We often stumble upon unique places that entice us to get out and ride somewhere new. Often it comes from the photos that readers submit for our Pic of the Day. But sometimes it’s from a cycling industry tour group that has something new. This one heads to the Japanese island of Shikoku with Ride & Seek on their new for 2018 twelve day riding tours of its quiet, old Samurai roads.
Shikoku Island Samurai cycling tour with Ride & Seek
The most recently added road bike tour for Ride & Seek Bicycle Adventures puts in 12 days/11 nights on the southern Japanese island of Shikoku. The new tour from Ride & Seek looks to exploring the ancient, meandering Samurai roads of the island by bike. Shikoku is the smallest and least populated of Japan’s four main islands and is home to a famous pilgrimage route linking 88 Buddhist temples that the group will travel between.
Along the way are promised dramatic mountain valleys of the Iya Gorge and maybe a bit of peak bagging, although the track up to Mt. Ishizuchi, western Japan’s highest peak on the island, will require ditching the bike to clamber up to the rocky summit.
Ride & Seek says the trip offers exceptional vistas and plenty of both climbing & descending “through green valleys, terraced rice paddies, and ancient villages” along ancient, quiet roads. Of course the other big draw for westerners like myself is getting inside the culture.
The group of cyclists will stay in the regions traditional Japanese inns along the way, visit natural hot springs to soothe tired legs, and sample foods & wines from each of the islands four distinct provinces as a way to immerse oneself in the region.
The tour isn’t cheap at €4750, but covers everything but your bike once you land. (They will rent you a nice road bike too if you don’t want to fly with yours.)
If nothing else, seeing it is inspiring me to look to ride somewhere a bit further from home in 2018 to take in some more unfamiliar culture.
The Samurai – Shikoku Island tour will take place twice in 2018, from Oct 16-27 & Oct 27-Nov7. Each trip will cover around 750km of riding and 9000m of climbing, plus plenty of side trips along the way.