Wander through ancient temples, cycle peaceful rural and mountain roads, admire rugged coastlines and peer into volcanic craters. Much more than a cycling trip, our adventure in Japan will give you a special opportunity to really experience the incredible Japanese culture and meet people ready to share their wonderful cuisine, centuries old traditions and beautiful countryside.
Our two week journey begins in Kyoto, where you experience the contrast of traditional and modern Japan. Here we visit Zen temples with immaculate gardens, catch a glimpse of a Geisha delicately walking the vibrant streets of Gion, witness a centuries old festival and explore the back streets of this 1200 year old city. Leaving Kyoto we then detour off the usual tourist trail, venturing across the island of Honshu to the Japan sea coast. Along the way cycling on very quiet roads through an ever changing landscape of wooded valleys, rice paddies, numerous lakes and rugged coastlines. Expect to eat great food and we give you the chance to have a go at making your own Japanese dishes.
The second week we visit the volcano filled island of Kyushu heading to the world's largest caldera surrounding Mt. Aso. Look forward to a fantastic sight and then we zoom down the side and across this incredible caldera. We ride to the edge of an active volcanic crater with bubbling sulphur pools. Enjoy riding through remote farming villages, rolling pastures and smoke belching mountains. All the more impressive with the seasonal changes adding to the overall scenic beauty.
There is no better than ending to your riding day then soaking away in a wonderfully relaxing Japanese bath. Tapping their geothermal supply these onsen baths are often part of your accommodations. Always greeted with warm smiles, you will come to appreciate the Japanese art of hospitality and cuisine. There will be plenty of wonderful delights to excite your taste buds. Food is number one in Japan and we ensure you get the chance to experience that. We stay in very comfortable and traditional minshuku, ryokan (traditional japanese inns) and hotels.
Your lead guide is Vincent, a longtime resident of Japan and well travelled cyclist. He has a deep appreciation of many things Japanese and loves to share his passion and enthusiasm for Japan with visitors from around the globe, helped by our local Japanese guide(s). They will do their best to make your Japan Explorer experience a wonderful one.
In May, the Azaleas are in full bloom around Mt. Aso and Mt. Kuji, whilst the autumn colours will dapple your day between September to November.
Day 1: Europe - Japan flights. Depart from Europe to arrive into Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) the following day.
Day 2: Arrive in Osaka Kansai Airport and transfer to Kyoto. After arrival at Osaka airport we transfer by shuttle bus to Kyoto, with luggage and bikes transferred via our support vehicle. Our first night is in Minshuku accommodation in central Kyoto, in a quiet street close to Heian Shrine towards Higashi-yama area. In the afternoon it is time to put together your bike if you have brought your own, or have you fitted to your hire bike. Then time for dinner, trying the local speciality and an occasion to meet all your companions for the next exciting 16 days.
Day 3: Kyoto - Cycling Distance 15 km approx. Allowing for a leisurely start, after breakfast we set off to explore the magnificent ancient capital of Kyoto. In true Japanese style, it is a contrast of modern high tech and ancient traditional culture. Riding the narrow streets, in the Gion district meandering between ancient temples and narrow modern prefab buildings, you will soon get the sense of east and west merging into a thriving chaos. Heading east, we will explore more of the traditional Japanese quarters around Kiyomizu Dera. From the temple itself you will have a expansive view of the town. Flower blossoms in spring and autumn colours add to the attraction, which brings even the most seasoned Japanese tourist! Includes: (B, L).
Day 4: Western Kyoto - Cycling Distance 40 kms appro