shimanami and beyond: 5 castles & kyoto

Coast along the Shimanami Kaido, explore five castles in western Japan, and immerse yourself in Kyoto's best.

9 days / 8 nights ・ fall 2020

’20 November 6-14
’21 April 9-17

private tours avail – Mar to Jun, Sep to Nov recommended

$4,350
per person

for groups of 6

see “Prices” below for more info

Available

max. capacity 12

fall foliage
7 – 17°C
45 – 63°F

Shimanami Kaido | Imabari | Himeji | Kyoto | Sasayama | Wadayama | Kaibara | Yunohana Onsen

about the trip

Embark on an adventure of a lifetime with an itinerary carefully selected to highlight the significance of western Japan and visit UNESCO World Heritage sites. On this bike trip, we’ll meander from the southern coast of Hiroshima Prefecture, through Okayama and Hyogo Prefectures, and conclude with an in-depth tour of Kyoto Prefecture.

Discover different sides of Japan as we navigate the roads and cuisine together for authentic, meaningful experiences on and off the bike. Over the course of nine days, we’ll ride along the stunning blue shades of the Shimanami Kaido, visit five castles once instrumental to Japanese feudal society, and find your zen among Kyoto’s shrines, temples, and monuments steeped in solemn elegance. From the deep blue shades of the Pacific Ocean to billowing rice fields and the mountainous heartlands, this journey will demonstrate the exceptional beauty of Japan’s natural outdoors. 

Away from the saddle, we’ll walk amidst castles, hike panoramic mountains, and browse treasure-filled museums. Three times a day (or more!), tickle your taste buds with a smorgasbord of Japanese staples, indulge in fresh farm-to-table ingredients, and dare to try uncommon local delicacies.

Click here to book your tour

Shimanami Kaido silhouette of cyclists
Himeji Castle (Himeji
Himeji Castle

Bike Options

1x bike included per person

Shimanami Kaido

Read about cycling the Shimanami Kaido

Kyoto

Travelling in Kyoto Prefecture

food highlights

Yakitori grill
Shabu shabu hot pot in Japan
Tempura and beer
Sushi train (kaiten zushi) in Japan
Soba buckwheat noodles

level and suitability

Level 2

This cycling tour is low to medium stress on your legs and stamina. The distance and elevation covered won’t raise red flags for the irregular cyclist but if you don’t exercise often, the rides might feel like a solid workout.

・Some flat roads and bike paths with a few technical segments
・Some rolling hills and a couple punchy climbs – up to 600 meters (2,000 feet) of elevation gain per day
・Between 30 to 80km (18 to 51 miles) a day
・Ride at a conversational pace that permits sightseeing for four to give hours per day of cycling
・Prefer to ride every day but don’t mind taking a few days off throughout the tour

cycling conditions

This bike tour takes place along asphalt and tarmac roads in good condition. There is very little technical riding. Whenever possible, we will ride on paved roads and bike paths; we  do our best to avoid busy, congested main roads. 

Cyclists are encouraged to ride and complete the full distance from point-to-point. A support vehicle follows the entire journey. Our itineraries are an approximation of our trips and at times, routes may change at the guide’s discretion to improve the trip experience. 

total cycling distance

about 195km

distance/day

about 40km

climbing/day

about 450M

An excellent tour and introduction to the culture and tradition of Japan. I really enjoyed the onsen at the ryokan after a day of cycling. Then, enjoying a great traditional meal and some sake dressed in your yukata with friends. Truly a Samurai experience!
Verne
Kiyomizu Temple outdoor viewing platform (Kyoto)
Kiyomizu-dera
Yunohana Onsen in Kyoto
Yunohana Onsen
Maiko apprentice geisha in Kyoto
Maiko in Kyoto
Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto
Tofukuji Buddhist Temple in Kyoto
Kurushima Kaikyo bridge on sunny day
Shimanami Kaido

trip highlights

Sanjusangendo buddha statues in Kyoto
Sanjusangendo
Imabari Castle in Imabari
Imabari Castle (Day 3)
Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle (Day 4)
Takeda castle ruins in Hyogo Prefecture
Takeda Castle Ruins (Day 5)
Sasayama Castle (Day 6)
Nijo Castle in Kyoto
Nijo Castle (Day 7)
Bike tour map of Shimanami Kaido and western Japan
Shimanami Kaido bike tour map

Scenes of Kyoto (credit: Kyoto Tourism Federation) 

Shimanami Kaido (credit: Onomichi Sightseeing Information Center) 

Himeji Castle (credit: Himeji Convention & Visitors Bureau) 

itinerary

We’ll start our bike tour at the Alpha-One Hotel in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture. We suggest that you arrive at least one day prior to the trip start to allow for greater flexibility and time-zone adjustments. 

Listed below are our recommendations to help you plan your arrival to Onomichi:

Train
From Tokyo
・ Tokyo station to Fukuyama station:
Nozomi shinkansen (about 3 hours 40 minutes)
・ Fukuyama station to Onomichi station:
local train (about 20 minutes) 
Shinjuku station to Onomichi station: Etoile Seto overnight train (about 11 hours 10 minutes)
From Osaka
Umeda station or Osaka International (Itami) Airport (ITM) to Onomichi station: Bingo Liner (about 4 hours 35 minutes)

Flight
Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) to Hiroshima Airport (HIJ): Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways (ANA) (about 1 hour 25 minutes)
Narita Airport (NRT) to Hiroshima Airport (HIJ): All Nippon Airways (ANA) (about 1 hour 40 minutes)
・ From airport to Onomichi station: Airport Limousine bus (about 50 minutes)

Please contact Samurai Sports if you need assistance with pre-tour options and transportation.

Welcome to Onomichi! Our exploration of Japan begins in Hiroshima Prefecture. The first day is all about shaking loose and getting your bearings. Throughout the course of the day, we’ll all check into our centrally-located hotel and get acquainted with each other.

In the evening, join us for an optional dinner at a local restaurant. Introduce yourselves and gorge on some local eats while we brief through the coming week. We’ll also answer any burning questions you might have and sing Kumbaya in Japanese – maybe.

We don’t recommend it, but some flight itineraries mean arriving late at night. No worries, just join us in the morning on Day 02!

・Alpha-One Hotel Onomichi
・Dinner (optional)

Ohayo! You’ll hear this every morning in Japan – and you’ll learn useful Japanese throughout your journey with us.

We’ll have an early-but-not-late start as we wrangle the crew together in the morning. All rental bikes will be ready with a personalized name tag (in Japanese!). Once we’ve completed fine-tuning saddles, pedals, and anything else, we’ll embark on an easy 30km ride to shake off the jetlag. 

Our first of two days on the Shimanami Kaido will involve a short ferry to Mukai-shima before we pedal towards Inno-shima, then Ikuchi-jima. On the way, we’ll make pit stops to indulge in local snacks, explore hidden paths, and admire the Setouchi Sea. 

We’ll check in at a ryokan (Japanese inn) for the night, complete with a traditional Japanese dinner. When you’re ready to feel the breeze on your bare skin, give the lemon onsen bath a try. When in Rome…!

・about 27km (17mi) | +364m (1,194ft)
・Ryokan

・Breakfast, Dinner (at ryokan)

Our third day will be spent completing the rest of the Shimanami Kaido for about 50km (31 miles) at an easy spin. From our ryokan at Ikuchi-jima, we’ll travel southbound via three small islands towards the city of Imabari in Ehime Prefecture. 

As we continue along the Shimanami Kaido’s unique blue bike lane, we’ll explore the little things that make each island special. Don’t be afraid to pause along the way and take pictures as we make our way! 

In Oshima, we’ll visit the Murakami Suigun Museum which highlights “the lords of the sea”, who were in control of the Seto Inland Sea during the Sengoku period (1467-1615). Before reaching our final destination for the day, we’ll cross the Kurushima Kaikyo Ohashi, the world’s longest suspension bridge. 

At Imabari, we’ll visit our first castle of our trip – Imabari Castle – and admire its exterior. Though the building in itself is a concrete reconstruction, the castle is unique for its vast seawater moat and high stone wall, both original remnants from the Edo Period.

In the evening, we’ll kick back at a dinner full of local fare and rest overnight at a hotel in the heart of the city. 

・about 44km (26mi) | +533m (1,749ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel

・Breakfast, Dinner (yakitori)

Day 04

Rise and shine! We’ll kick-off the morning with a 2-hour train ride on the Limited Express Shiokaze, which runs along the north coast of Shikoku. From Imabari, we’ll arrive at Okayama, then transfer onto a 40-minute shinkansen bullet train experience to our destination, Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture.

The rest of the day will be spent visiting Japan’s largest and most visited castle, Himeji Castle. Sitting a top Himeyama Hill, the castle is distinct among Japan’s castles and carries a rich history dating back to 1333. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle is known for its brilliant white exterior, the result of a lengthy, five-year restoration removing decades of dirt and damage. 

Spend the remainder of the day as you see fit until we regroup for dinner at Himeji station, where we’ll indulge in a culinary journey of local Banshu cuisine. After dinner, we’ll board a train to Wadayama for about one hour before checking in and calling it a day.

・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Dinner (Banshu specialty cuisine)

Day 05

Depending on the weather, we’ll start the day early with a trip to the observatory at Ritusu-unkyo on Mt. Asagao to witness ‘unkai’ or a sea of clouds, a natural phenomenon of cloud formations resembling soft undulating waves in an open ocean. Under the right conditions, the Takeda castle ruins will be surrounded in a sea of clouds and appear to be a castle floating in the sky. 

Following breakfast, we’ll pedal forth in the direction of the Takeda castle ruins to mark the third castle of our trip. After parking our bikes at the base, we’ll walk about 40 minutes to the ruins, then follow the marked, one-way walking course throughout the castle grounds. Enjoy the picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and the city of Asago below! 

We’ll get back on our bikes and ride towards Kaibara, a quiet town in the heart of the Tamba region just west of Kyoto. Today’s cycling journey will take place among woodsy roads along the the Tamba highlands, on country roads stretching into the horizon, and a punchy climb up Tozaka Pass. En route, we’ll stop by a local restaurant for deep fried pork fillet cutlets. 

In the evening, we’ll gather for a “kaiten-zushi” (conveyor belt sushi) dinner for a filling a la-carte meal of sushi, hot foods, and nearly anything your heart desires!  

・about 41km (25mi) | +451m (1,480ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (sushi train)

Day 06

Today, we’ll make our way from Kaibara to Yunohana Onsen. Taking our bikes further on countryside roads, we’ll visit our fourth castle with a stop at the Sasayama castle ruins and related museums. Secluded and quiet, the (former) town of Sasayama beautifully retains the aura of a historically and culturally significant region that once prospered as a key transportation hub for travelers headed to Kyoto. 

Close out the morning with a break nearby the Sasayama Castle to indulge in a unique Japanese meal featuring local game, specifically wild boar. Following lunch, we’ll get back on the saddle and cruise along the Sakyo Kaido, an old highway route which connected Sasayama and Kyoto during the Edo period. 

Our final destination and accommodation today is Yunohana Onsen, an elegant natural hot spring resort located in Kameoka, a quiet mountainous area of Kyoto. Relax in the warm, healing waters and satisfy your hunger with fresh, local fare prepared to highlight seasonal flavors. 

・about 50km (31mi) | +583m (1,913ft)
・Ryokan
・Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 07

On our second to last day, we’ll make our way to the final destination of our bike trip – Kyoto. We’ll ride on less smooth surfaces today, sacrificing paved roads for dirt roads in pursuit of timeless scenes reminiscent of traditional Japan. Our bikes will take us to Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, among the most solemnly beautiful temples in Kyoto featuring more than 8,000 statues lending the burial grounds an eerie yet austere atmosphere. We’ll also stop by Gioji Temple, a scenic, moss-covered temple known for its seclusion and tranquility in the Arashiyama district. 

For lunch, we’ll sit down for hot pot udon before making our way to our fifth and last castle of our cycling journey. Designated a UNESCO world heritage site, Nijo Castle was the Kyoto residence of one of Japan’s most well-known shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. An impressive estate with formidable moats, exquisite gardens, and ornate features exhibiting the golden age of Japanese architecture and design, Nijo Castle is an intriguing demonstration of the last period of feudal rule 400 years ago prior to the creation of the modern Japanese state. 

Our last place of lodging will be close to Kyoto station, and for dinner we’ll enjoy Japanese-style tapas at a local izakaya restaurant.

・about 34km (21mi) | +342m (1,122ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel

・Breakfast, Lunch (soba), Dinner (Kyoto-style Italian)

Day 08

Our last full day will be spent on our feet, visiting some of the most popular sightseeing spots around Kyoto. Today’s agenda includes Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrine and World Heritage Site best known for its winding paths of bright vermilion torii gates. We’ll also visit Tofukuji Temple, Japan’s largest Zen temple popular for its airy, open layout featuring an abundance of rock and moss gardens.  as well as 

Following a satisfying ramen lunch, we’ll be introduced to Kyoto’s maiko (apprentice geisha) culture and watch a traditional Japanese dance performance. Next, we’ll visit Sanjusangendo Temple, home to 1,001 statues of Kannon (the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy), and Kiyomizu-dera Temple, famous for its impressive wooden viewing platform offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Kyoto. 

We’ll wrap up the day with a leisurely walk through Kyoto’s famous geisha district, Gion. Our last stop will be a quaint riverside bistro in a restored townhouse. Under weeping willows, we’ll celebrate our time together and toast to discovering Japanese culture and meeting new friends. Enjoy the evening as we satisfy our bellies with a variety of local flavors and fusion dishes. At the end of the night, we will say our goodbyes over our final meal together.

・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Lunch (ramen), Farewell Celebration Dinner

Day 09

Enjoy breakfast and have a relaxing morning. Departure is at your leisure before check-out at 10:00AM.

We’ll conclude our bike tour at the XX Hotel in Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture. From here, guests are free to continue their travels or make the journey home. Please do not schedule departing transportation prior to the 9th day

Listed below are our recommendations for after the conclusion of the bike tour:

・ Osaka…Indulge in hearty Osaka-style street food, and explore the fascinating districts that make it the ‘soul of Japan’. About 30 min. from Kyoto.
・ Nara…Famous for the roaming deer, Nara is home to several historical architectural structures and cultural assets, including a large Buddha at Todai-ji Temple. About 40 min. from Kyoto.
・ Hiking from Kurama to Kibune…take a 4km hike between two picturesque villages in the Kitayama Mountains. About a 30-minute scenic train ride from Kyoto. Read more here.
・ Toei Uzumasa Movie Studio Park…Japan’s only theme park centered around Japanese period dramas (jidaigeki), visitors can have a ninja experience and walk around an actual film set depicting a street from the Edo period used to shoot more than 200 films per year.

Please contact Samurai Sports if you need assistance with post-tour options and transportation.

Hiroshima Airport (HIJ)

Transit from Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, or Kansai Airport

Itami Airport (ITM) or Kansai International Airport (KIX)

Travel domestic  from ITM or international from KIX

Say Hello

Alpha-One Hotel
Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture

See “Before the Tour” for guidance

Say Goodbye

TBA
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

See “After the Tour” for guidance

Book Your Trip

more information

For all cycling tours, accommodation is a mix of contemporary and traditional lodging. All of our trips are priced per person, double occupancy. If you wish to have your own room, you will be charged a single supplement fee.

Most of our hotel stays are western-style ‘business hotels’, which are clean, no-frills single- or double-occupancy accommodations with full bathrooms. The rooms have a bed, desk, television, and refrigerator; they are efficiently designed to maximize a Japan-sized space. WiFi and some amenities are usually included and many have on-site laundry facilities. Most hotels will also have a “daiyokujyou” or a large communal bath – these are typically not hot springs because the water comes from a faucet and is not naturally sourced with high mineral content.

No trip to Japan is complete without an overnight stay at a traditional ryokan (Japanese inns)! Staying at a ryokan is one of the best ways to soak in the experience of Japan’s “ometenashi” spirit, indulge in local dishes, and support family businesses. The ryokan aesthetic is simple yet purposeful, room designs will vary greatly but have everything you need. Depending on the ryokan, you may not have a private bathroom and will bathe in the communal hot spring. You’ll almost always sleep on a futon and you should never wear shoes when setting foot into a room. 

Please note that at times, the accommodation listed may change at the discretion of the trip guides and/or Samurai Sports to improve the trip experience.

Each trip with Taste of Japan combines a cycling journey with a culinary experience. From learning to navigate the ubiquitous Japanese chain restaurants to sampling regional cuisine and savoring seasonal harvests, we’re proud of the smorgasbord of flavors that make each bike tour so unique. 

From the dark blue ocean dotted with frothy waves to the windy coastlines making you wish for a tailwind, or the rice fields that stretch lazily for miles, Japanese cuisine showcases the bountiful harvests that can be had from the island’s natural landscapes. Whether you have a hankering for fresh seafood catches, feel like eating clean with locally sourced vegetables, or just want to chow on less artisan frou frou meals, we’ve got you covered. 

We also understand that everyone’s palates differ and that due to the nature of cycling tours, we also spend a lot of time together. If you’re feeling adventurous, have a specific meal you’re after, or just want something different, we regularly let you choose your meal option (usually dinner).

Optional meals mean you can choose to eat with us – or not. At optional meals, guests are expected to pay for their own orders as a typical restaurant customer. These are not prix fixe meals, you are not bound to a limited menu, and we’re happy to make recommendations!

Dietary restrictions can be difficult to accommodate regularly or consistently in Japan, where knowledge and awareness in the food and beverage industry about specific dietary restrictions is less common. It is imperative that you let us know in advance if you have food allergies and/or have strict dietary restrictions. Food preferences will be catered to the best extent possible. 

Taste of Japan Bike Tours encourages group bookings of eight or more. For smaller groups and/or personalized itineraries, please complete our booking request form.

Shimanami and Beyond: 5 Castles & Kyoto

4-5 guests
$5,950 per person (double occupancy) 
approx. $744/day

6-7 guests 
$4,350 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $544/day

8-9 guests 
$3,560 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $445/day

10-11 guests 
$3,080 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $385/day

12 guests 
$2,760 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $345/day

Everyone is invited to our cycling tours and in fact, non-riders are also welcome. Just because you don’t ride, doesn’t mean you can’t join us! Please inquire in advance regarding member(s) of your party that won’t require a bike. 

Our cycling tours are not about high intensity nor endurance training. To maximize your cycling experience, you should at a minimum, know how to ride a bike and be comfortable on the saddle for at least two hours a day. 

For reference, all of our cycling tours are ranked on a scale of 1  to 3. These levels are meant to demonstrate the difficulty of a tour and serve to indicate the types of fitness and skill you should possess to enjoy the trip. 

Level 1
・Mostly flat roads and bike paths
・Shorter climbs and small hills – no more than 400 meters (1,300 feet) of elevation gain per day
・Between 30 to 60km (18 to 37 miles) a day
・Ride at a leisurely pace for two to three hours per day, allowing you to enjoy the views and take breaks when you want to
・Like to ride, but don’t need to ride every day

Level 2
・Mostly flat roads and bike paths with a few technical segments
・Some rolling hills and a couple punchy climbs – up to 600 meters (2,000 feet) of elevation gain per day
・Between 30 to 80km (18 to 51 miles) a day
・Ride at a conversational pace that permits sightseeing for four to give hours per day of cycling
・Prefer to ride every day but don’t mind taking a few days off throughout the tour

Level 3
・Flat roads, bike paths, technical segments, and some challenges
・Climbs big and small paired with speedy descents sprinkled throughout the days – up to 700 meters (2,300 feet) of elevation gain a day
・Between 40 to 100km (25 to 62 miles) a day
・Ride at a moderate pace requiring physical endurance for up to six hours a day
・Prefer to ride every day but with alternating difficulties, distances, and destinations for balance 

Support Vehicle (SAG van) 
Our cycling tours are always accompanied with a support vehicle. If for any reason, you aren’t feeling up to par for the day’s ride or just need to take an extended water break, you can jump in the temperature-controlled SAG van until we reach our destination – or until you’re ready again.

Uncertain about your ride level? Send us an email with your Strava link and/or a written summary of your rides in the past three months. 

View the bikes offered on Taste of Japan Bike Tours

To reserve your spot on any of our Taste of Japan Bike Tours, please complete our booking request form. We’ll respond to you within 1 to 2 business days to complete your reservation. 

Guests who make a reservation more than 60 days prior to the tour must pay a $1,000 deposit per person, due at the time of booking. The deposit will be applied to your total balance and your outstanding balance (final payment) must be paid in full at least 60 days prior to the tour. Tours starting in 60 days or less require the full balance of the trip price at the time of booking. 

More than 90 days to tour
$1,000 deposit per person due at the time of booking
Each guest receives a $200 early bird discount
Outstanding balance (final payment) must be paid in full 60 days prior to tour
Guests will receive a final payment reminder via email

More than 60 days to tour
$1,000 deposit per person due at the time of booking
Outstanding balance (final payment) must be paid in full 60 days prior to tour

Guests will receive a final payment reminder via email

Less than 60 days to tour
Full payment due at the time of booking

Penalties
If final payment is not received 60 days prior to tour, you will incur a late fee of $200 per person.
If final payment is not received 30 days prior to tour, your reservation will be cancelled with no refunds or travel credit. 

Payment Methods
All prices are listed in USD. Your transaction will be indicated on your credit card statement as Taste of Japan – Samurai Sports. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and JCB credit cards via Square. Convenience store payments and personal check are not accepted. Wire transfer is acceptable – please discuss with a team member. 

Pricing
All prices listed on Taste of Japan Bike Tours are in US dollars per guest. Our prices include taxes, service fees, gratuity, and online transaction fees. Fees incurred by wire transfers must be borne by the payer. 

Solo travelers and guests who wish to have their own room may be required to pay a single supplement fee, an amount which varies by bike tour. The exact cost can be found on each tour page. 

Guests who arrive late, depart early, or for any reason cannot join the entire duration of the bike tour will not receive price adjustments, credit, or refunds. 

Taste of  Japan Bike Tours offers discounted prices for early booking (more than 90 days prior to tour) and for groups of more than six riders on the same bike tour.

We know that life happens. If you have to cancel or reschedule your bike tour, please note that Taste of Japan Bike Tours implements the following fee schedules for group tour and private tours bookings. 

Group Tours Cancellation Fees
More than 60 days to tour
50% of deposit

31-60 days to tour
50% of tour price

0-30 Days to tour
100% of tour price 

Private Tours Cancellation Fees
More than 60 days to tour
100% of deposit

0-60 days to tour
100% of tour price 

All refunds processed will be less transaction fees (about 4% for online transactions and bank-dependent for wire transfers).

If the safety of our guests, team members, and partners appear compromised, Taste of Japan Bike Tours reserves the right to cancel any bike tour at our discretion. Taste of Japan Bike Tours is not responsible for any losses incurred for non-refundable travel costs. 

Guests who cancel more than 60 days prior to departure may request full travel credit instead of a partial refund. Travel credit requests must be made in writing at the same time guests announce their intention to cancel a tour. 

In the event of cancellation (whether by the guest or by Taste of Japan Bike Tours), all guests will receive full travel credit that can be applied to any bike tour that begins within 500 days from the last day of your cancelled bike tour. Travel credit can be transferred once to another individual. Travel credit can be applied to a tour one time; once applied, no refunds will be issued. 

Taste of Japan Bike Tours take into account the many hours spent by our team members and partners who painstakingly plan your bike tour. We believe the cancellation policy above is a fair representation of costs incurred well before our guests’ arrivals.

Is airfare included? Will someone meet me at the airport? Are airport transfers included?
No, neither airfare nor airport transfers are included. Guests are expected to navigate themselves from the airport to the meeting spot on their own. Taste of Japan Bike Tours will recommended routes to the meeting spot with detailed meeting instructions in communications leading up to the tour start date. 

Our bike tours convene at a centrally located meeting point to accommodate for our guests who often arrive in Japan from all around the world on separate flights. Meeting points vary by tour and are chosen based on accessibility, guest convenience, and travel logistics. 

What sort of bike will I ride? Can I bring my own bike? 
The price of all Taste of Japan Bike Tours includes the use of one rental bike per person. Guests may select between a road bike (with drop handles) or a hybrid bike (with flat bar handles). For images and details, please refer to “Bike Options” under our Resources page

What does “double occupancy” mean? What is a “single supplement” fee? 
Our prices are per person based on two people sharing a room. If you’re joining as a solo traveler, you will be charged a single supplement fee. Similarly, solo travelers who wish to have their own room will be charged a single supplement fee. The single supplement fee varies by bike tour. 

Solo travelers who do not mind sharing a room with another solo traveler of the same gender should inquire in advance. If there is another solo traveler willing to share a room, the single supplement fee is waived for both guests. 

Is there a maximum number of guests on a single Taste of Japan bike tour?
Yes, we cap our trips at 12 guests. This allows us to ensure each guest (cyclist or not) the personal attention and support they deserve throughout the journey. 

Can non-cyclists join Taste of Japan Bike Tours? What will non-riders do? 
Taste of Japan Bike Tours welcome those who do not or cannot ride. All of our tours are priced per person, double occupancy, whether you ride or not. Due to limited seating, guests should inquire in advance regarding space availability for non-riders.

During cycling portions, non-riders will travel from one destination to the next in the sag van. All Taste of Japan Bike Tours sag vans are properly licensed to carry passengers. With the exception of the cycling portions throughout a trip, all guests will participate in the same activities, visit the same sights, and feast on the same meals. 

Can children join? Is there an age requirement?
Group tours with Taste of Japan Bike Tours are designed for adults 18 and older. All guests must be 18 years old by the first day of all group tours. 

We welcome families and guests under the age of 18 on private tours. Private tours allow us to create and coordinate the best possible arrangements for a safe bike tour with our younger guests.

What about inclement weather? 
All Taste of Japan Bike Tours ride as scheduled, rain or shine. However, exceptions may be made in certain circumstances, i.e. due to heavy rains, strong winds, and severe weather. In order to remain on schedule, our bike tour guides will guide you to your destination(s) using public transport for no additional cost.

Is gratuity included? Who do I tip? 
Gratuity for drivers, tour guides, and hospitality staff is included. Note that in Japan, tipping of service staff (including taxi drivers, hotel staff, restaurant workers) is not customary and may not be accepted. If you believe the Taste of Japan Bike Tours team has gone above and beyond, please tip our guides at your discretion. For information about weather in Japan, please refer to our Resources page.

Should I enroll in trip protection and/or travel insurance? 
Yes. Please refer to “Personal Insurance Coverage” under our Resources page.

Do I have to read and sign a release waiver?
Yes, to participate in Taste of Japan Bike Tours, all participants whether cycling or not are required to read and sign a release waiver.

Will I have to carry my own luggage on tour? 
It depends. On ride days, all luggage will be transported by our team. On days without cycling, guests may pack their luggage onto the support van. While we do our best to accommodate all guests’ luggage, depending on the amount of luggage, guests may need to hand carry their own luggage. Our team members will assist guests whenever possible to ensure a smooth, stress-free trip. 

How much should I put aside for incidentals? What personal expenses should I anticipate? Do I need cash or is my credit/debit card ok? 
Please refer to “Incidentals and Daily Expenses” under our Resources page.

What will the weather in Japan be like? What temperatures should I expect? 
Please refer to “Weather in Japan” under our Resources page.

What should I wear? What should I bring? 
Please refer to “Packing List” under our Resources page.

Will I be able to do laundry?
Please refer to “Packing List” under our Resources page.

What about accident insurance and medical coverage? What if I get hurt? 
Please refer to “Insurance” under  our Resources page.

I went along as a non-cyclist following the group daily and experienced the most amazing scenery, food, and friendship. This was the most amazing way to experience Japan. Tour was so organized and fun. Can’t wait for the next tour!

Thank you A1, Hisa ,and Shige-san for making me feel so welcomed and part of the group.

Melani
Trying potato croquettes
Shimanami Kaido
Nijo Castle exterior in Kyoto
Nijo Castle

inquiries