Self-Guided Cycle Tour Adventure from Kyoto to the Coast

 

 

Bike the heritage-rich sights of Kyoto, Nara, Yoshino and Mount Koya on this self-guided cycle tour of Japan. Balance the independence of self-guided bicycle touring with the seamless planning of a Grasshopper experience. Comfortable, achievable distances, great food, hotels with comfort and style, all topped off with quality bikes.

E-bikes and Carbon Frame bikes are available on this tour as an optional upgrade.

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Highlights

4

Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • 1

    In Japan, there’s a lot more to explore beyond its rich history and traditional temples. You’ll find modern art buzzing alongside ancient landmarks like the grand Imperial Palace and the dazzling Golden Pavilion by the lake. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not only a symbol of tradition but also a hotspot for Japan’s vibrant contemporary art scene. On the day you arrive, there are no set plans until a late afternoon briefing. This means you have the freedom to wander and discover this captivating city at your own pace. The briefing, scheduled at your convenience, is a chance to go over trip details, get acquainted with your bikes and gear, and prepare for the adventure ahead.

  • 2

    Kyoto is a fantastic city to explore on a bike. It’s got wide roads, paths for cyclists, and drivers who are careful and considerate. Plus, there are charming little streets along the canals that make biking here super enjoyable in this bike-friendly country. Since Kyoto was Japan’s capital for a long time (twice!), it’s packed with history and culture.

    Your ride starts by the river and heads north, where you can see cool spots like the Bamboo Forest and, if you’re lucky, beautiful cherry blossom gardens. You’ll also stop at Tenryuji Temple, which has that classic ancient look that’s lasted through the years. Then, you’ll head east to Ryoanji, known for its amazing UNESCO-approved zen garden. On the way, you can check out Kinkakuji for a stunning view of the city.

    Along the route, you’ll find lots of yummy traditional sweets to munch on. And when you’re ready, you’ll pedal back into town along the Kamo River. You get to decide where you want to stop, with the help of our audio guide. Tonight, you’re free to explore the awesome dining spots in Kyoto, but we can recommend some top local eateries if you need ideas.

     

     

     

     

     

  • 3

    Now you’ll be staying at a place that’s a mix of a hotel and a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. It has beds instead of futons, but you’ll still find Tatami mats from the reception area to all around the property. Your stay will be right in Nara, next to the main train station. Nara Park and important temples like Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji are just a quick ride away (3km), but there’s also a shuttle bus that goes around the area in a circle.

  • 4

    Last night, you stayed on the northern edge of Nara. This morning, you’ll ride through what’s left of the ancient city. There’s not much left of it now, but you’ll see an impressive replica of the palace as you pass by.

    During the Nara period from AD 710-794, the city was designed to look like Chang’an, the capital of China’s Tang dynasty. The wealthy people back then used Chinese writing and adopted Buddhism.

    As you cycle through Nara, you’ll notice it’s a pretty big city. The cycling route is a bit tricky but manageable, avoiding heavy traffic. Once you leave the city behind, you’ll ride on peaceful back roads through the countryside. You’ll encounter some hills, but they’re not too long or steep. You’ll pass through more farmland and small villages.

    As the day goes on, the hills get a bit steeper until you reach the foot of the climb up to Yoshino. It’s only about 6km, though, and the slope isn’t too steep. Yoshino is a lovely place with temples on top of a ridge. Tonight, you’ll stay in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. You’ll sleep on tatami mats (be sure to take your shoes off!), and there’s a hot spring on site where you can relax your tired legs. Dinner will be served in the traditional Japanese style, giving you a chance to immerse yourself in the culture.

     

     

     

  • 5

    If you’re in the mood for a more relaxed day, there’s a scenic option instead of tackling the climb. After cycling about 35km, you’ll reach Hashimoto Station. Here, you can park your bikes, buy tickets for the Nankai Koya train line, and hop on one of Japan’s longest funiculars to the top of Mount Koya. That’s where your Shukubo, a traditional lodging, is waiting for you.

  • 6

    If you wake up early and go biking, Koyosan will be quiet with few people around. Koyasan, originally called Kong-Obb Ji, is a sacred place for Shingon Buddhism.

    In the morning, Koyasan looks like a picture postcard. You might see moss and green plants, and monks walking to meditation sessions. You can visit places like the Konpon Daito Pagoda and memorial grounds.

    Back at your Shukubo, breakfast is served in your room. It’s a vegetarian meal like the monks eat. You can also take a dip in an Onsen before starting your ride, but aim to start by 10 am.

    The ride down the mountain is exciting. The road is smooth and wider than the one you went up. You might see some cars, but not many since most people are going up.

    About halfway down, you’ll leave the main road and bike on smaller ones. After a climb of about 3km, you’ll mostly ride downhill through forests and along a river. As you near Wakayama, the town gets busier. You’ll find a bike path along the river that leads into Wakayama—a calm and flat ride. Wakayama is a port city with lots of history to explore tonight with our recommendations.

     

     

  • 7

    Wakayama has plenty to keep you busy in the morning. You can visit the castle, an art museum, and a train museum—all close to the hotel.

    Check-out time at the hotel is 10 am, but you can ask for a later check-out, like 11 or 12 pm, depending on how busy the hotel is. When you’re ready to go, just take a quick taxi ride to the train station. From there, you can easily catch a train to Osaka Airport (KIX), Osaka City, or Kyoto.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Booking Policy

  • 6 nights in premium hotel accommodation.
  • 6 x breakfasts
  • Introduction briefing designed to run through the practicalities
  • Quality well-maintained bike and helmets
  • Luggage transfers throughout the tour
  • A Jersey and a water bottle as mementos

Personalised design

We'll help plan your trip based on you like and want to do. We know a lot about the place you're gomg. so we can give you good advice. WIIether you're into history, food, or culture, ue'll make sure your trip is just right for you. With us. your travel will be easy and fun!

Authentic Experience

We carefully choose our expert guides and travel concierges to make sure you have an authentic experience. They're passionate about their work and will bring your destination to life with care and enthusiasm.

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We design our luxury trips with responsible travel principles in mind. This means we prioritize experiences that benefit both you and the planet.

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16 May 2024 ★★★★★

We've had two "A+" experience with Absolute Asia Tours. It is a pleasure to work with an organization where I feel confident that what you say will happen, happens. This was true with our complicated China itinerary six years ago, and was true with our recent itinerary in Vietnam. your on the ground guides and logistics were top - notch, and I would recommend you to anyone to visit Asia.

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17 January 2024 ★★★★★

Absolute Asia tours gave us a wonderful tour of Southeast Asia (working with sister-agency My Way Travel based in Vietnam). For our Siem Reap/Angkor Wat journey, our party of two had a private driver and guide named Jak, who was a cheerful and knowledgeable companion, explaining the history, culture, architecture and religious significance of the sites while keeping it always fun. We moved efficiently from site to site, and finished with a boat tour of the fishing village on stilts at Kampong Pluk on the Tonle Sap Lake. During most of our trip we stayed at top-notch locally-owned hotels, but in Siem Reap we were at the excellent local Hyatt hotel. Absolute Asia and My Way Travel our outstanding local providers, less expensive than name-brand group tours, and customized to our interests and schedule.

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Hope

2 January 2024 ★★★★★

We had an awesome time on cycling tour with AAT! It was incredible, filled with good vibes, laughs & a fantastic way to explore Vietnam & Cambodia. Tony our guide made it special by introducing us to locals and showing us the real charm of these countries. The whole tour was well-organized & the way they took care of us awesome. It's an unforgettable trip and I'll definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to experience the beauty of Southeast Asia.

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Nas

1 January 2024 ★★★★★

My group of six completed a 30 day cycling tour in Asia with AAT. We traveled form Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket & Saigon to Siem Reap. Every day we pedaled through stunning countryside views, passing villages, fields & limestone karsts. Our guide Tony was fantastic-interesting, friendly & personable. This experience stood out as the highlight of our Asia trip.

Discover Asia with our multi-day cycling adventures, suitable for riders of any skill level. Count on our quality bikes, knowledgeable guides, and excellent support for an incredible experience.

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Feel free to call one of our experts or schedule a video appointment for personalized ideas and advice.

    • James
    • Asia Specialist
    • Linh
    • Thailand and Asia Specialist
    • Loc
    • Vietnam Specialist

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