Through the isolated mountains and secluded islands of the inland sea, you will get a glimpse of a more traditional Japan. From the mountainside hamlets, castles and ancient temples, experience a place where the Japan's modernization did not penetrate.
These are big climbing days. From the deep valleys you will be climbing over the mountain passes down to the coast. You will then ride along the cluster of islets which connect Shikoku to the mainland of Honshu though to Hiroshima.
This is one of our favorites. Get ready for a trip of a lifetime.
- Cycle Japan's inland sea from Shikoku to Hiroshima across the largest bridge system in the world
- Bathe in Japan's oldest hot spring that dates back over 1,000 years
- Ride through Edo period villages and see Matsumoto Castle
Riding days of approximately 70-100 km daily in rolling and or mountainous terrain with bigger climbs. Elevation gains of approximately 1,000 meters and above daily. Shorter riding days available.
Biggest Climbing Day
Arrive Kochi and transfer to the city hotel. We will fit the bikes and if there is time, you can visit Kochi-jo which is a preserved 17th Century feudal castle.
Day 2 The Town Above the Clouds (103 km)
Start the ride along the `Yokonami Kuroshio Line’ where there are spectacular ocean views. We then start ascending through tea plantations in to the mountains. Our destination is Yusuhara, known as the ‘Town Above the Clouds.’ Stay in a hotel designed by a renowned Japanese architect and walk to the hot spring over the wooden bridge seemingly suspended in the air. Walk around the local township afterwards.
Day 3 The Castle Town (85 km)
We will be riding through the castle town of Uwajima. This is one of the original twelve castles that still remain today around Japan. There is also the 'Taga Ginga' which is an ancient Shinto fertilility shrine. Inside is a massive wooden phallus that is carried during the local fertility festival. Afterwards you will cycle an ancient pilgrim road to our hotel in the mountains.
Day 4 The Fishing Town (112 km)
We will be descending out of the mountains. Our route hugs the coastline where you will be riding through groves of mandarin orchards. Our destination is Yawatahama, a local town by the ocean. Spend the rest of the day exploring the town. Visit the Miyagawa sweet shop and try traditional cakes.
Day 5 The Ancient Spring (90 km)
You will cycle through the historic town of Uchiko which prospered for 200 years in wax production. The town is made up of traditional merchant houses still being used today. Today's destination is Matsuyama. A highlight is the Matsuyama Castle which was built in 1603. The route then heads to Dogo Onsen, the oldest hot spring in Japan. It has a history dating back over a thousand years. Immerse yourself in these ancient spring waters.
Day 6 Seto Inland Sea (97 km)
Today you will ride the Shimanami Kaido, via bridges that connect the six islands from the mainland of Honshu to Shikoku. Japan’s inland sea has been likened to the Greek Islands with its olive terraces, craggy coastlines and lemon groves. The destination is Onomichi and a bicycle hotel that was converted from a old ship's warehouse.
Day 7 The Island of the Gods (88 km)
Our final destination is Hiroshima along the Akinada Chain of islands. The first of our island crossings will be via ferry before crossing bridges from island to island. We will ride through Mitarai which is a preserved Edo period township. Celebrate our last night in Hiroshima.
Day 8 Sayonara
Farewell and airport transfer after breakfast.