JAPAN SHIKOKU ISLAND BIKING TOUR

Only a short trip away from modern Japan lies Shikoku Island, a natural wonderland with boundless culture. Famous for its stunning scenery and great cycling on beautiful backroads, Shikoku Island is where white-coated Buddhist pilgrims follow the holy 88 Temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. This tour follows winding, narrow, almost-deserted roads through evergreen forests, over wild rivers and through tiny towns, and then over huge span bridges through a scattered archipelago on the way to Hiroshima. The tour starts in Kyoto, Japan’s cultural epicenter, and concludes in Onomichi, a small port town near Hiroshima.

This tour is designed to be attainable for anyone who cycles recreationally or as a commuter. Each day is perfectly paced for you to enjoy some of Japan’s best cycling, while still having time to relax and experience the local culture. Local and Lead Professional Western Guides, and a dedicated support vehicle, will be with you for every mile.

SUMMARY

TRIP TYPE: Cycling

ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate

TRIP LENGTH: 11 days/10 nights

SPACES AVAILABLE: 12

TRIP COST: From $7,600/person/double occupancy

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Enjoy some of the best cycling in Asia, including the famous Shimanami Kaido route
  • Immerse yourself in Japan’s history and culture
  • Explore Shikoku: an island rich in history, culture, and natural beauty

MEDIA

TEASER VIDEO

TREK TIPS: COMING SOON!

ITINERARY

Day 1: Welcome to Kyoto, Japan

  • International arrivals to Osaka International Airport (ITM), Kyoto
  • A WWTrek representative will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel in Kyoto
  • Bicycle fitting and gear check
  • Brief walking tour of Kyoto followed by a Welcome Dinner
  • Overnight: New Miyako
  • Meals included: D

Day 2: Kyoto Day Ride (20mi)

  • Ride an easy loop through Kyoto
  • See historic castles and palaces, and the famous Ariyashima bamboo groves
  • Time for international travelers to rest and adjust
  • Overnight: New Miyako
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 3: Cycle Naoshima and Transfer to Tokushima (20mi)

  • Early morning train to Naoshima, Japan’s “Arts Island”
  • Transfer to Tokushima, a town on Shikoku Island
  • Overnight: Agnes Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 4: Bike to Shishikui (50mi)

  • Bike along scenic roadways, following the undulating Naka River to where it meets up with coastal roads
  • See some of Shikoku Island’s famous temples, and stop for lunch near the towering Yakou-Ji temple
  • We end the day at a beautiful local lodge tucked away in a hidden beach cove
  • Overnight:  Local lodge
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 5: Bike to Muroto (35mi)

  • Relax and enjoy the morning in Shishikui before setting out on winding coastal roads
  • Ride through rural, off-the-beaten-track Japan
  • We end the day at a spotless lodge in Muroto managed by a friendly local couple
  • Overnight: Family Lodge
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 6: Cycle to Kochi (55mi)

  • Ride along beautiful shorelines from Muroto to Kochi
  • See the heritage town of Kiragawa, a perfectly-preserved old shipping town
  • We stay at a luxurious modern hotel in Kochi tonight
  • Overnight: Crown Palais
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 7: Cycle to Yusuhara (60mi)

  • A challenging but beautiful day of riding. Our route takes us along the Niyoday River, into remote and forested territory
  • Ride along a 300-year-old road built to connect pilgrimage sites
  • 13 mile-long climb, followed by a thrilling and beautiful descent
  • We spend the night in the tiny town of Yusuhara, at a contemporary hotel with uniquely Japanese architecture
  • Overnight: Yusuhara Marche
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 8: Cycle to Shimanto (50mi)

  • Morning Japanese papermaking activity
  • Ride along river trails and evergreen forests
  • Overnight: Serie Simanto
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 9: Cycle to Uwajima; Transfer to Imabari (33 mi)

  • Cycle to Uwajima, then take a coastal train to Imabari
  • Cycle through small rural villages and scenic farms
  • Overnight: Urban Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 10: Cycle to Onomichi; Shimanami Kaido Cycle Route (58mi)

  • Cycle the famous Shimanami Kaido route
  • Panoramic Ocean Views
  • Optional visits to Ohyamazumi Shrine, and Samurai Museum
  • Celebration Dinner
  • Overnight: Hotel Cycle
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 11: Departure from Onomichi

  • The tour finishes after breakfast in Onomichi
  • From here, you can transfer by train back to Kyoto, or to Hiroshima
  • Optional add-ons are available, including Hiroshima tours
  • Meals included: B

MEET YOUR GUIDE

Each one of our tours is led by a highly experienced, medically certified, world-class World Wide Trekking guide. Ed Chauner is our cycling guide; with over 30 years experience racing road bikes and mountain bikes, and an extensive background of teaching and guiding, Ed is the perfect person to ensure that you have a world-class cycling experience in Vietnam.

Learn more about Ed:

Meet Your Guide – Ed Chauner

HUMAN OUTREACH PROJECT IN JAPAN

One of World Wide Trekking’s founding principles is giving back to the places we travel. Through our sister non-profit, Human Outreach Project, we are making a difference in lives around the globe, and connecting trekkers with voluntourism opportunities in local communities. We have a number of diverse projects around the world that WWTrek guests can get involved with.

Although we don’t have projects in this part of the world, there are always opportunities to get involved and find a meaningful way to engage with the local community. We would love to talk to you about custom voluntourism and humanitarian opportunities that you can incorporate into your WWTrek trip. The find out more, go to HumanOutreachProject.org or contact us.

TRAVEL NOTES

The Cycling:

Apart from a couple of days that are just short of 60 miles, and a couple of moderate hills, the riding on this tour is achievable for anyone who rides regularly as a commuter or recreationally on the weekends. Most of the roads are paved back roads with minimal traffic. We encounter only a couple of dirt roads and these are not hard riding at all. Many days we are riding next to beautiful rivers and through thick forests, which helps keep temperatures cool and comfortable.

The Bikes:

Top quality, well maintained Merida mountain bikes in a full range of sizes are included in your tour, fitted with hybrid tires for touring. Handlebar bags for your personal possessions and a comfortable saddle are also provided, with a women’s specific version available.

The best time of year to visit:

The most pleasant cycling weather is in the spring from March to April, and again from in the autumn from August to November. April is particularly stunning, with newly planted rice fields and cherry blossoms in full bloom. The monsoon season begins in June, followed by a hot summer with the heavier rains ending mid-July. August is hot and wet, but at this time there are many festivities. This is also the beginning of peak tourist season. Autumn weather in Japan is perfect for cycling, allowing you to catch the stunning changes in foliage as the leaves turn to oranges and reds.

Arrivals & Departures:

This trip begins in Kyoto, Japan, and ends in Onomichi, Japan. You will fly into Osaka International Airport (ITM) and can choose to fly out of Hiroshima Airport (HIJ) or transfer back to Kyoto and fly out of Osaka International Airport (ITM).

*Many guests prefer to arrive before, or leave after, the scheduled itinerary. We can help you make arrangements. Additional charges for early arrival, transportation, lodging, meals, and activities will apply.

Recommended Flights:

International airfares are not included in program pricing. There are many flight options. Our travel expert, Danny Genung at Harr Travel is more than happy to help you with all of your travel arrangements from the U.S. to Japan. You can reach him at danny@harrtravel.com or 909.266.0117.

The benefit of using a travel agent is in the event of itinerary changes, the travel agent will find the best flight connections, and land arrangements, for you. Though third-party travel websites are convenient, we do not recommend using them, due to instability in the itineraries. We also recommend that you protect your flight with travel insurance and a refundable ticket.

Customs, Visas, & Immigration:

U.S. Citizens are not required to obtain a visa for travel to Japan. You will need a passport valid for more than six months after your trip. Make two copies of your passport. Leave one at home and bring the other with you in case of an emergency. Ensure you provide a color copy of your passport to WWTrek 90-days prior to your departure date. Always carry two extra passport photos when you travel.

Accommodations:

Upon arrival in Japan, you can expect the finest accommodations. Lodging is luxurious and comfortable, with a traditional Japanese flair. You’ll stay in lavish resorts such as the Crown Palais in Koshi, and the New Miyako in Kyoto; and unique, traditional-themed lodges such as Yusuhara Marche in Yusuhara.

Health & Safety:

Our stringent commitment to safety means you have access to our medically certified guides before and throughout your trip. Our staff also carries emergency medical equipment such as satellite phones and medical kits.

No specific vaccinations are required for travel to Japan, but we recommend you visit your local travel clinic at least a month before your trip to make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shot, Typhoid, and Hep A.

Helpful over the counter medications include Imodium Ad, throat lozenges, ibuprofen, eye drops, muscle rub (Tiger Balm), knee braces, and any other personal medications you may need.

For more information, feel free to contact Dr. Levy, our medical advisor at 801.943.0264.

Our Team:

World Wide Trekking boasts an extensive support crew for all of our groups ranging from 8 to 12 people. At headquarters in Salt Lake City, our staff is dedicated to helping you every step of the way. If you’re planning your trip and have a question about how to train or what bike you will be riding on the tour, our Adventure Specialist is just a phone call away.

We provide medically certified, English-speaking Western guides for all of our adventures. Additionally, you have access to a local operations manager and a plethora of local professionals to aid the group on your ride, including bike mechanics, a support vehicle, and anything else you might need.

Gratuities:

In many parts of the world, gratuities are a symbol of a job well done. We typically acknowledge our staff with a gratuity, as well as any local service person who helps you. In Japan, however, tipping is not expected or customary. As you know, tipping is your option, and a reflection of the quality of service you receive. However, don’t be offended if your tip is refused or returned to you by locals in Japan. Remember also, if tipping in US dollars, when calculating the exchange rate, be careful not to tip too much.

Trekking Staff: At the trails-end you will have the opportunity to contribute to a group tipping pool that will be presented as we say our goodbyes.

Currency Exchange:

You will have the opportunity to exchange money after your WWTrek guide escorts you from the airport. You can easily exchange money in Kyoto and the smaller villages we visit. Exchange money as you go using your credit card or cash for your personal expenses at the lodge. Japan in general is an expensive country. Typically, our guests spend from $1,000 – $2,000 for various personal expenses, souvenirs, and incidentals.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Country:

Japan is a nation of deep traditions, that nevertheless is on the cutting edge of the modern world. Its bustling, cosmopolitan cities lead the way in modernity, while its sleepy islands and villages embrace a heritage that dates back millennia. Elaborate shrines, castles, and temples imbue the stunning landscape with a sense of reverence.

Population:

127 million

Time Zone:

Japan is 9 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Capital City:

Tokyo, Japan

People:

The people of Japan are famous for being polite, courteous, respectful, and hard-working. These qualities extend to their attitude toward guests and visitors, making this one of the most welcoming and charming countries to visit.

Although the people of Japan have many similarities, both in appearance and in culture, with their Asian neighbors, they have a unique and distinct heritage. Modern Japanese people are descended from a combination of aboriginal groups living on the Japanese islands as far back as 10,000 BC, and the immigrant Yayoi culture that arrived around 400-300 BC.

Language:

The official languages of Japan is Japanese. Japanese is written using three different alphabets: Kanji, which are modified Chinese characters; Hiragana, which is a phonetic alphabet; and Katakana, an alphabet used to write foreign words.

Culture & Religion:

Japan is an intriguing mix of the ancient and the ultra-modern. Modern Japan is famous for embracing the latest innovations, and always staying on the cutting edge of technology. Under the surface of Japan’s bustling cities, though, is a strong culture dating back thousands of years. Japanese culture, architecture, art, and music are distinct and unique, despite influences from China, Korea, and Iran.

Japan’s native religion is Shintoism. Shintoism’s core belief is that everything in nature, from trees to rocks to rivers, possesses a “kami,” or spirit. Buddhism arrived in Japan around the 6th century AD, and has played a strong influence on Japanese culture, art, and beliefs. Most Japanese people practice a combination of Shintoism and Buddhism.

Money:

The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen. The 1,000 yen bill and the 100 yen coin are the most commonly used denominations, and are good to keep on hand for vending machines and small transactions.