full-day private course with lunch

Traditional Villages Bicycle Tour

Private group tour following historic trails to experience villages in harmony with nature, traditional handcraft, and local cuisine.

Course Details - Traditional Villages

Ride portions of the historic Nakasendo trail, leading to quiet villages of craft and culture.

Experience rural communities with clear spring water at the heart of local sustainable living.

Starting from Maibara Station, we follow back roads, and portions of old Edo-period kaido routes including the Nakasendo. We'll then arrive at our first stop in Kaminyu Village, a hidden community of craftspeople who have continued upholding a long local tradition of skilled handcraft. Many of the area’s craftspeople assist in the local production of butsudan, or household Buddhist altars, which you’ll see the local butsudan showroom.

As we work together with the village community representatives, we're able to offer exclusive access to artisans home studios of local artisans and enjoy chatting with local residents.

We also partner with one of the local woodcarvers to offer an optional carving workshop, in which case we'll extend our stay here an hour for a special hands-on experience (see Options section below for details).

Riding down from Kaminyu, we'll soon find another small village that has maintained a sustainable harmony with nature for centuries, as the the clear spring water once welcomed Kyoto-bound travelers as a stop along the Nakasendo Trail. Now, this village called Samegai welcomes summer visitors who come to see a rare aquatic flower called baikamo (梅花藻 or water buttercup), which lives only in cool clear waters such as the mountain stream running this town.

This tour is typically about 6 hours with lunch and light refreshment included. For lunch, we will stop here in Samegai to enjoy a nice dine-in bento set of locally-sourced traditional cuisine at a ryotei restaurant (pictured below). The restaurant highlights local dishes and ingredients, and features a traditional kabata which allows the mountain stream water into the kitchen for cooking use. Meals may be vegetarian or gluten free by request, and there is as an option to extend the lunch to a full-course kaiseki meal too (see options below for more details).

Bento-style lunch included in standard itinerary. Full-course kaiseki also available, see below.

Itinerary - Traditional Villages

Standard Itinerary, with locally-sourced lunch. See pricing section below for exact prices.

Standared Course Itinerary
Traditional Villages

Meet Pt: Maibara Sta.
Time: Approx. 6 hrs
Cycle Distance: 22-24km
Group: 1-4 People
Active Level: ?
Price: see pricing below
  • Itinerary Details
  • Meet at Maibara Station
  • Safety and equipment check before departure
  • Leisurely-paced ride along historic trail with occasional stops
  • Walk through Kaminyu Village with look at traditional handcraft showroom and studios.
  • Short ride to Samegai, then walk through village, stopping at points of interest.
  • Eat a locally-sourced lunch here at ryotei restaurant. A nice dine-in bento, with optional upgrade to a full-course kaiseki meal (see below).
  • Ride back through alternate route with occasional stops to Maibara Sta.
  • What's Included
  • Professional guide
  • Bike and helmet rental
  • Light refreshments such as tea or coffee and light snack
  • Locally-sourced lunch
  • Insurance
  • Not Included
  • All train fares
  • Souvenirs, other snacks, etc.

Course Options - Traditional Villages

Optional activities to extend and customize your experience. The standard itinerary time of around 6 hrs leaves some spare time to extend with the following options:

Kaiseki Course Meal

The standard itinerary already includes a locally-sourced bento lunch at a ryotei restaurant in Samegai Village.

However, food-lovers can upgrade to the restaurant's kaiseki course meal, extending the tour time by 30-60 min, and giving us more time to focus on traditional local cuisine, enjoying more dishes and the overall experience of traditional kaiseki course dining. Seasonal specialties often highlight local freshwater fishes.

For ¥1000 more (¥4000 total), the course menu will also include a dish of our local premiere wagyu brand, Omi Beef.

Vegetarian and special diet orders possible by request for both standard and kaiseki lunches.

Woodcarving Workshop

Our standard course features introductions and visits to the studios of local professional artisans of Kaminyu Village. Optionally, we will adjust the itinerary, adding about 30 min. to the overall tour to make time for this 1.5 hr workshop to try your own hand at the craft and learn from the best! One of the skilled local artisans conducts a beginner-friendly workshop of woodcarving in the traditional Japanese style.

Visit the workshop homepage at https://tonton-craft.com for more information.
*Workshop rates in our tour differ from those listed on their site to account for our guide/translator fees during the workshop. For workshop direct booking without tour, contact us.

Pricing - Traditional Villages

Standard Private Courseincl. incl. bike and helmet rental, community escort fees, light refreshments and locally-sourced lunch.
Attendees Price per Person
1 person ¥28,000 solo tour
2 people ¥14,000 per person
3 - 4 people ¥12,500 per person
Option Price added to course price above
Option Price
Kaiseki Course Meal
lunch upgrade
¥3,000 per person to upgrade from ryotei bento lunch to full-course kaiseki meal. ¥4,000 per person for full-course kaiseki meal including Omi Beef wagyu dish. (details above)
Woodcarving Workshop ¥6,000 per person (details above)
Electric Assist Bike ¥1,000 per person must request at time of booking

Booking - Traditional Villages

Request bookings through the form on our Booking Page. Please include any relevant details in the comments, and we'll get back to you within 1-2 business days to confirm availibity, details, and price.

Before booking, please also read through our Terms and Conditions for complete details about payment, cancellations, etc.

Frequent Booking Questions
We allow, and recommend, payment in person at tour start time. We accept in-person payments by cash (Japanese yen), or major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover). Alternately, we can arrange for advance payment via secure online invoice in Japanese yen, payable by Paypal or credit card. Note: while we don't require early deposit payment, you may be invoiced to pay any applicable cancellation fee in the event of late cancellation.
Biwako Backroads may decide to cancel bicycle tours for moderate rain or snow. This decision will be made no later than 5pm on the day before tour. In such a case, you will be fully refunded any advance payment, or possibly given the option to change to walking tour instead. Walking tours will still be conducted in rain or snow (unless severe conditions). Weather cancellations are made at our discretion; if you decide on your own to cancel, then cancellation fees may still apply. See our Terms and Conditions for more details about weather cancellation.
See our Terms & Conditions for complete details. Regarding cancellation fees, here's our basic timeline for fees applying to cancellations made by the customer:
  • 15 days or more before tour: No charge
  • 8-14 days before tour: 15% of total tour cost
  • 4-7 days before tour: 30% of total tour cost
  • 2-3 days before tour: 50% of total tour cost
  • 24 hrs or less before tour: 100% of total tour cost