Cycle Japan Japan

Cycle Japan

Japan

Biking
11 days
2020

Sat, Apr 04

Tue, Apr 14

€3,655

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Overview

From world-class sushi to legendary geisha, enthralling Japan is the perfect destination to discover by bicycle. Our cycling adventure gives you a slowed down, up close look of this fascinating country and allows ample opportunity to meet locals and glimpse the unique culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. From the temples, shrines and geisha of Kyoto to the frenetic but exhilarating chaos of Tokyo, and the beautiful serenity of the Noto Peninsula countryside in between, this cycling adventure has it all.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Kyoto
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Kyoto. Serving as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868, Kyoto is the spiritual centre of Zen Buddhism and one of the most historically important cities in Japan. Unlike many of its neighbours Kyoto escaped destruction during World War II and thousands of temples, shrines and other historically invaluable structures survive in the city today. This adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Afterwards, head out on an evening walk before choosing whether you want to join the group for an optional dinner or hit the streets solo. If you arrive early, Kyoto offers a myriad of options to explore. For a taste of Shogun life, head to the World Heritage-listed Nijo Castle, perhaps the best surviving example of castle palace architecture from Japan's feudal era. See how the Emperor lived at the Sento Imperial Palace within Kyoto Imperial Park, an attractive park in the centre of the city. Or for a quieter moment, you may wish to contemplate silently in one of the serene karesansui (Zen gardens) that dot the city. Perhaps visit one of Kyoto's most recognisable sites, the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine and it’s thousands of vermilion torii gates spread throughout the mountain trails. Ride distance – no included riding today
Day 2Kyoto
After breakfast and a safety talk by your leader, familiarise yourself with your bike and take a short test ride before cycling with the group west from our ryokan to the Katsura River, then north along a dedicated cycling path past traditional houses and community gardens to the ancient imperial resort of Arashiyama. Stop off for a coffee break in Arashiyama, well-known for its gorgeous bamboo forests. After a caffeine hit and a chance to soak up the peaceful atmosphere, ride on to Tenryuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, with its famous white Zen rock garden. Pause here to contemplate the sound of one hand clapping and then move on to contemplate some lunch. Afterwards, cycle east across the north end of Kyoto and then onto the Path of Philosophy and the Higashiyama area before returning to our accommodation. The ride today will be gentle, with only slight elevation on the roads as we head into Arashiyama. We start with a 5 kilometre ride on a main road, then follow dedicated bicycle paths and secondary roads for the rest of the day. On arrival back into Kyoto, take an evening orientation tour of Kyoto's Gion district. Observe Geisha and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) from key spots in the city's old back streets and be tempted by some of the area's great local restaurants, perhaps doubling back to visit for dinner after the tour has ended. Kyoto’s streets are laid out in a convenient grid pattern, which is unusual for Japanese cities. In the 8th century, imperial city planners copied the grid layout of Chang’an (now Xian), the capital of the Tang Dynasty China. That’s not the only benefit we reap from the Tang Dynasty today – two well-known Tang engineers, Ma Jun and Zhang Heng, invented the mechanical gear system used by the bikes we ride around this easy-to- navigate city. Arigato Tang Dynasty! Ride distance: approx. 40kms/25 miles, undulating with approx. 230m/755ft of elevation gain.
Day 3Nara & Kyoto
The cycling route takes you through beautiful Japanese scenery on a dedicated riverside cycling path from the old capital of Kyoto to the even older capital of Nara. Here, you'll see the Giant Buddha housed in the largest wooden structure on the planet. This city is well known for its Todaiji Temple and its cute, free-roaming wild deer. Head south along the river for most of the day, stopping briefly at Nagarebashi Bridge, a 356-metre wooden bridge that is a popular film location for samurai dramas. Return by train to Kyoto. Ride distance: approx. 50kms/31 miles, mostly flat with approx. 240m/790ft of elevation gain..
Day 4Kanazawa
It's a fairly relaxing day today as we rest up before hitting the hills of the Noto Peninsula. Take the train from Kyoto to Kanazawa where we enjoy a leisurely bike ride across the city seeing the best it has to offer. Ride past the famous gardens, including leafy Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s greatest gardens, and the old Geisha and Samurai districts. It's a truly beautiful place to enjoy by bike. Please note we ride to most of the sites but cover them by foot once we are there. Ride distance: Approx. 10-15 kms (6-9 miles), mostly flat with approx. 80-140m (260-460ft) of elevation gain
Day 5Noto Peninsula - Togi
Over the next four days, discover the heart of the rustic Noto Peninsula. This laid back part of Japan truly captures the Japanese concept of '’satoyama', society in harmony with nature, and 'satoumi', coastal areas in which the sea has a strong connection with peoples’ livelihoods. Your first ride on the Noto Peninsula is a special one as you cycle along the scenic coast to Myojoji Temple for an introduction to Japanese Nichiren Buddhism. Discover quiet coastal roads and spectacular ocean views, riding back in time through sleepy fishing villages and farmland. Highlights today including riding on Chirihama Beach Drive, an 8 km stretch of beach along the Sea of Japan that allows you to take a short ride along the sand right along the water's edge, as well as passing by the Hatagoiwa rocks, home to Japanese sacred spirits. Tonight we sleep in the small town of Togi. Ride distance: approx. 80kms/50 miles, undulating with approx. 520m/1700ft of elevation gain.
Day 6Noto Peninsula - Wajima
A slightly shorter ride today as we cycle northwards along more scenic coastal lanes, small villages and beautiful rice paddy terraces. Leaving the coast, the road passes through the hilly Noto mountains to the charming port-town of Wajima, known producing some of the finest lacquerware in Japan. Along the way take a short rest at Masuhogaura Beach – at 460m/1500ft long you should be able to find some space on the ‘World’s Longest Bench’ to stretch those tired legs – and also keep an eye out for the famous Totoro rock along the way. Enjoy a stop at the protected whote sand Kamonoura beach then experience some of the Noto Peninsula’s culture as we visit the Kadomi House - a traditional house owned by small cargo vessel wholesaler. Built in the 1870s it is a fascinating insight into traditional Japanese life. Ride distance: Approx. 55kms/35 miles, undulating with a longer climb at 38kms. Last 10kms is downhill. Approx. 520m/1700ft of elevation gain.
Day 7Noto Peninsula - Suzu
Today is our toughest riding day, but one rich in rewards as you hug the dramatic and hilly coastline of the Sea of Japan. Marvel at the famed Shiroyone Senmaida (A Thousand Rice Paddies in Shiroyone) where the 1004 small rice paddies cling impossibly to the steep slopes that plunge towards water, creating a beautiful and bright contrast to the background of the deep blue Sea of Japan. Passing by the small villages, dramatic waterfalls, and the Sosogi ‘Kissing Tunnel’ we make our way east across the peninsula to coastal Suzu, officially the smallest city in Japan. You'll also visit a unique local salt farm that uses a traditional salt-making method called “Agehama-style salt-making” has been passed down through the generations. After a long ride choose to put your feet up, visit a Suzu-yaki pottery shop, check out the sea (and lighthouse) views at Rokko Saki Point or marvel at the Mitsukejima (Found Island), a massive rock island right off the coast of Suzu. Ride distance: approx. 80kms/50 miles, undulating with several steep hills, flat towards the end, with approx. 1150m/3775ft of elevation gain.
Day 8Noto Peninsula - Wakura Onsen
Your final ride on the Noto Peninsula sees you heading south, passing small rural villages, towering mountains and some of the most beautiful coastline and beaches in the area, finishing in Anamizu before boarding a local train for the rest of the journey. Your final destination today is Wakura Onsen, a hot spring town with a history stretching back 1200 years. Today is again an undulating ride but a fairly relaxed one – and the chance to soak your weary legs in the therapeutic waters of the hot spring baths is usually motivation enough to keep going! Ride distance: approx. 70kms/43 miles, undulating with several steep hills, approx. 770m/2525ft of elevation gain.
Day 9Tokyo
No trip to Japan is complete without experiencing the country's legendary train system. Swap your bike for a train and watch the scenic landscape fly by on a  journey (approx. 5 hours) to Tokyo. Hit the streets on arrival for a night-time orientation walk. Explore the contemporary centre of town as well as the old streets, and feel the hum of modern life in this famous city. Riding distance: None
Day 10Tokyo
Hold on to your helmets because there's a real treat today – two rides in one day! Get a better feel for the different areas of the city this morning as you cycle along the same local paths Tokyoites use to cut through the city. There are surprises, both old and modern, waiting at every turn along the way and architecture aficionados will be in heaven. Along the way we visit many of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks; the first ride passing along the cherry tree lined paths of Ueno Park, home of Tokyo’s most popular museums and temples, Akihabara gadget town, the ‘Japan Bridge’ district of Nihonbashi, and upmarket the district of Ginza with its dazzling array of high-end shops, galleries and cafes. We break between rides to enjoy lunch at the famous Tsukiji Outer Fish Market before commencing our second ride to see such luminaries as the Edo-era Imperial Palace, the 333m-high Eiffel Tower lookalike Tokyo Tower, the elegant Hachimangu Shrine, Tsukishima (Moon Island), the manmade island in Tokyo Bay, and of course the Skytree Asakusa, at 634m the tallest building in all of Japan Later enjoy a free evening to spend as you see fit - enjoy a quiet night, let loose at karaoke, or walk and drink your way across the city with your local leader. Ride distance: approx. 40kms/25 miles, mostly flat with approx. 200m/650ft of elevation gain.
Day 11Tokyo
Sadly it's time to say farewell to this great Japanese adventure. There are no activities planned for the day and you’re able to depart the hotel at any time. Check-out time is 11 am but if you're departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you have time why not check out the amazing Urban Adventures on offer in this eclectic city such as ‘Japan’s Cultural Curiosities’. Read more at: www.urbanadventures.com/tokyo-tour-Japan-s-Cultural-Curiosities Ride distance: none

Trip title

Cycle Japan

Trip code

CJXC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019
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Introduction

From world-class sushi to legendary geisha, enthralling Japan is the perfect destination to discover by bicycle. Our cycling adventure gives you a slowed down, up close look of this fascinating country and allows ample opportunity to meet locals and glimpse the unique culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. From the temples, shrines and geisha of Kyoto to the frenetic but exhilarating chaos of Tokyo, and the beautiful serenity of the Noto Peninsula countryside in between, this cycling adventure has it all.

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures,Cycling

Transport

Bicycle (e-bike option available),Support vehicle,Train

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential! CYCLING DISTANCES: The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days. Please note that the seasonal climate of Japan means that this trip may, for some people, feel more difficult during the hotter/more humid summer months (July/August/September) than the milder Spring and Autumn months.

Joining point

Heianbo Ryokan

Joining point description

Heianbo Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn with loads of atmosphere, a small Kyoto-style garden, Japanese-style tatami mat rooms with private facilities as well as a shared o-furo bath. It's conveniently located in a small backstreet a few minutes' walk from Kyoto Station, making it a great location for exploring Kyoto's sights spread across the city. There are numerous restaurants, cafes and shops nearby.

Joining point instructions

On arrival in Kyoto, you need to make you own way to the Heianbo Ryokan - it is an eight-minute walk from the main train station. After you arrive in Kyoto Station, follow signs to the Shinkansen Central Exit. After you exit the Shinkansen (bullet train) area, you need to head to the north side of the station. Look to your right after you exit the Shinkansen Central Exit. You should see escalators and a staircase about 40m ahead of you. Go up the escalators and walk straight along the corridor. You'll see a grocery store, coffee shop, and the Isetan department store on your left. When you get to the end of the corridor, go down the escalators. Once you're out of the station, you should see Kyoto Tower across the street in front of you (a tall orange and white tower). There will be rows of bus stops directly in front of you. You should also see Kyoto Central Post Office on your left about 100m away. Walk towards Kyoto tower, veering right of the bus stops. You should be able to see a Starbucks coffee shop in the building underneath and to the right of Kyoto Tower, on the north-west corner of a large pedestrian crossing. Cross the streets and turn left at the Starbucks. Walk west along the main street that runs in front of Kyoto Station. You'll soon pass a row of UFJ bank ATM machines on your right, and then you should see a tall yellow building also on your right. Turn right at this yellow building. Once you've turned onto this smaller street, on your left you'll see a small standing-room-only bar, and then a parking lot. Turn left on the small street just north of the parking lot. The Heianbo Ryokan is the salmon-coloured building on the right hand side of the small street just north of the parking lot. If you have any problems with finding the ryokan, please feel free to give the friendly staff a call on 075 371 5538 from one of the many public pay phones on the streets around the station. Exit JR Kyoto train station and go to Karasuma Dori (Karasuma Street) which runs directly up from the train station. Go up Karasuma Dori on the left side. When you pass the Kintetsu Department Store, take a sharp left down a narrow street and you will find Heianbo (a reddish building on your right side just past a parking area. If you are arriving late in the evening please let our sales team know at time of booking so that we can advise the hotel.

Finish point

Hotel Sunroute Asakusa

Finish point description

Asakusa Sunroute Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo. The hotel is within a 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Tawaramachi Station and Ueno Park is within 30 minutes walk. Rooms are equipped with an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning/heating, a refrigerator and a flat-screen TV. The hotel also offers internet access and laundry service. Although Tokyo is a big city it is not too difficult to get around, quite safe, and people are friendly and helpful. Be sure to take a business card from reception before heading out into the streets, just in case.

Finish point instructions

The best way to reach Narita or Haneda airports from Tokyo is via the train. The train to Narita will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes, whereas the train to Haneda will take around 1 hour. Please ask your tour leader or the hotel reception for more information and directions.

Alternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

Alternate Finish point description

Located an 8 minute walk from Ueno Train Station, Hotel Mystays Ueno East offers rooms with satellite TV, private ensuite, air-conditioning and free WiFi. From the hotel you can easily reach Ueno Park and Tokyo National Museum. Inaricho Subway Station is just 3 minutes on foot, and offers direct access to Ginza and Shibuya.

Important information

Based on traveller feedback the itinerary for the Cycle Japan trip has changed for 2019, reducing from 14 days down to 11 days and no longer starts in/visits Osaka. 1. A single supplement is only available on selected nights of this tour, due to limited availability at local hotels and ryokans. A single supplement can be purchased for just 4 nights of this tour (Days 4, 6, 9 & 10). On all other nights you will be roomed with a group member of the same gender. 2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike. 3. This trip includes an option of an electric-motor assisted bicycle (e-bike) at an additional cost. Please inquire at time of booking. 4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home. Helmets can be purchased locally if needed. 5. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. 6. Due to the expense of private transport, distances of airports from cities, and the fact that Japan has very efficient public transport airport links, transfers are not offered in Japan. Please see the Joining Point Instructions in the trip notes for more information. 7. Please note, decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, nobody will make a comment about your tattoos but please endeavour to wear modest clothing and be aware that you may not be able to enter public onsens. 8. Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are travelling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (Mar to May, Sep to Nov). 9. Between 24 July-9 August the Tokyo Olympics will be in full swing. While we will continue to operate this trip over that time some delays and minor operational changes may occur.

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) There may be times when a client is asked to be the back marker, ensuring no one else rides behind them, if the vehicle cannot travel directly behind the group. Your leader will discuss this at the initial group meeting.

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. JAPAN VISA Citizens of the USA, Australia and New Zealand are granted 90-day temporary visitor visas, while stays of up to three months are permitted for citizens of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and a number of other countries. Stays of up to six months are permitted for citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK. Citizens of these countries will almost always be given a 90-day temporary visitor visa upon arrival, which can usually be extended for another 90 days at immigration bureaux inside Japan.

Why we love it

Cycling allows you to get closer to the real Japan – from bicycles to Pokemon, serene temples to the organised chaos of the big cities, this classic adventure has it all.

Is this trip right for you

This trip covers anywhere between 10 to 80km / 6-50 miles of cycling each day, so a reasonable level of fitness is required, although you’ll have plenty of rest breaks. Outside of the main cities a support vehicle will also be with you at all times, so if you get tired you can jump in. To complete this trip it is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) There may be times when a client is asked to be the back marker if the vehicle cannot travel directly behind the group. While riding the bikes you’ll be exposed to the elements, so please ensure you’re well prepared with waterproof clothing suitable for both warm and cold weather conditions. Please note that the included meals on this trip are primarily based around Japanese food, including breakfast. Western-style food can be challenging to come by, particularly on the Noto Peninsula. If you feel like doing all the riding but with less effort we have the option of hiring an electric bike (e-bike) on this trip. Limited sizes are available so book quick!

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. FOOD IN JAPAN The Japanese daily diet contains gluten (ie. in flavourings such as soy sauce) and seafood (dashi, or fish stock, is the basis of most dishes, even vegetable ones), so we highly recommend that vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs do their own online research before travelling about some of the options that might be available to them. While our leaders will assist you whenever they can, there may be some included meals that are fixed in advance and not flexible, such as those included at ryokans, and cannot be modified for different diets. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, still your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic. Food and drink are such a high part of Japanese culture. Here are some links to get your tastebuds tingling: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-convenience-store-food/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-tokyo-alleyways-locals-guide/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/eat-and-drink-like-a-local-in-japan/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegetarian-vegan-travel-japan/ All meals on this trip (included or optional) are primarily based around Japanese food, including breakfast. We endeavour to experience all styles of food but rice, fish, noodles and soy-based foods are regularly included. Western-style food can be challenging to come by, particularly on the Noto Peninsula. We make regular stops at convenience stores where you can usually purchase a limited amount of seasonal fruit (apple, banana, etc.) or bread-based foods. Please inform your booking agent at the time of booking if you have any specific dietary requirements, as adjusting the menu on an ad hoc basis is very difficult for our food providers given eth lack of Western-style food options they have available to them.

Money matters

The official currency of Japan is Yen (JPY). Japan is predominantly a cash society and locals carry large amounts of cash for daily business. International credit cards can usually only be used at major department stores or large restaurants but cash from non-Japanese bank accounts can be withdrawn via the Cirrus and Maestro systems by direct debiting (as well as Mastercard and Visa cash advance). This is now available at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as 7 Eleven convenience store ATMs, making it very easy to get access to cash throughout the trip at each location 24 hours a day. SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. BUDGET FOR MEALS NOT INCLUDED: USD 400 DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. TIPPING: If you are happy with the services provided by your group leader tipping - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Tipping is not customary in Japan in restaurants and for other service providers.

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case. • Padded bike shorts • Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates. • Quick-dry socks • Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall. • Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road • Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor. • Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier. • Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun • Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea. • Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun • Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding. • Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike • Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases.

Climate and seasonal

Please be aware that when you are travelling during major national holidays in Japan (late Apr to early May) and peak season in Japan (Apr-May/Sep–Oct), fascinating and exciting times to travel in Japan, your group will almost definitely experience massive crowds at tourist attractions and public transports. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without notice in advance are from time to time necessary for us to be able to operate your departure. Come with an open mind if you decide to travel during such periods and we are sure that your experience in Japan will still be very rewarding and memorable. Typhoons and tropical storms in Japan occur the most from July to October, especially in August and September. Typhoons usually bring high winds and heavy rain, but the worst effects usually pass in 3 to 4 days, often bringing clear weather after it has passed. The most serious typhoons usually mean we will have to slightly modify our itinerary but this is looked at on a departure by departure basis.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. While we do accept children under 18 on this trip we do have a couple of rules. From a safety and enjoyment perspective they should be confident and competent cyclists capable of completing the riding part of the itinerary without additional assistance. Minors under 18 years old must always be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. This includes when the minor rides in the support vehicle.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Local Kyoto Office: +81 90 6531 9269

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles For Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence. For more information see http://www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/ We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller LOCAL CUSTOMS: It's always a good idea to learn something about local customs before you travel, and visiting Japan is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences during your trip, but here are some tips to get you started: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/etiquette-in-japan/ CLOTHING While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember that we spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. WHALE MEAT We are big supporters of the protection of endangered species around the world. It is against our Responsible Travel policy for our leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark. Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year. We do not visit places that serve whale meat on any of our trips, nor will your leader guide you to where it is offered. As part of Intrepid’s commitment to avoiding unnecessary waste you will be given a pair of reusable chopsticks at the Welcome Meeting by your leader. While a seemingly small gesture we estimate this will avoid the use almost 10,000 sets of disposable chopsticks per year by our travellers on this trip alone! Please remember to take your chopsticks with you every time you eat a meal and help us save the environment.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Intrepid and Bicycles For Humanity At Intrepid, we know a bike can changes lives. Provide a person in the developing world with a bike and it means they can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load. The extra mobility and distance gained from using a bike can make all the difference when seeking medicine or trying to find work. This is why we’ve partnered with Bicycles for Humanity to help provide bikes to communities in Namibia, Africa. Bicycles for Humanity takes bikes we no longer use, repairs them, packs them up and ships them off to the African continent in 40-foot containers. These containers then become bike workshops on arrival – a place of employment, education and business for the communities who receive them. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres are self-sustaining, micro-financed small businesses and a massive step towards financial independence for the community. We also help by donating a portion of each booking of our cycling trips directly to Bicycles for Humanity, as well as using our network of contacts to bring greater exposure to the amazing work the volunteer team do every day at Bicycles for Humanity. We are also proud to have Bicycles for Humanity as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards purchasing containers and shipping bikes to Namibia. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website.

Accommodation notes

Please note that during busy times the group may be split between two different accommodations for the 1 night at Wakura Onsen. When this is the case to ensure your comfort and safety the leader will stay with one group and the driver will stay with the other. All accommodation at traditional Japanese Ryoken has shared bathroom facilities. RYOKANS Japanese-style inns (ryokans) involve sleeping on futons or matresses on tatami mat floors, with bedding often packed away during the day. Attached bathrooms/toilets will usually be very small and many ryokans will have additional shared bathing facilities with certain hours, or times available for booking at reception. Your leader will explain etiquette involved in using the shared facilities.  As this style of accommodation will often not have furniture (ie. chairs or beds) in the rooms, please consider choosing a different trip style if you have difficulty getting up from the floor or have knee, hip or back issues. Some ryokans may have a curfew when travellers need to be back in the accommodation - this is usually around midnight. Please also be aware that you would normally be required to change to slippers when entering into your room in a ryokan. Hotels and ryokans will charge extra fees if dirty marks are left on their beddings or towels that require professional cleaning. Read more about ryokans here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-japanese-ryokan/ OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. There are shared bathrooms at some of the accommodation on this trip. Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are travelling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (March to May, September to November).

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE Please note that due to operational restrictions clients are unable to bring their own bikes on this trip. INCLUDED BIKES We use Giant Escape RX3 bikes on our Cycle Japan trip - it is an aluminium frame hybrid style bikes with 27 gears, rigid fork, rim brakes and flat bars and 28mm tyres. For full specs and geometry please see http://www.giant.co.jp/giant16/bike_datail.php?p_id=00000051#specifications SUPPORT VEHICLE Please note that the support vehicle is not with us in Kyoto, Kanazawa and Tokyo. This trip includes an option of a motorised bicycle (e-bike) at an additional cost. Please inquire at time of booking. RENTAL E-BIKES We have 2 models of rental e-bikes in Japan (both with assistance up to 25kph): Giant Escape RX-E+ - hybrid style bike with flat bars, hydraulic disc brakes, & 10sp Shimano gears. Available in sizes XS (155-170cm, 5'1"-5'7") and S/M (165-180cm, 5'5"-5'11") Trek Verve+ - hybrid style bike with flat bars, hydraulic disc brakes, & 9sp Shimano gears. Available in size L (174-187cm, 5'8"-6'2") Please provide your height at time of booking so the correct size can be arranged.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. A Single Supplement to have your own room is not available to purchase on this trip.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MUSEUM OPENING TIMES Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays.

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights),ryoken (6 nights)

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Kyoto
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Kyoto. Serving as Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868, Kyoto is the spiritual centre of Zen Buddhism and one of the most historically important cities in Japan. Unlike many of its neighbours Kyoto escaped destruction during World War II and thousands of temples, shrines and other historically invaluable structures survive in the city today. This adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Afterwards, head out on an evening walk before choosing whether you want to join the group for an optional dinner or hit the streets solo. If you arrive early, Kyoto offers a myriad of options to explore. For a taste of Shogun life, head to the World Heritage-listed Nijo Castle, perhaps the best surviving example of castle palace architecture from Japan's feudal era. See how the Emperor lived at the Sento Imperial Palace within Kyoto Imperial Park, an attractive park in the centre of the city. Or for a quieter moment, you may wish to contemplate silently in one of the serene karesansui (Zen gardens) that dot the city. Perhaps visit one of Kyoto's most recognisable sites, the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine and it’s thousands of vermilion torii gates spread throughout the mountain trails. Ride distance – no included riding today
Day 2Kyoto
After breakfast and a safety talk by your leader, familiarise yourself with your bike and take a short test ride before cycling with the group west from our ryokan to the Katsura River, then north along a dedicated cycling path past traditional houses and community gardens to the ancient imperial resort of Arashiyama. Stop off for a coffee break in Arashiyama, well-known for its gorgeous bamboo forests. After a caffeine hit and a chance to soak up the peaceful atmosphere, ride on to Tenryuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, with its famous white Zen rock garden. Pause here to contemplate the sound of one hand clapping and then move on to contemplate some lunch. Afterwards, cycle east across the north end of Kyoto and then onto the Path of Philosophy and the Higashiyama area before returning to our accommodation. The ride today will be gentle, with only slight elevation on the roads as we head into Arashiyama. We start with a 5 kilometre ride on a main road, then follow dedicated bicycle paths and secondary roads for the rest of the day. On arrival back into Kyoto, take an evening orientation tour of Kyoto's Gion district. Observe Geisha and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) from key spots in the city's old back streets and be tempted by some of the area's great local restaurants, perhaps doubling back to visit for dinner after the tour has ended. Kyoto’s streets are laid out in a convenient grid pattern, which is unusual for Japanese cities. In the 8th century, imperial city planners copied the grid layout of Chang’an (now Xian), the capital of the Tang Dynasty China. That’s not the only benefit we reap from the Tang Dynasty today – two well-known Tang engineers, Ma Jun and Zhang Heng, invented the mechanical gear system used by the bikes we ride around this easy-to- navigate city. Arigato Tang Dynasty! Ride distance: approx. 40kms/25 miles, undulating with approx. 230m/755ft of elevation gain.
Day 3Nara & Kyoto
The cycling route takes you through beautiful Japanese scenery on a dedicated riverside cycling path from the old capital of Kyoto to the even older capital of Nara. Here, you'll see the Giant Buddha housed in the largest wooden structure on the planet. This city is well known for its Todaiji Temple and its cute, free-roaming wild deer. Head south along the river for most of the day, stopping briefly at Nagarebashi Bridge, a 356-metre wooden bridge that is a popular film location for samurai dramas. Return by train to Kyoto. Ride distance: approx. 50kms/31 miles, mostly flat with approx. 240m/790ft of elevation gain..
Day 4Kanazawa
It's a fairly relaxing day today as we rest up before hitting the hills of the Noto Peninsula. Take the train from Kyoto to Kanazawa where we enjoy a leisurely bike ride across the city seeing the best it has to offer. Ride past the famous gardens, including leafy Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s greatest gardens, and the old Geisha and Samurai districts. It's a truly beautiful place to enjoy by bike. Please note we ride to most of the sites but cover them by foot once we are there. Ride distance: Approx. 10-15 kms (6-9 miles), mostly flat with approx. 80-140m (260-460ft) of elevation gain
Day 5Noto Peninsula - Togi
Over the next four days, discover the heart of the rustic Noto Peninsula. This laid back part of Japan truly captures the Japanese concept of '’satoyama', society in harmony with nature, and 'satoumi', coastal areas in which the sea has a strong connection with peoples’ livelihoods. Your first ride on the Noto Peninsula is a special one as you cycle along the scenic coast to Myojoji Temple for an introduction to Japanese Nichiren Buddhism. Discover quiet coastal roads and spectacular ocean views, riding back in time through sleepy fishing villages and farmland. Highlights today including riding on Chirihama Beach Drive, an 8 km stretch of beach along the Sea of Japan that allows you to take a short ride along the sand right along the water's edge, as well as passing by the Hatagoiwa rocks, home to Japanese sacred spirits. Tonight we sleep in the small town of Togi. Ride distance: approx. 80kms/50 miles, undulating with approx. 520m/1700ft of elevation gain.
Day 6Noto Peninsula - Wajima
A slightly shorter ride today as we cycle northwards along more scenic coastal lanes, small villages and beautiful rice paddy terraces. Leaving the coast, the road passes through the hilly Noto mountains to the charming port-town of Wajima, known producing some of the finest lacquerware in Japan. Along the way take a short rest at Masuhogaura Beach – at 460m/1500ft long you should be able to find some space on the ‘World’s Longest Bench’ to stretch those tired legs – and also keep an eye out for the famous Totoro rock along the way. Enjoy a stop at the protected whote sand Kamonoura beach then experience some of the Noto Peninsula’s culture as we visit the Kadomi House - a traditional house owned by small cargo vessel wholesaler. Built in the 1870s it is a fascinating insight into traditional Japanese life. Ride distance: Approx. 55kms/35 miles, undulating with a longer climb at 38kms. Last 10kms is downhill. Approx. 520m/1700ft of elevation gain.
Day 7Noto Peninsula - Suzu
Today is our toughest riding day, but one rich in rewards as you hug the dramatic and hilly coastline of the Sea of Japan. Marvel at the famed Shiroyone Senmaida (A Thousand Rice Paddies in Shiroyone) where the 1004 small rice paddies cling impossibly to the steep slopes that plunge towards water, creating a beautiful and bright contrast to the background of the deep blue Sea of Japan. Passing by the small villages, dramatic waterfalls, and the Sosogi ‘Kissing Tunnel’ we make our way east across the peninsula to coastal Suzu, officially the smallest city in Japan. You'll also visit a unique local salt farm that uses a traditional salt-making method called “Agehama-style salt-making” has been passed down through the generations. After a long ride choose to put your feet up, visit a Suzu-yaki pottery shop, check out the sea (and lighthouse) views at Rokko Saki Point or marvel at the Mitsukejima (Found Island), a massive rock island right off the coast of Suzu. Ride distance: approx. 80kms/50 miles, undulating with several steep hills, flat towards the end, with approx. 1150m/3775ft of elevation gain.
Day 8Noto Peninsula - Wakura Onsen
Your final ride on the Noto Peninsula sees you heading south, passing small rural villages, towering mountains and some of the most beautiful coastline and beaches in the area, finishing in Anamizu before boarding a local train for the rest of the journey. Your final destination today is Wakura Onsen, a hot spring town with a history stretching back 1200 years. Today is again an undulating ride but a fairly relaxed one – and the chance to soak your weary legs in the therapeutic waters of the hot spring baths is usually motivation enough to keep going! Ride distance: approx. 70kms/43 miles, undulating with several steep hills, approx. 770m/2525ft of elevation gain.
Day 9Tokyo
No trip to Japan is complete without experiencing the country's legendary train system. Swap your bike for a train and watch the scenic landscape fly by on a  journey (approx. 5 hours) to Tokyo. Hit the streets on arrival for a night-time orientation walk. Explore the contemporary centre of town as well as the old streets, and feel the hum of modern life in this famous city. Riding distance: None
Day 10Tokyo
Hold on to your helmets because there's a real treat today – two rides in one day! Get a better feel for the different areas of the city this morning as you cycle along the same local paths Tokyoites use to cut through the city. There are surprises, both old and modern, waiting at every turn along the way and architecture aficionados will be in heaven. Along the way we visit many of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks; the first ride passing along the cherry tree lined paths of Ueno Park, home of Tokyo’s most popular museums and temples, Akihabara gadget town, the ‘Japan Bridge’ district of Nihonbashi, and upmarket the district of Ginza with its dazzling array of high-end shops, galleries and cafes. We break between rides to enjoy lunch at the famous Tsukiji Outer Fish Market before commencing our second ride to see such luminaries as the Edo-era Imperial Palace, the 333m-high Eiffel Tower lookalike Tokyo Tower, the elegant Hachimangu Shrine, Tsukishima (Moon Island), the manmade island in Tokyo Bay, and of course the Skytree Asakusa, at 634m the tallest building in all of Japan Later enjoy a free evening to spend as you see fit - enjoy a quiet night, let loose at karaoke, or walk and drink your way across the city with your local leader. Ride distance: approx. 40kms/25 miles, mostly flat with approx. 200m/650ft of elevation gain.
Day 11Tokyo
Sadly it's time to say farewell to this great Japanese adventure. There are no activities planned for the day and you’re able to depart the hotel at any time. Check-out time is 11 am but if you're departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you have time why not check out the amazing Urban Adventures on offer in this eclectic city such as ‘Japan’s Cultural Curiosities’. Read more at: www.urbanadventures.com/tokyo-tour-Japan-s-Cultural-Curiosities Ride distance: none

Trip title

Cycle Japan

Trip code

CJXC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

From world-class sushi to legendary geisha, enthralling Japan is the perfect destination to discover by bicycle. Our cycling adventure gives you a slowed down, up close look of this fascinating country and allows ample opportunity to meet locals and glimpse the unique culture of the Land of the Rising Sun. From the temples, shrines and geisha of Kyoto to the frenetic but exhilarating chaos of Tokyo, and the beautiful serenity of the Noto Peninsula countryside in between, this cycling adventure has it all.

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures,Cycling

Transport

Bicycle (e-bike option available),Support vehicle,Train

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential! CYCLING DISTANCES: The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days. Please note that the seasonal climate of Japan means that this trip may, for some people, feel more difficult during the hotter/more humid summer months (July/August/September) than the milder Spring and Autumn months.

Joining point

Heianbo Ryokan

Joining point description

Heianbo Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn with loads of atmosphere, a small Kyoto-style garden, Japanese-style tatami mat rooms with private facilities as well as a shared o-furo bath. It's conveniently located in a small backstreet a few minutes' walk from Kyoto Station, making it a great location for exploring Kyoto's sights spread across the city. There are numerous restaurants, cafes and shops nearby.

Joining point instructions

On arrival in Kyoto, you need to make you own way to the Heianbo Ryokan - it is an eight-minute walk from the main train station. After you arrive in Kyoto Station, follow signs to the Shinkansen Central Exit. After you exit the Shinkansen (bullet train) area, you need to head to the north side of the station. Look to your right after you exit the Shinkansen Central Exit. You should see escalators and a staircase about 40m ahead of you. Go up the escalators and walk straight along the corridor. You'll see a grocery store, coffee shop, and the Isetan department store on your left. When you get to the end of the corridor, go down the escalators. Once you're out of the station, you should see Kyoto Tower across the street in front of you (a tall orange and white tower). There will be rows of bus stops directly in front of you. You should also see Kyoto Central Post Office on your left about 100m away. Walk towards Kyoto tower, veering right of the bus stops. You should be able to see a Starbucks coffee shop in the building underneath and to the right of Kyoto Tower, on the north-west corner of a large pedestrian crossing. Cross the streets and turn left at the Starbucks. Walk west along the main street that runs in front of Kyoto Station. You'll soon pass a row of UFJ bank ATM machines on your right, and then you should see a tall yellow building also on your right. Turn right at this yellow building. Once you've turned onto this smaller street, on your left you'll see a small standing-room-only bar, and then a parking lot. Turn left on the small street just north of the parking lot. The Heianbo Ryokan is the salmon-coloured building on the right hand side of the small street just north of the parking lot. If you have any problems with finding the ryokan, please feel free to give the friendly staff a call on 075 371 5538 from one of the many public pay phones on the streets around the station. Exit JR Kyoto train station and go to Karasuma Dori (Karasuma Street) which runs directly up from the train station. Go up Karasuma Dori on the left side. When you pass the Kintetsu Department Store, take a sharp left down a narrow street and you will find Heianbo (a reddish building on your right side just past a parking area. If you are arriving late in the evening please let our sales team know at time of booking so that we can advise the hotel.

Finish point

Hotel Sunroute Asakusa

Finish point description

Asakusa Sunroute Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Tokyo. The hotel is within a 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Tawaramachi Station and Ueno Park is within 30 minutes walk. Rooms are equipped with an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning/heating, a refrigerator and a flat-screen TV. The hotel also offers internet access and laundry service. Although Tokyo is a big city it is not too difficult to get around, quite safe, and people are friendly and helpful. Be sure to take a business card from reception before heading out into the streets, just in case.

Finish point instructions

The best way to reach Narita or Haneda airports from Tokyo is via the train. The train to Narita will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes, whereas the train to Haneda will take around 1 hour. Please ask your tour leader or the hotel reception for more information and directions.

Alternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

Alternate Finish point description

Located an 8 minute walk from Ueno Train Station, Hotel Mystays Ueno East offers rooms with satellite TV, private ensuite, air-conditioning and free WiFi. From the hotel you can easily reach Ueno Park and Tokyo National Museum. Inaricho Subway Station is just 3 minutes on foot, and offers direct access to Ginza and Shibuya.

Important information

Based on traveller feedback the itinerary for the Cycle Japan trip has changed for 2019, reducing from 14 days down to 11 days and no longer starts in/visits Osaka. 1. A single supplement is only available on selected nights of this tour, due to limited availability at local hotels and ryokans. A single supplement can be purchased for just 4 nights of this tour (Days 4, 6, 9 & 10). On all other nights you will be roomed with a group member of the same gender. 2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike. 3. This trip includes an option of an electric-motor assisted bicycle (e-bike) at an additional cost. Please inquire at time of booking. 4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home. Helmets can be purchased locally if needed. 5. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. 6. Due to the expense of private transport, distances of airports from cities, and the fact that Japan has very efficient public transport airport links, transfers are not offered in Japan. Please see the Joining Point Instructions in the trip notes for more information. 7. Please note, decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, nobody will make a comment about your tattoos but please endeavour to wear modest clothing and be aware that you may not be able to enter public onsens. 8. Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are travelling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (Mar to May, Sep to Nov). 9. Between 24 July-9 August the Tokyo Olympics will be in full swing. While we will continue to operate this trip over that time some delays and minor operational changes may occur.

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) There may be times when a client is asked to be the back marker, ensuring no one else rides behind them, if the vehicle cannot travel directly behind the group. Your leader will discuss this at the initial group meeting.

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. JAPAN VISA Citizens of the USA, Australia and New Zealand are granted 90-day temporary visitor visas, while stays of up to three months are permitted for citizens of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and a number of other countries. Stays of up to six months are permitted for citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK. Citizens of these countries will almost always be given a 90-day temporary visitor visa upon arrival, which can usually be extended for another 90 days at immigration bureaux inside Japan.

Why we love it

Cycling allows you to get closer to the real Japan – from bicycles to Pokemon, serene temples to the organised chaos of the big cities, this classic adventure has it all.

Is this trip right for you

This trip covers anywhere between 10 to 80km / 6-50 miles of cycling each day, so a reasonable level of fitness is required, although you’ll have plenty of rest breaks. Outside of the main cities a support vehicle will also be with you at all times, so if you get tired you can jump in. To complete this trip it is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed) There may be times when a client is asked to be the back marker if the vehicle cannot travel directly behind the group. While riding the bikes you’ll be exposed to the elements, so please ensure you’re well prepared with waterproof clothing suitable for both warm and cold weather conditions. Please note that the included meals on this trip are primarily based around Japanese food, including breakfast. Western-style food can be challenging to come by, particularly on the Noto Peninsula. If you feel like doing all the riding but with less effort we have the option of hiring an electric bike (e-bike) on this trip. Limited sizes are available so book quick!

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. FOOD IN JAPAN The Japanese daily diet contains gluten (ie. in flavourings such as soy sauce) and seafood (dashi, or fish stock, is the basis of most dishes, even vegetable ones), so we highly recommend that vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs do their own online research before travelling about some of the options that might be available to them. While our leaders will assist you whenever they can, there may be some included meals that are fixed in advance and not flexible, such as those included at ryokans, and cannot be modified for different diets. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, still your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic. Food and drink are such a high part of Japanese culture. Here are some links to get your tastebuds tingling: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-convenience-store-food/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-tokyo-alleyways-locals-guide/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/eat-and-drink-like-a-local-in-japan/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegetarian-vegan-travel-japan/ All meals on this trip (included or optional) are primarily based around Japanese food, including breakfast. We endeavour to experience all styles of food but rice, fish, noodles and soy-based foods are regularly included. Western-style food can be challenging to come by, particularly on the Noto Peninsula. We make regular stops at convenience stores where you can usually purchase a limited amount of seasonal fruit (apple, banana, etc.) or bread-based foods. Please inform your booking agent at the time of booking if you have any specific dietary requirements, as adjusting the menu on an ad hoc basis is very difficult for our food providers given eth lack of Western-style food options they have available to them.

Money matters

The official currency of Japan is Yen (JPY). Japan is predominantly a cash society and locals carry large amounts of cash for daily business. International credit cards can usually only be used at major department stores or large restaurants but cash from non-Japanese bank accounts can be withdrawn via the Cirrus and Maestro systems by direct debiting (as well as Mastercard and Visa cash advance). This is now available at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as 7 Eleven convenience store ATMs, making it very easy to get access to cash throughout the trip at each location 24 hours a day. SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. BUDGET FOR MEALS NOT INCLUDED: USD 400 DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. TIPPING: If you are happy with the services provided by your group leader tipping - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please consider this when budgeting for your extra expenses on this tour. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Tipping is not customary in Japan in restaurants and for other service providers.

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case. • Padded bike shorts • Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates. • Quick-dry socks • Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall. • Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road • Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor. • Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier. • Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun • Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea. • Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun • Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding. • Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike • Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases.

Climate and seasonal

Please be aware that when you are travelling during major national holidays in Japan (late Apr to early May) and peak season in Japan (Apr-May/Sep–Oct), fascinating and exciting times to travel in Japan, your group will almost definitely experience massive crowds at tourist attractions and public transports. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train tickets at our preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without notice in advance are from time to time necessary for us to be able to operate your departure. Come with an open mind if you decide to travel during such periods and we are sure that your experience in Japan will still be very rewarding and memorable. Typhoons and tropical storms in Japan occur the most from July to October, especially in August and September. Typhoons usually bring high winds and heavy rain, but the worst effects usually pass in 3 to 4 days, often bringing clear weather after it has passed. The most serious typhoons usually mean we will have to slightly modify our itinerary but this is looked at on a departure by departure basis.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. While we do accept children under 18 on this trip we do have a couple of rules. From a safety and enjoyment perspective they should be confident and competent cyclists capable of completing the riding part of the itinerary without additional assistance. Minors under 18 years old must always be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. This includes when the minor rides in the support vehicle.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Local Kyoto Office: +81 90 6531 9269

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. A bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load, providing a profound and lasting positive effect for the individual as well as their community. Bicycles For Humanity collect donated (used or new) bicycles, repair them if needed and send them to Africa. Along with donated bicycles each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop, providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it's placed, helping the community to move away from aid dependence. For more information see http://www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/ We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller LOCAL CUSTOMS: It's always a good idea to learn something about local customs before you travel, and visiting Japan is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences during your trip, but here are some tips to get you started: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/etiquette-in-japan/ CLOTHING While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember that we spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. WHALE MEAT We are big supporters of the protection of endangered species around the world. It is against our Responsible Travel policy for our leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark. Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year. We do not visit places that serve whale meat on any of our trips, nor will your leader guide you to where it is offered. As part of Intrepid’s commitment to avoiding unnecessary waste you will be given a pair of reusable chopsticks at the Welcome Meeting by your leader. While a seemingly small gesture we estimate this will avoid the use almost 10,000 sets of disposable chopsticks per year by our travellers on this trip alone! Please remember to take your chopsticks with you every time you eat a meal and help us save the environment.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Intrepid and Bicycles For Humanity At Intrepid, we know a bike can changes lives. Provide a person in the developing world with a bike and it means they can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load. The extra mobility and distance gained from using a bike can make all the difference when seeking medicine or trying to find work. This is why we’ve partnered with Bicycles for Humanity to help provide bikes to communities in Namibia, Africa. Bicycles for Humanity takes bikes we no longer use, repairs them, packs them up and ships them off to the African continent in 40-foot containers. These containers then become bike workshops on arrival – a place of employment, education and business for the communities who receive them. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres are self-sustaining, micro-financed small businesses and a massive step towards financial independence for the community. We also help by donating a portion of each booking of our cycling trips directly to Bicycles for Humanity, as well as using our network of contacts to bring greater exposure to the amazing work the volunteer team do every day at Bicycles for Humanity. We are also proud to have Bicycles for Humanity as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards purchasing containers and shipping bikes to Namibia. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website.

Accommodation notes

Please note that during busy times the group may be split between two different accommodations for the 1 night at Wakura Onsen. When this is the case to ensure your comfort and safety the leader will stay with one group and the driver will stay with the other. All accommodation at traditional Japanese Ryoken has shared bathroom facilities. RYOKANS Japanese-style inns (ryokans) involve sleeping on futons or matresses on tatami mat floors, with bedding often packed away during the day. Attached bathrooms/toilets will usually be very small and many ryokans will have additional shared bathing facilities with certain hours, or times available for booking at reception. Your leader will explain etiquette involved in using the shared facilities.  As this style of accommodation will often not have furniture (ie. chairs or beds) in the rooms, please consider choosing a different trip style if you have difficulty getting up from the floor or have knee, hip or back issues. Some ryokans may have a curfew when travellers need to be back in the accommodation - this is usually around midnight. Please also be aware that you would normally be required to change to slippers when entering into your room in a ryokan. Hotels and ryokans will charge extra fees if dirty marks are left on their beddings or towels that require professional cleaning. Read more about ryokans here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-japanese-ryokan/ OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. There are shared bathrooms at some of the accommodation on this trip. Accommodation in Japan can be difficult to secure at short notice. If you are travelling in Japan before or after your trip, we recommend booking accommodation at least 1 month in advance of travel, especially in high season (March to May, September to November).

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE Please note that due to operational restrictions clients are unable to bring their own bikes on this trip. INCLUDED BIKES We use Giant Escape RX3 bikes on our Cycle Japan trip - it is an aluminium frame hybrid style bikes with 27 gears, rigid fork, rim brakes and flat bars and 28mm tyres. For full specs and geometry please see http://www.giant.co.jp/giant16/bike_datail.php?p_id=00000051#specifications SUPPORT VEHICLE Please note that the support vehicle is not with us in Kyoto, Kanazawa and Tokyo. This trip includes an option of a motorised bicycle (e-bike) at an additional cost. Please inquire at time of booking. RENTAL E-BIKES We have 2 models of rental e-bikes in Japan (both with assistance up to 25kph): Giant Escape RX-E+ - hybrid style bike with flat bars, hydraulic disc brakes, & 10sp Shimano gears. Available in sizes XS (155-170cm, 5'1"-5'7") and S/M (165-180cm, 5'5"-5'11") Trek Verve+ - hybrid style bike with flat bars, hydraulic disc brakes, & 9sp Shimano gears. Available in size L (174-187cm, 5'8"-6'2") Please provide your height at time of booking so the correct size can be arranged.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. A Single Supplement to have your own room is not available to purchase on this trip.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MUSEUM OPENING TIMES Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays.

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights),ryoken (6 nights)
Time until next start
143
days
07
hours
:
07
min
:
16
sec

Prices from

€3,655

Duration

11 days
2020

Sat, Apr 04

Tue, Apr 14

€3,655

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Overview
Itinerary
Trip title
Trip code
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Introduction
Style
Themes
Transport
Physical Rating
Physical preparation
Joining point
Joining point description
Joining point instructions
Finish point
Finish point description
Finish point instructions
Alternate Finish point
Alternate Finish point description
Important information
Group leader
Safety
Visas
Why we love it
Is this trip right for you
Health
Food and dietary requirements
Money matters
What to take
Climate and seasonal
A couple of rules
Feedback
Emergency contact
Responsible travel
The Intrepid Foundation
Accommodation notes
Transport notes
Travel insurance
Your fellow travellers
Itinerary disclaimer
Accommodation
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