1-Day E-Bike & Walking Tour

Serene Pastoral Villages & Historic Brewery Town

approx. 7 hours
Starts 9am
Active Level
13 km slow cycling & flat-ground walking, 3km. Suitable for ages 13+.
Group Size
2-4 guests
From ¥16,000 / person
price info below

Bike through peaceful villages with a deep culture of devotion, then walk with a local guide to explore the historic brewery town of Kinomoto.

  • A unique way of experiencing the hidden gems of rural small-town life.
  • Within 1 hour from Kyoto by bullet train + local train! Perfect 1-day getaway trip from your busy city sightseeing.
  • During the morning cycling tour, you will witness the beauty of local satoyama nature, wildlife, and rural communities.
  • In the afternoon, take a leisurely walking tour to explore the historic brewery town of Kinomoto and interact with the friendly locals
  • Visit sake and soy sauce breweries that have been operating for many generations here as local family businesses. Sake tastings are available.
  • Guides are also local members of the community and can help you engage with friendly residents.

Course Details

Discover the authentic charm of rural Japan on our bike and walking tour, while immersing yourself in the timeless, tranquil environment away from the busy cities.

After meeting at JR Maibara Station (where the Shinkansen stops), our guide will join you for the 24-minute train ride north to JR Kinomoto Station. We’ll start the day with a peaceful e-bike ride through the serene landscape of traditional villages, where you can explore the unique culture, age-old traditions, and spiritual devotion, all of with are intertwined and blended seamlessly with the natural environment.

After lunch at a local restaurant of your choice, we’ll embark on a walking tour in the historic brewery town of Kinomoto, visiting one or two sake breweries – both among the five oldest operating in Japan – as well as a traditional soy sauce brewery, offering a unique glimpse into the town’s rich culture.

Kinomoto is a charming old brewery town with abundant local freshwater sources. As a former lodging town along a historic Edo period trail, the town has retained much of its original charm without catering heavily to tourism but rather by sustaining its community of local family-run businesses that have thrived here for centuries.

While many sake tours in Japan cater to large groups and teach sake-making basics, our tour is focused on the actual community and history of these local brewers. You’ll get to meet the staff of these family-owned operations, sample sake (note: alcohol samples are restricted to guests aged 20 or older), and, aside from the winter brewing season, guests are usually invited to take a peek at the actual private brewing area behind the storefront.

We’ll also visit other interesting spots in the area, such as a large local Buddhist temple at the heart of the local culture, and local shops such as traditional confectioneries and bakeries. Your guide will help you discover all the local charm of this small yet bustling traditional community.

About Our Guides

We value real local culture. So, we rely on guides who are from the area and have strong local knowledge to guide you. Rather than simply introducing sightseeing spots, guides involved in the community can act as mediators and create opportunities to experience the values and communal ties that have brought prosperity to this charming little town since ancient times.

About Kinomoto Town & Surrounding Villages

Kinomoto-juku in Nagahama, Shiga, is a historic shukuba-machi town with centuries-old traditional businesses. Its location at the junction of North, East, and West Japan, along with its abundant underground water source, made it a hub for sake and soy sauce production. The town sits on the Hokkoku Kaido, showcasing a unique blend of northern and central Japanese cultures. Kinomoto has preserved much of its local culture and historical charm, including family businesses that continue traditional operations without being transformed into tourist attractions.

The town is also surrounded by picturesque rural villages that have maintained their traditions over centuries, and are intertwined with devotional and spiritual culture, influenced by Mt. Hiei, located between Kyoto and Shiga, and animism-based mountain religion. The unique religious traditions have shaped life in these villages and created a lasting culture of devotion. The area offers a glimpse into a distant past, where time seems to stand still, for a rare opportunity to experience ancient rural Japanese life.

Meet Local People
Daiko Shoyu (soy sauce brewery)

Established in 1852, Daiko Shoyu has been operating as a family business for 6 generations. Kensuke Osugi is the current successor. Most soy sauce breweries now rely on modern production methods, but Daiko has continued using strictly traditional methods, which is quite rare nowadays. At the brewery, you’ll have a chance to sample a few of their sauces, and to learn a bit about which sauces to use for different dishes.

Yamaji Shuzo (sake brewery)

Founded in 1532, Yamaji Shuzo is said to be the fourth oldest sake brewery still existing in Japan. The brewery and storefront both occupy a beautiful old traditional building. Yuko Yamaji, the wife of the current 13th generation successor, provides us with tastings of some of these different sakes in this tour (age 20 and over).

Tomita Shuzo (sake brewery)

Founded in 1534, Tomita Shuzo is said to be the fifth oldest sake brewery in Japan, after Yamaji Brewery. Their famed sake brand, Shichihonyari (lit. Seven Spears), has won high acclaim both here and abroad and they’re known for integrating a creative edge with respected traditions. The current master, Yasunobu Tomita, believes in local sourcing, making sake with almost all local ingredients from rice to water, for sake that’s both delicious and environmentally conscious. Sake pairing for the tour’s lunch meal is available from this brewery.

Tsuruya Pan (bakery)

Founded in 1951, this bakery sells freshly baked breads, sweets, juice, coffee, etc. Beloved by locals, some locals have been coming here for three generations. The shop was founded by Hidetoshi Nishimura, who anticipated the post-war American influence on food culture, and seeing that the town lacked a bakery, decided to open his own, which soon became a local landmark.

  • Course Notes
  • This one-day course starts at 9 am.
  • Meeting point is JR Maibara Station but your guide will conclude the tour at Kinomoto Station.
  • For child participants, please ensure that those under age 18 are accompanied by an adult. Adult rates start from 13 years old.
  • Guests under the age of 13 are welcome to join our tour, but they must be at least 152cm (5 ft) tall.
  • Alcohol samples are restricted to guests of age 20 or older.
  • After sake tasting, we walk the bikes back to the station (3 min walk), where we conclude the tour.
  • Tour will be canceled in case of heavy rain (a decision will be made no later than 7 pm on the day before tour).
  • Please wear appropriate clothes and shoes.
  • We strongly recommend purchasing appropriate travel insurance in advance. Although minimal insurance is included (ask for details).
  • What’s Included
  • Professional bilingual (EN/JA) guide
  • E-bike & helmet
  • Light refreshment
  • Sake & soy sauce tasting
  • Not Included
  • All train fares (but covered by JR Pass if you have)
  • Lunch
  • Souvenirs, food, snacks, etc.

Meeting Point

Meet your guide right at the ticket gate of JR Maibara Station. By bullet train, Maibara is 1 stop east (20 min) from Kyoto. The guide will then join you for a short local train ride to Kinomoto, the actual tour site (fare paid by customers, but covered by JR Pass if you have one). The tour will conclude at Kinomoto Station.



Pricing for this private tour is determined by the size of your group, and any optional activities. Basic pricing is as follows:

Standard Private Course
Attendees Price per Person
1 person ¥40,000 per person
2 people ¥25,000 per person
3 people ¥20,000 per person
4 people ¥16,000 per person


Visit our booking page to request reservation: Book Now

When submitting your request, be sure to include relevant details in the comments. We'll get back to you within about 1 business day to confirm availibity, details, and price.

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 tours for weather. Bike tours in particular are cancelled for moderate rain or snow. This decision will be made no later than 7pm on the day before tour, so please check your contact email for any updates. In such a case, you will be fully refunded any advance payment. Bike tour weather cancellations are given the option to exchange for a walking tour instead. Walking tours are still conducted in light to moderate rain & snow. 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:
  • 8 days or more before tour: No charge
  • 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