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Overview

Explore the backcountry of Kyoto and Nara on bike. A magnificent area full of local flavour with farmlands, tea plantations and wooded mountains. The area is very diverse and the cradle of the history of Japan where some historical tombs and sacred temples can still be found.

Trip Highlights

Kansai Cycling Explorer

Bike through Kansai’s landscapes

From densely wooded Hieizan Mountain, ancient roads and perfectly manicured green tea fields, explore the variety of landscapes on bicycle.

Relax in hot springs of Kurama and Ohara

Choose to trek or hike up Kurama and Ohara and  take a relaxing dip into the natural hot springs.

Temple stay at sacred Enryakuji Temple

Spend a night on the sacred temple grounds of Enryakuji Temple,  and explore the huge temple grounds on foot. 

Itinerary

1

Kyoto – Kurama - Ohara 31km / 402m

Today, leave the city area of Kyoto and cycle to the Northeast.

First, follow the Takano River upstream and then pass through a rural area that gradually changes into a windy forested mountain road. At Kibune, cycle along a quaint mountain stream lined with some traditional inns before reaching the Kifune shrine. This an important religious Shinto sanctuary. From here, choose to either hike to Kurama via a mountain trail and return by bus or train to pick up the bike or continue cycling to Kurama. Above the town is the Kurama temple, majestically set among cedar trees on the mountain slope. Kurama is a popular weekend day trip for Kyotoites for its open air hot spring. Take a relaxing soak in the hot spring surrounded by beautiful nature.

From Kurama, continue towards Ohara, further north. The way eventually goes down and after the mountain, arrive at a wonderful rural area with rice paddies, local vegetables and traditional farm houses. Ohara is a small local town famous for some beautiful temples with exceptionally beautiful gardens and also for the local produce market. Stay overnight at a wonderful traditional ryokan surrounded by beautiful gardens and serving locally sourced food. 

2

Ohara – Hieizan / Enryakuji Temple 29 km / 767m

Before leaving Ohara, visit the local farmers market to try some tasty local specialties. After the market visit the Sanzen-in Temple with its stunning garden, the Jakkoin Temple and the Hosenin Temple. Walking up a trail, walk to the Otonashi no Taki which means soundless waterfalls.

Lunch before getting back on the bike and cycle to Sakamoto which is the old town area of Otsu at the foot of the sacred Hieizan Mountain which houses the important Enryakuji Temple. In Sakamoto there are many local temples and monks residences with beautiful gardens.

Take the cable car up the mountain to reach the temple accommodation, Enryakuji Kaikan.

3

Enryakuji – Biwa lake - Uji 28km / 700m

In the morning attend the morning ceremony before exploring the Enryakuji Temple on foot.

The temple complex is huge. Set on top of the forested mountain, it is one of the two Guardian Mountains of the city of Kyoto.

Then, choose to either hike back down or take the cable car again and hop back on the bike. As the mountain is located right next to the Biwa Lake, the largest freshwater lake of Japan,  enjoy majestic vistas from the cable car ride down. Today, cycle to Uji, a lovely small city on the banks of the Uji River. The city is famous for green tea and especially matcha. The tea here is called Ujicha. There are many teashops and teahouses in this town. But another major attraction here is the Byodoin temple. One of the most beautiful temples in the country. [Image result for biwa lake]

Tonight, stay at Kyoto Uji Hanayashiki Ukifune-en a traditional Japanese style accommodation that serves delicious meals.

4

Uji – Wazuka - Nara 29km / 767m

This morning, go for a walk around the city, visit the island in the river and the Tale of Genji museum on the other side.

After that return to the bikes and hit the road and ride to Wazuka, the region where Ujicha tea is grown. The tea plantations are perfectly shaped and manicured up against the slopes, offering stunning views of the area. There are small winding roads through the tea fields making this one of the most attractive cycling areas of Japan.

Take a break and lunch at Sabou Takenoko Soba Restaurant.

After lunch cycle to Nara, a former capital city of Japan, but which is now a small city with some of the most impressive temple complexes of Japan.

Overnight at Matsumae Ryokan.

5

Nara

Spend the last day exploring the famous sites and temples of Nara on bike or choose to leave town to explore the natural area of the Yagyu Kaido route or perhaps follow a part of the oldest road in Japan, the Yamanobe No Michi.

*** End of services from EXO Adventure ***

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicles: (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available). Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and backup as itinerary.
  • Bike, helmet, 1 biking water bottle per person
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day when cycling
  • Snacks and local fruits
  • 1 EXO Adventure certified English speaking guide
  • 1 assistant guide for 9 -15 cyclists
  • 1 first aid kit per guide
  • Each guide will have a full set of travel bike tools
  • Main support vehicle will have spare parts
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations
  • A/C Support Vehicles for Transfer and Backup

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangement
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Soft drinks, or beverages beyond water – we can add this into costs at agent’s request
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Tips for guides
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure (laundry, telephone)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion.
  • Other language speaking guides

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