What's the first piece of advice I give anyone visiting Kyoto who wants to check out the sights? Rent an electric bike.

And just like that their visit is a completely different experience compared to others who are forced to slog their way over the numerous hills that surround the country's former capital as they work their way from temple to temple in a bid to cross off all the historic sights on their itinerary.

But it's not just tourists that are jumping on the electric bike bandwagon. The country's residents have been using them for some time. Parents carrying children, elderly folk looking for a bit of exercise, sales staff scurrying from meeting to meeting and delivery couriers hauling trailers — they're all fans of the humble two- or three-wheel electric vehicle.