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7 Days | 6 Nights
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Cycle through Japan's beautiful island of Shikoku on an exclusive pedal-assisted e-bike tour. Ride through the incredibly diverse and scenic landscapes with rarely a busy road in sight. Enjoy compact ride days with the assistance of your e-bike, allowing you to enjoy the daily destinations, food, hot spring baths and legendary hospitality of Japan to the fullest!
Bilingual expert leader
4 - 14
Comfortable hotels & traditional inns
Bike riding in Japan just got much more accessible with the introduction of our exclusive e-bike tour! Japan is becoming known as a world-class cycling destination and the island of Shikoku is the brightest jewel in the crown, with e-bike touring routes so beautiful you'll pinch yourself to make sure it's real.
Wake each morning to a carefully curated traditional meal, that you can enjoy while dressed in your Yakuta (Japanese gown). Take a hot bath in the natural spring, then make a start on your e-bike touring, riding with fellow pedal-assist bikers and enjoying everything your surroundings have to offer.
While e-bike touring, savor the quiet roads, stunning landscapes and evident traditions deeply ingrained in this iconic culture. Stop to capture the constantly changing scenery, snap a picture for friends back home and catch up effortlessly thanks to the power of the e-bike's assist. Roll into your destination with plenty of daylight left to explore ancient castles, Sake breweries, traditional paper makers and award-winning, contemporary architecture.
This e-bike tour of Japan is seven days of complete enjoyment and an opportunity to create lifelong memories in a very special place. Bookend the adventure with a visit to Tokyo and Kyoto and you have yourself the perfect vacation in Japan.
382 Km riding. The hilly terrain of southern Shikoku made the perfect place for our first e-bike tour. We avoided the temptation to make the days longer, deciding instead that we would keep the time in the saddle each day to around 3-4 hours and leave the rest of the time off the bike, to enjoy all that Japan has to offer for a curious traveler. The e-bike touring sections are primarily on almost traffic-free backroads, with short sections of road where there is some traffic but drivers are courteous and there is lots of space.
Visit a sacred temple of the 88 temple pilgrimage as you glimpse pilgrims in white.
Spend the morning making traditional washi paper in the small town of Yusuhara for a cultural experience.
We meet in Onomichi at the outdoor dining area of the Green Hill Hotel at 9:30am, just steps away from the train station. Here we have a briefing on the trip ahead and then get fitted up with the e-bikes. Luggage is stashed in the van and we then head out of town on a ferry over the harbor.
The great riding starts immediately as we exit the built-up areas in favor of fields and countryside. Passing through a bamboo forest on a deserted road, we pop out at the waterline of the first island of many. Today we start the Shimanami Kaido, a cycling route that crosses seven islands over the next two days with many more off in the distance.
We encounter some hills before lunch, but these are a pleasure to ride with the power boost of the e-bikes. Lunch is Udon Tempura, a staple daytime meal. We roll into a small town on Ikuchi Island called Setoda where our modest, traditional style Japanese Inn awaits.
After a leisurely and generous sized breakfast, we start out on today's ride. We have a nice big hill to power over, and this is where the e-bikes really shine, for a panoramic view out over the Seto Inland Sea. We'll also pass through the citrus orchards that are the agricultural mainstay here.
Today we will cross five different islands and in between we will be elevated above the sea on dedicated bike paths integrated into the massive span bridges. On each island, we take the scenic route, sometimes along the water, sometimes inland to catch some more of those views. The last bridge is our longest and the views from here are just breathtaking.
This last stretch brings us into a town called Imabari, where we rack the e-bikes on the van and board a rapid train that takes us around to the vibrant city of Matsuyama. The train in Japan really is a pleasant experience with snacks and drinks to enjoy as the scenery flies by.
As the day comes to a close and you've had time for a shower, we meet a local Sake enthusiast who will take us through a brewery where we can learn about the process, sample the product and enjoy a great meal paired with this traditional beverage.
No need to rush out the door today, so why not visit the castle near the hotel. There are castles all over Japan and this one is right in the middle of the city, a place that is easily navigable on a streetcar/tram. Late morning, we will take another rapid train to reach the staging point of our next e-bike ride.
A ride that starts out looking a bit ordinary, becomes a really enjoyable day on the bike as the town gives way to quiet roads following a river, with moss-covered walls that hold back the hillside. After lots of weaving along the contours of the valley, we have some really nice winding roads up through the hills at which point you'll fall in love with e-bike touring and likely be planning a new purchase back home.
Our route takes us to the small town of Yusuhara where a boutique hotel awaits, designed by award-winning architect, Kengo Kuma. Actually the work of Mr. Kuma is scattered all over town, from another Onsen Retreat property to a bridge over the nearby stream and his most significant contribution, the public library. You will have time this afternoon to explore these sites and to enjoy wandering the laneways of this lovely little town. A soak in the Onsen is highly recommended here.
A slightly earlier breakfast is needed today to fit in a full day of activity. We start out by visiting Rogier. Dutchman, Rogier Uitenboogaart has been in Japan for decades and become a master of Washi Paper, an ancient art, producing incredibly durable paper from a plant grown in this area. He and his family host morning workshops on request and Grasshopper has been doing these since we started operating tours in Japan. You will get to make the paper yourself and then craft it into an item to take home with you.
We will have lunch in town, then an afternoon e-bike ride awaits to take us to our next location. The ride is another highly enjoyable route passing through lush green valleys and hills with rivers bubbling and churning away below. There is some sustained climbing that the e-bikes will power through and then a thrilling descent where we catch our first glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. We spend this evening in an Onsen Retreat property, high up on a headland looking out over the ocean with on outdoor Onsen and an exquisite meal to close out a fantastic day.
With a place like this, you will be in no hurry to leave, so we take a leisurely breakfast, have time for more Onsen soaking and then head off late morning. The first part of our e-bike touring today is on a deserted road that skirts cliffs while the deep blue ocean swirls below along with the sound of waves crashing against rocky outcrops. A short ride beyond the cliffs takes us to yet another enjoyable section, high along a ridge on a peninsula, with views that may just exhaust your camera. The gradient along here is very enjoyable, with ups and downs all the way along the peninsula that takes us to a lunch spot back on the main island.
Well-fed, we go on to visit temple number 36 on the 88 Temple Pilgrimage Route. This is the Blue Dragon Temple and it's in our must-see list. There are often pilgrimage walkers there at the same time, so you can get an understanding of what it is all about.
The ride from here up to Kochi city is a fun one that passes surprisingly quickly. Some more flat coast riding, then through a deserted bamboo forest before summiting a hill with views over the city. Kochi is a fun place to be after a few nights in the countryside. There is a good variety of food on offer along with plenty of bars and nightlife.
Another relaxed morning before a 10 am train takes us out of the city and into the hills. Once we are on the bikes, we have a relatively flat and winding 10km following the river, then we go for a big, 20km hill climb, but again the e-bike's pedal-assist power makes this achievable by all. On a clear day the views from up top are stunning and we might even see Mt. Ishizuchi, the tallest mountain on the island. Then a long descent awaits you, into the Iya Valley. You will know when you have reached the valley, because the water of the Iya River is an amazing aqua color, owing to its origins in the limestone of the surrounding hills and the river bed that is also stone and light-colored silt.
After riding along the tight, winding road following the river with plenty of picture opportunities, we arrive at a large, comfortable Onsen Retreat style property where we can enjoy a great meal and a soak.
We linger in the valley today. There are optional walks on the trails that run along the river and up into a couple of shrines and nearby villages. Then there is a zipline right near our hotel where you can get a nice adrenaline hit if you so desire. Or you can just enjoy your breakfast and take stock of the last several days of unforgettable adventure. At 11 am, it's time for us to check out and have an early lunch before straddling our e-bikes to ride the last 30km.
And what a great 30km it is, along a quiet road that winds furiously as it follows the course of the river and contours of the valley, even on a regular bike you wouldn't be doing much pedaling here. As we leave the valley, there is a nice steep hill to get over and one that will remind you of the benefits of the e-bike you are riding. You'll roll into the small town of Awa Ikeda where we have arranged for the afternoon use of hotel rooms so you can shower, re-pack and then board a train for one of the many great travel destinations on Honshu, Osaka, Kyoto or Tokyo. Happy travels!
A pleasure to ride, the Yamaha e-bike is a unique offer for tours in Japan. The pedal-assist feature of this lightweight aluminium build expands touring possibilities for all riders and to explore more of the world by bike is a great thing in our books! Find out more about our E-Bikes here.
Yamaha e-bike is an upgrade that can be purchased for this trip, availability is limited and on a first-in basis.
Hotels in Japan are compact but generally comfortable and convenient. We have a mixture of accommodation on this tour from conventional 3-4 star hotels, to small traditional Inns, some with attached onsen (thermal hot spring) baths. We have selected these properties for their character, location and comfort. Note, double beds are not available in the Ryokan's as they are single futon mattresses on the floor.
Our bilingual guides are often cited as being the highlight of the tour and this we believe will be true of your experience in Japan. We have searched far and wide to find someone who can really tell you the story of Japan and we believe we have found him. Rest assured knowing your guide will be looking out for your comfort and safety at all times.
We provide a support vehicle driven by a skilled bike mechanic. You can be well assured that our great team is right behind you with support and they can keep your bike humming along like a Swiss watch.
An air-conditioned support van is provided and will be within 15 minutes reach maximum when needed. Bulky luggage is transferred by courier to the endpoint of the ride, so it is a good idea to pack in two parts, one part that you need daily and one part that you don't need until we reach the next hotel. This makes your daily routine a lot easier.
Japanese cuisine is world-famous. We aim to deliver a wide-ranging food experience on this tour from some simple meals up to the more ornate and gourmet experiences in the larger towns. Most meals are included on the tour, except for rest days.
Granola bars, fruit, and electrolyte drinks, as well as delicious local snacks will be provided to keep your energy up for riding.
Take it Home
A beautiful, limited edition, memento Grasshopper cycling jersey is yours to wear and take home as well as our trademark bottle.
4 to 14 Group Size
This tour is guaranteed for a minimum of 4 travelers. And we limit the group size to only 14 so that you get all the attention you want in an intimate group.
There is no surcharge for single travelers - we will match you with another same-sex single traveler. If you want a single room there is an optional upgrade that you can book.
Follow this link for general information on travel in Japan. Read our blog about travel in Japan.
Multi-day Cycling Tours Frequently Asked Questions
With our knowledge and experience of running tours in Japan, we have carefully crafted this cycling route to showcase the cultural and scenic highlights of the country as well as bring you up close to its history. Stay in traditional Japanese accommodations, enjoy tasty local delicacies, and cycling beautiful paths beyond important cities to mountains and coast. You’ll leave this tour with a greater appreciation for Japan’s heritage and some fantastic photos of its landscapes.
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