This tour connects the two former Japanese capitals Nara and Kyoto with their traditional townscapes. In between you can marvel at lush tea plantations and centuries old Buddha statues and temples from the unpretentious stone Buddhas at Joruriji temple to the biggest Buddha of them all at Todaiji temple in Nara Park. You will get acquainted with many aspects of Japan such as green tea, Sake brewing and various manifestations of Buddhist tradition. The tour also includes a typical Japanese dinner (Kaiseki cuisine) Last but not least you can enjoy the rural Japanese scenery while riding on small roads with very little traffic. This tour offers a wide variety of facets in the interplay between the urban sprawl within Kyoto and the serenity of remote areas in the countryside.
Day 1 (60km, 1000m elevation gain)
From our bike station we cycle southbound through the traditional area of Hino. On the way we climb two hills of less than 300m in elevation although the second climb that takes us to the village of Sumiyama has some steep gradients. After that we cycle on quiet country roads through lush tea plantations and small villages. There will be several ups and downs but none of the climbs is too steep. Before arriving in Nara we make a slight detour to Joruriji temple where you can marvel at several 1000 year old stone Buddhas sculpted into boulders in the adjacent fields. From there it is a short ride to Nara Park and while we are still deeply impressed by the unadorned beauty of the stone Budhas we are suddenly standing in front of the stately Todaiji temple, the largest wooden building in the world with a history of more than 1200 years. We cycle through the park with its tame deers and visit the temple which houses the biggest bronze Buddha statue of Japan, dating back to the 9th century. We will stay in a hotel near Nara Park and in the evening we enjoy Kaiseki dinner, a refined style of cooking which consists of many small dishes. This is a real treat not only for your taste buds but for your eyes as well.
Day 2 (55 km, mostly flat)
After breakfast we cycle back to Kyoto and visit several traditional areas on the way. We have left the mountains behind us and cycle along the Kizu river on our way to Uji which is associated with tea in Japan. We cruise through the traditional townscape where many temples, shrines and tea shops stand side by side and you can try green tea in all its manifestations in drinks, desserts, ice-cream and noodles. We then continue along the Uji-gawa river to Fushimi and its many old sake breweries and warehouses. We visit the Gekkeikan Sake Museum where you will become acquainted with the production process of sake. This area served as backdrop in many movies. The road back leads us to famous Fushimi Inari shrine where we can stroll through its thousands of red shrine gates. After a short ride through a traditional neighborhood we arrive at Tofukuji Zen temple and cruise through its archaic temple precincts. From there it is a short ride back to our starting point.
This is an intermediate level tour with moderate distance and elevation gain, although the climbs have some long steep sections that will require participants on regular bikes (not e-bikes) to have a good level fitness.
The tour price includes the bike and accommodation expenses for one night including Japanese Kaiseki dinner and Japanese breakfast.
As there will be no support vehicle, you will be required to carry your own belongings for which we will provide bike bags.
This tour can also be self-guided. I will provide the route for navigation by cycle computer or smartphone and make the accommodation bookings.
This tour can be done as a self-supported 2-day tour.
Price: ¥29,500 per person (using rental touring bike)
Price: ¥36,500 per person (using rental e-bike)