Join an Arashiyama or Rakusai area cycling tour. Depending on the course you'll visit Matsuo Taisha or Oharano Shrine, Daikakuji, Komyoji, or Yoshiminedera Temple. Other sights include Rakusai Bamboo Park, the Museum of Bamboo, and Togetsukyo Bridge.
Join a half-day cycling tour to discover the natural beauty and significant cultural sites of west Kyoto. With an English-speaking guide and an electric bicycle, you’ll cruise smoothly from highlight to highlight. Along the way, drink in the tranquility of Oharano’s lesser-known bamboo path and forest, or see the famous sights of Arashiyama. Four different courses are offered all year round, each one departing from and returning to Rakusaiguchi Station on the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line. Read on for an overview of each course, and further details of the tour highlights. • Rakusai Bamboo Museum Course This course takes you along the Take-no-Michi bamboo path, through the Rakusai Bamboo Park, and stops briefly at the Bamboo Museum. After that you visit Oharano Shrine, Yoshiminedera Temple, before returning to Rakusaiguchi Station. • Rakusai Bamboo Park Course On this course you’ll stop for a while and take some time to walk around the Rakusai Bamboo Park with your guide. Walk hidden paths introduced by your guide, before heading on to Yoshiminedera Temple and Oharano Shrine. • Rakusai Adventure Course A more challenging ride for the adventurous, this course focuses more on the ride than on making many stops. Enjoying Oharano’s tranquil beauty, you’ll pass by the top of the Rakusai Bamboo Park and ride up to Komyoji Temple for a short visit. • Arashiyama Course Instead of the Oharano area, this tour goes north from the start and takes you around the famous Arashiyama area. You’ll visit Matsuo Taisha Shrine, Daikakuji Temple, Saga Arashiyama Station, and Togetsukyo Bridge. ★ Tour Highlights • Rakusai Bamboo Park. This park in Oharano has 110 kinds of bamboo planted, and is larger and less crowded than the more famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho • Take-no-Michi (bamboo path) A 1.8-kilometer path that runs through a bamboo forest on Nishi-no-Oka hill, leading up to and around Rakusai Bamboo Park. Take-no-Michi was made to encourage visitors and preserve the beauty of the northwest Muko, an area known for producing quality bamboo. The path is bordered by eight styles of bamboo hedge, including some unique creations. The “Takehogagi” hedge is made from bundles of bamboo branches while the “Kaguyaki” is styled after the collar of a famous ceremonial kimono, and “Kofungaki” is modeled on ancient Japanese burial mounds. • Oharano Shrine A shrine established in 784, when Emperor Kammu moved Japan's capital from Nara to Nagaoka (present-day Kyoto). The legendary Fujiwara clan moved with Emperor Kammu, and legend holds that since many Fujiwara clan members held influential imperial court positions, the clan's tutelary deity, Amenokoyane, accompanied the clan members riding a deer. As you explore Oharano Shrine, you will find many deer statues within the extensive grounds—symbolic tributes to the journey to the new capital by the deity Amenokoyane. • Yoshiminedera Temple Yoshiminedera is known for its scenic autumn foliage, and belongs to the Tendai sect. Built on a mountainside, Yoshiminedera provides a commanding view of Kyoto. The grounds are spacious with many buildings to explore. In 1029, the priest Gesan established Yoshiminedera as a retreat. Destroyed in 1467 in the Onin War, the temple was rebuilt in 1621. Today, culturally significant objects of worship include one Kannon statue carved by the priest Gesan and one gifted by Emperor Gosuzaku in 1042. • Komyoji Temple. Not to be confused with the Komyoji Temple in central Kyoto, this place of worship was built in 1198, when the Buddhist disciple Kumagai Naozane erected it in an area favored by his master Honen. Komyoji is also the head temple of Seizan Pure Land Buddhism. Climbing up the gentle stone steps, you can see the massive Main Hall and the Amida Hall connected by a corridor. This path is another beautiful spot to see autumn leaves, as both sides of the approach turn to vibrant hues of red and gold toward the end of the season. • Togetsukyo Bridge Togetsukyo is one of the iconic sights of Arashiyama, an area of scenic beauty in the hills of west Kyoto. The bridge spans the meandering Katsura River where boating and cormorant fishing are popular activities in the summer. First built in 836, the current incarnation of Togetsukyo was completed in 1934, and is 155 meters long. Although the columns and beams are made of reinforced concrete the new parapets are still carved from cypress wood, lending a timeless aesthetic. This design makes the bridge a popular location for shooting Japanese period dramas, as well as one on Kyoto’s top tourist spots. South of the bridge, the tree-covered slopes of Arashiyama are covered in pink cherry blossoms during spring, and turn the fiery red of maple leaves in the autumn. Under the winter snows, the mountain seems like a scene from a landscape painting.