Explore Japan on foot
Discover the rich culture of Japan
Bike around the country
A visit to Japan is pure indulgence for the senses, so come prepared to experience a rich history that dates back centuries and to soak up after a day of cycling in zen-like onsen (hot spring) spas; visit beautiful forests, mountains and sea coasts as well as futuristic architecture and transportation; sample delicious regional cuisine; meet polite and candid locals as well as lovers of Hello Kitty and karaoke.
Soak in outdoor onsen hot springs
Enjoy exquisite Japanese cuisine
Feed the deer in Nara Park
Ride the magnificent Shimanami Kaido Cycle Road
Visit the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima
Stroll around lively Nagasaki
Duration: 8 days / 9 nights
Season: From September 1 to May 31. Private guided tours upon request.
Start: Kyoto – Dormy Inn Premium Kyoto Ekimae, a 5 minute walk from JR Kyoto Station
End: Kagoshima - Hotel Toko a 5 minute walk from Izumi Station
Level 2: The climb up Mount Aso is 700 meters (2,300 feet) elevation gain
Accommodations, Transfers, All Meals (B=breakfast / L=lunch / D=dinner), Snacks & Tour Leader
Bike Rental, Drinks with Meals, Personal Expenses, International & Domestic Flights, Passport or Travel Visa Requirements, Travel Insurance, Medical Check Up and Inoculations and Anything Not Specifically Stated
May 16 to 25, 2019 October 10 to 19, 2019 May 15 to 23, 2020 (7 days as only one night in Nagasaki) October 9 to 18, 2020 Private guided tours upon request from September 1 until May 31
from US$2,485* per person (single supplement: US$3,280*) *Price may change due to fluctuations of 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.
Bicycle. Riding distances of 40-70 km on rolling terrain with sometimes a climb. Suited to intermediate riders.
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 will 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.
Your Japan Highlights tour officially starts at 9am in the lobby of the hotel: you will meet your guide and fellow 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 torii gates. After lunch we cycle to Nara. The road winds through green tea fields. In the afternoon we visit the Great Buddha in Todaiji – the biggest wooden structure in the world.
This morning we transfer to Onomichi which marks the start of the famous Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road connecting Honshu and Shikoku islands. After lunch we set out on this dedicated cycling road with purpose made ramps with smooth grades to lead us up and down the bridges and islands. Here you will get to enjoy splendid views of the surrounding islands and the Seto Inland Sea.
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.
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 we have 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.
Today’s loop around the Nagasaki peninsula is optional: either ride or take the day off to visit Nagasaki’s sights.
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 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 Onsen (hot springs) when we see steam billowing from the hot springs. Obama Onsen was the last station before the climb up Unzen.
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 which 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. To kill time during the long winter evenings the islanders have developed a unique art of making giant statues out of straw, cans or even 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 and are freed from the chores of the road. Check-out before 10am. From here you can transfer to Kagoshima Airport or we can help you make other plans like visiting Yakushima Island or heading back to Kyoto to Tokyo by bullet train.