Day 1 - Osaka
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Osaka. This adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with hotel reception or look at the reception noticeboard for where and when the meeting will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
After meet the group at the welcome meeting, head out on an evening orientation walk and the chance to sample different street food along the way. Eat and drink on the street in warmer months and chat to boisterous locals - young and old - enjoying a beer and raw squid. If you are arriving early try and catch a baseball game, visit the exquisite Osaka castle or simply shop 'til you drop.
Riding distance: None
Day 2 - Kyoto
We rise early and catch the train from Osaka to Kyoto (approx. 40 mins) before checking in to our Ryoken right next to the station.
Our first ride treats us to some amazing scenery while getting the hang of cycling in Japan. The ride today takes the group west from our ryokan to the Katsura River, then north along a dedicated cycling path past traditional houses and community gardens to the ancient imperial resort of Arashiyama. Stop off for a coffee break in Arashiyama, well-known for its gorgeous bamboo forests. After a caffeine hit and a chance to soak up the peaceful atmosphere, ride on to Tenryuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, with its famous white Zen rock garden. Pause here to contemplate the sound of one hand clapping and then move on to contemplate some lunch.
Afterwards, cycle east across the north end of Kyoto and then turn south once we reach the Kamo River. Enjoy a gentle downhill riverside cycle back to our inn.
The ride today will be gentle, with only slight elevation on the roads as we head into Arashiyama. We start with a 5 kilometre ride on a main road, then follow dedicated bicycle paths and secondary roads for the rest of the day.
Riding distance: Approx. 50 kms
Day 3 - Kyoto
If you're eager to see some more of Kyoto off the bike, rise early and enjoy a morning walk around the city.
Later, rather than repeat yesterday’s ride, the group will be transported by vehicle from our Kyoto accommodation to the outskirts of Kyoto, the starting point for today's ride. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon with a meandering 45 kilometre cycle back to Kyoto.
On arrival back into Kyoto, take an evening orientation tour of Kyoto's Gion district. Observe Geisha and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) from key spots in the city's old back streets and be tempted by some of the area's great local restaurants, perhaps doubling back to visit for dinner after the tour has ended.
Kyoto’s streets are laid out in a convenient grid pattern, which is unusual for Japanese cities. In the 8th century, imperial city planners copied the grid layout of Chang’an (now Xian), the capital of the Tang Dynasty China. That’s not the only benefit we reap from the Tang Dynasty today – two well-known Tang engineers, Ma Jun and Zhang Heng, invented the mechanical gear system used by the bikes we ride around this easy-to- navigate city. Arigato Tang Dynasty!
Riding distance: Approx. 45 kms
Day 4 - Nara
Ride from Kyoto to Nara to see the Giant Buddha housed in the largest wooden structure on the planet. The cycling route takes the group on a dedicated riverside cycling path from the old capital of Kyoto to the even older capital of Nara. This city is well-known for its Todaiji Temple and its cute, free-roaming wild deer. Head south along the river for most of the day, passing more community gardens, parks, and an ancient wooden footbridge.
This morning we’ll stop for tea and snacks at Nagarebashi Bridge, a 356 metre wooden bridge that is over 100 years old and one of the longest wooden bridges in Japan. This particular bridge is a popular film location for samurai dramas — the popular TV series “Hissatsu” (Assasins) was filmed here.
Return by train to Kyoto where we stay tonight.
The total riding distance today is 65 kilometres along flat paths and gentle slopes.
Day 5 - Kanazawa
Enjoy some more UNESCO World-Heritage sites in Kyoto – such as its various gardens, temples, and shrines – or jump back on the bike for some self-guided discovery of this great old city before the train ride to Kanazawa. This city in central Japan is known for its well-preserved Edo Period districts, art museums and regional handicrafts.
On arrival, get to know the streets on a walking tour and learn more of the history of this important city. Ask your leader for some great local restaurant options.
Riding distance: None
Day 6 - Kanazawa
It's a fairly relaxing day today as you buckle up for a leisurely bike ride across the city seeing the best it has to offer. Ride past the famous gardens, including leafy Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s greatest gardens, and the old Geisha and Samurai districts. A beautiful place to enjoy by bike.
Riding distance: Approx. 10-15 kms
Day 7-10 - Noto Peninsula
Over the next three days, discover the heart of the rustic Noto Peninsula and its rugged coastlines, rice paddies, and endless farmland. Highlights, along with the cycling, including visiting asaichi (morning markets) housing everything from lacquerware and sake to fresh fish and vegetables.
Ride along the scenic coast to Myojoji Temple for an introduction to Japanese Zen Buddhism. Explore the quiet coastal roads and spectacular ocean views and ride back in time through sleepy fishing villages and past lush forests. Stop for a local lunch and head to the hot spring town of Wakura Onsen to indulge in a taste of Japan’s signature suki yaki with famous Noto Gyu (beef) as the highlight.
Don your traditional yukata (kimono) and enjoy dinners made from fresh, local ingredients at some of the great places we stay.
Riding distance: Each day we aim to cover an average distance of 65 kilometres.
Day 11 - Tokyo
No trip to Japan is complete without experiencing the country's legendary train system. Swap your bike for a high speed train and see it for yourself with a train journey from Shinkansen to Tokyo. Watch the scenic landscape fly by and remember to keep an eye out for Mt Fuji – frequently shrouded in cloud but often still visible.
On arrival into Japan's electric capital, hit the streets for a night time orientation walk and enjoy a skyscraper view over the city. Explore both the contemporary centre of town as well as the old streets, and feel the hum of modern life in this famous city.
Riding distance: None
Day 12 - Tokyo
Get an even better feel for the different areas of the city as we cycle some of the great paths along the city’s river and coastline waterways. There's modern and old surprises waiting at each turn along the way – a real treat for those who appreciate ancient and modern architecture.
Today's ride covered around 40 kilometres.
Day 13 - Tokyo
Enjoy a short but brilliant ride through the city, checking out many of the famous parks, gardens and sites using the same local paths Tokyoites use to cut through the city. Tokyo is our proverbial oyster as we sample food in Ginza, eat with locals at the famous Fish Market, and check out the latest at the Sony building before an evening eating, walking and drinking our way across with city with our knowledgeable guide.
Riding distance: Approx. 25 kms
Day 14 - Tokyo
Sadly it's time to say farewell to this great Japanese adventure. There are no activities planned for the day and you’re able to depart the hotel at any time.
Check out time is 12pm. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
If you have time why not check out the amazing Urban Adventures on offer in this eclectic city such as ‘Japan’s Cultural Curiosities’ - www.urbanadventures.com/tokyo-tour-Japan-s-Cultural-Curiosities
Riding distance: none
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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