Head to Shikoku and experience a hidden part of Japan on two wheels! Over 6 days and 400 km/250 miles, you’ll cycle your way through mountain roads taking you to ancient Shinto temples and coastal paths overlooked by traditional Japanese castles. Traverse a world-renowned expressway connecting 5 islands and switch it up with roads cutting across terraced rice fields, until you end up in meticulous Japanese gardens. Stop pedaling to admire gorges and untamed rivers before unwinding with a glass of sake in hot springs. Join your guide and discover authentic and remote parts of Japan in an active way. 

  • Spend 6 days touring an authentic and lesser-known part of Japan

  • Traverse the world-renowned cycling destination—Shimanami Kaido

  • Combine active travel with cultural and culinary insights about Japan

Itinerary

Spend 6 days cycling in search of authentic Japan on the island of Shikoku. Start off by traversing the scenic expressway of Shimanami Kaido and cross tens of miles each day witnessing the clash between nature, tradition, and modernity in Japanese cities and villages, sacred places, and unspoiled wilderness. Join a tour laced with traditional cuisine, quality lodging, and, of course, great cycling under the supervision of your expert local guide. 

  • Meet your guide at Onomichi Station in the morning. Your guided adventure starts with cycling over the world-famous Shimanami Kaido—a 60-km expressway open for bikes connecting the biggest Japanese island of Honshu to the smallest of the main four islands—Shikoku. You’ll cover 5 islands and bridges, relish the scenic landscapes, and experience the culture of the Seto Inland Sea. Lodging on Day 1 is a campsite in a stunning location nestled by the shoreline.

    Meals: Lunch and dinner
    Cycling: 50 km/30 miles

    Shimanami Bridge, part of Shimanami Kaido, crossed during the Shikoku cycling trip.
  • Finish the Shimanami Kaido route by cycling over the last two bridges. Your group will then head down the coast to the historic city of Matsuyama, the capital of the prefecture of Ehime. Cycle through the city, you’ll be able to view an impressive 17th-century Japanese castle. Continue cycling towards your hotel in the Dogo area. Wander about the Dogo Onsen area famous for its traditional hot springs. Try a local rice dish tai meshi for dinner and finish the meal with a glass of local sake. After dinner, you’ll have ample time to explore some of the city on your own. 

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
    Cycling: 70 km/ 44 miles
    Elevation: 550 m/ 1,800 ft

    Dogo, part of the city of Matsayuma seen at night during the Shikoku cycling trip.
  • Your cycling on Day 3 starts along the streets of Matsuyama, before heading out of the city and climbing up the mountains following stunning roads surrounded by unspoiled nature. Follow your guide and cycle along a meandering river before you reach a remote gorge—inside of which is a hot spring hotel where you will stay for the night! 

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
    Cycling: 72 km/ 45 miles
    Elevation: 850 m/ 2,790 ft

    A cyclist riding their bike through the gorge on the island of Shikoku.
  • Start your day with an optional morning walk inside the spectacular Nakatsu Gorge. Later, your group will cycle out of the mountains following one of Japan’s most celebrated rivers. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can go for impromptu wild swimming to cool off! Reach the city of Kochi and visit a famous street food market offering fresh seafood before heading to your accommodation.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
    Cycling: 55 km/ 35 miles
    Elevation: 120 m/ 390 ft

    Historical castle in the Japanese city of Kochi on Shikoku.
  • Leave the city and make your way into the forested Iya Valley. You will first have to face a  challenging climb and later get rewarded with views of beautiful landscapes with gorges, crystal-clear rivers and traditional thatch-roofed houses. Cycling down the valley, you’ll be surrounded with terraced rice fields. Stop pedaling and walk across the famous vine bridges before heading. Continue cycling through the valley and reach your accommodation—a traditional Japanese inn with a funicular railway connecting it with a riverside hot spring.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
    Cycling: 80 km/ 50 miles
    Elevation: 1,000 m/ 3,280 ft

    Beautiful landscapes of the Iya Valley seen during the cycling trip on Shikoku, Japan.
  • Day 6 begins with cycling out of the Iya Valley following the beautiful Yoshino River. After a final climb, you will arrive at the celebrated Konpira Shrine. After exploring the shrine, celebrate your achievements with your guide and fellow. You will later board a train to your airport and say goodbye to Japan or continue touring on your own. 

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Cycling: 50 km/ 30 miles
    Elevation: 500 m/ 1,640 ft

    A statue in the Konpira shrine, visited during the cycling trip on the Japanese island of Shikoku.

Meet your guide

Hidden Japan Travel
5.00
Hidden Japan Travel
Hidden Japan Travel is your passport to experiencing authentic Japan through hiking and cycling tours that showcase the best of the country’s nature and culture in its lesser-known areas. 

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced English-speaking cycling guide with extensive local knowledge of the area
      • 6 days of cycling
      • Accommodation in business hotels and camping
      • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
      • Helmet and bike rental
      • Luggage transfer 
      • A support van with snacks and hydration
      • Transportation during the adventure
      • Bike maintenance if needed

    What’s not included:

      • Air transfers
      • Transportation to the meeting point
      • Transportation from the final point to your airport
      • Accommodation before and after the tour
      • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • For this multi-day guided tour, you need to have a very good level of fitness. You can expect 50-80 km of daily cycling, often in steep terrain, for 6 consecutive days. Keep in mind that you will take numerous breaks during each day and that your guide will monitor your technique and make the necessary adjustments if there ever occurs a need for one. 

    You can reserve an e-bike (subject to availability) for an additional fee for a bit of extra help on those mountain roads!

  • For this tour, you need to have a solid experience of cycling, which means that it isn’t beginner-friendly. This doesn’t mean that you need to be a pro, but full-day cycling experience and experience of cycling in moderately steep terrain is necessary. 

  • Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Comfortable riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material 
    • Sneakers or sport shoes
    • Breathable outside layer or jacket
    • Sunglasses
    • Plenty of water, water bottle or hydration bladder
    • Daypack with snacks
    • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)

    Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

  • The cost of this tour covers the cost of rental bikes and helmets. You guide uses Giant, Specialised, and Marin bikes.

    If you would prefer to rent a road bike (carbon or aluminium) or an e-bike, we can make arrangements for you and ensure you bike will be ready for you on Day 1 of your tour. Contact us prior to booking.

    Alternatively, if you bring your own bike, you can send it to Japan (this can be done at an airport if you are travelling to Japan) and your guides will bring it to the start of the tour. They can also send it back to you (or send it to your departure airport for you to pick it up).

  • Your first night will be spent in a camp and all subsequent nights in a combination of more traditional hot springs hotels and inns and modern business hotels in Kochi and Matsayuma. You will stay in double-rooms, but the single-room option (subject to availability) is available for an additional fee. 

    There is also an option of staying at a hotel rather than a campsite on Day 1 and an option of adding an additional night of lodging on Day 6. Let us know in advance upon booking if you want to stay at a hotel or add a day to your tour for an additional fee.

  • Group sizes and prices:

    • The group for this tour consists of up to 6 people and one guide. 
    • It takes a minimum of 3 people for this tour to operate. 
    • The cost is per person and does not decrease as the group grows. 
    • Single travellers are welcome! You will share a room with another group member. If you require a single room, it can be arranged for an additional fee.

    Mountain biking on Shikoku can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.

    Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.

    If your group has riders under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Secure your place with a 20% deposit upon booking. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies, and deposits are no longer refundable. The remaining 80% of the amount is paid once you receive an email with the confirmation and a Travel Contract with Hidden Japan Travel.

    In case you need to cancel the trip, the following cancellation costs would be incurred:

    • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to twenty-one (21) days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. 
    • For cancellations eight (8) to twenty (20) days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of 80 percent (80%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
    • For cancellations two (2) to seven (7) days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of seventy percent (70%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
    • For cancellations taking place one (1) day in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. 
    • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.

    It is highly recommended to have appropriate travel insurance for this tour. You must, as a minimum, have insurance to cover for medical expenses (including medical repatriation).

  • Onomichi is 30 minutes from Fukuyama, 90 minutes from Hiroshima, or 70 minutes from Okayama. To get to Onomichi, most people fly into Tokyo International Airport. From there, you can either take a shuttle or a train to Onomichi, or take a flight to the Hiroshima Airport. From there you can hop on a bus in the direction of Fukuyama and transfer to the “Flower Liner” bus at the Takasaka bus stop to reach Onomichi Station..

    You will meet with your guide at Onomichi Station on Day 1.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures on the island of Shikoku, please visit Japan Travel

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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