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Japan

Fuji to Kyoto

Guided Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

$5,975 P.P.
Japan

Fuji to Kyoto

Guided Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

$5,975 P.P.
BOOK NOW
Much more than just a cycling trip, this is an opportunity to really experience Japanese culture and meet people ready to share their wonderful cuisine and traditions.
 
Our tour starts with an e-bike exploration of Tokyo before we head to the stunning Fuji Five Lakes and Lake Kawaguchi. The iconic Mt Fuji provides a stunning back-drop to our rides.
 
Following time soaking in the onsens of Shuzenji we swap our bikes for the Bullet Train and connect to Omihachiman. From here we visit the impressive Hikone Castle as our cycling winds its way around the Lake Biwa taking in the delightful traditional villages along the way.
 
The final day’s ride sees us reaching Kyoto where you will experience the contrast of traditional and modern Japan. Here we visit temples with immaculate gardens and explore the back streets of this 1200 year old city.
 
Accommodation is of a high standard throughout and varies from modern hotels to comfortable and traditional minshuku and ryokan. There is nothing better than ending your riding day by soaking in a wonderfully relaxing onsen / bath which are often part of these accommodations.
 
Food plays an integral part of Japanese life so be prepared for some truly delicious cuisine along the way. For the adventurous there is a new food adventure around each and every corner.
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Highlights

  • Majestic Mt. Fuji and lovely Lake Kawaguchi
  • Exploring Nagahama and the awesome Hikone Castle
  • Shuzenji and its soothing hot baths after a day’s cycling
  • Bullet Trains and Bento boxes
  • Colourful Kyoto and Karaoke crooning
  • Peaceful pedalling and rural riding

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Itinerary

Day 1
Departure for Japan

Depart from home to arrive into Tokyo Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND) Airport the following morning.

Day 2
Arrival in Japan - Sights of Shinjuku

Following arrival into either Tokyo Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND) airport it’s time to take the Express Shuttle bus to the bustling Shinjuku area of the city (1.0 to 1.5hrs). Our hotel is centrally located and has been chosen for its close proximity to transportation links.

Following check-in at the hotel (14:00) you are free to relax for a few hours. At 17:00 you will be met by our guide for the trip and after an initial briefing head out for a wander (with the other members of the group) around the small streets and alleys that spiral around Shinjuku. These narrow lanes are filled with numerous interesting shops and tiny eateries serving ramen, soba and sushi. We’ll take our evening meal here, before returning to our hotel via the neon glitz of its electronics area.

Day 3
Tokyo e-bike tour - Transfer to Lake Kawaguchi
9 Miles / 15 Kms + Short Kawaguchi ride
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner

Following breakfast we head to Tokyo Station from where we take an e-bike tour of Tokyo. Starting at the Imperial Palace, it’s a fun way to shake off the jet-lag and there’s no better way to see the sights of this bustling city than by bike.

Following lunch we return to our hotel to check-out before heading to the nearby Bus Terminal for our journey (2hrs) to Lake Kawaguchi. We’ll soon leave the urban sprawl of Tokyo behind and as we get closer to the lake the majestic Mount Fuji should be clearly visible.

Kawaguchi is the second largest of the Fuji Five Lakes and whilst it has the longest shoreline it is situated at the lowest elevation (800 metres). Whilst a popular destination for the Japanese it is still possible to get away from the crowds with our hotel chosen a little way from the centre for this reason.

Following arrival it’s time for bike fitting before taking a short warm-up ride close to the lake where we can take in views of the Northern side of Mount Fuji.

Pre-dinner and it’s time to enjoy the hotel’s onsen facilities and soothe away any post-travel tiredness. Taking a onsen is very much part of Japanese culture and something we’ll be doing regularly during our time here and we’ll have a briefing about onsen / bathing etiquette before you take the plunge. See also the Accommodation Section within the General Information part of these Trip Notes

Day 4
Lake Kawaguchi to Fujinomiya
43 Miles / 69 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner
  • Ascent: 950m

Today our cycling begins with a lovely route that begins straight from the hotel and initially follows the northern side of the lake. After a few kilometres we reach another one of the Fuji Five Lakes – Lake Saiko. After following its shoreline our route takes us through the dense Sai pine forest where after around 25kms we reach a great viewpoint. From here we can see the panorama of the 1000 Alps mountain range that includes some of Japan’s highest peaks. We then enjoy a gentle sweeping descent to lunch.

Our scenery changes from here on in with lakes and forests replaced by bamboo and lush paddy fields. After a brief stop at some lovely wasabi fields our route takes us on a winding ride along quiet narrow lanes that take in numerous small villages as we follow the water-course of the local springs.

Our scenery along this section sees the lakes and forests replaced by small paddy fields, many of which are used for the growing of rice to be used in the production of Sake. With this in mind we stop at a family Sake brewery, dating from the 17th Century.

Our ride ends with a nice downhill to the town of Fujinomiya where we stay for the evening and where we might enjoy a plate of Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savoury pancake, for our dinner this evening.

Day 5
Fujinomiya to Shuzenji
38 Miles / 60 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner
  • Ascent: 470m

Our day starts with a visit to the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha. This Shinto shrine was built to appease the Kami (Japanese spirits of phenomena) after sustained volcanic activity on Mount Fuji and it’s the most important shrine in the Fuji area.

After following the small side streams of the River Urui we soon find ourselves cycling between the green tea plantations as we make our way to the coast, which is reached after a rolling 14kms. From here we follow the coastline of the Bay of Suraga for a similar distance until we reach the fishing port of Numazu.

It’s a bustling place famous for its Shirasu (small white fish) and Sakura shrimps and makes for the perfect place to take lunch. On the menu will be some of the tastiest fish / seafood you’ll experience during the tour.

Our afternoon ride includes a stop at Kakita Park to see its river whirlpools before we wind our way alongside the Kakita and Kano Rivers to Shuzenji Onsen.

Shuzenji’s history as an onsen dates back some 1,200 years, with its temple an important place for the training of Zen for the Samurai. It’s temple is certainly worth a visit, as is taking a walk around the nearby bamboo forest. The village centre is also a nice place to explore.

A large part of its attraction however, lies with its hot springs. Time once again to soothe your bodies onsen style at the hotel before sampling some more delicious food.

Day 6
Shuzenji to Omihachiman - Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

A non-riding day today and in order to connect to our second part of the tour we’ll be utilising Japan’s ever efficient rail network. Our initial section takes us from Shuzenji to MIshima (30mins), from where we speed it up with a Bullet Train (Shinkansen) to Maibara (1.5hrs) then slow it down once again with another local train to Omihachiman (30mins).

Situated at the foot of Mount Hachiman-yama, its quaint well preserved streets are lined with traditional white walled / black wood houses situated either side of a gently flowing stream and combine to make it a delightful place to visit.

The town grew in importance due to its closeness to Lake Biwa and is famous for its craftsmen and merchants who traded goods. It is also famous for Funa-Zushi a type of sushi made from Funa Carp and fermented rice. It’s an acquired (and very smelly) dish so you might want to sample some tender Omi beef instead in your evening sukiyaki!

Day 7
Omihachiman to Nagahama
27 Miles / 44 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner
  • Ascent: 340m

Leaving the lovely Omihachiman behind we make our way to Hikone. It’s a flat 30km with much of the land reclaimed and now famous for its sake rice paddys and vegetable fields.

Welcoming us into Hikone is its majestic castle which dominates the skyline. Once here it’s time for a spot of lunch before we check out this amazing place. Built in 1603 it’s one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan and is now listed as a National Treasure, and rightly so. Ramparts rambled and photos taken we jump back on the bikes.

Our final 17kms follows the edge of Lake Biwa until we reach Nagahama on its north-eastern shore (where we will stay for the night). Nagahama was an important Post Town supplying travellers and merchants with lodgings and supplies. It now houses numerous small museums within its traditional buildings.

Day 8
Nagahama to Sugaura
29 Miles / 47 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner
  • Ascent: 600m

Today’s cycling takes us on a peaceful ride along the edge of the lake. It’s a day during which you’ll be able to see numerous ancient temples, Buddhas and Kannons (statues of the Goddess of Mercy). These exist from the time of the Samurai and were made to represent great warriors who died.

Our first major stopping point is the town of Kinomoto which we reach after a flat 26kms. The main attraction here is the Kinomoto-Jizoin temple. Its Buddhist statue is said to have eye healing qualities, so if you don’t have 20/20 vision nowadays, it might be worth a quick prayer here. The town is also famous for its production of miso, soy and sake.

Following lunch here we continue to Shiozu a lakeside port that was the gateway to Kyoto for goods that arrived from the Sea of Japan.

We end the day in the tranquil surroundings of the fishing village of Sugaura, which until 50 years ago was only accessible by boat and whose Suka Shrine is worth a quick visit pre-dinner.

Day 9
Sugaura to Katada
43 Miles / 70 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, dinner
  • Ascent: 400m

We start the day by retracing a few kms from yesterday and then make our way along the western edge of Lake Biwa on a route that is make up of quiet lanes and dedicated cycle paths. This is a place of cherry trees, traditional villages of pan-tiled houses and small fishing communities who catch Ayu Salmon and Biwa Eels in the lake.

On reaching Omi-Takashima (45kms) we enjoy lunch before checking out a local vinegar maker’s shop.

After lunch it’s just a few kms to the Shinto shrine of Shirahige whose vermillion Toji (gateway) is situated in the lake and signifies our arrival there. From here we continue along the lake shore for around 20 kms that leads us to our accommodation in Katada where we also eat this evening. This traditional family run lodge by the beach has a large public bath nearby – the perfect place for a soak after a day in the saddle.

Day 10
Katada to Kyoto
27 Miles / 44 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 400m

After the recent flat and rolling riding of the lakeside today there’s a little challenge in store. Our target is the Tochugoe Pass which is situated at 370 metres and symbolically marks the border of the prefectures of Shiga and Kyoto. It’s 10 kms to here and you’ll be steadily climbing from the lakeside which is at a height of 80 metres. Of course for those looking for an uplift our support vehicle is close at hand.

From here it’s a gradual downwards ride to the ‘hidden village’ of Ohara in the mountains of northern Kyoto before we follow the rivers of Takano and Kamo into the centre of Kyoto. Our hotel is situated close to the Gion area of the city an area noted for its traditional buildings and geishas.

Our evening meal is taken in one of the many fine restaurants close to our hotel and the day ends with a wander through Gion and the heart of Kyoto’s most famous geisha quarter. Wooden slated, tile roofed tea houses line these streets and it is where, come dusk, shadows of elaborated gowned woman rustle past, disappearing behind sliding doors.

Day 11
Kyoto
  • Meals: Breakfast

There is lots to see in Kyoto and on our list of favourites are the Golden Temple (Kinkaku-ji), Kiyomizu Temple and Gosho Palace, which until recently was closed to visitors.

Lunch will be taken at a suitable time during our cycling sightseeing, with the plan to be back at our accommodation mid-afternoon. For those leaving next morning this should give plenty of time for a little souvenir shopping. Early evening and we’ll meet up for our final group meal and perhaps sink some celebratory sake to toast our achievement.

Day 12
Kyoto - Osaka - Departure
  • Meals: Breakfast

With most flights to Europe leaving mid-morning, we’ve time for a final Miso soup and bowl of sticky rice before we head to Kansai Airport (KIX) by Express Shuttle Bus (1-1.5hrs). For those of you staying to extend your time in Japan, Kyoto has lots to offer and with other destinations such as Hiroshima just a bullet train away, there are lots of options.

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The Cycling

Terrain

During our time in Japan we will be cycling on well surfaced roads throughout the tour. For the vast majority of the time you will be on cycle paths or quiet side roads where there is little or no traffic. On entering some of the larger towns and cities the traffic does increase a little, though is rarely heavy or too onerous.

Our initial riding sees us enjoying the ebb and flow of the routes of the Fuji Lakes area before we wind our way through sake rice paddies to the coast and the small fishing port of Numazu. From here a few more ups and downs lead us to Shuzenji Onsen.

Following train connections to Omihachiman we embark on the second part of the tour. The terrain remains undulating for the next few days as we cycle alongside Lake Biwa. Our final day of the trip is our most challenging as we take on the Tochugoe Pass before descending to the former Imperial capital of Kyoto where our journey ends.

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Cycling Adventures Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs

Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
11/04/2021
Return Date
22/04/2021
Duration
12 days
Price
$5,975.00
Start Date
07/11/2021
Return Date
18/11/2021
Duration
12 days
Price
$5,975.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared rooms).

B) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner).

C) Full tour service including bilingual Japanese guide, support

vehicle etc.

D) Fully Guided e-bike tour Tokyo – Day 3

E) Shinkansen (Bullet train) and local train journeys – Day 6

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure – souvenirs, bar bills etc.

H) Entrance fees to temples, shrines and other attractions

I) Airport transfers from Narita or Haneda Airport to Tokyo – Day 2 – ¥3000

J) Airport transfers from Kyoto to Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) Day 12 – ¥3000

L) International Tourist Tax on departure from Japan – ¥100

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The Essentials

Travel Options

For this trip you will need to arrive into Tokyo and depart from Osaka.

Direct flights are available with ANA and Japan Airways to both Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda (HND), and back from Osaka Kansai (KIX).

Please do not book any flights without contacting us.

Accommodation

Minshuku: Japanese style bed and breakfasts. Usually family run and offer visitors the opportunity to meet a local family and experience a traditional Japanese lifestyle. Guests stay in Japanese style rooms, sleep on a futon on tatami floor and have the opportunity to take a Japanese style bath.

Ryokan: A typical Ryokan is usually old-fashioned Japanese-style inn, maintaining the traditional atmosphere and appearance is more important than providing the latest modern convenience. A Ryokan is for travellers who wish to experience traditional Japanese culture and enjoy the comforts of true Japanese hospitality and service.

Onsens: Many of the accommodations we will be staying in have their very own onsens – hot spring bathing facilities. Onsens by definition use naturally hot water from geothermally heated springs. They can be both indoor or outdoor and taking them is very much an important part of the Japanese experience.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire.

These bikes are typically Specialized Sirrus a hybrid bike featuring v-brakes and good quality components.

If you do decide to hire we will provide all the necessary spares for the trip, with a limited amount of helmets available on request.

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