A Kyoto Landscape As Seen From Above

October 3, 2016

Shiori Iwawaki

Hinako Uematsu

Mina Ito

Have you ever ridden a rickshaw? There are many different kinds of rickshaws in the world. Rickshaw is generally a vehicle pulled by one man and only two or three passengers can get in to the cart. It is called “jinrikisha” in Japanese. Moreover, you go around tourist attractions in Kyoto and the rickshaw man will explain and guide the places. In Kyoto we normally see rickshaws in Arashiyama and Gion. Rickshaw is very famous because it is historical, popular in Kyoto for tourism and presents a good opportunity to learn about Kyoto.

Rickshaw Rickshaw History

Rickshaws were hand-drawn taxi-cabs of early Singapore. The name “rickshaw” was changed to jinrikisha, the Japanese name for the vehicle which literally translated means “man-powered carriage.” Some said the rickshaw was not invented by Jonathan Gable an American missionary who designed it for his wife. It came to Singapore in 1880. The same year, it was brought to Shimla in the Himalayas after it first appeared in Beijing in 1886. It was a primary source of income for the thousands of Chinese immigrants to Singapore between the 1880s to the 1930s. the rickshaw became a so becoming a major vehicle of public transport. These were popular in China and first used as private vehicles by aristocratic families. Some had iron-rimmed wheels and bodies made of pine wood. They were expensive to buy at $25 in 1881. They competed with two-wheeled horse carriages, but in the old days, the rickshaw was cheaper and faster.


RickshawRickshaw DriverRickshaws Today

Nowadays rickshaws are used mainly for tourists. Okayama first used rickshaws in 1970; after that rickshaws came to Kyoto and people got to know about them. At first, the rickshaw business began as transport that suited tasteful townscape, and became a tourist attraction in Kyoto. Most famous company for rickshaws is “Ebisuya” and they possess 228 rickshaws. Many tourists use rickshaws in Japan because it relaxing and comfortable. The comfortable ride on the rickshaw, with eye level slightly higher than usual, will let you enjoy different views of the surrounding scenery. In addition, Kyoto has many hills in historical places so it is easier to go by rickshaws. Also it is killing two birds with one stone, in other words, you can listen to the explanation and history without walking on the street. These days many tourists come to Kyoto, so there are staff who can guide in English. Rickshaw driver needs knowledge about many things such as history, seasonal objects and many other things. Furthermore, rickshaw driver needs the skill to talk with people and make them happy.

Rickshaw DriverA Kyoto rickshaw diver

We interviewed a rickshaws driver to know more about rickshaws. By interviewing rickshaws driver, we could find out many new things that we could not find on the internet. We asked one of the men who leads rickshaws; his name is Mr. Kyuragi, about various aspects of this job. He works in Arashiyama and mentioned that the most rewarding part of his job is smiles of the customers. Of course there are many hard things about a rickshaw job such as the study of history in Kyoto, building up stamina, or improving communication skills. However, these are essential things to make the customer satisfied, so they do not bother him. Also he is always careful about customers’ feelings. He tries to talk to them about something that relates to each customer so that the experience of riding a rickshaw will be memorable for them. Nowadays it is said that on some days the number foreign customers are up to 70% a day, so it has become important to communicate them in foreign languages.


In this research, we could learn about the details of rickshaws. When we went to Kyoto we learned that a man who leads a rickshaw has a to their own rewarding work and he tries to help people who come to Arashiyama in order to have better travel. We are very proud of Kyoto rickshaw driver and hope the history of rickshaw will continue in the future.


One person Two people Three people
One section 3,000Yen 4,000Yen 6,000Yen
30 minutes 7,000Yen 9,000Yen 13,500Yen
60 minutes 13,000Yen 17,500Yen 26,250Yen
120 minutes 23,500Yen 32,500Yen 48,750Yen


*For three people provide two rickshaws


picture with rickshawThe way rickshaw move












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