8 hours, but the company is up front about that, ensuring only those up for the challenge book this one. The customers reviews reflect their candor with almost 100% 5-star reviews.



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Bike Tour (Early Bird)

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 3-4 hours

Arashiyama bamboo bike tour The Real Japan

Overview

This cleverly conceived tour currently has over 100 reviews and (at the time of writing) they're ALL 5-star rated!

Kyoto's Arashiyama bamboo forest is one of the city's most visited sites but you can avoid the worst of the crowds by joining this early morning bicycle tour. Enjoy the forest and temples at their most serene and also venture to a few off-the-beaten-path spots nearby.

Your tour is carved out with a perfect balance of serene temples, rural landscapes, and iconic views of Kyoto’s old country. You will begin with a meet up at the rendezvous point at 07:40 prior to an 08:00 scheduled departure on a multi-speed Cannondale bicycle.

This meeting point for this activity starts at Saga-Arashiyama Station, in Kyoto's Ukyo Ward, and returns back there at the end of the tour.

What's Included

  • Serene temples, rural landscapes, and iconic views of Kyoto’s old country
  • Temple admission fees included in the price
  • Suitable for all levels of bicycle enthusiasts who don't mind the early start
  • Small-group tour (maximum 7 people) ensures a personal experience

Customer Review

Arashiyama Bamboo Bike Tour review The Real Japan

Is This Tour For You?

What an excellent idea! Kyoto's Arashiyama bamboo forest is world-famous and that attracts BIG crowds. Cycling to the location early in the day is a great way to beat the worst of those crowds and bag a few 'me alone in the forest' selfies.



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



SLACKER'S BONUS! Kyoto Rickshaw Tour

Rating:  5/5 Stars
Duration: 30 minutes to 3 hours

Kyoto rickshaw tour The Real Japan

Overview

For those who don't much fancy all that cycling, take the easy option with this bonus tour and let someone else do all the hard work instead!

Step into an authentic Japanese rickshaw for the ride of a lifetime, through some of the most scenic and historic districts in Kyoto, Japan's former capital.

You have the option of exploring the verdant bamboo grove and impressive shrines of west Kyoto’s Arashiyama district or the intriguing wooden buildings and stone alleys (maybe even spotting a geisha or two) in Kyoto’s famed Higashiyama area, all with a knowledgeable local guide and rickshaw driver.

This authentic, customizable Kyoto adventure is a fun introduction to a beautiful city.


What's Included

  • Choose a duration that suits your schedule
  • Passes by many of Kyoto's famous landmarks
  • Admission tickets to Nanzen-ji Temple and Arashiyama bamboo forest included in the price
  • Rugs and heated seats in winter to keep you warm!

Customer Review

Kyoto Rickshaw Tour review The Real Japan


Is This Tour For You?

Maybe after reading all those cycling options you realised, actually, I'd much rather see all those wonderful sights but without all the effort? I knew some of you would, which is why I had to include this fun (aka slacker's) alternative. ;-) 



Free Cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance

Lowest Price Guarantee



Which tour is best for you?

The aim of this post was to introduce to you a number of Kyoto cycling tours offering different approaches and experiences and to ensure there was a tour suitable for all ages and abilities. (Even one for those who don't even want to cycle!).

Hopefully you'll now have a good idea of which tour is best for you.

But if you're still not sure and would like a bit more information before making up you mind, make sure you to hit the 'Check Availability' button on any of the tours that interest you.

Doing so will take you directly to the tour page on the Viator website where you'll find more detailed itinerary information and traveller's tips, before making your booking.

Happy travels!

SEE ALSO: 10 Top Rated Virtual Japan Tours To Take Online


Have you taken a cycling tour of Kyoto (or somewhere else)? If so, be sure to share your experience and let me and others know what you thought leaving a comment below.

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Kyoto Cycling Tours The Real Japan Rob Dyer

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