Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak

Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak

From $ 5,525 AUD

Description

Embark on an insightful cultural (and physical) workout with a 12-day active adventure across Japan’s ancient history, religious sites and natural wonder. Beginning in Tokyo, leave the crowds behind for a hike through post towns dotted along the Nakasendo Way, then continue to the Seto Inland Sea for a biking and kayaking adventure along the Shimanami Kaido. Stop by historic Kyoto before tackling the mother of all pilgrimages along sections of the historic Kumano Kodo. With the opportunity to explore diverse neighbourhoods and experience real hospitality along your way, discover the secrets, past and present, of an enchanting Japan.

Trip Name
Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak
Last Updated
2019-11-13
Days
12
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Hike between the preserved post towns of the Nakasendo Way – reconnect with the Edo history on this ancient trail connecting Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto.
  • Discover one of Japan's best cycling routes - the Shimanami Kaido which links Honshu with Shikoku across the scenic Inland Sea - and enjoy a cycling and kayaking experience
  • Temple-hop through the historic city of Kyoto with a guided ride past some of the major religious sites in the city - a perfect active way to explore this ancient capital.
  • The Kumano Kodo is one of only two World Heritage-listed pilgrimage trails in the world. Hike a section of the ancient route, arriving at spectacular Nachi Falls and Nachi Taisha Shrine.
  • Never lose sight of the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka. With options to extend your travel before or after your trip, you can continue your fascinating adventure through Japan at your own pace.

Itinerary

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, and may be on a join-in basis. 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.

Day 1 - Tokyo
Konnichiwa! Welcome to Tokyo – bursting with contemporary urban culture, this chaotic city has fascinating museums and world-class shopping as well as neighbourhoods full of restaurants and karaoke bars. As this trip spends very little time in Tokyo, we recommend you arrive a few extra days before your trip if you want to experience all it has to offer. Your Japan active adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, but before then, you can arrive at any time during the day. If you do have time, you might like to check out the mania of Shibuya Crossing, or stroll around the hip Harajuku neighbourhood – it’s up to you! After the meeting, why not get some of your travel crew together for an optional dinner at a local restaurant – your group leader will know of some delicious places to go.
Day 2 - Nakasendo (Hiking)
Say goodbye to Tokyo this morning and hop on a train towards the Nakasendo Way (approximately 3.5 hours). The Nakasendo is a historic network connecting post stations, or shukuba, between Tokyo and Kyoto in the Edo period. Today, you’ll tackle a section between two of these post towns – Tsumago and Magome. You’ll walk a well-maintained and marked trail through forested countryside and right past traditional houses of the time. Both Tsumago and Magome were towns where weary travellers would rest during their journey along the Nakasendo Way, and tonight you’ll get the chance to stay in a local guesthouse in town.
Day 3 - Nakasendo / Onomichi (Hiking)
An early morning start today take you on a short hike along another section of the Nakasendo trail to Nagiso station. Then take a regional train plus a shinkansen (bullet train) to Furukawa, connecting to a local train bound for Onomichi (total travel time approximately 5 hours). Onomichi is the beginning of the famous Shimanami Kaido cycling track and the town is associated with a great number of great Japanese literary figures. There are various temples, pagodas and parks that you can explore on a couple of pleasant walks that connect them, the most popular being Temple Way. After arriving mid afternoon in the city, you might like to get your cultural fix with a walk along Temple Way, or instead head to Senkoji Park, where you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the city and the Inland Sea. If you’re lucky enough to be in Japan in the springtime, cherry blossoms bloom in the parks here! Tonight, why not head into town and grab a ramen dinner in one of the laneway restaurants – these delicious soupy noodles are what Onomichi is known for.
Day 4 - Shimanami Kaido / Onomichi (Cycling & Kayaking)
Wake up in Onomichi ready to take on a section of the Shimanami Kaido. This 60 km cycle path connects 6 small islands on the Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku. Today, you’ll ride across three of the connecting islands, arriving on Ikuchijima around midday. The cycling paths are well established, and you’ll pass by cafes, shrines, small beaches, getting to see the stunning vistas of the dotted islands and tiny fishing villages on the Setouchi Inland Sea. In the afternoon, swap your bike for a kayak and start paddling from the Sunshine Beach area of the island. Later on, catch a ferry back through to Onomichi Port (approximately 40 mins), before a relaxing evening.
Day 5 - Kyoto (Hiking)
Continue your Japanese journey with a local train and shinkansen to Kyoto (approximately 3 hours). Originally founded as Heian-kyo – ‘tranquility and peace capital’ – in AD794, Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1000 years before the emperor and government relocated to Tokyo. Because of this, Kyoto is rich in history, with over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens. After dropping your bags off at the accommodation, head with your group to Fushimi Inari Shrine – one of the quintessential images of Japan. Famous for its thousands of reddish coloured torii gates, get lost in one of the network of trails, and be sure to snap a few artistic shots. Follow your leader to hike up the hill, away from most of the crowds, so you get the best view and most peaceful feel of the place. Later on, join your leader on a visit to the historic Gion area of town, where you might spot a geisha!
Day 6 - Kyoto (Hiking)
Head with your group to Ginkakuji, also known as the Silver Pavilion. Built more than 500 years ago, this structure, surrounded by intricate Japanese landscape architecture, was modelled off the Golden Pavilion, Kinakuji. From Ginkakuji, get more active for a hike up Mt Daimonji-yama – one of the best short hikes in Kyoto. From the top, you’ll get a panoramic vista of the city and, on a clear day, a view all the way over to Yoshida-yama Hill. Once you’re back in town, the afternoon is yours to choose your own adventure, however active or relaxing that may be. Perhaps check out Kyoto’s Kitchen at Nishiki food markets, take a visit to Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace, or get lost in the zigzagging lanes of the traditional Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka districts. Better yet, rest up in one of the sentos (traditional bath houses) in the city – an experience you must have at least once in Japan.
Day 7 - Kyoto (Cycling)
It's cycling time again! Pick up your rental bikes and start exploring Kyoto on two wheels. Stop at Tofukuji Temple first, then cycle along the beautiful Kamogawa river to Demachiyanangi, stopping at Daitokuji Temple. Learn about Zen Buddhism and get your zen on here, before hopping back on the saddle and continuing to the Kinkakuji Temple – also known as the Golden Pavllion. Finish today's cycling after rejoining with Kamogawa river on the way and back to the bike shop.
Day 8 - Shingu/Koguchi
Swap the bike for Japan's rail network and continue on the train to Shingu. Visit Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine – one of the 3 main shrines that are part of the Kumano Kodo network. After you've had a look around, visit Kamikura Shrine – one of the oldest and most sacred shrines in Shingu, which has a stunning view over Shingu city and out to the Pacific ocean. Change to a local public bus here to Koguchi, where you will rest for the night and get ready for tomorrow's hike.
Day 9 - Koguchi/Kii Katsuura (Hiking)
It'll be an early start, as today you'll hike part of the famous Kumano Kodo, one of the only two World Heritage-listed pilgrim routes in the world. The Kumano Kodo is a network of ancient pilgrimage routes that connect three major religious sites – known collectively as the Kumano Sanzan. Throughout the centuries, the pilgrim route has been used by imperial families and the nobility, warriors and common folk as part of their spiritual practice, and reflects a mixture of indigenous Shinto beliefs as well as Buddhist influences. For the first 2.5-3 hours, it's an uphill climb up that rises over 800 metres. After reaching the Echizen-toge Pass, follow the forest ridge for another couple of kilometres until you reach the highest point, Funami-jaya teahouse at 868 m. From here, it is another 4.4 km to Nachi Taisha, which is mostly downhill. Once you've arrived, take visit to Nachi Taisha – another of the 3 Kumano shrines, as well as Nachi Falls. Then, take a bus down to Kii Katsuura for the night.
Day 10 - Toba
Head to Japan's biggest tuna market in the morning – Nachikatsuura – which claims to have the highest volume of tuna fish hauls in all of Japan. The tuna, which are caught in the coastal waters by longline fishing, are sold at auctions here. Afterwards, take the train to Toba. Toba is the perfect place to wind down after a few days hard work of hiking, cycling and kayaking. On arrival, your leader will take you on a short orientation walk in the old town of Toba and give you the option to have a fresh seafood barbecue for lunch – oysters, anyone? In the afternoon, visit the famous Mikimoto Pearl Island Museum. Toba's claim to fame is as the birthplace of the cultured pearl industry and here you'll be able to witness how Ama divers (female pearl divers) collect pearls in the traditional way. In the evening, maybe check out the onsen in your hotel – there's no better way to relax tense muscles than soaking yourself in hot springs with an amazing view over the bay area.
Day 11 - Osaka
In the morning, hop back on the train and return to Osaka. Arrive Osaka around lunch time and go on a walking tour with your leader to the famous Dotombori district which is a popular shopping, food and entertainment district of the city. At night it is lit by hundreds of neon lights and mechanized signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign and Kani Doraku crab sign.
Day 12 - Osaka
With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart at any time of the day. Hotel check-out time is usually around 10 am, however if you have later onward connections, you will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception during the day.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
15-03-202026-03-2020AUD $ 6,030-
22-03-202002-04-2020AUD $ 5,800-
29-03-202009-04-2020AUD $ 6,380-
05-04-202016-04-2020AUD $ 5,975-
12-04-202023-04-2020AUD $ 5,975-
10-05-202021-05-2020AUD $ 6,090-
07-06-202018-06-2020AUD $ 5,525-
27-09-202008-10-2020AUD $ 5,525-
18-10-202029-10-2020AUD $ 5,525-
25-10-202005-11-2020AUD $ 5,525-

Accommodation

Hotel/Ryokan (11 nights)

Transport

Boat,Public Bus,Metro,Bullet Train,Train,Taxi,Walking,Bike,Kayak

Map