Japan Hike, Bike & Kayak

Japan · About Escorted or Guided Tour

Get off the beaten track in Japan and experience parts of the country other big-city tours tend to skip. This tour of the Land of the Rising Sun includes something for every active passenger. Take in major cultural touchstones like Osaka and Hiroshima, along with lesser known areas. Hike along the ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route to visit spectacular temples, cycle across islands as you follow the Shimanami Kaido, and kayak around the famed floating torii gate in the Bay of Miyajima. Every view is that much sweeter when you’ve worked for it.

What's Included

All hiking routes along the Kumano Kodo Trail. Wakayama Castle visit. Kyoto sightseeing and walking. Cycling along Shimanami Kaido. Miyajima visit and sea kayaking. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Hike along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, cycle between islands in rural Japan, Visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Explore Wakayama castle, Kayak to the famous floating torii gate at Miyajima

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. Luggage
It is not possible to carry a large bag with you during the cycling portion of this tour (2 days), as such the cost of forwarding one large piece of luggage from Matsuyama to Onomichi is included. Ensure you bring only 1 large bag and 1 day pack/small backpack that will carry essential items for the cycle and 1 night stay en route. You will be responsible for the cost of forwarding any additional large bags, should you choose to bring them on tour.

During the hiking and kayaking portions of this tour luggage can be left at the hotels.

2. Tattoos
Tattoos are not common or widely accepted in Japan. There is no cause for concern, but do your best to cover your tattoos when possible and note that you may not be permitted to enter public spas or onsens (hot springs).

Meals Included

12 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Transport

Local train, local bus, bike, walking, kayak.

About our Transportation

On our tours in Japan we use public transport, making use of Japan’s world famous transport system. From the super fast Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto’s extensive local bus network, we ride with the locals.

Local Flights

There are no internal flights on this trip itinerary.

Solo Travellers

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts)

About Accommodation

Japan is one of the most populous countries in the world and space is at a premium. Therefore, hotels rooms are small! Additionally, most Japanese hotels do not have designated non-smoking rooms. Therefore, we ask hotels to deoderise rooms before check in.

Ryokan are traditional inns found across Japan. Featuring tatami floors (soft mats of woven straw), futon beds, Japanese-style baths, cotton kimono (casual robe worn to lounge around or to head to the bath), and elaborate meals (often served in the comfort of your own room), a ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional customs and hospitality. As ryokan are usually top tier accommodations, most guests stay only one night, often to celebrate a special occasion or holiday. Don’t be intimidated by the formalities inherent to a stay at a ryokan, your hosts will welcome you the same way they do all their guests. Have fun and enjoy this relaxing opportunity to learn more about Japan’s unique customs.

Minshuku are Japan’s answer to the Western bed and breakfast. Similar to ryokan, they have traditional features like tatami floors, futon beds, and Japanese-style baths. Minshuku are often family-run, and as such they offer a great opportunity to interact with local people and learn more about the nation’s customs. More affordable and simpler than ryokan, minshuku tend to have smaller guestrooms, shared bathroom facilities, and any included meals (traditional, local, and delicious) are served in a communal dining room.

Joining Hotel

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Joining Instructions

From Kansai Intl Airport (KIX) to Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI Hotel:

First, get some cash.
After passing through the customs, stop by a bank counter or an ATM machine on the first floor to get some Japanese Yen. This may be your last chance to exchange cash easily in Japan as only certain banks do currency exchange.

Airport Limousine Bus
Buses run twice hourly to the Namba OCAT bus station near your hotel. Journey time is 48 minutes and costs 1050 Yen.
The bus departs from Stop 11 at the International Arrival Lobby on the first floor of the airport. Tickets for buses can be purchased from vending machines located near the bus stops.
http://www.kate.co.jp/pc/e_time_table/e_ocat.html

On arrival at OCAT, you can either take a taxi (recommended. 30min, 4000 Yen) or the subway. To take the subway you will need to walk to Namba subway station (NOT JR Namba station) and then ride the subway to Umeda Station. Follow the subway signs; you will walk through the OCAT Walk and Namba Walk underground shopping plazas. It should take about 5 minutes.
See the instructions below about getting to the hotel from Namba station.

Nankai Line Train
The Nankai Line runs extremely regular trains to Namba station.
1. Follow the sign “Railways” to the second floor, exit the terminal building, then cross the pedestrian bridge outside to walk into Kansai Airport Station.
2. Go to Nankai Railways counters #1-3 under the orange sign “Ltd. Exp. Rapi:t Reservation Tickets and General Tickets” on your left.
3. Purchase a ticket for the next Rapi:t (pronounced ‘rapeet’) or Airport Express to Namba. The ticket costs 1390Yen for Rap:t (44min) or 890Yen for Airport Express (38min) .
4. Go through a gate under the orange sign, which says “Nankai” by inserting the ticket into the gate. Retrieve the ticket, which will be returned to you at the other side of the gate. You will need it when leaving the Railway.
5. Go down to a platform, and get on the train. The seats are reserved on the Rap:t and non reserved on the Airport Express. The departure time, car number and the seat number are written on the ticket.
6. Follow the signs for "Subway Sennichimae Line " down to the subway station.

At Namba
1. After passing by the gates for the subway, you will find ticket vending machines.
2. Deposit 200 Yen or more (the machine will return any change) into the machine, and press the button displaying “200” to buy a ticket to Esaka.
3. Go to the gates with the Midosuji (red) Line sign. Go through a gate by inserting the ticket into it. Retrieve your ticket, which will be returned at the other end of the gate. You will need it when you leave the subway.
4. Take a train bound for Umeda/Shin Osaka. It is the next (and final) stop.
5. Get off at Esaka/Umeda Station
6. Walk 1 min to the Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI Hotel from Esaka Station on the Midosuji Subway Line or 11 minutes by Subway from Umeda Station

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting on Day 1, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Japan)
During office hours, Mon-Fri 9:30-18:00 Local Time
From outside Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6432-0195 (2nd contact +81 80 2725 5133)
From within Japan: 1st contact +81 3-6432-0195 (2nd contact +81 80 2725 5133)

After office hours emergency number
Kana: +81 70-3607-8936 (from within Japan: 070-3607-8936)
Yuri: +81 70-3607-8937 (from within Japan: 070-3607-8937)

G Adventures Asia Manager: Julie Fitzgerald
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574

After hours emergency number (SE Asia Manager)
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

Takuhaibin – Japan’s takuhaibin service is a convenient and reliable way to transfer luggage from one location to another throughout the country. Pick-up/drop-off/delivery dates and times can be easily scheduled (usually overnight) and costs are moderate. Service can be arranged at most hotels and airports. Using takuhaibin to send your luggage between hotels, or from hotel to airport, is a great way to travel light and avoid hauling a large bag on crowded trains or up and down stairs – just be sure to bring a daypack/small backpack with everything you’ll need overnight until you’re reunited with your luggage the following day.

To avoid additional costs during the cycling portion of this tour we recommend you only bring 1 large piece of luggage and 1 day pack/small backpack with you on tour. See “Important Notes” for more information.

Checklist

Cold Weather:
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Scarf
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers

Conservative Dress:
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)

Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)

Essentials:
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Footwear
• Hat
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Moneybelt
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Shirts/t-shirts
• Sleepwear
• Small travel towel
• Sunglasses
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket

Trekking:
• Gloves
• Hat
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
• Snacks (Protein bars, chocolate, dried fruits, candies, energy sweets.)
• Socks (Trekking socks (woollen or synthetic, not cotton).)
• Thermal base layer (Woollen or synthetic, not cotton.)
• Walking poles (Highly recommended)

Warm Weather:
• Sandals/flip-flops
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
• Swimwear

Note: During the colder months (Nov-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes. During summer (Jun-Sep) temperatures be very hot and humid. Lightweight breathable clothing is recommended.

Visas

Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with your travel agent as rules do change.

JAPAN: Most nationalities receive A 90-DAY PERMIT ON ARRIVAL

Detailed Trip Notes

Travel in Japan is easy, clean, fast and efficient, however please be aware that English is still not widely spoken, however a lot of patience, a sense of humour and a respect for the local culture goes a long way in any Asian country and will greatly enrich your experience.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.

Trip Specific Safety

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.

G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

Dollar-a-Day Program
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Minimum Age

You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.

International Flights

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.

Max Pax

15

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

PRODUCT_LINE: AJHB, ID: 23623

Itinerary

Day 1: Osaka

We highly recommend booking pre-accommodation in Osaka to see more of this interesting city.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Osaka/Chikatsuyu (1B, 1D)

Take the train from Osaka to Chikatsuyu to begin the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage hike.

Included Activities:
Chikatsuyu Hike

Transport:
Local train (1.00 hour(s), 80km)

Day 3: Chikatsuyu/Katsuura (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a day hike along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, reach the Hongu Taisha Shrine with the largest torii gate in Japan. Afterwards, board a bus for coastal Katsuura.

Included Activities:
Kumano Hongu Taisha Hike

Transport:
Local bus (0.75-0.50 hours)
Local bus (1.00 hour(s))

Day 4: Katsuura/Wakayama (1B)

Hike to Japan’s largest waterfall and the Kumano Nachi Taisha, an ancient site along this pilgrimage trail, before heading to Wakayama for the night.

Included Activities:
Kumano Nachi Taisha Hike

Transport:
Local train (1.00 hour(s))

Day 5: Wakayama/Kyoto (1B)

Visit the impressive site of Wakayama Castle before transferring by train to Kyoto.

Included Activities:
Wakayama Castle Visit

Transport:
Local train (1.50 hour(s))
Bullet train (60km)

Day 6: Kyoto (1B)

Stroll along the Philosopher’s Walk and explore the historic side of Kyoto, visiting the famous sites of the Golden and Silver pavillions.

Included Activities:
Philosopher’s Walk
Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion Visit
Silver Pavilion Visit

Day 7: Kyoto/Onomichi (1B)

Explore more of Kyoto with free time before taking the train to Onomichi.

Transport:
Local train (2.00 hour(s), 300km)

Day 8: Onomichi/Ikuchi Jima (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a day of cycling across bridges and islands to the south of Honshu, exploring small villages along the way. Spend the night in a ryokan inn on Ikuchi Jima and savour a traditional kaiseki meal.

Included Activities:
Shimanami Kaido Cycle: Onomichi to Ikuchi Jima

Day 9: Ikuchi Jima/Matsuyama (1B)

Cycle along the Shimanami Kaido towards Imabari City. Continue on to Matsuyama to rest for the night.

Included Activities:
Shimanami Kaido Cycle: Ikuchi Jima to Imabari City

Transport:
Local bus (1.25 hour(s), 40km)

Day 10: Matsuyama/Hiroshima (1B)

The large Peace Park in the centre of the city is an extremely moving place dotted with memorials of those killed by the atomic bomb and others who subsequently died. The burning flame in the park will only be extinguished when all nuclear weapons in the world have been destroyed. Take a tram ride through the city to reach Peace Park.

Included Activities:
Hiroshima Park and Peace Memorial

Transport:
Ferry (2.50 hour(s))

Day 11: Hiroshima (1B)

Travel to the island of Miyajima from Hiroshima. Hop into a kayak and paddle out to the iconic torii gate which floats in the bay.

Included Activities:
Miyajima Island Visit
Sea Kayaking

Day 12: Hiroshima/Tokyo (1B)

Transfer to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo by train and explore with some free time in the afternoon.

Transport:
Bullet train (4.00 hour(s))

Day 13: Tokyo (1B)

Depart at any time. We highly recommend booking post-accommodation to fully experience this vibrant city.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

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