The Bicycle-Friendly City of Kyoto
No matter your country of origin, we can all agree the bicycles we learn to ride from an early age offer a very easy and convenient means of commuting to school or work, taking a short trip, or going shopping. In this article, let’s take a look at some Kyoto study abroad essentials: the best way to purchase a bicycle that works for you, the easiest way to borrow bicycles for short-term use, and the rules you’ll need to know when using a bike in Japan.
1. How to get a bicycle
Depending on your needs and economic situation, you might prefer to buy a bike new or used.
1.1 Buy a new bicycle
You can buy new bikes at bicycle shops and sporting goods stores that specialize in cycling. You may also see them sold in large supermarkets and shopping malls, so try checking out the shops in the area where you live. Bike specialty shops sell bicycles of all different types and at a variety of price points, so these shops are a good option for those who want to a whole range of choices. Some bike shops also have some well-maintained used bikes for sale, too, so it’s a good idea to ask shop staff about these, too!
Links for reference:
･ Cycle shop Eirin https://www.cycle-eirin.com/store
･ Kon’s Cycle https://www.konscycle.com/shoplist/
･ Qbei Bicycles https://qbei.co.jp/shop/
･ Cycle Dream https://www.c-dream.jp/sjo/
1.2 Look for used bicycles
Aside from bicycle specialty stores, used bicycles can be purchased on reselling platforms like Mercari and Jmty, etc. There are also some second-hand buying and selling groups on Facebook, like “Kyoto Sayonara Sales,” where you can also look buy and sell used bicycles. It’s also common for international students to receive old bikes from upperclassmen and acquaintances who are heading back to their home countries, so if you’re in the market for a bike, it’s good to first consult with friends before making a purchase. If you buy used bicycles outside of a specialty shop, you may need to be careful, because the bike may not have been maintained as well. Be sure to check the brakes and lights before making a purchase.
Kyoto Sayonara Salse https://www.facebook.com/groups/1512200285700986/
1.3 Precautions when purchasing a bicycle
When you’re ready to buy a bicycle, in addition to the money to make the payment, you’ll need an identification card, such as a student ID card or your residence card. Don’t forget to bring one! Whether the bicycle you buy is new or used, you’ll need “Bicycle Anti-theft Registration.” This registration is mandatory, so be sure to do it. The registration fee is 600 yen in Kyoto Prefecture (the price varies by region).
When you buy a used bicycle, be sure to ask the seller for a copy of the Bicycle Anti-theft Registration card and a receipt to prove that you purchased the bicycle. Also, if you’re getting a bicycle for free, please make a copy of the Bicycle Anti-theft Registration Card, and be sure to get a transfer certificate (the form can be downloaded from here: http://www.kyoto-bicycle.net/tourokuwoshiyou.html). If the previous owner did not register for bicycle anti-theft security, you will need to explain this when you register. You can search for bicycle shops where you can register your certificate, your ID card, registration fee, and the bike you want to register (you can search here: http://www.kyoto-bicycle.net/shop.html), or you can visit a police station to do the change/registration paperwork.
Kyoto Prefectural Police: Register for crime prevention to protect your bicycle!
2. Rent a bicycle
If you’re not going to use your bike to commute to school everyday, you have the option of using a rental bicycle, too. In Kyoto, in addition to the regular rental cycle shops, you can also rent bicycles using share bike services such as PiPPA and kotobike. PiPPA has both short- and long-term rentals, so if you need a bicycle every day for a short period of time, you can easily rent one here for a monthly fee. Kotobike offers bike rentals for periods of up to 72 hours.
You can also find many rental cycle shops all throughout Kyoto City, mainly near train stations and popular tourist spots. Find other rental cycle shops from this website:
Kyoto City Cycle Website: Bicycle Rentals
Rental bikes are convenient and easy to use, like when you’re sightseeing around Kyoto with your friends, so check them out some time!