Cycle Japan

Trip Code: CJXC

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., Choose to end rewarding days in the saddle with amazing Japanese feasts of sushi, unagi, tempura or even fugu, all washed down with a traditional sake or Sapporo beer., Ride both bikes and trains for the ultimate change of pace., Cycle through peaceful landscapes that show a land far from the big city lights of Tokyo.

Is this trip right for me?

While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short (anywhere from 10 to 80km / 6-50 miles of cycling each day) the terrain of the Noto Peninsular is naturally hilly and, being coastal, the climate can vary dramatically. Most people with a reasonable level of fitness will enjoy the trip, but remember we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day.

To complete this trip it is important that you are confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment.

This cycling route has been carefully selected to be enjoyable and safe, however keep in mind that traffic conditions will vary along the way, and driver attitudes may be different than in your home country.

While we always aim to ride to our next accommodation, outside of the main cities a support vehicle will also be with you at all times. Please note that the maximum number of cyclists we can fit in the support vehicle is 6.

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 quickly!

Important information

IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT JAPAN: it's essential that you read 'Passports, visas and entry requirements' section in Essential Trip Information first before booking your trip so that you fully understand the current requirements in place for travelling to Japan.

If you book the trip within 30 days before departure, please ensure that 1) you request a copy of the Agreement Form with your booking agent and return a signed copy within 2 business days 2) check with your local consulate and ensure that you'll have enough time to get the tourist visa for your trip. Normal booking conditions apply for any bookings within 30 days before departure. It may take 7 business days to confirm a booking and issue ERFS certificate when the trip is on request.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 1,2,3,5,7,8 (Ryokan) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. While we always aim to ride to our next accommodation, outside of the main cities a support vehicle will also be with you at all times. Please note that the maximum number of cyclists we can fit in the support vehicle is 6.
3. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available, and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the 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. Please note that individual travel is still not allowed in Japan. All ground arrangements will need to be organized by a certified tour operator and will need to be reflected in your visa application. A guide is compulsory for foreign tourist’s entire stay in Japan but free time is allowed as long as the guide stays in the same overnight accommodation and is able to assist in case of emergency. Therefore, we are not able to organize any pre/post trip extensions. If you experience issues with your flights to arrive and depart as per our trip dates, please contact your booking agent and we’ll try our best to assist.
7. 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.
8. 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 endeavor to wear modest clothing and be aware that you may not be able to enter public onsens.
9. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. From May 2020 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250cm may require an additional 1000 JPY fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will not be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is over 160-250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements! Failure to notify your tour leader of luggage over 160-250cm will require the passenger to pay the oversize luggage fee.

What to bring/pack

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., What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Cold tap water in Japan is generally safe and good to drink so you can avoid the purchase of bottled water by bringing your own bottle and refilling from the tap or public water fountains.

OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO TAKE
- reusable shopping bag for buying supplies for long journeys
- travel mug, cutlery, plate/bowl for preparing any self catered meals
- plastic lunch box for storing food & snacks
- slippers or flip flops
- torch/flashlight
- travel wipes
- small towel
- ear plugs & eye mask

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
- check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing
- laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash, It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. From May 2020 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250cm may require an additional 1000 JPY oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is over 160-250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.

Physical rating

3

PHYSICAL PREPARATION
There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate.

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!

It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment.

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.

Joining your group

Heianbo Ryokan, 725 Nishiiru-higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo-ku 京都市下京区東塩小路町725, Kyoto, 600-8216, JAPAN, Phone: 81 753510650

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 instructions

If you are flying to Kyoto, the closest airports are Osaka International Airport (ITM) or Kansai International Airport (KIX). From Osaka International Airport you can take an airport bus to Kyoto Station. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and you can view more information on the airport website: https://www.osaka-airport.co.jp/en/access. From Kansai International Airport the best way to travel to Kyoto Station is via the Airport Express Haruka train (75 mins). Details can be found on the airport website: https://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access

On arrival at Kyoto station, you need to make your 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. 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.

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.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Sunroute Asakusa, 1-8-5 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo 東京都台東区雷門1-8-5, Tokyo, Tokyo, 111-0034, JAPAN, Phone: +81 3 3847 1511

Hotel Sunroute Asakusa is conveniently located in Asakusa, the traditional heart of Tokyo. Asakusa is where you'll find Sensoji Temple (Tokyo's oldest temple) and around the temple complex many stalls and shops selling artisan products and souvenirs. The commercial-shopping and transport hub of Ueno is only a few subway stops away, providing great access to other parts of the capital as well as Tokyo's national museums located in expansive Ueno Park. The Edo-Tokyo Museum, the new Sumida Hokusai Museum, the Sumo Stadium and Sky Tree are also close-by.

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.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 10

Lunches included: 6

Dinners included: 4

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.

Climate & seasonal information

PEAK TRAVEL TIMES
Please be aware that while travelling during major national holidays (late Apr to early May) and peak seasons in Japan (Apr-May/Sep–Oct) are fascinating and exciting times to travel, there are also some downsides. There will be huge crowds at most tourist attractions and on all public transport. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train tickets at our usual preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without prior notice can be necessary. If you decide to travel during peak periods come with a sense of adventure and flexibility and we are sure that your experience will still be 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.

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). If you are travelling in the Spring or Autumn the weather is milder, however it can sometimes be cool and wet. Please ensure that you pack and dress appropriately.

In case of emergency

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. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

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:

+81 50 5532 4713

Intrepid's Local Operator: +81 90 6531 9269

Accommodations

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 only have 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 in Japan 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 a different Intrepid trip 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 (subject to availability), 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).

Transportation

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.

Bike bag/box restrictions on Trains

From May 2020 there will be size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage over 160-250cm may require an additional 1000 JPY oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all.

Please note a Japan Rail Pass is not incuded as part of this trip. All train sections indicated as included on the itinerary are prebooked and prepaid as a group and cannot be used individually.

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

While we always aim to ride to our next accommodation, outside of the main cities a support vehicle will also be with you at all times. Please note that the maximum number of cyclists we can fit in the support vehicle is 6. The support vehicle is not with us in Kyoto, Kanazawa and Tokyo.

An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.

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.

INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE
You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


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