Japan cycling holiday, small group

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Date
Price
Basis
29 Sep 2018
£ 4835
including UK flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 29 Sep 2018 departure
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Japan cycling holiday, small group

Environment

Exploring Japan by bike is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel, and the fact that we travel from Kyoto and into Tokyo by train means that your holiday is a low impact option, as well as enabling you to experience beautiful rural Japan at its best. By limiting our point-to-point cycling adventure to the cultural heart of the main island we avoid the need to travel extensively and to fly within the country.

We use the Shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo, a high speed train service that links many towns and cities in Japan. Several measures have been implemented to reduce noise pollution and noise has been reduced to less than 70 decibels in residential areas. The network has also introduced weight saving cars and the construction of noise barriers.

Outside of the large cities we stay in a number of locally-owned guesthouses and also at ryokan which are traditional-style inns where you sleep on a futon mattress in a room with tatami mat floors and paper screen walls and gain an insight into traditional Japanese lifestyles. This also helps spread the income generated by our visit amongst the wider community as employees are from the area and food is grown locally. We include a number of evening meals with the aim to showcase local cuisine and we eat most of our meals at a variety of local, independently-run restaurants or in the accommodation where they also value locally-produced food.

We strive to reduce plastic wastage by encouraging our clients and local partners to refill their water bottles from larger dispensers and to drink the tap water where it is treated and perfectly potable. We also provide our clients with reusable hemp eco-bags, thus avoiding the need for plastic bags from local supermarkets and shops.

Community

Japan is a popular tourist destination and by exploring the Noto Peninsula we are helping to spread the financial benefit of our visit into lesser-known areas of the country that haven’t benefitted from the influx of overseas tourism that has surged in areas like Tokyo and Kyoto. This is especially important in rural areas such as the Noto Peninsula that have suffered from growing urbanisation and the migration of younger generations into the big cities. Supporting the local businesses helps to support the local community.

Our Japanese-speaking tour leaders have all spent time living and working in Japan and been fully trained by us, including a strong focus on responsible tourism practices so they can ensure that our tours run in accordance with our code of practice. As well as providing a fascinating insight into local culture, they are able to provide guidance concerning local customs and culture so as to ensure that local sensibilities are respected and also advise re: local water conservation and recycling initiatives. We also directly employ Japanese local staff to help support all aspects of the adventure with drivers, guides and an assistant biking guide.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators. We acknowledge that air travel has a negative impact on our environment, so we work together with Cool Earth to offset carbon and protect our important rainforests.

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