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Cycling in Japan
There is no better way of experiencing the ever-changing landscapes of Japan than on two wheels, as you pedal from the rugged seascapes and wild beaches of the Noto Peninsula, to picturesque farmlands and remote mountainous regions of Takayama.
- Style: Guided Small Group Cycling Tour
- Duration: 14 days/13 nights
- Starts in: Tokyo
- Cycle rural roads through peaceful Japanese countryside
- Discover temples, zen gardens and geisha districts in Kyoto
- Ride along the picturesque shores of the Noto Peninsula
- Stay in authentic guesthouses and bathe in hot springs
- Visit the UNESCO historic village of Shirakawa-go
Day 1 Tokyo
Arrive in Tokyo and transfer to your hotel. Later in the evening meet with your fellow travellers.
Day 2 Tokyo
Take an orientation tour of Tokyo’s highlights. Starting from the popular district of Asakusa, visit Semso-ji, a Buddhist temple reached via the Nakamise, a shopping street where you can find a variety of traditional, local snacks and souvenirs. The afternoon is free to explore Tokyo at your leisure. Visit the must see attractions of the city - such as Shibuya known for the busy crossing.
Day 3 Tokyo to Kanazawa
In the morning, take the express train to Kanazawa, an atmospheric town that once rivalled Kyoto as the historical jewel of mainland Japan. After lunch, enjoy a short cycling loop around the city, ride through the popular Nagamachi Samurai District, an area which preserves a historic atmosphere featuring samurai residences, narrow lanes and water canals. Later, visit Kenrokuen, one of Japan's most beautiful landscape gardens, which is particularly spectacular during cherry blossom season and autumn.
Day 4 Kanazawa to Togi
Leave Kanazawa behind and cycle along the Sea of Japan. This route is a unique attraction in Japan as it is open not only to bikes, but also to cars, allowing drivers to get really close to the water's edge. Continue on the coastal cycling path, and then along the dramatic Noto Kongo Coast to Togi, often considered the most dramatic section of the Noto Peninsula.
Day 5 Togi to Wajima
Follow the beautiful coastline north as you cycle on quiet back roads lined by traditional wooden houses and rice fields. The coastal journey to Wajima undulates with some occasional steep climbs, but the effort will be rewarded by spectacular views of rugged coastline and interesting rock formations along the way.
Day 6 Wajima to Suzu
This morning, opt to join your tour leader for an early visit to the Wajima Morning Market, believed to date back over a thousand years. Then set off on your bikes and pedal along the remote and rural coastal northern stretch of the Noto Peninsula, passing famous picturesque rice fields and salt farms en route. Reach Suzu late afternoon and check into your hotel by the sea.
Day 7 Suzu to Anamizu
Leave Suzu and cycle the last stretch of the Noto Peninsula, as you follow the undulating coastal route around Toyama Bay. Along the way, enjoy coastal views and a scenic landscape dotted by fishing villages, until reaching the town of Anamizu where your ride concludes. Take a short train ride to Wakura Onsen, a popular hot spring resort where you will spend the night.
Day 8 Anamizu to Shirakawa-go
Take a break from cycling and experience a dramatic change of landscape as you travel inland by train and then bus to Shirakawa-go. This spectacular and secluded mountainous region was cut off from the rest of Japan for a long period of time. Arrive in Shirakawa-go in the afternoon, in time to enjoy a leisurely walk through the picture-perfect mountain village.
Day 9 Shirakawa-go to Hida Takayama
Today is the most challenging ride of the trip, as you cycle inland to Hida Takayama at the foothills of the Japanese Alps. Riding out of Shirakawa-go, from an altitude of approx 500m above sea level, gradually climb up 1,100m for the first 45km of the route. There are some wonderful views to be enjoyed along the way. On the last section of the ride, enjoy two great descents before reaching your destination, Hida Takayama. Spend the night in a traditional Japanese guesthouse.
Day 10 Hida Takayama to Gujo Hachiman
Cycle the Hida Seseragi Highway, a beautiful route which follows the mountain streams and is one of the most popular places to experience the striking autumn colours in Japan. Riding past little villages, shrines and paddy fields, reach the pleasant riverside town of Gujo-hachiman, known for its pristine waterways and its 16th Century castle. Before dinner there is time for a pleasant stroll through the vibrant town's centre, and along the atmospheric canals and waterways.
Day 11 Gujo Hachiman to Gifu
Enjoy a pleasant and more leisurely ride along the Nagara River, famed across Japan for its clear water and quiet beauty. Pedal along the river for most of the day, and make a stop in the pleasant town of Mino, a century-old production centre of high quality traditional Japanese paper. Arrive in Gifu, your final destination today, where there will be time for an optional visit to the castle located atop Mount Kinka.
Day 12 Gifu to Kyoto
After breakfast, travel by train to the wonderful city of Kyoto. With over 2,000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a treasure trove of Japan's cultural heritage, and remains undoubtedly one of the most fascinating cities in Asia. Taking
a walk in the historic district of Gion, which is at its most atmospheric in the early evening when the lanterns are lit and apprentice geishas flit about the back streets on their way to their appointments, is recommended.
Day 13 Kyoto
Today's cycling loop explores some of the best areas and attractions of Kyoto. Stop for a visit at the Ryoanji Temple, the site of Japan's most famous rock garden, and the splendid Kinkakuji, one of Japan's most iconic landmarks. In the evening, enjoy an optional celebratory farewell dinner in one of the most authentic restaurants in the city.
Day 14 Kyoto
Your tours comes to an end today.
Departs:Selected departures Oct- Nov 2020 & Mar-May & Oct 2021.
- 13 nights simple hotels and ryokans (traditional Japanese guesthouses)
- Support vehicle
- Bike hire
- 13 breakfasts & 5 dinners
- International flights
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