Jinrikisha (人力車), which means “man-powered vehicle”, were a common form of transportation in Kyoto from the 1880s until the early twentieth century, when it became more fashionable to use bicycles, automobiles and street trams. A local company is now producing two-seater Meiji-period-style jinrikisha, and has revived this more environmentally friendly form of transportation for tourists. Strapping, sun-tanned lads, and occasionally a few young women, pull jinrikisha around Kyoto’s main tourist areas. It’s a fun way to see the sites and to discover a few hidden spots in any season – they all have hoods to protect passengers from sun and rain. There are jinrikisha stations in front of Heian-jingu, near Nanzen-ji and at Arashiyama on the northwest side of Togetsu-kyo bridge, covering three routes: Kiyomizu-dera to Yasaka-jinja, Heian-jingū to Ginkaku-ji and around Arashiyama. Tours last from ten minutes (¥2000 for one, ¥3000 for two) to an hour (¥9000 for one, ¥15,000 for two), depending on the route and whether you want to stop and take photos. Some of the jinrikisha pullers speak English and will be able to give you a commentary on the sights. Jinrikisha are available every day from 10am until sunset.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Japan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Eating Kyūshū: a guide to Japan's secret foodie hotspot

Eating Kyūshū: a guide to Japan's secret foodie hotspot

Kyūshū, the most southerly of Japan’s four main islands, is pretty much left alone by tourists. Yet, the island – only a bullet-train ride from Tokyo –…

29 Mar 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month