Translated by Greg
Sightsee Japan While Cycling - 4 Accommodations With Bicycle Rentals
Written by ISHIGAKI KUMIKO
Is there a way to social distance and travel around Japan? One suggestion is riding a bicycle, which allows riders to avoid crowds, enclosed spaces, and close-contact settings. This article features four lodgings in Kyoto, Kanzawa, and other great destinations with bicycle rentals.
A Safer Way to Travel - Accommodations in Japan With Bicycle Rentals
Photo by Pixta
It's natural to want to enjoy leisure time and days off. However, the COVID-19 pandemic makes embarking on a trip or heading outdoors difficult and now every outing requires advanced planning to stay safe.
Bicycles are a convenient way to travel around and sightsee, allowing for fun exercise outdoors. On top of this, riding allows you to avoid the Three C's of COVID-19: closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.
The accommodations introduced below offer bicycle rentals, making it possible to enjoy travel while cycling. Rent a bicycle and start riding––along the way, you'll make many exciting discoveries easy to miss when traveling by bus or taxi.
Table of Contents
- 1. Hiroshima: ONOMICHI U2 - A Cyclist's Dream Lodging Along the Shimanami Kaido
- 2. Kanazawa: Guest House Shiro - Stay in a 120-Year-Old Machiya and Cycle through a Castle Town
- 3. Kamakura: Kamakura Guesthouse - Experience and Explore Traditional Japan on Bicycle
- 4. Kyoto: Ace Hotel Kyoto - An Iconic Boutique Hotel with Bicycle Rentals
１. Hiroshima: ONOMICHI U2 - A Cyclist's Dream Lodging Along the Shimanami Kaido
The Shimanami Kaido is a famous cycling route with spectacular views of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Both overseas and local cyclists from Japan converge on Hiroshima Prefecture's Onomichi, the start of this route.
Just five minutes on foot from JR Onomichi Station is ONOMICHI U2. This is Japan's first multi-purpose facility that's geared for cyclists. It was formerly an old warehouse at the port of Onomichi.
In addition to a restaurant and boutique selling Onomichi's seasonal products, the complex houses GIANT—a cycle shop featuring the famous bicycle brand—and HOTEL CYCLE, where guests can check-in after dismounting their bikes.
Picture courtesy of ONOMICHI U2
At HOTEL CYCLE, guests can bring their bikes into their room. The hotel's common space also has an area where visitors can do their bike maintenance.
For rental bikes, you have a choice between an easy to ride cyclocross bike (5,400 yen per day) and a full-fledged roadbike (6,480 yen per day), which is ideal for bike enthusiasts. Both are products of COLNAGO, the famous Italian bicycle brand.
Bike rentals are also available at GIANT, the specialty bicycle shop in the building complex. They feature a variety of bikes, including lightweight bicycles that are ideal for amateur riders, electric cross bikes (e-bikes), and other types.
2. Kanazawa: Guest House Shiro - Stay in a 120-Year-Old Machiya and Cycle through a Castle Town
Guest House Shiro is located just one minute on foot from Kanazawa Castle Park, where Kanazawa's history remains fully intact. Additionally, it's only an eight-minute walk from Kenrokuen Garden.
A traditional Japanese machiya (*1) was renovated into this guest house. The original plaster walls and tatami rooms were preserved, which gives it a historic ambiance.
The first floor features a common room for guests, including a kitchen and lounge area. All of the guest rooms are on the second floor.
In February 2020, the guest rooms underwent a renewal. After renovating the former dormitory space, the final result is a total of four private guest rooms.
*1 Machiya: a traditional wooden townhouse. It usually includes a craftsperson's studio or some other workspace.
Bikes can be rented for just 500 yen per day. They are compact bikes that can easily make tight turns (see photo above). These vehicles are perfect for exploring Kanazawa and nearby areas.
You'll feel like a resident of the town when leaving the guest house on a bicycle. This is an excellent option for those who want to immerse themselves in the local lifestyle.
The most popular sightseeing spots are within a 2.5-kilometer (1.5 miles) radius from Kanazawa Station. These include Kanazawa Castle Park and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.
Arriving at these spots by bicycle is by far the most convenient and enjoyable way to go!
3. Kamakura: Kamakura Guesthouse - Experience and Explore Traditional Japan on Bicycle
An ideal starting point for Kamakura sightseeing, Kamakura Guest House is a building that formerly served as a high-class Japanese restaurant (ryotei).
Miyadaiku (*2) carpenters put their heart and soul into the construction of this impressive wooden structure. Throughout the building, visitors can see examples of this detailed craftsmanship.
In addition to separate male and female dormitory accommodations, there's one private guest room.
The dormitory space features a signature Japanese-style: instead of beds, there are futons placed on the tatami flooring. In the private guest room, you'll find a wooden bunk bed.
*2 Miyadaiku: a carpenter who specializes in the construction of traditional Japanese architecture, including shrines and temples.
The first floor's common space features an irori (a Japanese sunken hearth). It serves as a gathering spot for relaxation and is popular among guests.
From October until March, the irori remains lit. Guests can leisurely sip sake while listening to the crackling sounds of the charcoal fire.
The guest house is about three kilometers (1.9 miles) from Kamakura Station. If you rent a bike (800 yen per day), however, you'll arrive in under 15 minutes.
Enoshima Island and Zushi City are also about 30 minutes away by bicycle. It will feel wonderful to ride a bike ride here on sunny days!
4. Kyoto: Ace Hotel Kyoto - An Iconic Boutique Hotel with Bicycle Rentals
Picture courtesy of Ace Hotel Kyoto
Kyoto has many famous sightseeing attractions, including Kinkakuji Temple, the Gion district, and Arashiyama. Many visitors in this ancient capital rent bicycles to reach their destinations efficiently.
In this city offering innumerable sights, Ace Hotel Kyoto opened in June 2020.
The Ace Hotel opened its first location in Seattle, Washington, in 1999. Since then, this boutique hotel has come to be loved by global creators and culture-lovers. Currently, there are ten locations worldwide, including New York and Los Angeles. This Kyoto location is its first hotel in Asia.
The architecture is designed by Kengo Kuma, who incorporates the essence of Japanese tradition into his works. Added to this are impressive art pieces and a contemporary interior that results in a stylish atmosphere.
This hotel is very particular about its interior and amenities—down to the smallest details. Even the rental bicycles available free of charge are custom made and painted with a coat of traditional lacquer (see the photo below)!
Picture courtesy of tokyobike
The bike above is a collaboration between Ace Hotel Kyoto and tokyobike (some English info available). This bicycle was made to enjoy the local sights of the ancient capital.
Shitsurindo (Japanese), a lacquerware workshop in Fukui Prefecture with a 200-year history, was responsible for the lacquer work.
All visitors will enjoy comfortably cruising through the streets of the ancient capital on this elegantly-crafted bicycle.
Choose a Lodging with Bicycle Rentals for a Safe, Enjoyable Trip in Japan!
Simply walking outside requires precautionary measures during these challenging times. For this reason, getting on a bicycle for a ride is a great way to try a new sightseeing style!
If you typically travel around on foot or by train, why not embark on your trip via bicycle?
Sightseeing by bicycle will allow you to reach places you usually wouldn't be able to. Cycling along with the wind in your hair will feel great, and you'll make some unforgettable memories during your journey, too!
Main picture courtesy of tokyobike