Japan activity holiday, bike, hike and kayak

“A 12 day, small group adventure holiday, starting in Tokyo and ending in Osaka. Hike ancient trails, cycle along Kyoto’s Kamon River and paddle amongst the islands of Ago Bay. With lots of culture in between. ”


Tokyo | Narai | Matsumoto Castle | Tsumago | Magome | Nakasendo Trail | Kyoto | Cycle on Kamon River | Shingu | Kumano Kodo | Ise Shima and Shima Peninsula | Masakijima Island | Osaka

Description of Japan activity holiday, bike, hike and kayak

This Japan activity holiday takes you on an adventurous journey through some of the country’s most magnificent landscapes, while also spending time at important cultural heritage sites along the way. Starting in Tokyo and finishing in Osaka, travel in a guided small group, mostly by train, along a carefully crafted itinerary where every day is totally different.

Our first stop after arriving in Tokyo is Narai, just one of several old post towns that we visit on the iconic Nakasendo Way, hiking through the region’s ancient forests and Kiso Valley. Our next stop is Kyoto which we explore on foot and by bike, visiting its famous shrines and ancient streets on foot and then cycling out of the city along the Kamon River.

We then head further south to Shingu to spend two days hiking a section of the Kumano Kodo walking trail followed by some time on the beautiful waters of Ago Bay, where we visit the small island of Masakijima. Last stop is Osaka, one of Japan’s most underrated cities and which is known locally as ‘tenka no daidokoro’, meaning ‘the kitchen under the heavens’.

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26 Sep 2021
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Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is a classic style of small group adventure. You'll find your trip combines a good mix of included activities and free time, with some meals included as per your itinerary. We don't want you to feel chaperoned, it's your holiday not ours. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with organising anything you might wish to do in your free time, but how you spend it is up to you. Anything listed as included in your itinerary will be included in trip price; whereas anything listed as optional will be at an additional cost should you wish to take part.

These trips are great value, including things that you would struggle to organise independently, such as a night at a homestay in a remote village, or local guides around a remote place of interest. Transport will be a combination of private vehicle and public transport, whichever is the most appropriate for the route we are travelling; this might include train, plane, camel, tuk tuk, bicycle, boat…

On a majority of these trips you'll stay in 2-3 star accommodation, locally owned and reflective of the region you are travelling through. All solo travellers will be automatically roomed on a twin share basis with another group member of the same sex, unless you opt to pay for your own room at time of booking. There are no compulsory single supplements for solo travellers willing to share. Single rooms aren't available on camping trips, and you will be expected to help out with camp tasks such as setting up and breaking down your camp.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The overuse of plastic bags is a major environmental issue in Japan, with the Japanese using around 30 million of them every year. Shopping in a convenience store often results in leaving with several plastic bags in tow. Excessive packaging is also adding to the size of the problem. That said, Japan has one of the highest recycling rates in the world.

On our trips our tour leader will talk openly and honestly about this issue and will hand out our ‘say no to plastic’ canvas bags to encourage travellers to take every chance to reduce their plastic use whilst travelling.

In a lot of the accommodation we stay in there are kettles available to use if passengers want to fill up their bottles with tea, coffee or water for the day. This dissuades them from buying bottled water in an attempt to decrease plastic waste further.

Our leaders will also encourage travellers to purchase their own chopsticks to avoid using instant ones. Instant chopsticks are very common in lots of Japanese eateries and the plastic consumption and waste they create is substantial. As part of learning and adapting to Japanese food culture, it’s a great idea to carry a pair with you. Plus, they make a great souvenir to take back home!

In addition, Japan boasts one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world. Because of this, we travel largely on public transport during this trip, either by super-fast bullet train, local public bus or sometimes on foot or by bike. This offers a really interesting way to travel Japan and is also a main contributing factor in our efforts to minimise our carbon footprint.

The Impacts of this Trip

In order to treat our travellers to a proper authentic experience whilst travelling Japan our leaders will always encourage our clients to eat at local places and to explore the backstreets and local markets. We also suggest that our passengers shop from different stores where they can purchase meaningful souvenirs that are made locally.

There’s a great culture in Japan of preserving traditional handicrafts and encouraging local artisans to keep tradition alive. Wherever possible our leaders will take our travellers to such shops that they can help keep this creativity going.

Japanese culture is intriguing, there are also a lot of cultural taboos and can be very particular in the way they like certain things to be done. Our leaders will always do their best to explain to travellers what is and isn’t appropriate, which can be fascinating because there is often a deep cultural reason for it. Also, there are lots of rules to follow, such as no speaking on the phone on trains, always changing into slippers when going into the toilet, onsen etiquette and more. Our leaders will always prepare our travellers so that they can behave in the most respectful way possible.


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