Biking Across Japan: A Sustainable Journey

For those seeking a unique and environmentally friendly way to travel Japan, cycling offers an immersive experience that goes beyond the typical tourist trail. Join us as we pedal through picturesque countryside, bustling cities, and historic landmarks on a scenic journey across Japan. Japan’s diverse landscapes offer a myriad of biking trails catering to all levels. From the serene isles of Ise Shima, to the challenging mountainous terrains of the Japanese Alps, each route unfolds breathtaking vistas and cultural surprises. In this blog, we will guide you through some of the most picturesque and lesser-known paths for an unforgettable journey.

Cycling the Foothills of Shiga

On this cycling tour, we offer you the unique experience of visiting the Takashima area on the northwest side of Lake Biwa which reveals exceptionally charming views of both the lake and mountains. Only a short 40 minute train ride away from the bustling streets of Kyoto, you are plunged into a completely different world. The calm waters of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake, and countless rice fields stretch out before you, waiting to be explored! 

Ease into the calm atmosphere of Lake Biwa with a leisurely cycle along its coastline. Watch the lake lap away at the white sands and listen to the wind whistle through the towering pine trees. The tour also stops at Shirahige shrine where the Shinto god of longevity is believed to reside. Take a moment to pray for a long life at this unique shrine, with its distinctive torii gate planted firmly in the waters of the lake.The most memorable part of this tour is having the honour of being welcomed into a local farmer’s home and experiencing their warmth and hospitality. You will get the chance to roll up your sleeves and assist the skilled obaachan (elderly lady) as she prepares a multi-course lunch of traditional Japanese home-cooking. You will be amazed at how such simple ingredients can be crafted into a fantastic taste sensation. During lulls in the preparation, step outside to enjoy the most commanding views of the picturesque rice terraces, taking your time to stroll through the fields. Those with an interest in photography will particularly enjoy the vantage points commanded from being able to walk amongst the fields.

Cycling the Shores of Ise Shima

Cycle truly off the beaten path with this tour which takes you on a stunning journey across the verdant shores of Japan’s most sacred peninsula. Shima draws millions of visitors a year, most making the journey to Ise Jingu Shrine, where the sun goddess Amaterasu is enshrined.

On this cycling tour, you will wind your way across the Shima Peninsula to take in the beauty of this area at a different pace. Start by scaling Mt. Yokoyama for a spectacular vista of Ago Bay stretching as far as the eye can see. It is from this unique viewpoint that you can truly appreciate how lush this area is. Towering mountains one one side and dozens of islands dotted around the waters like green jewels, the Shima Peninsula is a real feast for the eyes.

Wind your way back across the rugged shores of Kashikojima island and take in the raw beauty of the coastline. Anchored to the mainland by bridges, this is a great opportunity to experience cycling over the sea. Once you’ve left Kashikojima and made it back to the mainland, you’ll finish off the tour and have the chance to reflect on all of the spectacular sights of Shima.

Ise Shima

Nagano Rice Terraces and Japanese Alps

This tour is a chance to actively explore the wealth of nature that makes up the Japanese Alps. Nagano Prefecture is well-known for having some of the most picturesque mountain ranges in Japan, and with that come luxurious resorts, craggy peaks, lush plateaus and of course – biking! Nagano is particularly well-known for the beautiful post towns dotted along the Kisoji route in the Kiso Valley. A gorgeous hiking trail now, it was once the only safe trail for the treacherous journey through the mountains between Kyoto and Tokyo.

On this tour you will have the chance to explore secret mountain streams and flowing waterfalls as you’re taken off to enjoy canyoning, kayaking or paddleboarding in the breathtaking Kiso river gorges. With your expert local guide to lead the way, this will be an adrenaline fuelled adventure!

You will change tack after lunch and will saddle up on e-bikes as you are taken off to explore local farm villages, nestled in the rice terraces, giving you a chance to really experience Japanese traditional culture. If you prefer more adventure, you could choose to go paragliding instead, to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Japanese Alps.

Setouchi Shimanami Kaido

Glide across azure seas on the Shimanami Kaido – Japan’s most famous cycling route. A 70 kilometre long road linking the mainland with the island of Shikoku, this architectural wonder is best enjoyed on the back of a bike. Well-known for offering the best views, cyclists are rewarded with the most stunning panoramic views of the Setouchi Inland Sea and the six islands crossed on this route.

Start out your tour in the laid-back town of Onomichi, where you could spend hours wandering the quaint cobbled streets and temples. In fact, there are so many temples that a route of 25 can be followed for any passionate travellers! Don’t miss out on seeing the most famous of them all, Senkoji Temple. Resting peacefully on the mountain, it keeps watch over Onomichi’s citizens and any visiting pilgrims.

Shimanami Kaido

Once you set off cycling, beginners and pros alike are sure to fall in love with the Shimanami Kaido. There is nothing quite like having miles of road stretching out away in front of you, a fresh salty breeze filling your lungs and the sea surrounding you on all sides. You can truly feel free to enjoy cycling and the nature around you  without thinking about route mapping or dodging impatient cars. Those cycling the Shimanami Kaido are led by a clear blue line indicating the best route between Onomichi and Imabari, keeping you firmly on the right track! Along the journey, take some time to stop at rest areas and cafes along the way and refresh yourself with local delicacies.