Japan’s third largest island of Kyushu is plentiful in beautiful forests, coastlines, active volcanoes and is dotted with zenlike onsen spas for a post cycle soak. To exploring the myths and legends of this southern island we now have two tours that are timed to coincide with the cherry blossoms in the spring and the fall colours of autumn.
Kyushu’s Hot Springs and Volcanoes is a 7-day bike tour in Japan that starts in the steaming caldera of Mt. Aso and ends in modern Kumamoto with a feudal past. Starting from Aso and cycling 265 kilometres in five cycling days, riders will be able to partake in the Japanese tradition of bathing in hot springs and don traditional yukata in the famous spa town of Kurokawa. Riding on to the town of Taketa to admire the feudal architecture, the landscape becomes mountainous with the turquoise water of Takachiho Gorge contrasting with the red and yellows of the trees in the autumn. Cycling to the rim of Mt. Aso caldera, which has a circumference of around 120 km, riders descend down to Kumamoto, offering a chance to glimpse into modern city life and its landmark Kumamoto Castle.To fully experience Japan the overnights are in traditional inns, of which three are also onsens, and partake in local cuisine. The riding is undulating, but the distances are manageable with time to enjoy the countryside. The tour cost is US$2,600 and bike hire is US$130. Tours are scheduled to depart November 11, 2012 and March 31 and November 10, 2013.
Our 8-day cycle tour in Japan “Cycling Colourful Kyushu Island” starts in the city of Kumamoto and then heads to the islands of Amakusa. Here we take dedicated bike paths, and even a bike bridge, along blue-green waters passing tiny harbors and fantastic rock formations as well as ancient temples and shrines. In Izumi we flush down the hearty farmer’s meal with shochu, southern Kyushu’s typical sweet potato liquor, before heading to Mt Sakurajima volcano. Magnificent views on Mt Sakurajima colour our last days, interrupted by one last soak in the unique Furusato temple onsen. The daily cycling distances are long but as they are on flat roads, are not strenuous. There are also options to extend some of the rides, so the distance can vary in total from 370 to 520 kilometres. Tours are set to depart November 17, 2012 and April 6 and November 16, 2013. The tour costs US$2,900 and bike hire is US$165.
For those who can’t decide which tour to take, they can choose both as they are scheduled back to back! SpiceRoads also offers an 11-day bicycle tour to Japan’s Noto Peninsula.