Bicycle Parking 駐輪所など
One of the problems related to cycling – and walking around Kyoto - is parking. Until recently, it was literally done wherever whenever however you wanted. Because of the volume of cyclists, that resulted in sidewalks that sometimes overflowed with bikes – to the point of being difficult to get around them.
At temples and outside the center of the city, parking will not be a problem. In the downtown area and around train stations, though, sidewalks can disappear under a pile of bikes.
The city's first solution to this was to tow. In 2008, an amazing 83,584 bikes were towed in Kyoto. In spite of this, the city’s sidewalks are still often overrun with bikes.
If you are towed in Kyoto, your bike will be thrown roughly onto the back of a truck with many other bikes, and then dumped into a lot in deep industrial south Kyoto at Jujo (telephone: 541 7913; take bus 84 or 5) or the lot south of JR Nijo Station (telephone: 821 9366). (Note: there are other lots - for a full list with maps, click here - but Jujo and Nijo seem to be the main ones.) You will need to go to the storage facility, pay 2,300 yen to retrieve and then find your bike. You will be told, for example, "Go to C5!" Then you wander around that section, find your bike – and start the long ride back home.
The lot will hold your bike for 4 months. At that point, it will be disposed of.
If you do park illegally – especially downtown – you are tempting the towing gods and blocking the way for pedestrians.
Credit must be given where credit is due: Kyoto has done a lot of work on its bicycle parking infrastructure.
The easiest way to avoid being towed is to park in a lot (see below). If that is not possible, or you refuse to put your bike in a lot, there is yet another option: read the leaflets posted by the tow trucks before they go out.
The city posts signs announcing the date bikes will be towed in that area. If you see a white flyer posted onto a sign - look for the date. That is the date the truck will come for bikes parked in that area.
Below are more conventional parking options.
Throughout the metropolitan area of Kyoto, there are more than 30 "Eco Stations." These are places to park and noted with red pins in the map. Usually, you will be able to park for 1-3 hours for free; thereafter, an hourly rate will be levied.
There are at least eight large lots downtown: among them, an underground lot by Kyoto WINGS, just north of Daimaru department strore; the Shijo Takakura lot, which is just north of Shijo on Takakura Dori; and a lot on Tominokoji - Rokkaku Dori. Fees are 150 yen per day at the first two lots. At the other lot, the first hour is free. After that it is the standard 150 yen for 24 hours.
In another stroke of brilliance, the city has added spaces along Oike Dori from Kiyamachi to Karasuma. The first 30 minutes are free. After that, it costs 100 yen to for three hours, and then 50 yen for each additional two hours.
Next to Train Stations (Nijo, Hanazono, Enmachi, Tanbaguchi, Saiin, etc.)
There are bike lots under the tracks on ground level or adjacent to many train stations. At JR Nijo and Hanazono Stations, for example, there are large lots. It costs 150 yen for one day.
There are three lots near Demachiyanagi Station, two next to the Eizan Railways Station, the other across the bridge that spans first the Takano River and then the Kamo River. The two lots near the station are above ground; the one on the other side of the river is below ground. You walk down a ramp for bikes; to the right of that is the entrance for automobiles.
Under the Vivre shopping center is a large bike lot. It is free for three hours. Afte that, a fee is required. To find it, go to the east edge of the shopping center on the north side of Kitaoji Dori (this is the side of the street on which Vivre is located). At this point, there is a small north-south street. Go north. About 100 meters up on the left will be a "P" sign for the lot.
Entry and Payment System
Pull your bike up to the entrance, and stop in front of the ticket machine, press the button, and then take the ticket. The gate will swing open. Enter.
When you leave, you have to pay at a machine near the exit. Put the ticket into the machine, pay the amount noted, take the ticket again. Now pull up to the exit, put the ticket into the machine; the gate will swing open. (At some of the newer lots, you both pay and then insert the ticket in the same machine to leave.) Exit.
For commuters, you can buy a pass that gives you 11 uses for the price of 10. They are called “kaisuken.”
Japanese Site for Kyoto Bicycle Parking
For those who can read Japanese, here is the ultimate source for finding bicycle parking lots in Kyoto.
Central Kyoto Bicycle Parking Lots
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