3 hours (2pm - 5pm)

Includes bike rental & bike helmet

14 kilometres (9 miles)

1-6 participants

Kyoto is famous for its tofu, sake, and tea because of the crystal-clear water that flows underneath it. Come on this cycling tour to discover (and taste!) Kyoto’s hidden wells and their ancient stories of love and heartbreak. You’ll also explore an important shrine and its forest, pass by the Imperial Palace, weave through the narrow streets of the city, and wander by a geisha street.

What we’ll do
  • Depart from Friends Kyo in Gion Shijo
  • Pick up bicycles at the rental shop behind Friends Kyo
  • Cycle along the Kamogawa River to a 2000-year-old shrine
  • Pass by the Imperial Palace, Teramachi, and Nishiki Market
  • Visit a small shrine about heartbreak and another about falling in love
  • Weave through geisha quarters and swing by yazuka headquarters
  • End at Friends Kyo, where you can have tea made with well water

Does this tour gets cancelled for weather?
Yes. For safety reasons, this tour will be cancelled if it drizzles or snows. You will be offered an opportunity to reschedule or receive a full refund.

Can I just show up or do I need a reservation?
You need a reservation so that we can ensure a small tour size of 8 cyclists.

Can kids come?
Yes, if they are above the age of 16 and are confident of completing a 3 hour cycling tour.

What should I show up in?
Bicycle-friendly attire.

More questions and answers below.

Lee Xian Jie (XJ)
Your Guide: Lee Xian Jie

XJ studied Political Science at Waseda University, and his work has taken him all over the world. But he eventually found his way to Kyoto, where he’s been filming a documentary about a kaiseki chef and drinking a lot of tea.

What guests say about us

Book now

Bringing your your own bike? Enter the coupon code IHAVEABIKE to get ¥1,000 off per participant.

Searching Availability...

Refund policy: Full refund if you cancel 3 days before the tour. No refunds if you cancel less than 3 days before the tour. No refunds for no shows. No exceptions! You will be offered a reschedule or refund if walks are cancelled because of rain, snow, typhoon warnings, major earthquakes, or any other natural disasters.

All your questions, answered

Yes. If you’re coming with your own bicycle, use the discount code IHAVEABIKE to get ¥1,000 off per participant.

Yes. This tour is for travellers who are somewhat confident of their bicycle handling skills. We will not be cycling on very busy roads, and will take bicycle paths as much as possible, but Kyoto’s tiny roads make it impossible to avoid vehicular traffic altogether.

A large part of the route looks like this:

But there will be some parts of the city where we will definitely have cars pass by us:

We meet at Friends Kyo, 1 minute away from Exit 1 of the Keihan Gion-Shijo Station. You’ll receive directions to Friends Kyo in the confirmation email we send after you book a tour, but here’s a link on Google Maps anyway.

Friends Kyo
Friends Kyo

Friends Kyo is between the geisha and maiko districts of Gion and Miyagawacho, has excellent udon, ramen, and oden restaurants nearby, and is 5 minutes away from the shopping district of Shijo-Kawaramachi. This means you can have lunch and dinner nearby!

Friends Kyo has a luggage room. Come 15 minutes early so we can stow your heavy things away. Valuables like mobile phones, passports, credit cards, and cash should be brought along with you on the tour.

For safety reasons, the tour will be cancelled if rain or snow is predicted. If it is cancelled, you will receive an email by 6pm the day before your tour. You will be offered an opportunity to reschedule or to receive a full refund (with a suggested self-guided wet-weather itinerary).

No. Kyoto’s wells are usually in shrine precincts and I will demonstrate how people usually greet the gods before they consume the water from the wells. However, participation in the rituals that I will introduce you to is entirely voluntary. It is up to you. None of the shrines require visitors to participate in any ritual, nor will anyone be offended if you do not.

Come in comfortable clothes suitable for an extended cycling trip. Heels, geta (wooden clogs), and loose clothing you are not used to wearing (yukata and kimono) are not recommended.

Bring along a few coins in small denominations (¥5, ¥10) as donations to the groups and organizations that maintain the wells.

Also take along with you empty water bottles if you wish to fill up at the wells (bottles smaller than 2 liters in size highly recommended).

Consider taking energy bars and other snacks if you think you will get hungry.

For safety reasons, infants and toddlers should not be taken on this tour even if they are in baby carrier backpacks. Participants will not be allowed to pillion ride.

Children above 15 years of age who have been on long(ish) cycling trips of 3 hours or more will enjoy the tour.

The rent-a-bike only has standard self-powered bikes (ie. human-powered bicycles). The bicycle will come with 3 gears, a bell, and a front basket.

The city is quite flat and there are no long uphill stretches. We will be going down to the Kamogawa River so there may be a few slopes but nothing too difficult.

We keep the pace slow (less than 15 kmph/10 miles an hour) and will stop for breaks.

No. I do not accept tips. But I would very much appreciate a review on TripAdvisor!