featured cycling tour

"Deep Local Traditions" Tour

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

Course Details - Deep Local Traditions

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.

After a few stops along the way, we'll reach 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.

Working together with the village community, we’ve arranged for a local representative to accompany us, allowing free access drop in on artisans at work in their home studios 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 can be 4 hours without lunch, or 5 hours with lunch included. For the latter, we will stop here in Samegai for a locally-sourced bento lunch 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 lunch included in 5-hour itinerary. Full-course kaiseki also available, see below.

Itinerary - Deep Local Traditions

Standard Itinerary, with or without lunch. See pricing section below for price differences.

Standared Course Itinerary
Deep Local Traditions

Meet Pt: Maibara Sta.
Time: 4 hrs. (5 hrs. w/lunch)
Cycle Distance: 22-24km
Group: 2-5 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.
  • If booking with lunch option, eat bento lunch here at ryotei restaurant (lunch upgrade options also available).
  • Ride back through alternate route with occasional stops to Maibara Sta.
  • What's Included
  • Professional guide
  • Bike and helmet rental
  • Light refreshment (or lunch if 5-hour itinerary selected)
  • Insurance
  • Not Included
  • All train fares
  • Souvenirs, snacks, etc.

Course Options - Deep Local Traditions

Optional activities to extend and customize your experience. The standard itinerary time of 4-5 hrs leaves plenty of time to extend with the following options:

Kaiseki Course Meal

The 5-hour 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 local artisans conducts a beginner-friendly workshop of woodcarving in the traditional Japanese style.

Carve a decorative piece from one of several shaped starter blocks. Either follow from a template or simply use your own imagination to craft something you can take home as a memory of this experience!

Pricing - Deep Local Traditions

Standard Private Courseincl. incl. bike and helmet rental, community escort fees, and light refreshment or lunch depending on version booked.
Attendees Price per Person
2 people • ¥9,000 ea. 4 hr tour without lunch
• ¥14,000 ea. 5 hr tour incl. ryotei lunch
3 people • ¥8,000 ea. 4 hr tour without lunch
• ¥13,000 ea. 5 hr tour incl. ryotei lunch
4-5 people • ¥7,000 ea. 4 hr tour without lunch
• ¥12,000 ea. 5 hr tour incl. ryotei lunch
* Solo tours also available by request for additional fee
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 - Deep Local Traditions

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.
We may cancel if at least 60% chance of rain or snow is forecasted 1 day before the tour start. For weather cancellations, you will be fully refunded any advance payment. Walking tours will still be conducted in rain or snow (unless severe conditions). Cyclying tours may be conducted in light precipitation (we have rain ponchos for you to use). In cases of moderate or heavy rain, cycling tours will be cancelled, but you will have the option to exchange for our Traditional Villages Walking Tour at no extra cost, but excluding the lunch section of the tour. 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