Shimanami Kaido, Hiroshima & the Volcanoes of Kyushu – 8 Day
Travel for the sake of travel is silly. Japan is travel for the sake of the pursuit of the best. You'll be hard pressed to find better roads, and you'll be harder pressed still to find an experience that challenges and rewards on so many levels more than simply cycling.
“The Japan raid is a phenomenal road trip, cycling adventure and cultural experience. It is not a normal cycling trip, it is a piece of art!” - Rune [Japan]
No place rivals Japan when it comes to providing an abundance of incredible experiences in a small amount of space. We’re offering a unique departure to explore Japan’s longest cycle friendly bicycle bridge system in the world, the Shimanami Kaido. Followed by a remote ride through the foothills into Hiroshima with a visit to the Peace Memorial-a World Heritage Site.
The remainder of our trip sees us travelling further south by the high-speed Shinkansen train to the third largest island of Japan-Kyushu. A mountainous region known for its soaring volcanic peaks, steaming hot springs, peaceful beaches and slow-paced living. We will further explore this amazing island by bike, staying in traditional ryokan inns along the way.
Our departures are all-inclusive. All prices include hotel accommodation on a double-occupancy basis (single-occupancy is available on most trips for an additional fee), professionally guided rides, on-road vehicle support, limited laundry & recovery (massage boots), most meals (excluding alcohol), and ride nutrition/food (hydration, energy bars, etc.). Baggage transfer, porterage and all gratuities at restaurants are also included.
Airfare is not included and gratuities for our trip leaders and personal expenses. Bicycles are not included on this departures. *For all Japan departures, airport transfers are not inclusive. There are many affordable and convenient transportation options from airport to city center.
After breakfast this morning we will provide a 1h30min transfer directly to Fukuoka International Airport, from where you will then connect to Osaka KIX via a 1:10 min flight or to any other airport your continuing into. If you prefer to take the train, you can leave from the nearby Fukuoka Station.
DAY ONE: OSAKA TO ONOMICHI
25 MI / 900 FT
Upon your arrival into Osaka International Airport we will provide 1- scheduled transfer from Osaka to our arrival city, Onomichi. It is an easy 2-hour journey either by train or bus. Depending on your arrival time, we will either go for a short- guided ride to loosen up the legs or we can take the famous Onomichi Temple Walk, up and down the many stairs behind the town, visiting 25 temples along the way.
O/N Onomichi U2 Cycle Hotel
DAY TWO: SHIMANAMI KAIDO
60 MI / 3200 FT
Today we ride the Shimanami Kaido. Known as the most scenic route in Japan, the 76-kilometer trek between Onomichi and Imabari is dotted with orange orchards, classic ryokans, and, of course, stunning views of the 7 islands and the Seto Sea. It’s also a great way to see the small-town Japan that tourists often miss. We will enjoy a local lunch during our supported ride today. We can take a scenic ferry ride back to Onomichi or for those intrepid souls, you will have the option to cycle back via a slightly different route over and through the islands, making for a long 100+ mile ride. O/N Onomichi U2 Cycle Hotel
DAY THREE: ONOMICHI TO HIROSHIMA
53 MI / 3139 FT
We begin our ride from the U2 Hotel and leave behind the historic port, heading towards Hiroshima. Along the way we will pass through Higashihiroshima which is famous for making some of the finest sake in Japan. Our route takes us down ‘sake storehouse road’. The main street where the breweries are concentrated, characterized by the red chimneys and the white walls of the breweries-truly a picture postcard avenue.
We finish our journey in Hiroshima this afternoon, designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996, we will visit the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to gain a deeper understanding of the suffering caused by war and nuclear weapons and the true value of peace. O/N Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel, Hiroshima
DA Y FOUR: HIROSHIMA TO KYUSHU ISLAND
79 MI / 7,220 FT
Board the high-speed Shinkansen train to Kurume, an inland city on Kyushu Island-just one-hour & thirty minutes away. Upon arrival, we will begin cycling on tiny lanes into the rolling countryside on our way to Hita. Within 15 miles, we find ourselves deep into the heart of Yame’s green tea fields, a sea of gentle hills covered in tea trees as far as the eye can see. The remainder of our ride sees us passing through the Hoshino River valley, with plenty of opportunities to stop along the way to try the many varieties of green and white teas. This afternoon we will arrange for a visit to the famous Kyushu Hita Brewery-makers of Sapporo Black Label and Yebisu beers. We can take a brewery tour followed by a sampling of the libations.
DAY FIVE: HITA TO ASO
53 MI / 6,833 FT
This morning heading south through the Ōita prefecture, known to many as the “Land of Abundance”. We will be traversing through the Kirishima Mountain Range, which is a volcanic belt of major peaks that runs vertically through the prefecture. Ōita has the largest number of hot springs in the entire country! Known for its quiet roads and scenic beauty, 60% of the Ōita prefecture is covered in dense forests.
O/N Kumamoto Prefecture
DAY SIX: MT ASO
42.9 MI / 4,389 FT
The Queens Stage of the trip, today we spend the entire day circling the Mt Aso volcano inside the Aso Kuju National Park. We climb up its grass covered slopes in the morning and pedal around the crater before descending back down into the verdant valley floor. With it’s almost constant flow of smoke that billows from its caldera, you will have the chance to pear into its nearly 20-mile wide opening. Thanks to the volcano’s activity, it’s arguably one of the most visually striking places in Japan. Its grey, jagged, crevasse-filled, rocky landscape is covered in a smattering of small black and grey rocks, looking like an artificially implanted moon landscape, or at the very least a high- end film backdrop set in some far-reaching corner of the universe. O/N Kumamoto Prefecture
DAY SEVEN: MT ASO – YUFUIN (OITA)
37.3 MI / 4,020 FT
Our last days journey has us cycling along Route 11, the scenic Yamanami Highway spanning two prefectures, Oita and Kumamoto. The road is considered one of the most scenic byways in Japan. We traverse through the National Park and the Kuju mountain range before finishing in Oita. The amazing route takes us from the Tadewara Marshlands, through the Chojabaru and Kuju Mountain Ranges with stunning views throughout the entire ride today. The grasslands sprawling beneath the towering mountains, the steaming surface of Mt Lo and Mt Mimata looming in the distance. We spend our last evening at a small family owned Ryokan, called Shimizu, their onsen bath is located inside an inviting cave.
DAY EIGHT: DEPARTURE
This morning, enjoy a short walk through the village of Yufuin before we embark on our last leg of our journey. We take a local train from Yufuin to Fukuoka before transferring onto a special train called the Yufuin no Mori, a classic European Classical Express train. If you're a lover of fine train journeys, this one will not disappoint. We will transfer at the Hakata Station directly to Osaka via the high-speed Shinkansen train.