Embark on an insightful cultural (and physical) workout with a 12-day active adventure across Japan’s ancient history, religious sites and natural wonder.
Beginning in Tokyo, leave the crowds behind for a hike through post towns dotted along the Nakasendo Way, then continue to the Seto Inland Sea for a biking and kayaking adventure along the Shimanami Kaido.
Stop by historic Kyoto before tackling the mother of all pilgrimages along sections of the historic Kumano Kodo. With the opportunity to explore diverse neighbourhoods and experience real hospitality along your way, discover the secrets, past and present, of an enchanting Japan.
Why you'll love this adventure
- Hike between the preserved post towns of the Nakasendo Way – reconnect with the Edo history on this ancient trail connecting Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto.
- Discover one of Japan's best cycling routes - the Shimanami Kaido which links Honshu with Shikoku across the scenic Inland Sea - and enjoy a cycling and kayaking experience
- Temple-hop through the historic city of Kyoto with a guided ride past some of the major religious sites in the city - a perfect active way to explore this ancient capital.
- The Kumano Kodo is one of only two World Heritage-listed pilgrimage trails in the world. Hike a section of the ancient route, arriving at spectacular Nachi Falls and Nachi Taisha Shrine.
- Never lose sight of the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka. With options to extend your travel before or after your trip, you can continue your fascinating adventure through Japan at your own pace.
9 May 2021
20 May 2021
26 September 2021
7 October 2021
17 October 2021
28 October 2021
24 October 2021
4 November 2021
27 March 2022
7 April 2022
10 April 2022
21 April 2022
8 May 2022
19 May 2022
25 September 2022
6 October 2022
16 October 2022
27 October 2022
23 October 2022
3 November 2022
This trip can be tailor made for your perfect travel dates. Please make a booking enquiry for more information.
This trip includes an action packed itinerary! Please make an enquiry and we'll send you the full itinerary for each day including meals, activities, travel and accommodation.
- 4 breakfasts, 1 dinners and 1 lunches
- Hotel/Ryokan (11 nights)
- Boat , Public Bus , Metro , Bullet Train , Train , Taxi , Walking , Bike , Kayak
- Tsumago – Waki Honjin
- Nakasendo Trail – Magome to Tsumago hiking
- Onomichi – Shimanami Kaido cycling
- Ikuchijima Island- Sea Kayaking
- Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-Taisha
- Kyoto – Gion District walk
- Kyoto – Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
- Kyoto – Mt. Daimonji-yama hike
- Kyoto – Kyoto Cycling
- Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
- Kyoto – Daitokuji Temple
- Shingu – Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine
- Kumano Kudo – Hiking
- Kumano Kodo – Kumano Nachi Taisha
- Toba – Mikimoto Pearl Island Museum
- Kii Katsuura – Tuna Market
- Osaka – Dotombori District walking tour
Hotel/Ryokan (11 nights)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we’re arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn’t always possible which means we won’t be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you’ve purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Japanese-style inns (ryokans) involve sleeping on futons or matresses on tatami mat floors, with bedding often packed away during the day. Attached bathrooms/toilets will usually be very small and many ryokans will only have shared bathing facilities with certain hours, or times available for booking at reception. Your leader will explain etiquette involved in using the shared facilities. As this style of accommodation will often not have furniture (ie. chairs or beds) in the rooms, please consider choosing a different trip style in Japan if you have difficulty getting up from the floor or have knee, hip or back issues. Some ryokans may have a curfew when travellers need to be back in the accommodation – this is usually around midnight. Please also be aware that you would normally be required to change to slippers when entering into your room in a ryokan. Hotels and ryokans will charge extra fees if dirty marks are left on their beddings or towels that require professional cleaning.
Read more about ryokans here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-japanese-ryokan/
The recent huge increase in tourism to Japan has put a lot of pressure on accommodation. On occasion, we may need to change accommodation from what is listed in the itinerary in order to operate your departure with minimal changes.
We like to encourage travellers to visit traditional Japanese ‘onsens’ while in the country as it is a quintessential local experience. In public onsens this means bathing naked with others of the same gender. While the experience can feel strange at first for some, most of our groups end up enjoying this activity. There is very specific etiquette for visiting onsens – your leader can give you some tips and instructions. Please be aware that travellers with tattoos may not be permitted to enter public onsens. Private onsens may also be available – talk to your leader for more information. See our guide to onsens here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-onsen-guide/
4 breakfasts, 1 dinners and 1 lunches
Food and dietary requirements
FOOD IN JAPAN
The Japanese daily diet contains gluten (ie. in flavourings such as soy sauce) and seafood (dashi, or fish stock, is the basis of most dishes, even vegetable ones), so we highly recommend that vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs do their own online research before travelling about some of the options that might be available to them. While our leaders will assist you whenever they can, there may be some included meals that are fixed in advance and not flexible, such as those included at ryokans, and cannot be modified for different diets. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, still your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
Food and drink are such a high part of Japanese culture. Here are some links to get your tastebuds tingling:
Who is this trip for?
Is this trip right for you
The active nature of this trip means that the fitter you are, the more you will be able to enjoy it. It is expected that travellers joining this trip will have had some experience hiking and cycling before joining this tour, and can swim. On some hikes you will need to be able to carry your overnight pack on the trail because we will forward your luggage to the next destination. Hiking distances vary from 3-15km per day with no more elevation change than 60-900m on one hike and cycling distances are around 30 km each. Please see the details of hiking, cycling and kayaking activities in each day’s itinerary.
The hikes on the Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo Way include sections rather than the whole trail, which gives you an experience of the trails without needing to commit to multiple days of strenuous trekking.
In some destinations you may be staying in a ryokan, which is a Japanese-style inn with shared facilities. It’s a great taste of tradition, but not everyone finds futon mattresses on the tatami mat floor, small bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more Western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in our ‘Accommodation’ section of the Essential Trip Information available on request for full details.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group – patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone’s travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don’t keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well – this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people.
As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis.
If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips).
If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly.
Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.
A Single Supplement to have your own room is not available to purchase on this trip due to hotels having limited number of rooms and the high demand on availability.
This operator has a policy in place for COVID-19 and their adventures. Please request full details so we can share the most up to date information with you. Thanks!
We love this operator for the freedom and flexibility they give travellers to get off the tourist trails and really experience local cultures. Their style of small group travel is perfect for solo travellers, couples or small groups of friends and their grassroots style of travel seeks to have a positive impact on the communities they visit.
They use local leaders, local accommodation & transport and support local community projects, ensuring sustainability is at the centre of everything they do.
In addition, they expect their staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel – respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.
A most helpful, friendly and knowledgeable travel company!Very helpful and provided lots of research material and excellent personal perspectives on the tall ship sailing trip I was interested in taking.
Excellent thoughtful service.They were prompt and friendly, and so thorough and helpful in connecting me with my adventure.
One of a Kind Service!From the very beginning of reaching out to AWA, they were super helpful, enthusiastic and informative.
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