Explore Japan on foot
Discover the rich culture of Japan
|Small Group tour|
|October 8 to 17, 2020 Private guided tours upon request from September 1 until May 31|
|from US$2,470* per person (single supplement: US$410*) *Price may change due to fluctuations in the exchange rate without notice.|
|You will meet your guide and fellow Japan Bikers in Kyoto|
|Soak in outdoor onsen hot springs, enjoy exquisite Japanese cuisine, hike around Mount Aso’s volcano crater and so much more.|
|Age restrictions: Everyone younger than 20 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian|
Welcome to Kyoto.
You arrive in the course of the day at the hotel. Please note that your room may not be available until check-in time at 3pm, however if you arrive early the hotel will keep your luggage secure if you want to do some exploration. Tonight’s dinner is not included. There are plenty of nice restaurants nearby to have your pick.
61 km: Kyoto – Nara
Your Japan Highlights tour officially starts at 9am in the lobby of the hotel: you will meet your guide and fellow Japan Bikers. Please be dressed in cycling gear and have your luggage (suitcase and daypack) ready for the van. After bike fitting it is a short ride to Fushimi Inari shrine with its picturesque rows of red tori gates. After lunch we cycle to Nara. The road winds through green tea fields. In the afternoon we visit the Big Buddha in Todaiji – the biggest wooden structure in the world.
48 km: Nara – Onomichi – Omishima Island
This morning we transfer to Onomichi. Onomichi marks the Honshu start of the famous Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road connecting Honshu and Shikoku islands. After lunch, we set out on this dedicated cycling road. And dedicated means dedicated in Japan: purpose-made ramps with smooth grades lead us up to the bridges with their separate bike lanes offering splendid views of the surrounding islands and the Seto Inland Sea.
42 km: Omishima Island – Hiroshima
We veer off the Shimanami Kaido to take a ferry to Okamura island and the start of the Tobishima Kaido, another fantastic string of islands. After lunch, we transfer to Hiroshima for a free afternoon. We stay near the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park. Hiroshima (??) is the principal city of the Chugoku Region and home to over a million inhabitants. When the first atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the city became known worldwide. The destructive power of the bomb was tremendous and obliterated nearly everything within a two kilometer radius. After the war, great efforts were taken to rebuild the city.
Hiroshima – Nagasaki
In the morning a short train ride brings us to Miyajima, one of the top 3 beautiful sights in Japan. It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. While officially named Itsukushima, the island is more commonly referred to as Miyajima, Japanese for “shrine island”. This is because the island is so closely related to its key shrine, Itsukushima Shrine. Like the torii gate, the shrine’s main buildings are built over water.
After lunch another transfer to Nagasaki. Due to its proximity to China and Korea, Nagasaki always opened one eye to the world. After the Portuguese and Dutch established a trading post in Nagasaki, it became known as a cosmopolitan port brimming with exotic curiosities from the Western World. Chinatown, Dejima and Glover Garden are all worth a visit. The Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum show a darker page of Nagasaki’s rich history.
75km or sightseeing: Nagasaki
Today’s loop around the Nagasaki peninsula is optional: either ride or take the day off to visit Nagasaki’s sights.
55km: Nagasaki – Obama Onsen
On the way from our hotel, we spot the Megane ‘Glasses’ bridge. Thereafter we hit the pedals and immediately start the climb out of Nagasaki Bay. We have to cross the Nagasaki peninsula. And we’re doing that in style on the old postal road. Next is an exhilarating downhill to Tachibana Bay. We ride up and down along the bay on quiet roads, with magnificent views of Mount Unzen volcano ahead. In the late 19th century, Unzen was a favorite summer resort for European and American residents of Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Manila. We’re approaching Obama when we see steam billowing from the hot springs. Obama Onsen was the last station before the climb up Unzen.
80km: Obama Onsen – Amuri Onsen
We leave Kyushu’s mainland soil and cross the Amakusa-nada Sea to the island of Amakusa. Amakusa is famed for its hidden Christians. In the early 17th century the rulers began their crackdown on Christianity. Many Christian converts were thrown into the boiling Unzen Hell, forcing them to escape to Amakusa. Amakusa proved an excellent hiding place and their descendants still live here to this day. From the ferry in Oniike we head inland to cut across the island to Kawaura. The setting sun accompanies us on our last winds before we reach our hot bath for the night.
On our last day it is all ups and downs, mainly along the coast. But first cutting across the Ushibuka peninsula on Rt 266, the main road on the island with an excellent sidewalk for riding. At the road station at the Ushibuka ferry terminal you can see the catch of the day while admiring the swinging Haiya Bridge designed by Renzo Piano.We catch a ferry enjoying the beautiful views as Amakusa shrinks and Nagashima grows bigger, arriving in Kuranomoto. People fish or farm here, the main crops are potato and sweet potato. To kill the long winter evenings the islanders have developed a unique art of making giant statues out of straw, cans or styrofoam. Try to spot as many as you can ! A glorious ribbon of coastal road and Kuranoseto Bridge brings us back to the mainland. Just before the bridge the road station offers an ideal seafood lunch stop. The delights continue until we hit Izumi plain for the last stretch home. Izumi features a samurai neighbourhood and is also the winter home of Siberian cranes. Then it is time for final goodbyes… after breakfast you don’t have to climb in the saddle any longer. Now you are freed from the chores of the road. Check-out before 10am.
Then it is time for final goodbyes… after breakfast you don’t have to climb in the saddle any longer. Now you are freed from the chores of the road. Check-out before 10am.