Zen and the Art of Cycling Around Japan

Many cultural treasures and temples can be found outside of Tokyo and Osaka. Japan offers great cycling paths and smooth roads to explore them

Last month, with Japan's cherry blossom season still a few weeks away, I set off on a five-day journey that would include stops in the former Imperial capitals of Kyoto and Nara and the island of Shikoku. But rather than fly, drive, or rely solely on Japan's famed and ultra-high-speed train network, as an alternative I opted to test a newly purchased bicycle. I figured this was a healthy way to see some of Japan's best cultural treasures at a leisurely pace. Despite a few mishaps—not least some unexpected snow in Kyoto—I wasn't to be disappointed.

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