shimanami and beyond: Ninjas, Wagyu, and Osaka

A world of contrasts, from the Shimanami Kaido to Lake Biwa, the neon lights of Osaka and secretive lives of ninjas

9 days / 8 nights ・ spring 2021

’21 Apr 19-27

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

$4,720
per person

for groups of 6

see “Prices” below for more info

Available

max. capacity 12

spring blossoms
10 – 20°C
50 – 68°F

Shimanami Kaido | Onomichi | Imabari | Osaka | Iga Ueno | Koka | Omihachiman | Lake Biwa | Hikone

about the trip

Make the most of your time in Japan on a cycling journey combined with a culinary adventure! Throughout the guided cycling tour, we’ll learn about the world of contrasts that make Japan so unique. 

Starting from the southern coast of Hiroshima Prefecture and wrapping up in the northern tip of Shiga Prefecture, we’ll spend nine days covering approximately 200km on the bike (350km including other transportation). Whether you’re island hopping across the spectacularly picturesque Shimanami Kaido, coasting along historical Japanese trading routes, or fueling up with Osaka’s soul food, our itinerary is always a feast for the eyes! 

Together, we’ll cover a wide range of sightseeing destinations and cultural highlights – with the local context from the bike guides. Take a dazzling stroll in one of the most colorful entertainment districts in the country one day and on another, learn about the little-known history of ninjas and the stealthy craft of ninjutsu. Plus, dive deep into an exploration of western Japan! You’ll never forget cycling along the beautiful Japanese countryside and the classic Edo Period townscape of Hikone, an iconic castle town home to a national treasure (Hikone Castle).

We’ll also actively tickle our taste buds as we sample unique local dishes and Japanese staples. Indulge in sinfully delectable soul food from the streets of Osaka and marvel at the exquisite flavors of wagyu. Or, tuck into a refreshing meal of soba buckwheat noodles and pick your favorites from the conveyor belt at kaiten-zushi. Whether you stick to the familiar or try something different, you’ll learn something new every day.

Click here to book your tour

Shimanami Kaido silhouette of cyclists
Namba at night

Bike Options

1x bike included per person

Shimanami Kaido

Read about cycling the Shimanami Kaido

Osaka

Traveling in Osaka

food highlights

  • Indulge in two wagyu dinners (Omi beef, Iga beef)
  • Golden fried pork fillet cutlets
  • Takoyaki octopus balls
  • Iga beef shabu shabu hotpot
  • Healthy soba noodles
  • Sushi train (conveyor belt sushi)
  • Yakitori hot off the grill
  • 551 Horai steamed pork buns
  • Japanese tapas at an izakaya
  • Deep fried meat & veggie skewers
Yakitori grill
Octopus balls (takoyaki) snacks
Wagyu rice bowl
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 201km

distance/day

about 40km

climbing/day

about 435M

I hadn't been on a bike in years but when my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to go to Japan, of course I said yes!

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and was able to keep up with the other cyclists. I never felt like I was being left behind and all the food and drinks along the way were amazing!

Dayna
Photo of a single ninja in black garb
© Igaryu Ninja Museum
Taga Taisha Shrine in Shiga Prefecture
Taga Taisha
Dotonbori in Osaka at dusk
Osaka Dotonbori
Iga Ueno Castle, located in Mie Prefecture
Iga Ueno Castle
Cyclists admiring a bridge on the Shimanami Kaido
Shimanami Kaido
Hachimanbori Canal in Japan
Hachimanbori
Tourists observing an old warehouse by Lake Biwa
Hikone

trip highlights

  • Cycle the famous blue bike lane of the Shimanami Kaido and island hop the Seto Inland Sea across spectacularly picturesque bridges
  • Bike besides the Sea of Japan on the Shimanami Kaido, take a ride on the shinkansen, and experience Japan’s intricate train system
  • Dive into Osaka’s vibrant food culture and sample the soul food that fuels the Kansai region
  • Explore Hikone, an iconic Japanese castle town with a rich history strategically located at the center of Japan’s most important trade route during the Edo Period
  • Learn about the secretive world of the fabled Japanese ninja and test your ninja skills
  • Navigate the intricacies of Japanese culture, interact with locals, and engage in meaningful ways with the Japanese community
Cycling Map - Kansai Region
Shimanami Kaido bike tour map

Scenes of Osaka (credit: Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau) 

Shimanami Kaido (credit: Onomichi Sightseeing Information Center) 

Koka, Home of Ninjas  (credit: 忍びの里伊賀甲賀忍者協議会) 

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)

Day 03

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. 

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 from Imabari on the Limited Express Shiokaze, which runs along the northern coast of Shikoku. Once at Okayama, we’ll transfer onto a 60-minute shinkansen bullet train experience to our destination, Osaka. En route, we’ll help you find a bento boxed lunch of your preference to enjoy from your seat on board the shinkansen.

The remainder of the day will be spent in Namba, one of the most colorful commercial and entertainment districts in Japan. Enjoy both guided sightseeing and personal free time before indulging in tonight’s dinner smorgasbord, featuring some of the most iconic and well-known foods that you can’t miss in the culinary capital of Japan. 

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

Day 05

The morning is yours! Sleep in, go for a run, or enjoy a quiet cup of coffee at a neighborhood cafe, it’s your call. At a designated time, we’ll board a train towards Iga Ueno (about 100 min) and on our way, enjoy takeout steamed pork buns from 551 Horai, a popular shop with outlets all over the Kansai region producing handmade pork buns and other Chinese-inspired comfort foods. 

We’ll head to the mountainous city of Iga in Mie Prefecture, known as the birthplace of ninjas. Here, we’ll visit the Iga Ueno Castle and the Iga-ryu Ninja Museum to learn about the history of ninjas and the stealthy craft of ninjutsu. We’ll watch a ninja show showcasing authentic ninja skills and tools, including a demonstration of throwing stars (“shuriken”). After the show, round out your ninja experience by throwing some ninja stars on your own!

In the evening, we’ll be treated to an exquisite meal of Iga beef, also referred to as ninja beef or “niku no yokozuna” (in short, the champion of meats), one of the most elusive and rarest of wagyu. Produced from male beef cattle raised in Iga for more than a year, Iga beef is characteristic for its marbling and melt-in-your-mouth softness. 

・about 41km (25.5mi) | +451m (1,480ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Lunch (steamed pork buns), Dinner (Iga beef)

Day 06

It’s time to get back on the saddle! Starting from Iga, we’ll make our way towards Shigaraki with our final destination at Koka. We’ll ride along Wado Road (Wado no Michi) and conquer Otoki Pass while making stops at Takakura Shrine and Fudaraku Falls. 

Midday, we’ll fill up with a hearty hirekatsu or golden fried pork fillet cutlets set lunch before setting forth again to the city of Koka in Shiga Prefecture, home to ninja clans in the late 1400s. At Koka, we’ll visit the Koka Ninja House, the former residence of the Koka ninja clan’s leader, and dive into the history and significance of ninjas in Japanese history. 

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 48km (30mi) | +762m (2,500ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Lunch (golden fried pork fillet cutlets), Dinner (kaiten zushi)

Day 07

Today, we’ll ride the east bank of Lake Biwa from Koka to Hikone, with a stop at Omihachiman. A former bustling commercial hub sitting on an ancient road (the Nakasendo) linking Tokyo and Kyoto, Omihachiman is located about half an hour from Kyoto or three hours from Tokyo. Retaining a distinct historical atmosphere harkening back to the Edo period, Omihachiman is often used as a location for movies and TV dramas. In particular, the Omihachiman Riverside District is well-known for its beautifully preserved traditional buildings and nostalgic townscapes. 

At Omihachiman, we’ll take a walk along the Hachiman-bori Canal and hop on the Hachiman-yama Ropeway. The summit of Mt. Hachiman grants sweeping panoramic views of the city of Omihachiman and Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan.

For lunch, we’ll satisfy our bellies with hamburg steaks before continuing our ride for about 45km (28 miles) and arriving at the quaint town of Hikone. In the evening, we’ll kick back and sample a variety of local cuisine with Japanese-style tapas at a local izakaya.

・about 46km (29mi) | +181m (594ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Lunch (Omi beef), Dinner (izakaya)

Day 08

Our last full day will be spent journeying the historical Nakasendo, a former trading route through the mountains dating from the seventh century. After a short climb up Surihari Pass, we’ll take a break at Samegai, a post town that once served as an important resting place for those traveling on the Nakasendo.

In the afternoon, we’ll board the cycle train operated by Omi Railway at Maibara station and head to Taga Taisha shrine. A rarity in Japan, bicycles are welcome aboard these retro-inspired trains and can be rolled right on. Dedicated to the god of long life and relationships, Taga Taisha is a quiet Shinto shrine and a hidden gem complete with vermillion torii and a taiko bashi – a steep, rounded bridge. 

We’ll head back to Hikone along the east side of Lake Biwa, enjoying the beautiful Japanese countryside and vintage landscapes of castle towns to wrap up the day. In the evening, we’ll celebrate our time together and toast to discovering Japanese culture. Enjoy the evening as we treat ourselves to a scrumptious meal of Omi beef. At the end of the night, we will say our goodbyes – fair winds and following seas. 

・about 37km (23mi) | +292m (958ft)
・Standard western-style business hotel
・Breakfast, Lunch (soba), Farewell Celebration Dinner (Omi beef)

Day 09

Enjoy breakfast before we check out of our hotel and depart on a leisurely exploration of Hikone Castle, one of only four castles in Japan designated as a national treasure. After our walking tour, collect your luggage from the hotel – departure is at your leisure. 

We’ll conclude our bike tour at Hikone, Shiga Prefecture. From here, guests are free to continue their travels or make the journey home. Please do not schedule departing transportation prior to 11AM on the 9th day.

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

・ KyotoFrom classical Buddhist temples and traditional Shinto shrines, to serene zen gardens and lively geisha entertainment, Kyoto is a can’t-miss destination. (about 50 min from Hikone)

・ Lake Biwa & Chikubu IslandBask in nature with an exploration of Lake Biwa and take a 30-minute ferry to Chikubu Island, also known as the Island of the Gods and thought to harbor positive spiritual energy.

・ KanazawaVisit the historic capital of Ishikawa Prefecture; well-known for its traditional townscapes, art museums and regional handcrafts, Kanazawa also boasts an abundance of visitor information in English. (about 2 hours from Hikone)

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
Hikone, Shimane 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: Ninjas, Wagyu, and Osaka

4-5 guests
$6,300 per person (double occupancy) 
approx. $700/day

6-7 guests 
$4,725 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $525/day

8-9 guests 
$3,940 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $438/day

10-11 guests 
$3,470 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $386/day

12 guests 
$3,150 per person (double occupancy)
approx. $350/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.

Great experience from a novice cyclist! I was nervous about being able to keep up with the group since I am new to cycling but I had nothing to worry about!

We rode at a comfortable pace enjoying the beautiful scenery and stopped to get lots of pictures and eat delicious food! During our down times we explored the area, shopped, soaked in the onsens, and my favorite...karaoke!

Can't wait to tour with Taste of Japan Bike Tours again!

Ryan
Tempura and beer
Two stealthy ninjas on a roof
© Iga-ryu Ninja Museum

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