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 smooth hot mix bitumen, mostly on secondary roads that see little traffic.
En route the sweet chanting of pilgrims, our fellow travellers 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 travelling 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.
How to book
Download a booking form below and send to us via email, fax or mail. Send the booking form with $A250 deposit/person. All credit cards accepted. Full trip notes will then be sent which include equipment list and other details.
trip numbers: min 4- max 12
Day 1. Meet all group members at Kansai Airport and transfer to accommodation near airport.
Day 2. Bus transfer to Iya Gorge.
Day 3. 75 km Ride along the Iya gorge and over our first pass before descending to follow a river inland, through rural farm land to a remote Inn by a lake in the central mountains.
Day 4. 88 km Today we travel through superb alpine valleys and past crystal clear mountain streams before our steepest climb to the base of Mt. Ishizuchi.
Day 5. Climbing Mt. Ishizuchi A day to hike to the summit of Mt. Ishizuchi or stroll around the superb limestone gorge where we spend two nights.
Day 6. 120 km Don't let the distance scare you. Although we have some good climbs, with one steep one of 4 km and other gradual climbs, we have about 90 km rolling downhill! Superb cycling past small rural villages and remote valleys away from the crowds.
Day 7. 54 km We start again on superb backroads 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. Enroute we visit a historic village, showing the early methods of farming and building in Shikoku. Here we have the chance to explore a bigger city and sample the delights of urban Japan after a week in the
Day 8. 73 km Today our ride 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.
Day 9. 84 km 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's riding.
Day 10. 50 km Our last day's ride, takes us gently uphill through small rural towns before descending into a large coastal city. After packing bikes away explore this ancient castle town, home of several famous samurai clan. A big night out at a Japanese Izakaya follows to celebrate the completion of our ride.
Day 11. To Kansai airport by coach
We depart early morning for our coach trip to Kansai airport and departures home or extensions for further travel in Japan.