You’ll begin your journey in the Mount Aso area, where you’ll be transferred from Kumamoto Airport to your hotel. Get settled into your hotel, we recommend the Richmond Hotel Kumamoto. After check-in you’ll have a group meeting and get your cycling gear organized before heading out for an authentic Japanese dinner with the team.
||Richmond Hotel Kumamoto Shinshigai||Dinner||
||Ryokan Sanga||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||
Today, you’ll ride to the caldera of Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan. The circumference is around 75 miles, with small towns, hot springs and verdant plains within it. After ascending the rim of the crater along the picturesque Yamanami Highway, you’ll descend to the tiny town of Kurokawa where your first destination is Yamamizuki onsen. Here, you can enjoy a dip in a cold mountain creek before soaking in the natural hot springs. The total cycling distance today is around 30 miles. Rest this evening at the luxurious Ryokan Sanga.
||Chikuden Saryo||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||
Pedal across the spectacular Kuju highlands today, enjoying views of Kuju Mountain, the island’s tallest peak at 5,875 feet elevation. From there it’s onward through flower fields to the forest-enveloped ruins of Oka Castle, dating to the Kamakura Period, then down to Taketa. Taketa has many beautiful examples of feudal architecture. After a ride of just over 20 miles, reach your accommodation for the evening, Chikuden Saryo.
||Ryokan Shinsen||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||
Ride through the green, forested hills of Sobo Katamuki Quasi-National Park today, with a break at Harajiri Waterfalls. There’s an uphill club for a while, then a scenic descent into Takachiho in Miyazaki Prefecture. This area features prominently in Japanese lore, with landscapes that inspire local mythology - maple forests, turquoise waterfalls and a ravine of almost otherworldly beauty. You can learn more about folklore with a traditional Kagura dance performance in the evening. Check into a guesthouse in Takachiho tonight after a ride of 36 miles.
Mount Aso, Japan
||Ryokan Chikurakutei||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||
Ascend the caldera of Mount Aso today, passing through the impossibly picturesque town of Takamori. Take a break at Shirakawa Springs, where you can fill up your water bottle straight from the source before arriving at Jigoku onsen. This complex has three different areas, with outdoor baths for each gender and one mixed. After a ride of more than 45 miles today, you’ll earned a long soak. This evening, stay at Ryokan Chikurakutei.
||Richmond Hotel Kumamoto Shinshigai||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner||
Today you’ll ride along the Shirakawa River to the city of Kumamoto, stopping at Kumamoto Castle. This iconic 1467 structure is ranked one of Japan’s top three castles, boasting recent renovations of its Inner Palace. Today you’ll also have the chance to visit Suizenji Garden and see a replica Mount Fuji. Check into a local ryokan guesthouse tonight and enjoy an authentic Japanese meal made from fresh local produce. Your total ride today is around 30 miles.
After breakfast in your guesthouse, you'll be driven to Kumamoto Airport in time for your departure flight.
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This serene 7-day cycling itinerary through the scenic volcanic landscapes of Kyushu is highlighted by frequent stops at local hot springs. Beginning at Mount Aso - Japan’s largest active volcano - you’ll cruise through flower fields, stop by fairytale gorges and discover castle ruins all but reclaimed by primeval forest. An itinerary for moderately-fit cyclists, there are some hilly stretches of road along the way, but nothing overly challenging - frequent onsen stops are more than worth the effort.
Cycle around Mount Aso caldera and Mount Kuju, Kyushu Island’s highest mountain
Visit to the Takachiho Ravine and the turquoise-colored Manainotaki waterfalls
Stop in the area’s famous volcanic hot springs
Spend time in Kumamoto, with a chance to see the city’s spectacular castle
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