Scenery along a cycling route in the north of Kyoto.

North Kyoto Cycling Route - Rider Stories

Header image by Giuseppe Ciaola

The mountains in the north of Kyoto are special - giant cedar trees, picturesque Japanese houses and farms, rivers and streams flowing from town to town and mountains with almost endless winding roads.


Not too long at 40km but more than enough to get a good workout in. The cycling is mostly river paths, mountain roads with some riding through the suburbs in the north of Kyoto.

Distance: 40.27km

Elevation: 474m

Access from Kyoto city: Good

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An image of the cyclist of did this route.

Giuseppe Ciaola

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Giuseppe lives in Shanghai where he is an active member of the growing cycling community in China. When he travels he loves getting out on the bike, attacking the local surroundings and capturing parts of it with breathtaking photos. Most of the photos in this blog were taken by Giuseppe and we thank him for letting us share them with you.

Giuseppe went for two rides in Kansai and this is one of them. His other ride was an epic 140km loop down to Nara and back in searing summer temperatures. He also captured the 140km ride with some stunning photos and we'll share the route on our blog soon.

We decided to feature his 40km ride first because we think it offers so much for all levels of cyclists in Kyoto. Giuseppe had a bit of extra time in the afternoon so jumped on the bike, got his ride in and was back to enjoy his evening in beautiful Kyoto. We're all short on time which is why we love Giuseppe's route and we're sure you will too.

Bike on Route

Cannondale CAAD8 >

The Cannondale CAAD8 rental road bike used on this route.

Kamo River start

The route starts at the famous Kamo river which cuts through the city from north to south. The river has excellent cycling and jogging paths with maintained gardens and is a great river to explore by bike.

The Kamo river splitting into two at Demachiyanagi.

The locals of Kyoto are also fond of the river with people jogging, exercising, playing football and generally enjoying the river atmosphere and space.

The route starts at Sanjo station and then you head north. Keep going until the river splits into two and you want to take the right-side path which takes you up the Takano river.

The part of the route where the Kamo river splits into the Takano river in Kyoto.

Takano river and into the mountain

Follow the river past the Takaragaike pond park and follow the river as it wraps around to the right near Takaragaike station.

The part of the route where you go up the 367 into the mountains.

You’ll fly past the last of the town before you start getting into the mountains and forest. The road starts slowly increasing in elevation and you’ll be treated to the sounds, smells and sights of nature. 

Heading up the 367 cycling route in Kyoto.

Image by Giuseppe Ciaola

There are a few temples and shrines dotted along the mountain road that you can stop off at and take a look or just keep pedaling and enjoying the views from the bike.

Oharanomuracho left turn

Keep heading up the 367 which runs alongside the Takano river until you get to an area called Oharanomuracho where you’ll be turning left onto the 40.

The part of the route where you turn left onto the 40 and start the climb.

Oharanomuracho has some lovely scenery with traditional houses lining the river making for some quality sights from the bike.

Lovely scenery in Kyoto on the northern Kyoto cycling loop.

Image by Giuseppe Ciaola


As you start biting into road number 40 the elevation starts increasing giving you a chance burn some energy and find a nice rhythm. The incline lasts around 2km and gets to a grade of 9.7% which will no doubt get your heart and lungs working.

Globalwheels cyclist working hard heading up the climb.

Image by Giuseppe Ciaola

After the peak of the small climb you'll start descending down the winding road through the mountain.

Road number 40 actually veers off to the left down past Ichihara station but you want to keep going straight which turns into road number 38.

The part of the route on the descent back towards the northern suburbs of Kyoto.

You'll pass through an area called Shizuichiichiharacho as you make your way back towards the suburbs of Kyoto.

The lovely stretch of road in the Kyoto hills to the north.

Image by Giuseppe Ciaola

Kamo river, Kamigamo and finish

It's here you'll link back onto the Kamo river as you head south towards Kamigamo and into the northern Kyoto suburbs.

The north of Kyoto is a lovely place with lots greenery, mountains to the west, north and east, and also some great cafes to stop at for a coffee or a spot of lunch.

The route will then turn left and head along the north side of the Kamigamo golf club as you make your way east to join back onto the Takano river that you started on.

The final part of the route taking you past Kamigano golf course and back onto the Takano river.

Enjoy the final ride along the Takano and then Kamo river as you make your way back into central Kyoto to finish the route.

Final thoughts

You won't be disappointed taking your bike into the mountains north of Kyoto city. If you're looking for a medium length ride with stunning scenery then we recommend trying Giuseppe's route.

He had a great couple of days riding around Kyoto (and Nara) and we appreciate him letting us share his route and photos on our blog.

How about you? Do you have any favorite routes around Kyoto? We'd love to hear about your experiences cycling around Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan.


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