Japan Bike Tour

A Cultural Journey in Temples and Tea Leaves

7 days / 6 nights Level: 3Price From: $8,995Collection: Classic

Tour Highlights

  • Ride city landscapes in Nara in addition to less-traveled routes in Mount Yoshino and Koyasan
  • Cycle on car-free roads through autumnal foliage in fall and blooming cherry blossoms in spring
  • Discover the complexity of Japan’s popular rice wine during a sake tasting
  • Experience the transcendent ritual of morning meditation with Buddhist monks
  • Deepen your cultural understanding with visits to temples, shrines, tea fields, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the famous Tōdai-ji

Eat

Sushi and sashimi are staples; udon, ramen, tempura, yakitori, and traditional kaiseki (small plates including miso soup, rice, fish, fermented vegetables, and seaweed); mochi

Drink

Sake, tea, Koshu wine, and Japanese beers like Asahi, Kirin, and Sapporo

As featured in:
Print Itinerary
  • Day 1

    Terraced Tea Fields

    Welcome to Japan! Your guides will meet you in Kyoto and bring you to the start of our ride at the city’s perimeter. After a bike fitting and safety talk, start pedaling inland and climb up a cool forest road that unfurls into tea country. This is where Japan’s matcha green tea is grown and harvested, and we’ll get a glimpse at how to grind, whisk, and enjoy it. Have a traditional lunch with the locals in Uji, then breeze down rolling hills lined with tea terraces. We’ll transfer the rest of the way to Nara, the onetime capital of Japan where there are temples aplenty. Finally, settle into our accommodations near Nara Park, famous for its friendly deer who feed right out of your hand. This evening we’ll sample yakiniku, a style of table-side barbecue. For a nightcap, stop into a speakeasy where Nara’s resident mixologist was named the best bartender in the world.

    Meals: Lunch / Dinner
    Destinations: Uji, Wazuka, Nara
    Accomplished: 37 miles / 61 km, elevation gain: 969 meters
    Accommodations: Noborioji

  • Day 2

    Hidden Lake Loop

    After a traditional breakfast, we’ll pay a visit to Tōdai-ji: a Buddhist temple, UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to a 49-foot mega-Buddha. Then we’ll bike out of town, noticing how quickly the landscape shifts to rural roads. Spend five kilometers climbing with mountains to our left and a plunging valley on our right; a winding descent leads us to a hidden lake where we’ll cycle around the reservoir and along a ridgeline. Before we reach our ryokan, we’ll be treated to an educational sake tasting in Harushika. Later, the evening is yours to explore Nara’s old town center—home to local artisans, over 50 boutique sake breweries, and plenty of restaurants where you can dine on your own.

    Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
    Destinations: Todai-Ji Temple, Harushika, Nara
    Accomplished: 34 miles / 53 km, elevation gain: 1,164 meters
    Accommodations: Noborioji

  • Day 3

    Into the Outerlands via the Yoshino Pass

    Today we leave behind Nara’s urban landscape in favor of forest foliage and rural riding. Transfer to the little town of Haibara and begin cycling a route comprised entirely of quiet, undulating backroads through dense cedar forests and mossy shoulders. There’s a rewarding descent before our final push up to Mount Yoshino, the place we’ll call home for the next two nights. For lunch, slurp up traditional soba noodles, then visit a mochi kitchen to sample some of these sweet snacks for dessert. Settle into our ryokan in the small village on Mount Yoshino, don your yukata, and soak in the onsen to soothe your legs. There may be time to stroll the temple- and shrine-lined streets before tonight’s sake-paired dinner, served in the comfort of our ryokan.

    Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    Destinations: Haibara, Yoshino, Mount Yoshino
    Accomplished: 29 miles / 46 km, elevation gain: 958 meters
    Accommodations: Ryokan Kato

  • Day 4

    Hidden Gems of Yoshino

    Begin the day with a downhill sprint out of Mount Yoshino, following mountain backroads and passing through a pair of tunnels into Tenkawa. For a break from the bike, we’ll ride a whimsical monorail into Tenkawa’s limestone cave complex. After lunch, we’ll make our way back to Mount Yoshino via onsen-laden villages and cedar-shaded switchbacks. Tonight’s dinner is served at our ryokan.

    Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    Destinations: Yoshino, Mount Yoshino, Tenkawa
    Accomplished: 22 miles / 35 km, elevation gain: 1,004 meters
    Accommodations: Ryokan Kato

  • Day 5

    Japan’s Holiest Mountaintop

    A traditional Japanese breakfast of miso soup, rice, and grilled fish is the protein-packed fuel for this morning’s ride. We descend from the mount and meet the Yoshino River, following an undulating route through small villages. We’ll hop off our bikes for lunch near the Hashimoto Bridge, then begin climbing into the town of Koyasan. It’s a beautiful ascent on a tiny, forested road, finally arriving at the summit atop the holiest mountain in Japan and the worldwide headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. Our home for the evening is a type of monastic ryokan unique to Koyasan, called a shukubo. The monks are our hosts, and our dinner is a taste of shōjin ryōri, their vegetarian Buddhist cuisine—but first, we’ll have a chance to soak in the shukubo’s hot springs.

    Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    Destinations: Koyasan, Okunoin
    Accomplished: 40 miles / 65 km, elevation gain: 1,545 meters
    Shorter Option: 18 miles / 28 km, elevation gain 415 meters
    Accommodations: Koyasan Onsen Fukuchiin or Jokiin

  • Day 6

    Morning Zen in Koyasan, Evening Sushi in Osaka

    If you wish, this morning presents the unique opportunity to rise at dawn and join the monks in their daily meditation. Early morning is also the ideal time to slip into the town of Koyasan while it’s still deserted, admiring the Garan temple complex, visiting Okunoin cemetery, or wandering the small lanes before tightly packed businesses begin their daily bustle. Our ride kicks off mid-morning, descending out of Koyasan and returning to the Yoshino River Valley. Conquer twisting roads in total solitude and stillness and arrive at the last stop of the week: Katsuragi. Take a breather in the van as we transfer into Osaka, where we’ll feast on sushi for our final dinner together.

    Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    Destinations: Koyasan, Katsuragi
    Accomplished: 22 miles / 35 km, elevation gain: 772 meters
    Accommodations: Conrad Osaka

  • Day 7

    Say Sayonara to Japan

    This morning, have a leisurely breakfast before your guides see you off to your next adventure in Osaka (or further afield in Japan).

    Meals: Breakfast
    Destinations: Osaka

DuVine itineraries may be subject to slight route changes, hotel substitutions, and other modifications.



Arrival Details

Airport City: Osaka, Japan Pick-Up Location: Kyoto-area hotels
Departure Details

Airport City: Osaka, Japan Drop-Off Location: Osaka International Airport Drop-Off Time: 11:00 am
Travelers Take Note

Lodging: The hotels on this tour consist mostly of ryokans, a style of lodging that emphasizes Zen simplicity. Guests should remove shoes upon entering. A yukata (Japanese-style robe) awaits within the room, and guests traditionally change into the robe upon arrival, wearing it to the onsen baths or dinner in the hotel. Room furnishings may be sparse, and a futon-like mat—folded and stored away during the day—will be turned down for you after dinner.

Bathing: While most rooms have their own bathroom, some of the ryokans don’t offer private showers. Instead, you are invited to bathe in single-gender onsen­­-style baths, a widespread traditional form of bathing.

Cycling: Please note that a very limited number of electric assist bikes are available in Japan. Portions of our cycling routes may pass through tunnels; safety lights will be provided.

Any scheduled tour can be made private. Your group, your dates. Go Private

2020Single Supplement From: $3,200

See our cancellation policy

Weather by Month
Average Temperature + Precipitation

Average Temperature + Precipitation

 
JAN
FEB
MAR
APR
MAY
JUN
JUL
AUG
SEP
OCT
NOV
DEC
High (°F)
49°
50°
57°
66°
77°
82°
89°
91°
83°
73°
63°
53°
Low (°F)
32°
32°
36°
46°
55°
64°
72°
73°
66°
54°
44°
35°
Rain (in)
251
251
4102
5127
6152
8203
7178
5127
7178
5127
376
251

Accommodations

  • Thoughtfully selected accommodations that reveal the true character of the region
  • Luggage transfers

Meals

  • Daily breakfasts, all lunches, nutritious snacks, and après velo cocktails
  • 5 gourmet dinners at our favorite local restaurants and renowned culinary establishments
  • Carefully selected local wine, beer, or spirits with every meal

Activities

  • Wine tastings and activities as outlined in the tour itinerary
  • Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, parks, and all other exclusive events
  • Gratuities for baggage, porters, and hotel service

Gear

  • Top-of-the-line bicycle selection
  • Bike helmet
  • Complimentary DuVine gear, including a custom cycling jersey, DuVine t-shirt, water bottle, and drawstring bag
  • GPS in most destinations

Support

  • Expert bilingual guides with extensive local knowledge
  • Support vehicle that follows the day’s route, distributes refreshments, and offers lifts
  • Pick-up and drop-off before and after your tour from predetermined meeting points
  • Daily bike maintenance to ensure optimal performance
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Synapse Carbon Disc Ultegra SE

Manufacturer: Cannondale

Type: Road

Quick 1 Disc

Manufacturer: Cannondale

Type: Hybrid

YPJ-EC

Manufacturer: Yamaha

Type: E-Bike