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Head to Shikoku and experience hidden parts of Japan on two wheels! Over 6 days and 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.

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  • Discover gorges and untamed rivers

    Tour an authentic and lesser-known part of Japan

  • Cycling route across the Seto Inland Sea

    Traverse the world-renowned cycling destination—Shimanami Kaido

  • Vibrant local atmosphere

    Combine active travel with cultural and culinary insights about Japan

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Itinerary

Spend 6 days cycling in search of authentic Japan in Shikoku, the country's smallest major island. Start off by traversing the scenic expressway of Shimanami Kaido and cross tens of miles each day witnessing the clash of nature, tradition, and modernity in Japanese cities, 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 37-mile 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 Japanese hotel in a stunning location nestled by the shoreline.

    Meals: Lunch and dinner
    Cycling: 70 km / 43 miles
    Elevation: 600 m / 1,970 ft

    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: 63 km / 39 miles
    Elevation: 590 m / 1,935 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: 66 km / 41 miles
    Elevation: 810 m / 2,660 ft

    Cycling on the road through a beautiful forest-like park where trees make a green ceiling above them
  • 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: 56 km / 35 miles
    Elevation: 210 m / 690 ft

    People dresses in traditional kimono posing for a photo before tea ceremony
  • 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 by 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: 84 km / 52 miles
    Elevation: 1,515 m / 4,970 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 travelers. 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: 58 km / 36 miles
    Elevation: 715 m / 2,345 ft

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

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5.00 (3 reviews)
John Bowe

The guides on this holiday were absolutely fantastic! This 6 day cycle trip was absolutely amazing! Such a well organized tour. We were kept informed throughout and we’re always well taken care of by Miho and Seiji. Nothing was too much trouble and they really went out of their way to make it the best experience ever. The carefully selected hotels and restaurants were all outstanding. We opted for electric bikes for the trip which came in handy for tackling the many hills. With Seiji as our guide we always felt safe and Miho was always close by if we needed extra support.
Many thanks to Miho and Seiji for an unforgettable holiday.

Megan Hassett

Sam, Miho, Steve and Abe San completely spoilt us with their generosity. All 4 were super friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and caring people. They felt like our friends who we could share a laugh with. Overall they all went above and beyond to provide us all with the best cycling adventure anyone could ask for In Shikoku. They were super proud to showcase their homeland and spoil us with local treats and treasures along the way.

Geoffroy Lamarche

Knows what you need before you do, very thoughtful, fun, attentive and so knowledgeable about the region.

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 fully-supported cycling
      • Support van and luggage transfers
      • Accommodations
      • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
      • Helmet and bike rental
      • Bike maintenance if needed
      • Transportation during the adventure

    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 50-85 km (30-50 miles) of cycling per day, 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.

    Regarding climbing and elevation gains, there are days with no climbing at all and days when it is mostly flat. There are a few climbs with the steepest gradient being 13%. The average gradient of the climbs is 5-7%.

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

  • Here’s what you’ll need for your daily outings:

      • 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. Make sure to also bring some comfy clothes for evenings and free time.

  • The cost of this tour covers the cost of rental bikes and helmets—your guide uses Giant, Specialized, and Marin bikes.

    If you’d prefer to rent an e-bike, you can add it to your booking at an additional cost. Keep in mind that these options are subject to availability. You can choose between aluminum frame bikes and tier 2 carbon frame bikes.

    In case you have your own bike, let us know the make, model and year of the bike and we will connect you with your guide to discuss your options. Keep in mind that you will have to transport the bike and assemble it in time before the tour begins.

  • Your first night will be spent in a typical Japanese hotel by the shoreline 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.

  • 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.

    Cycling in 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.

  • Onomichi, the starting point of the tour, is 30 minutes from Fukuyama, 90 minutes from Hiroshima, and 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!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
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