Japanese Highlights and Cycling
The journey starts in Tokyo; the seat of the Japanese government since the Edo Period (1603 to 1868). On the second day of your trip, a Private Local Guide will show you around the largest city in the world. Tokyo is a vibrant metropolis overflowing with many fascinating sights, sounds, and experiences for you to enjoy. During your trip, you may wish to visit some of the different neighborhoods like Akihabara, Shinjuku, Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya, and the like.
You will then head to Kanazawa by Shinkansen Bullet Train. Kanazawa presents historical attractions such as restored samurai residences and geisha districts, as well as modern museums. Kanazawa’s most popular attraction is Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “three best landscape gardens” and by many considered the most beautiful one. The next day, after breakfast you will take a bus to Takayama via Shirakawa-go to see a well-preserved merchant street and morning market.
Then you will travel to Gero Onsen where you will stay at a Hot Spring Ryokan. Your ryokan will serve you a traditional kaiseki dinner and you will relax in their hot spring baths. Once you are completely relaxed you will head to Osaka known as the kitchen of Japan and its friendly people. To discover Japan more in-depth we invite you for a bicycle ride from the center of Osaka to Minoh and its beautiful forest where you might find wild monkeys.
Your next destination will be Kyoto, the imperial capital. Here you will explore the streets where the emperor and other aristocrats played and worshiped. For your second day in Kyoto, a Private Local Guide will pick you up at your hotel and show you the best sites in Kyoto. Then you will take a day trip to Nara which was the first capital of Japan. Next, you will ride bicycles around Lake Biwa near Kyoto to discover this rural area at your own pace. You will then head back to Tokyo to prepare for your flight home.
The price of your tour will vary depending on what you want to do, where you want to go and other details. For help estimating your budget please see
The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
Our airport pick-up will meet you at Narita or Haneda International Airport (assuming your flight arrives after 8:00 am and before 21:30) and will take you to your hotel by public transportation. They will answer any of your questions and hand you your pocket internet device to use during your trip. They will also hand you a rechargeable transportation card to use on non-JR trains with 2,000 yen initial credit for each traveler. Details directions will be included in your tour organizer send to you about 2 weeks before you depart for Japan. Once you are checked in and had time to rest, you will be free to enjoy dinner anywhere you’d like. Make sure to ask your airport pick-up to provide a few recommendations before parting ways.
Your private local guide will meet you at your hotel and will show you Tokyo. Your guide will not work from a predetermined itinerary but will show you sights that are interesting to you. They are also very flexible and can make on the fly changes to fit your style, mood, weather, and crowds. Possible sights in Tokyo include Asakusa, Shibuya, Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Omotesando, Roppongi, Akihabara, Tsukiji Outer Fish Market, and many others. Only the best local guides can offer this kind of flexibility. Due to the flexible nature of your sightseeing, we do not include transportation, entry fees, or meals while you are with your guide. If you have any specific sights you want to visit with your guide please let us know.
Tokyo is a vibrant metropolis overflowing with many fascinating sights, sounds, and experiences for you to enjoy. During your trip, you may wish to visit some of the different neighborhoods like Akihabara, Shinjuku, Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya, and the like.
After breakfast at your hotel in Tokyo, you will head for the old town of Kanazawa using Japan’s newest Shinkansen Bullet Train Line. The most famous sight in Kanazawa is Kenrokuen Garden which used to be the private garden of the local daimyo (warlord). Today the garden is considered one of the very best in Japan and well worth a few hours of exploration. We also recommend visiting the old old samurai neighborhood and geisha districts feeling history all around you. If time allows then you should add Ninjadera (ninja temple) to learn about ninja and how they protected themselves from capture. The bullet train from Tokyo Station to Kanazawa Station will take about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
After breakfast in Kanazawa, you will take a bus through the Hida mountains to Shirakawago in northwest Gifu Prefecture. This quiet village, surrounded by mountains and rice fields is best known for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri is a traditional building style featuring steep thatched roofs designed to withstand heavy snow. In order to preserve these houses, the whole village of Shirakawa-go was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The bus ride from Kanazawa Station to Shirakawa-go will take approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Just a short train ride from Takayama is Gero Onsen (hot spring). In the poetry of Razan Hayashi, a Confusion master, Gero Hot Spring is mentioned as one of Japan’s best three hot spring areas along with Arima and Kusatsu. It is located in the Masudagawa River valley and there are a few hot spring baths along the river that you can enjoy. The train from Takayama to Gero Station will take approximately 45 minutes.
Today you will head for Osaka. The people of Osaka are widely known for their outgoing spirit and friendliness and the local dialect has been adopted as the standard for stand-up comedians and actors. Osaka’s regional cuisine is thought to be the best in Japan. Dishes include okonomiyaki (a pancake-based dish containing vegetables, meat, and/or seafood), takoyaki (octopus dumplings), and udon noodles.
Today you will join a small cycling group tour for 4 to 4.5 hours total, around 70km (44 miles) of flat, hill climbs, downhill & river paths. This is a fantastic cycling route that will take you out of the city and into the beautiful hills of Minoh. The tour is for intermediate to advanced cyclists however beginners are also welcome. The main goal of the tour is to discover the amazing nature and cycling routes that are easily accessible from Osaka city. The route takes in a variety of cycling that will have you cruising along a river, crossing through a lovely park, seeing Minoh town, tackling climbs, taking in the beauty of the mountain forest, maybe seeing Japanese monkeys, and having a well-deserved coffee break at a stunning temple in the mountain. The winding roads up the mountain are a cyclist’s dream and not to be missed. Your tour includes bike rental but please bring your own gear including pedals and shoes if you have them.
From Osaka we also recommend the below cycling routes:
-Osaka – Kyoto: 50kms (31 miles)
A pleasant ride along rivers from Osaka to Arashiyama
-Osaka – Nara – Osaka: 100kms (62 miles)
A great ride starting along rivers before arriving in Nara, the ancient capital where you will experience deer, Nara Park, Todaiji Temple, and its great Buddha.
Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is in this city that the traditional Japanese ‘high arts’ flourished. For those interested in tea ceremony, calligraphy, poetry, philosophy and religion, Kyoto is the number one place to visit. Numerous temples and shrines are located throughout the city and walking along canals, next to traditional wooden houses and through the small streets really gives you an idea of the ancient Japanese imperial culture. Kyoto is not just about the high arts, however, the city is also famous for its crafts: textile, kimono, and pottery.
Your private local guide will meet you at your hotel and will show you the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto. Your guide will not work from a predetermined itinerary and will show you sights that are interesting to you. They are also very flexible and can make on-the-fly changes to fit your style, mood, weather, and crowds. Possible sights in Kyoto include Higashiyama, Kiyomizudera, Gion, Nishiki Market, Kimono Museum, National Museum, Manga Museum, and many other possible temples, gardens, museums, and so on. Only the best local guides can offer this kind of flexibility. Due to the flexible nature of your sightseeing, we do not include transportation, entry fees, or meals while you are with your guide. If you have any specific sights you want to visit with your guide please let us know.
Nara is located in the central west of Honshu. Formerly known as Heijo-kyo, this city occupies an important position in the history of Japan as the first capital from 710 until 784. During this period, a large number of shrines and temples were erected under the protection of the imperial family and aristocrats. However, when the monks in the surrounding hills started gaining too much influence and eventually tried to seize power, it was decided to move the capital to Heian-kyo, nowadays known as Kyoto. Many of the temples built at the height of Heijo-kyo, like the Todai-ji and Horyuji temples, are currently registered as World Heritage Sites. Both Japanese and foreign tourists visit the city to see these temples, to walk among the free-roaming deer of Nara park or to visit some of the beautiful scenic mountains surrounding the city. The train from Kyoto Station to Nara Station will take about 45 minutes.
Today after breakfast in Kyoto you will head to Maibara Station where you will enjoy cycling. Your Japan travel expert will give you a few sightseeing courses to choose from. This is excellent for families and lets you move around at your own pace. It’s also an excellent chance to escape from the city.
Today you will depart Kyoto and head past Mt Fuji back to Tokyo by Shinkansen Bullet train. The train from Kyoto Station to Tokyo Station will take approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Today will be your last day in Japan and your last chance for sightseeing and shopping. Please make sure you arrive at Narita Airport or Haneda Airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled flight.
It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
Great trips don't just happen; it takes expert knowledge and years of experience to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on Rediscover Tours to make your perfect Japanese experience. Our dedication to excellence makes the difference.
Your Japan travel expert will create your trip just for you
Your interests and travel style will be front and center when designing your tour
Accommodations will be selected based on your style and we will inform them of all your special meal and physical requirements
Your Japan expert has lived in Japan or is Japanese
They know the hidden treasures of Japan that you will love and most tourists miss
Most of our team lives in Japan giving them first hand knowledge of the latest trends and experiences for you to enjoy
Private local guides add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour
We only hire the best guides and review each trip with them insuring excellent experience
Your private guide will listen to you, show you sights of interest and will make on the fly changes to match the weather and crowds
Our office in Japan is here to assist and support you
Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000
You will arrive comfortable in the knowledge that all details are taken care of and that our Japan office is just a call away