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Cycle Japan: Noto Peninsula & Kanazawa

11 Days | 10 Nights
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From $ 4,050

Japan
Kyoto - Nara - Kanazawa - Noto Peninsula - Tokyo

Tour Highlights

Cycle Japan: Noto Peninsula & Kanazawa
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Konnichiwa! Welcome to KYOTO. As one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia, Kyoto is home to an abundance of UNESCO World Heritage sites, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by your guide then provided with assistance to hotel for check in.

If you arrive early, Kyoto offers a myriad of options to explore. For a taste of Shogun life, head to the World Heritage-listed Nijo Castle. Built by the first Tokugawa shogun in 1603, the exquisite Nijo Castle is perhaps the best surviving example of castle palace architecture from Japan's feudal era.

See how the Emperor lived at the Sento Imperial Palace within Kyoto Imperial Park, an attractive park in the centre of the city. Or for a quieter moment, you may wish to contemplate silently in one of the serene karesansui (Zen gardens) that dot the city.

Overnight in Kyoto.
Ride distance: approx. 45 km (28 miles), undulating with approx. 300m/1000ft of elevation gain.

After breakfast, familiarise yourself with your bike and take a short test ride before cycling west from our ryokan to the Katsura River, then north along a dedicated cycling path past traditional houses and community gardens to the ancient imperial resort of Arashiyama. Stop off for a coffee break in Arashiyama, well-known for its gorgeous bamboo forests.

After a caffeine hit and a chance to soak up the peaceful atmosphere, ride on to Tenryuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, with its famous white Zen rock garden. Pause here to contemplate the sound of one hand clapping and then move on to contemplate some lunch.

Afterwards, cycle east across the north end of Kyoto and then onto the Path of Philosophy and the Higashiyama area before returning to our accommodation. The ride today will be gentle, with only slight elevation on the roads as we head into Arashiyama. We start with a 5 kilometre ride on a main road, then follow dedicated bicycle paths and secondary roads for the rest of the day.

On arrival back to Kyoto, take an evening orientation tour of Kyoto's Gion district. Observe Geisha and Maiko (apprentice Geisha) from key spots in the city's old back streets and be tempted by some of the area's great local restaurants, perhaps doubling back to visit for dinner after the tour has ended.

Kyoto’s streets are laid out in a convenient grid pattern, which is unusual for Japanese cities. In the 8th century, imperial city planners copied the grid layout of Chang’an (now Xian), the capital of the Tang Dynasty China. That’s not the only benefit we reap from the Tang Dynasty today – two well-known Tang engineers, Ma Jun and Zhang Heng, invented the mechanical gear system used by the bikes we ride around this easy-to- navigate city. Arigato Tang Dynasty!

Overnight in Kyoto.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch
Ride distance: approx. 55 km (34 miles), mostly flat with approx. 200m/650ft of elevation gain.

The cycling route of the Japan Tour today takes you through beautiful Japanese scenery on a dedicated riverside cycling path from the old capital of Kyoto to the even older capital of NARA, renowned for the wealth of its Buddhist and Shinto Heritage. Nara was formerly the end of the Silk Road and was for this reason the area which first saw Buddhist teaching making the transition across the ocean from China.

Here, you'll see the Giant Buddha housed in the largest wooden structure on the planet. This city is also well known for its myriad of shrines and temples including Todaiji Temple, all set against the backdrop of the low lying mountains and in the midst of Nara Park, which is famously home to a vast population of pesky deer.

Head south along the river for most of the day, stopping briefly at Nagarebashi Bridge, a 356-metre wooden bridge that is a popular film location for samurai dramas. Return to Kyoto in the evening.

Overnight in Kyoto.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch
Ride distance: Approx. 10-15 km (6-9 miles), mostly flat with approx. 80-150m (260-500ft) of elevation gain

It's a fairly relaxing day today as we rest up before taking an express 3-hour train to KANAZAWA, in the western Ishikawa Prefecture, an atmospheric town that once rivalled Kyoto as the historical jewel of mainland Japan.

After lunch, enjoy a short cycling loop around the city, a good opportunity to fine-tune the bikes whilst enjoying some of the main attractions in town. Ride past the famous gardens, including leafy Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan's most beautiful landscape gardens, which is particularly spectacular during cherry blossom and autumn season.

After that, visit the old Nagamachi Samurai District, an area which preserves a historic atmosphere featuring samurai residences, narrow lanes and water canals. It's a truly beautiful place to enjoy by bike. Please note we ride to most of the sites but cover them by foot once we are there.

Overnight in Kanazawa.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch
Ride distance: Approx. 80 km (50 miles), undulating with a few short but steep hills, approx. 710m/2330ft of elevation gain.

Over the next four days, discover the heart of the rustic Noto Peninsula. This laid back part of Japan truly captures the Japanese concept of '’satoyama', society in harmony with nature, and 'satoumi', coastal areas in which the sea has a strong connection with peoples’ livelihoods.

After the breakfast, cycle from Kanazawa to TOGI, along rugged coastline and past fishing villages. The first stop is popular Chirihama Beach Drive, an 8 km stretch of beach along the Sea of Japan that allows you to take a short ride along the sand right along the water's edge, as well as passing by the Hatagoiwa rocks, home to Japanese sacred spirits. Small stalls selling hamayaki (grilled shellfish and fish) are set up along the coast from spring to summer and offer a good opportunity for a refreshment stop.

En route, visit Myojoji Temple dating back to the 17th century and boasting a wonderful early five storied Edo period pagoda. The temple gives you an introduction to Japanese Nichiren Buddhism. Discover quiet coastal roads and spectacular ocean views, riding back in time through sleepy fishing villages and farmland. Continue on the coastal cycling path and then along the dramatic Noto Kongo Coast, often considered the most dramatic section of the Noto Peninsula, until reaching Togi.

Overnight in Togi.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride distance: Approx. 57km (35 miles), undulating with a few short but steep hills and a longer climb at 40kms. Last 10kms is downhill. Approx. 750m/2460ft of elevation gain.

A slightly shorter ride today as we cycle northwards along more scenic coastal lanes, small villages and beautiful rice paddy terraces. Leaving the coast, the road passes through the hilly Noto mountains to the charming port-town of WAJIMA, known producing some of the finest lacquerware in Japan.

Along the way take a short rest at Masuhogaura Beach – at 460m/1500ft long you should be able to find some space on the ‘World’s Longest Bench’ to stretch those tired legs – and also keep an eye out for the famous Totoro rock along the way. Enjoy a stop at the protected whote sand Kamonoura Beach then experience some of the Noto Peninsula’s culture as we visit the Kadomi House - a traditional house owned by small cargo vessel wholesaler. Built in the 1870s it is a fascinating insight into traditional Japanese life.

Overnight in Wajima.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride distance: Approx. 80km (50 miles), hilly with frequent short but steep hills. Approx. 1150m/3770ft of elevation gain.

This morning have the option of joining the guide for an early visit to the Wajima Morning Market, believed to date back over a thousand years. Every day vendors and elderly women gather here to sell various goods, including fresh seafood and lacquerware - the most well-known local handicraft.

Set-off and pedal to along the remote and rural coastal northern stretch of the Noto Peninsula. Today is our toughest riding day, but one rich in rewards as you hug the dramatic and hilly coastline of the Sea of Japan. The most famous site to visit today is the famed Shiroyone Senmaida, a hillside of over 1000 terraced rice fields whose lush green colours and contours contrast with the background of the vivid blue sea.

Passing by the small villages, dramatic waterfalls, and the Sosogi ‘Kissing Tunnel’ we continue making our way east across the peninsula to coastal Suzu, officially the smallest city in Japan. You'll also visit a unique local salt farm that uses a traditional salt-making method called “Agehama-style salt-making” has been passed down through the generations.

Arrive at SUZU in the afternoon for a short break, then visit a Suzu-yaki pottery shop, check out the sea (and lighthouse) views at Rokko Saki Point or marvel at the Mitsukejima (Found Island), a massive rock island right off the coast of Suzu. Continue to NOTO and check-in at the hotel.

Overnight in Noto.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride distance: Approx. 72km (45 miles), hilly with frequent short but steep hills. Approx. 970m/3190ft of elevation gain.

Your final ride on the Noto Peninsula sees you heading south, passing small rural villages, towering mountains and some of the most beautiful coastline and beaches in the area, finishing in ANAMIZU before boarding a local train for the rest of the journey.

Continue on to WAKARU ONSEN, a popular hot spring resort with a history stretching back 1200 years when, according to a legend, a local fisherman found a wounded white heron and cured its body with the ocean’s hot water. Today is again an undulating ride but a fairly relaxed one. Get the opportunity to soak in the hot springs at the traditional accommodation or in one of the public baths in town - a regenerating treat after days of cycling.

Overnight in Wakaru Onsen.
MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch, Breakfast
No trip to Japan is complete without experiencing the country's legendary train system. Swap your bike for a train and watch the scenic landscape fly by on a journey (approx. 5 hours) to TOKYO.

Hit the streets on arrival for a night-time orientation walk. Explore the contemporary centre of town as well as the old streets, and feel the hum of modern life in this famous city. Taking the subway to Asakusa, visit the lively Sensoji Temple district, which is home to Tokyo’s first temple and scores of interesting souvenir and craft stalls.

OPTIONAL: if travelling in January, May and September you might like spend the evening watching a Sumo tournament.

Overnight in Tokyo.
MEALS
Breakfast
Ride distance:
Morning ride distance: approx. 20 km (12 miles), mostly flat with approx. 250m/820ft of elevation gain.
Afternoon ride distance: approx. 20km (12 miles), mostly flat with approx. 200m/650ft of elevation gain.

Hold on to your helmets because there's a real treat today – two rides in one day! Get a better feel for the different areas of the city this morning as you cycle along the same local paths Tokyoites use to cut through the city. There are surprises, both old and modern, waiting at every turn along the way and architecture aficionados will be in heaven.

Along the way we visit many of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks; the first ride passing along the cherry tree lined paths of Ueno Park, home of Tokyo’s most popular museums and temples, Akihabara gadget town, the ‘Japan Bridge’ district of Nihonbashi, and upmarket the district of Ginza with its dazzling array of high-end shops, galleries and cafes.

We break between rides to enjoy lunch at the famous Tsukiji Outer Fish Market before commencing our second ride to see such luminaries as the Edo-era Imperial Palace, the 333m-high Eiffel Tower lookalike Tokyo Tower, the elegant Hachimangu Shrine, Tsukishima (Moon Island), the manmade island in Tokyo Bay, and of course the Skytree Asakusa, at 634m the tallest building in all of Japan.

Later enjoy a free evening to spend as you see fit - enjoy a quiet night, let loose at karaoke, or walk and drink your way across the city with your local leader.

Overnight in Tokyo.
MEALS
Breakfast
Sadly it's time to say farewell to this great Japan cycling adventure. There are no activities planned for the day and you’re able to depart the hotel at any time. Free at leisure until the departing flight from Narita or Haneda International Airport.
MEALS
Breakfast

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Tour Price Includes

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When to Go

See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC





Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
8ºC
76mm

Nara
8ºC
64mm

Kanazawa
5ºC
291mm

Noto Peninsula
5ºC
262mm

Tokyo
9ºC
47mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
8ºC
82mm

Nara
9ºC
65mm

Kanazawa
6ºC
193mm

Noto Peninsula
5ºC
170mm

Tokyo
10ºC
62mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
12ºC
118mm

Nara
12ºC
106mm

Kanazawa
10ºC
159mm

Noto Peninsula
8ºC
143mm

Tokyo
13ºC
101mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
18ºC
146mm

Nara
19ºC
144mm

Kanazawa
17ºC
148mm

Noto Peninsula
15ºC
130mm

Tokyo
18ºC
122mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
23ºC
159mm

Nara
23ºC
146mm

Kanazawa
21ºC
149mm

Noto Peninsula
19ºC
128mm

Tokyo
22ºC
139mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
26ºC
240mm

Nara
26ºC
218mm

Kanazawa
24ºC
205mm

Noto Peninsula
22ºC
164mm

Tokyo
25ºC
185mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
30ºC
243mm

Nara
30ºC
189mm

Kanazawa
29ºC
246mm

Noto Peninsula
27ºC
205mm

Tokyo
28ºC
132mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
32ºC
181mm

Nara
32ºC
140mm

Kanazawa
30ºC
173mm

Noto Peninsula
29ºC
166mm

Tokyo
30ºC
148mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
27ºC
209mm

Nara
28ºC
186mm

Kanazawa
26ºC
249mm

Noto Peninsula
25ºC
237mm

Tokyo
26ºC
185mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
21ºC
123mm

Nara
22ºC
136mm

Kanazawa
20ºC
192mm

Noto Peninsula
19ºC
174mm

Tokyo
21ºC
174mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
16ºC
86mm

Nara
16ºC
85mm

Kanazawa
15ºC
235mm

Noto Peninsula
13ºC
213mm

Tokyo
16ºC
90mm
Place
Place
Daily Max Temperature
Monthly Rainfall

Kyoto
11ºC
67mm

Nara
11ºC
58mm

Kanazawa
9ºC
304mm

Noto Peninsula
8ºC
290mm

Tokyo
11ºC
50mm

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