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The Hidden Water Cycling Tour of Kyoto

  • An off-the-beaten-track bicycle tour up the Kamo River
  • Get an insider’s perspective on the ancient heritage city as you discover unknown attractions
  • Learn about Kyoto’s water trade, its underground crime syndicate, and the world of geishas
The Hidden Water Cycling Tour of Kyoto
From US$65.94
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  • Overview
  • What to Expect
  • Important Information
  • Reviews
  • Q&A
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The Hidden Water Cycling Tour of Kyoto
From US$65.94
Venture way off the tourist track and discover hidden gems on this water-themed Kyoto bike ride, which follows the Kamo River to explore under-the-radar sights. Step inside a 2,000-year-old shrine surrounded by ancient forest, see the underground headquarters of Japan’s notorious crime gangs, and enjoy a specially brewed tea made from well water collected during the ride.
What to Expect
We meet at Friends Kyo, a backpacker hostel in Gion, where you can drop off any heavy bags and visit the washroom before we start at 2:30pm sharp. We'll pick up the bicycles from a bike rental 1 minute away, and start cycling up the Kamo River. On the Kamo river you'll have a chance to dip your toes into the clear river water. Then we will cycle into a 2000-year-old shrine surrounded by an ancient forest to find the source of the water for the Kamo River, before heading to other hidden wells around the city.
You will also learn about Kyoto's water trade. We'll weave through a former red light district, and make a brief stop at the headquarters of the notorious yakuza. You'll also get a glimpse of the floating world of the geishas and maikos of Kyoto.
Then we will return to the meeting point to have tea made from the well water we collected. In the summer we'll have cold-brewed tea on the faux grass-covered rooftop overlooking Kenninji Temple, Kyoto's oldest zen temple, and in the winter we'll have hot tea indoors.
Reviews (14)
1 - 5 of 13 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago
What a find!!

My fiancé and I loved this experience!! We so enjoyed biking with Lee, who was so kind and knowledgeable! It started pouring in the middle of our tour and Lee was able to redirect us a bit to get us under cover. We ended up...More

Date of experience: July 2018
1  Thank Leslie C
Reviewed September 10, 2018
100% recommend

This tour was easily the best organised and most interesting tour I've ever been on. (and i organise walking tours for a living hahaha.) My colleague recommended Xian Jie to me and I am SO GRATEFUL that I managed to go on his tour. He...More

Date of experience: September 2018
Thank Aletheia_Tan
Lee_Xianjie, Manager at Craft Tabby, responded to this reviewResponded October 8, 2018

Hello Aletheia, thanks so much for coming. I hope to attend one of your tours back in Singapore, or meet you on the house-building project in summer next year!

Reviewed July 28, 2018 via mobile
Great afternoon cycling with Lee

We are a family of four with two boys 10 and 12 who booked the tour hoping to get an introduction to the less well known side of Kyoto with a local guide. We got all that and more! Lee is extremely knowledgeable and took...More

Thank A8215AWmarkw
Lee_Xianjie, Manager at Craft Tabby, responded to this reviewResponded July 31, 2018

Hello Mark! Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour and the tea. :) Don't forget to drink the Kumano Kodo tea in a year's time!

Reviewed July 20, 2018
A fantastic touring experience!

Thank you so much, Lee, for a wonderful private cycling tour of the back streets and hidden gems of Kyoto! This was a truly wonderful and fascinating tour. Lee was an outstaning guide and very generous host. This tour is a must for anyone travelling...More

Date of experience: July 2018
1  Thank Andrew S
Lee_Xianjie, Manager at Craft Tabby, responded to this reviewResponded July 21, 2018

Hello Andrew! Thanks for the review. Hope you're recovering from all the sun indoors in Tokyo!

Reviewed July 17, 2018 via mobile
What an amazing tour!

I did both the cycling and the Inari tours with this company. I can not recommend them enough! Lee is an endless source of information about the sites and the history in Kyoto. I asked him many things relating to Japanese culture and he always...More

2  Thank kaccomaz
Lee_Xianjie, Manager at Craft Tabby, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2018

Hello Katie, thanks for coming on both the tours. I had fun taking photos too. Hope to see you again soon, either in Brazil or here in Kyoto. :)

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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
September 7, 2018|
Response from leexianjie | Property representative |
Hello! The tour usually takes 3 hours, but may take an additional 30 minutes depending on the pace of the group.
Adeline C
August 7, 2018|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from leexianjie | Property representative |
Hello! We'll be cycling up the Kamogawa River, visiting the stepping stones there, the Tadasu-no-Mori forest, Shimogamo Shrine, Nashinoki Shrine, the outer grounds of the Imperial Palace, Ichihime Shrine, the yakuza... More