Cycling the best of Asia, Alaska and the Pacific since 1987
“Explore this spiritual island, discover a rich tapestry of quiet back roads,
Buddhist pilgrims & exotic inns as you ride from the mountains to the sea.”
Shikoku provides a rare window into ancient Japan. Here away from the crowds, we cycle along ancient Samurai paths that wind over mountain passes and along crystal clear mountain streams. Life appears to stand still in these remote valleys as we ride through old villages on narrow roads built for horses, where old gabled roof rural houses stand sentinel to the passing of time. The riding is mostly on nicely paved secondary roads that see little traffic.
En route the sweet chanting of pilgrims, our fellow travelers on this island of Buddhist devotion, can be heard as we pass temples and pagodas. In Shikoku, those looking for enlightenment in the modern world walk the ancient paths once trodden by the great Buddhist saint, Kobo Daishi. Here the ohenro or pilgrims smile and wave as they visit the 88 temples of "the Daishi" in their pursuit of spiritual awakening.
Our ride takes us from the spectacular Iya Gorge, the deepest gorge in Japan, with its thatch roof houses and old vine bridges, to the spectacular summit of Mt. Ishizuchi, Shikoku and Western Japan's highest mountain. We explore the Pacific coast with its beautiful beaches and relaxed coastal lifestyle before traveling along Japan's last great pure river, the Shimanto. Each night we stay in superb Japanese Inns where you can relax in a hot tub or on some nights, soothe your bones in a hot spring bath before enjoying your Japanese feast.
Book Your Trip
Request Trip Details
Samurai Trails of Shikoku
11 days (7 days cycling, 1 day hiking)
Inn to Inn
$3990 - Tour Cost
Day 1 - arrive Osaka; Day 2 - transfer Iya Gorge; Day 3 - cycle thru Iya Gorge; Day 4 - bike to Mt Ishizuchi; Day 5 - hiking; Day 6 - rural cycling; Day 7 - bicycle to Shimanto; Day 8 - bike to Cape Ashizuri; Day 9 - cycle to Shimanto River; Day 10 - bike to Uwajima; Day 11 - transfer to Osaka
Small paved roads, very little traffic, mountainous terrain
Total: 371 mi / 598 km
Daily Avg: 46 mi / 75 km
Itinerary & Details
Share This Tour
Japan Bike Tours » Samurai Trails of Shikoku
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 - Your group will gather today at Osaka's Kansai Airport in the evening. We bed down for a good night's rest after the long flights at a hotel near the airport. (no meals)
Day 2 - This morning after breakfast, we will travel by bus to Shikoku Island. Our drive takes us across the Naruto Straights, renowned for its whirlpools. We break for lunch in Tokushima before arriving mid-afternoon in the dramatic Iya Gorge and our lodge for the night. We'll get the bikes ready and perhaps enjoy a warm up spin through the magnificent Iya Valley nearby. 15 kms (breakfast & lunch on your own)
Day 3 - Begin the day riding along the majestic Iya Gorge. As we climb out of the beautiful gorge, we will find a small noodle house perched on the side of the mountain (ready for lunch ?). From there we cruise, as we ride downhill for hours on the old samurai roads, through small villages with picturesque terraced rice paddies. We will cycle a few miles on a major road, but the bulk of the ride is on tiny back roads. Our inn tonight sits in a picturesque lakeside setting tonight. 80 km (lunch on your own)
Day 4 - Today we cycle along the superb valleys of central Shikoku, past mountains and lakes, small villages and the ever present temples and older traditional style buildings. Today the whole route is on backroads with some gradual climbing and one bigger climb of 9 kms at the end of the day that takes us to a ridge that will leave you breathless with its sweeping vistas of steep mountains. Tonight we stay at an inn at the base of our climb to the summit of Mt. Ishizuchi. 88 kms (lunch on your own)
Day 5 - The bikes get a rest today as we embark on hike to the summit of Mt Ishizuchi (1982M), the highest in Shikoku and western Japan. The views from the summit are simply stunning. This is easy to moderate walking on a developed trail. We will plan the day so as to be back at our accommodation by mid afternoon, giving us the afternoon to relax or wander around the mountain area.
Day 6 - Its our longest day, but don't let the distance scare you. Although we have a good climbs, we also enjoy about 90 kilometers rolling downhill! The start of which is pretty fast but much of it gently rolls down river valleys. This is a superb day's riding, where you drift downhill for hours, past small villages and by crystal clear meandering streams. You will pass the ever present temples, old style farm houses, some with thatched roofs, remote farming communities, numerous terraced rice paddies and breath-taking views. The day finishes in a tiny village where we see first hand the slow gentle pace of rural Japan. Here the architecture blends with the surrounding lake and forest and provides a wonderful end to a full day in the saddle. 120 kms (lunch on your own)
Day 7 - We start again on superb back roads as we meander down a river valley past a small town and up a 6 km climb before our final descent into a large rural city. En route we visit a historic remodelled village, showing the early methods of farming and building in Shikoku. Despite the climb, the rest of the ride is gently downhill or flat, making for a quick day's ride. This will give us time to explore our new surroundings, exploring the bigger city of Shimanto and sampling the delights of urban Japan after a week in the countryside. Shimanto City doesn't see too many foreigners, so you maybe the talk of the town, literally. 54 kms (lunch on your own)
Day 8 - Today our bike tour route changes subtly as we experience life on the glittering Pacific coast of Shikoku. Here we cross paths with the pilgrims who follow the path of enlightenment of Kobo Daishi, the buddhist saint. The ride is mostly flat with some small climbs, as we travel to the farthest point on magnificent Cape Ashizuri, where we can visit one of Kobo Daishi's temples perched on a cliff top. From there we follow the coast west, past fishing villages and small beaches where we stay in a seaside inn next to the Ocean Wildlife Reserve. After arrival, and throughout the day, you will have the opportunity to meander along one of the local beaches, have a swim if weather permits or just sit by the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean and observe coastal life Japanese style. 73 kms (lunch on your own)
Day 9 - We start the day following the rugged Pacific coast. After leaving the coast we head inland to pick up the waters of the Shimanto River, reputedly Japan's last great pure river. A superb day riding along the bank of this river ensues, with its mighty mountain back drop and ever present flotilla of wooden dories. Our inn tonight is in a small village by the river. 84 kms (lunch on your own)
Day 10 - After an early start we depart on our last days ride, which goes gently uphill through small rural towns before descending into Uwajima, a large coastal city arriving here about mid day. After packing bikes away we are free to this ancient castle town, home of several famous samurai clan. Some shopping in the city mall and a castle visit are a must. Or maybe a visit to the shrine dedicate to sex! A big night out at a Japanese Izakaya follows to celebrate the completion of our ride. 38 kms (lunch on your own)
Day 11 - We depart early morning for our coach trip to Kansai airport and departures home or extensions for further travel in Japan. (lunch on your own)
Book Your Trip
Request Trip Details
Tour cost: $3990
Single supplement: $450
Tour deposit: $400
15 October 2012
Minshuku & Ryokans
... Japanese Inns are wonderful and are a focal point of this tour. They are run by friendly staff, are comfortable and add to the joy of experiencing this country. They vary in many ways from western hotels that you may be used to. The rooms have straw mat floors and "futons" to sleep on. These are folded in the cupboards and are put out of a night time by the Innkeepers. In some instances we will have western rooms, depending on the availability of the rooms and the make up of the group. In the evening, relax in a hot muscle soothing Japanese bath. The bathrooms also have showers. Some of the Inns have natural hot spring baths outside and relaxing in their soothing waters with a beer in your hand is the best way to end a day of fun and adventure in Japan.
The meals at the Inns consist of healthy Japanese food. Most Japanese meals, based around meat, fish, or chicken are filling, healthy and delicious. Raw fish is a regular side dish, and is considered a succulent delicacy. All meals are different and the variety will add to your eating pleasure.
10 nights Accommodation (double occupancy)
Breakfast and dinner daily unless noted
Service of bilingual Guide(s)
Full Van Support
Daily route directions
Sightseeing and cultural activities
Airport pick up & drop off
Meeting & Flights:
Arrive at Osaka Kansai Airport anytime on Day 1.
Fly into Osaka (KIX) before 8 pm on Day 1.
Fly out of Osaka (KIX) after 6:30 pm on Day 11.
Due to late arriving flights for some guests on the trip, no official meeting takes place on Day 1. The group spends the night at a hotel by the airport, then gets together in the morning for introductions and orientation.
Check current airfares to: Osaka
The entire ride is on paved roads, narrow but with little or no traffic. The route is suitable for road, touring and sport road bikes. Terrain is mountainous and hilly during the beginning, smaller hills during the later part.
Visas & Travel Documents:
Passports are required for all guests. Your passport should have at least 6 months validity past your intended travel dates. Visas are not required for citizens of the USA, Canada, most European nations, Australia and New Zealand. Guests from other countries should check with their nearest Japanese Embassy.
Itinerary & Details
Share This Tour
Mt Everest seen from Pang La Pass during the Road to Everest Tour Sept 09
© 2010 Pedalers Pub & Grille |
| this page updated: 17Jan12
Pedalers Pub & Grille is a small boutique bike tour operator offering extraordinary cycling holidays in Asia, Alaska and the Pacific. We provide outstanding value with luxurious comfort on our meticulously planned road bike tours. Select from our exclusive collection of bicycle tours, cycling holidays and multisport adventures in Thailand, Laos, Bhutan, New Zealand, Bali, Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, China, Nepal, Cambodia and Tibet. Our company has always traveled with cultural and environmental sensitivity and employed sustainable travel concepts.