From April 2019
We meet in Kyoto a city that served as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. It is one of the country’s ten largest cities with a population of 1.5 million people and a modern face. Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today. The history is rich, the riding is superb. A few days to ride and explore one of the world most majestic and iconic cities before we head south to Himeji, another location steeped in history.
Our ride south takes us deep into the hills to the north of Kobe, before arriving down on the coast in Himeji, most famous for its magnificent castle, Himeji Castle. The castle is widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful surviving feudal castle. The castle is designated both a national treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site.
The next part of our journey will be by sea, as we jump aboard the ferry that takes us to our first island of the day, Shodoshima. We spend the next few hours hours hopping across these magical islands with are main focus the art galleries of Naoshima (直島). Naoshima is an island in the Seto Inland Sea that is known for its modern art museums, architecture and sculptures. Part of Kagawa Prefecture, the island with its Mediterranean atmosphere, sandy beaches and sunny weather, combined with a laid back, rural feel is a relaxing getaway from Japan’s large urban areas such as Tokyo and Osaka.
Much of Naoshima’s art was installed by the Benesse Corporation, which oversees art museums, installations and sculptures both on Naoshima and on neighboring islands. Benesse’s museums were designed by the well known Japanese architect Ando Tadao and include the Chichu Art Museum, Lee Ufan Museum and all the buildings of the Benesse House. In addition, Naoshima’s municipal buildings and schools were designed by the modern architect Ishii Kazuhiro. The island serves as a main venue of the Setouchi Triennale art festival.
We will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the art and relaxed island lifestyle before heading for our final leg of the journey to Onomichi, the awe-inspiring Shimanami-kaido and the fabulous OnomichU2 Bike Hotel. Onomichi (尾道) is a quaint town located along the Seto Inland Sea in eastern Hiroshima Prefecture. The town extends from the mainland across some of the neighboring islands, which are connected by the bridges of the Shimanami Kaido. Our final day is spent exploring the area, crossing the bridges and islands and enjoying our final night dinner and celebration to wrap up an incredible journey.
Average distance is about 100km per day with approximately 1000m of climbing. Our Intermediate ours aim to strike a balance between time on and off the bike, but it is still designed challenge and a reasonable level of bike handling ability is required. Contact us for more information on joining this tour.
Welcome to Kyoto. (京都, Kyōto) served as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. It is one of the country’s ten largest cities with a population of 1.5 million people and a modern face. Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its exceptional historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and escaped destruction during World War II. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today. A short ride to explore the cities famous sights.
30 km | 100 m
We will kick of first serious day of the tour with a great 80km ride around the hills of Kyoto and Lake Biwa. Stunning , tree lined roads winding up through hills will remind us of the history of the region. The afternoon can be spent relaxing the legs or getting out and taking in some more of this magical city.
82 km | 2000 m
Today we head for Himeji. A mixture of roads and terrain to get us down to our coastal destination. Temples on one side, Golf Courses on the other, the amazing contrast of cycling in Japan. We arrive in Himeji with 130km in the legs and about 2000m of climbing. A chance to explore the castle town before we for an amazing dinner.
130 km | 2000 m
We leave the stunning castle town of Himeji, not by bike, by by ferry. Today will be spent island hopping as we ride our way around each island. These islands are full of famous art galleries and stunning beaches, so plenty to enjoy both on and off the bike. We will spend the next two nights on Naoshima, the most famous of the group, so a very relaxing day with some stunning sunset views from our ryokan.
80 km | 1000 m
Today is a free day for the group, so with maps in hand, or logged on the GPS, there is plenty to see and do. Perhaps a ride to visit more of the famous galleries, or maybe a swim or relax at one of the many onsens.
98 km | 2300 m
With the legs refreshed, today we have a big day on the bike as we head for Onomichi. We weave in and out of coastal towns as we head west, there is some large town to navigate, but with our expert guides leading you every step of the way, we will arrive at our amazing hotel, the incredible OnomichiU2 Hotel Cycle with time to enjoy the afternoon and explore the town and facilities.
106 km | 975 m
This is on the bucket list for many, the famous bridges of the Shimanami Kaido. There is so much cycling to be had as we navigate our way across the stunning bridges on the a designated cycle path. We love to deviate to the lesser known areas and explore some old ports, this a major ship building area, but what a way to enjoy our last day on the bike in this incredible tour. From Kyoto, across to the castle town of Himeji, hopping across the islands of Naoshima and onto the stunning bridges. What a tour!!
80 km | 900 m
18-25 July 2019
8 Days | 7 Nights