|Destination||Nikko (Tochigi pref.) to Aizu (Fukushima pref.)|
|Duration||7 days / 6 nights|
|Dates||(1) July 7 –July 13, 2019|
(2) October 13 – October 19, 2019
|Single Supplement||35,000JPY (Note, may not be available in all locations)|
|Bike Rental||20,000JPY for whole tour (road bikes / e-hybrid bikes)|
Nikko has been a sacred land of Shugen-do (mountain asceticism) for ages and is also the place where Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Edo Shogunate, was laid to rest. As a result of these features, many bushi visited this place for hundreds of years. Nikko offers so many tourist attractions and entertainment such as magnificent temples and shrines including the World Heritage site Nikko Toshogu Shrine that there is even a famous saying “See Nikko before you die.” Your journey starts in this place. You will first bike from a rural area in the north of the Kanto Plain to the highland resort of Nasu where you find summerhouses of aristocrats and the Emperor. Then, you will travel through mountainous onsen (hot spring) areas to finally arrive at the historic samurai town of Aizu.
In this foodie’s bike tour, you will visit these historic towns and stay at long-established hotels and ryokans (inns), which have been welcoming VIPs from inside and outside Japan for a long time, and also at accommodations that are committed to serving high quality meals. Take in the scenery of mountains, highlands, and rural areas while you bike through them, and enjoy gastronomic exploration in the rice production center of the Kanto region, the largest dairy region of Japan’s mainland, and towns offering delicious fresh vegetables as well as many onsen spots.
- Go on an eating spree and experience a wide variety of great food that Japan has to offer, everything from ramen, soba, blow fish, wagyu beef, highland vegetables, jidori chicken, French food, a multi-course traditional Japanese dinner (“kaiseki”), ice cream, and cheese.
- Bike through spectacular views of lines of cedars, rural areas, panoramas of mountains, beautiful valleys, and houses with thatched rooves.
- Try out different onsen water types as you visit different towns and relax after a day of biking.
- We have hand-picked excellent hotels and inns that have the longest history in each local area with its distinctive characteristics.
- You will be participating in the Gojinka-sai, a fire festival in a fantastic atmosphere held in the legendary spot within Nasu (only in the May tour).
- The tour is attended by a cycling guide well familiar with the local history and food.
- Ride on scenic and bike-friendly roads (no gravel riding in this tour).
- You can rent a high-quality road bike or an e-hybrid bike.
- Full support using a large van to ensure your bike ride and hiking are safe and comfortable.
- Special low price offer thanks to a support from the local government
MODERATE Cycling 40 – 75km / day
A choice of e-hybrid bikes will make the mileage and ascents easier.
Day 1 / Meet day
Meet at Nikko Kanaya Hotel, an elegant and classic resort hotel (the oldest resort hotel in Japan) in Nikko, where magnificent architecture, deep history and untouched nature merge. The hotel is located in Nikko National Park and in front of the World Heritage sites. After the reception and bike arrangement, you walk around these World Heritage sites including Nikko Toshogu Shrine which enshrines Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder and first shogun of the Edo Shogunate over 400 years ago. You enjoy French cuisine using local fresh fish or meat for dinner at a beautifully decorated, classic style restaurant in the hotel.
(Overnight stay・Dinner provided)
Day 2 / Nikko to Bato [Cycle 75km]
While seeing a World Heritage site right in front of you, you will leave the hotel. You will be first biking on the Nikko Road Cedar Path. This is a pilgrimage route to temples and shrines in Nikko and still has the atmosphere of what ancient religious trips to Nikko were like. This path is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest tree-lined road. After the cedar path, you will be cruising through rural villages at the base of mountains along the Kinu River. Follow the lead of the guide who knows every single tranquil forest road and small path going through farms and bike like a local. Enjoy a slow, relaxing ride in the landscape of traditional Japanese rural communities. After leaving the Kinu River behind, you will bike across the Naka River and enter Bato, a very old town where gold was first found in Japan. You will stay at a hotel renovated from a wooden mansion built over 200 years ago. At the hotel, you will be sure to enjoy onsen torafugu, rare tiger puffers farmed in the local onsen water instead of seawater, and sake from local breweries.
(Overnight stay・Breakfast & Dinner provided)
Day 3 / Bato to Nasu [Cycle 75km]
After leaving the town of Bato, you will soon enter a hilly area. You will be biking up and down on a small path alongside terraced rice paddy fields shining in fresh green. You will then travel through one of the most beautiful villages in Japan, stop at Ungan-ji, a zen sect temple famous for its vermillion-lacquered bridge and the majestic gate towering at the end of stone steps, and continue on your way north in tranquil mountain side villages. The lunch of the day features fresh vegetables at a farmer’s restaurant. Further north, you will be finally entering Nasu. After stopping by the tour desk at Ride Experience in front of Kurodahara Station, you will gradually bike up toward Nasu Highland, a vast resort area at the outskirts of the national park, Mount Nasu. After biking through a refined summerhouse neighborhood in the forest area, your final destination of the day is a long-established ryokan in the Nasu Yumoto Onsen district at an altitude of 850 meters. The onsen has been around for over 1,300 years. The finest milky sulfurous onsen water will soothe your body tired from biking. The dinner features Nasu wagyu beef shabu-shabu, the exquisite wagyu beef available only in Nasu, and craft beer from local breweries.
*If you join the May tour, you will be seeing in Nasu Yumoto the traditional fire festival called Gojinka-sai held on the night at Sessho-seki where the local nine-tailed fox legend remains. At the festival there will be a torch parade and a drum and dance performance in fox costumes.
(Overnight stay・Breakfast & Dinner provided)
Day 4 / Ride around Nasu [Cycle 40km]
It’s a day of exploring Nasu, the gourmet and biking resort! Nasu has established itself as a royal resort since aristocrats built summerhouses and opened ranches and the Emperor built a summerhouse (called “Goyotei”) about 100 years ago. This has led Nasu to have some of the highest level food producers in Japan.
Day 4 starts at the ryokan in Nasu Yumoto. You will first bike to Nasu Yuzen Shrine, go through Sessho-seki where the nine-tailed fox legend remains, and begin a climb to Mount Nasu. This is a mountain of old-growth broad-leaved forest unlike forested mountains seen throughout mainland Japan. In the fresh green of spring, under a cool canopy of summer green, and through the red and golden leaves of autumn, you can enjoy the climb as the landscape changes also with the altitude. Of course, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view here and there. After the scenic uphill ride and exhilarating downhill ride, stop for cheese cake at a ranch café. The lunch for the day is soba; you will be making your own soba at Soba-Uchi Taiken Dojo (soba workshop) under an expert’s guidance. Gourmet biking continues after lunch! You will have seasonal gelato at a ranch-owned gelato shop, visit the ranch producing aged cheese served at first-class seats of JAL flights, and finally, you will reach a craft beer brewery to taste award-winning fine craft beers! Your dinner for the day is Nasu wagyu beef teppanyaki prepared right in front of you by the chef at a teppanyaki restaurant. Enjoy the marriage of top-level meat and the superb local wine!
(Overnight stay・Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner provided)
Day 5 / Nasu to Yunokami [Cycle 65km]
From the hotel in Nasu, you will bike north along the Nasu mountain range and into Fukushima prefecture. After a quiet mountain pass, you will have lunch at a highland restaurant near the lake. A refreshing bike ride through beech forests along the lake is followed by the climax of the day; you will travel on a 20 km gentle downhill along a beautiful mountain stream. Your final destination of the day is Yunokami Onsen. In this long-established onsen area the water springs between rocks of Okawa Valley. You know you have arrived there when you find Yunokami Onsen station famous for a station house with a foot bath and a thatched roof. You will be staying at a modern, artistic, and comfortable onsen bed & breakfast whose establishment reflects the great taste of the owner who is also a calligrapher. At this ryokan, you will be treated with a meticulously prepared meal featuring a fusion of garden vegetables and local specialty cuisine using jidori chicken and horse meat.
(Overnight stay・Breakfast & Dinner provided)
Day 6 / Yunokami to Aizu [Cycle 50km]
From the ryokan in Yunokami Onsen you bike up a quiet mountain road to enter an old road, where for hundreds of years Aizu samurai once walked. Along the road, you will stop at a small post village of Ouchi-juku where old buildings with a thatched roof still remain from the Edo period. Enjoy the spectacular view of over 30 houses with thatched rooves in a remote mountain area. For lunch of the day, you will try negisoba, the local specialty soba that you eat with a green onion instead of chopsticks! The afternoon ride is along the Aizu railroad in a peaceful countryside. In the town of Aizu Wakamatsu, you will see the tall and large Aizu Wakamatsu Castle at the center of the town. For the last night of this tour, you will be staying in the Aizu Higashiyama onsen area where many Aizu samurai and high-level officials of the Meiji government visited. Among other ryokans, we have chosen a long-established quaint ryokan with the longest history of all. In a traditional Japanese style meal, you will have a kaiseki dinner featuring many local dishes and famous sake from Aizu.
(Overnight stay・Breakfast & Dinner provided)
Day 7 / Break up the tour at the hotel in Aizu
After having breakfast and checking out of the ryokan, the tour breaks up. The ryokan offers a ride to the closest JR station, Aizu Wakamatsu on the Banetsu West Line.
In Nikko, Nasu Yumoto, and Aizu, you will be staying at a long-established hotel or onsen ryokan that boasts the longest history and dignified presence in each town. The accommodation in Bato is a hotel, which is a renovated wooden mansion built over 200 years ago. In the Yunokami Onsen area, you will be staying at a modern, artistic, and comfortable onsen bed & breakfast whose establishment reflects the great taste of the owner who is also a calligrapher. All accommodations offer top-level hospitality and finely tuned Japanese style service. Except for Nikko and Bato, the accommodations have their own onsen for you to relax in after a day of riding.
For your culinary delight the tour offers kaiseki dinner featuring dozens of dishes served at a long-established ryokan, local specialties in each town you visit, and a great variety of Japanese food made with a range of seasonal ingredients.
Some of the unique dishes include shabu-shabu and teppanyaki of the finest wagyu beef (“Nasu wagyu beef”) in Nasu, onsen torafugu farmed in salty onsen water in Bato, sautéed Nikko rainbow trout, highland vegetables, cheese and ice cream available at ranches-owned shops in Nasu, jidori and horse meat sashimi in Aizu, and Kozuyu (local soup in Aizu with a lot of root vegetables). While biking, you will have chances to have a closer look of places where these local ingredients are produced.
In Nasu, you will try making soba under an expert’s guidance at Soba-Uchi Taiken Dojo. If you love to drink, many brands of sake proudly presented by Tochigi, the rice production center of the Kanto region, craft beer in Nasu Highland, and Tochigi wine will be another great highlight of this tour.
A support vehicle will be available throughout the entire tour. No need to carry your bags on your bike during the ride – they will travel in a support vehicle between hotels.
You will also be provided with GPS devices, maps and a GPS tracking smartphone application for checking each rider’s real time position. High-performance carbon road bikes (BOMA), Comfortable adventure bikes (Cannondale SLATE) and High quality e-hybrid bikes (YAMAHA) are available for rental at a rate of 20,000JPY for whole tour.
- 6 nights’ accommodation on twin share basis
- 6 breakfasts and 6 dinners (Lunch is not included except Day 4)
- First one beverage for a toast (“Kanpai”) in the dinners (Further more beverages are not included)
- Making your own Soba workshop & Soba lunch on Day 4
- Tour guide(s) for both cycling and hiking
- Van support
- Mechanical support
- Luggage transfer by van
- Bike bag transfer to the finish point by courier
- GPS device with pre-installed tour routes,
- Snacks, fruits and water during ride
- Ride Experience high-performance cycling jersey and a water bottle