The Journey into Japan philosophy is centrally about discovery.
Cycle Japan is a part of Journey into Japan and was founded by Australian adventurer John Morrell.
John has had a passion for adventure since he was a child and a passion for Japan since 1981, when he first explored Hokkaido. His first trip to Hokkaido was meant to be a side trip while on his way to ski in Canada.
John is first and foremost a skier and cyclist and he finds Japan can truly sate these two passions. The powder in Hokkaido has been said to be the best in the world. The best way to test that is for you to come and try it yourself. The cycling is superb, with hot mix bitumen roads and in most places chosen for our bike tours, very little traffic.
This discovery can be cultural or adventure based. With this in mind, western hotels are mostly avoided (except where essential at airport stopovers and some rural locations), and the tours take you away from the crowds to remote corners of Japan.
Accommodation is in Japanese Inns and Japanese food, at it's finest, is standard fare. Physical participation amongst exotic communities helps to open doors and to reduce barriers to communication. It also makes you feel good! You will be challenged and delighted at how this approach can help you to truly experience the essence of Japan.
Hokkaido, Island of Contrasts
Tour Operator Cycle Japan
The extraordinary contrasts of modern Japan are to be found throughout this archipelago but most particularly in Hokkaido. My introduction to Japan 30 years ago was this very island and those early years exploring Hokkaido have left an indelible impression of this wild northern island.Hokkaido is a place where the power of an ancient and pervasive culture lays like a patch work quilt over an almost sub arctic wild land.
The result is a superb mix of culture and wilderness. Here you will find architecture and structure that reflects the history and refinement of ancient Japan. Where inner spaces comply with the Japanese aesthetic of art and beauty. And of course, delicious and healthy food that can be found anywhere in Japan is abundant in the mountains and valleys of Hokkaido.
Liberally spaced throughout this wild island you will also find some of Japan's most famous artisans and photographers, who have escaped north to build a life on the edge of the wilderness.
On this self guided tour, using our comprehensive guiding notes, you can visit many of these artisans, including 'Takushinkan' the gallery of Japan's most famous landscape photographer Shinzo Maeda. As well as Maeda San's gallery you can visit other lesser known photo galleries, painters, wood workers, potters and glass blowers. There is also the chance to visit the Ainu textile museum in Asahikawa.And the backdrop throughout is the superb alpine scenery of central Hokkaido, where mountains and volcanoes tower over the valleys.
Tour Operator Cycle Japan
Ride along the North Pacific coast and through the mountains of the Shiretoko World Heritage area. Cycle through wild sub arctic mountains, past caldera lakes and native forests. Stay in superb inns, most with hot spring baths. The essence of the far north is to be found here. Caldera lakes and volcanoes, high snow capped peaks, crystal clear mountain streams and deep mysterious forests of Hokkaido Red Pine and Silver Birch with their population of brown bears still largely intact.
Throughout is the ever present Japanese foot print, existing side by side with nature. Small seaside fishing villages and rural farms with large land holdings still have their temples tucked away in quiet Larch filled groves. Ever present are the many artisans who have escaped the crush of city life in the south to the frontier land of Hokkaido. All of this makes for a destination that mixes wild nature at its most beautiful with the elements of this unique culture.For cyclists, this place is superb. The wide open smooth roads roll before you as you explore from the coast to the mountains, staying nightly in wonderful inns. Here you can soak your cares away in a hot spring bath before a banquet of superb local food.
Our route encompass the wild east of Hokkaido with its unique world heritage area, the Shiretoko Peninsula.We also visit the superb caldera lakes and mountains of central Hokkaido, as well as the mighty Daisetsusan National Park and the Furano area in the itinerary.
Tour Operator Cycle Japan
Ride Buddhist pilgrim trails, past ancient temples, through mountains, along the wild pacific coast, past age old remote villages and pristine mountain streams. Shikoku provides a rare window into ancient Japan. Here away from the crowds, we cycle along ancient Samurai paths that wind over mountain passes and along crystal clear mountain streams.
Life appears to stand still in these remote valleys as we ride through historical villages on narrow roads built for horses, where gabled roof rural houses stand sentinel to the passing of time. The riding is smooth hot mix bitumen, mostly on secondary roads that see little traffic.
En route the sweet chanting of pilgrims, our fellow travellers on this island of Buddhist devotion, can be heard as we pass temples and pagodas. In Shikoku, those looking for enlightenment in the modern world walk the ancient paths once trodden by the great Buddhist saint, Kobo Daishi. Here the 'ohenro' or pilgrims smile and wave as they visit the 88 temples of "the Daishi" in their pursuit of spiritual awakening.
Our ride takes us from the spectacular Iya Gorge, the deepest gorge in Japan, with its thatch roof houses and old vine bridges, to the spectacular summit of Mt. Ishizuchi, Shikoku and Western Japan's highest mountain.
We explore the Pacific coast with its beautiful beaches and relaxed coastal lifestyle before travelling along Japan's last great pure river, the Shimanto.
Each night we stay in superb Japanese Inns where you can relax in a hot tub or on some nights, soothe your bones in a hot spring bath before enjoying your Japanese feast.