Terms and Conditions

The Terms and Conditions below for private and small group tours, together with any other conditions stipulated in the published details for any specific tour on our website, establish the legal basis of your contract with Biwako Backroads. Local Japanese law applies to this contract and to any dispute, claim or other matter that may arise. Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully to understand your rights and obligations as a Customer and Attendee. If you have questions or concerns about any of the points, please feel free to contact us.

1. Reserving Tours

Reservations should be made either through the form on our website or a partnered travel agent. Reservations may be made up to 6 months in advance. To ensure guide availability, we request that you reserve at least 2 weeks in advance. We will attempt to accommodate reservations as late as 3 days in advance but for best chances of availability, please reserve at least 2 weeks before your tour.

If you have any special or dietary requests or restrictions, please advise us at the time of booking on your reservation form. We will attempt to accommodate all requests, but cannot promise that such requests will be met unless we have specifically confirmed this in writing.

If the price is not already established at the time of your request, we will consult with you by email or telephone to confirm the total amount of payment. When availability and pricing are confirmed, we will send a confirmation email with request for your payment.

2. Tour Prices

We reserve the right to correct or adjust quoted prices before sending your final confirmation and payment request. We will not change the price of a tour after final confirmation.

We may offer temporarily discounted prices during a promotional campaign, in which case, we also reserve the right to remove or decline any such promotional campaign without prior notice.

3. Your Payment

We will include your total payment amount in the final email confirmation of your reservation. While we do not require a deposit fee, we do impose cancellation charges in some circumstances (see sections 5 and 6 below). We normally accept payment in person on the day of the tour, but also accept payment in advance via secure online payment, payable by major credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express) or by Paypal. In person payments before the tour may be made by cash or major credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express). We request payments be made in Japanese yen. You are responsible for any currency conversion fees that may be added by your financial institution, so please consult with them for details. If, for any reason, we are unable to process your payment then we may decline the reservation.

4. Tour Cancellation by Biwako Backroads

We will only cancel your tour if a situation arises which is beyond our control such as a natural disaster, severe or dangerous weather conditions (details below), civil or political unrest, war, terrorism, industrial action, disruption of public transport services, or illness or injury that appears too serious for you to safely participate.

If we cancel your tour we will refund all money you have paid us, but we will not be liable to compensate you for any inconvenience or incidental expenses you might have incurred including transportation to our meeting place.

Weather Cancellation Policy

As a general rule, weather cancellations are decided 24 hours before tour start time and we will notify you by email. However in cases of sudden unexpected extreme weather, we may cancel as late as the tour start time. All tours are cancelled by typhoons and extreme weather. Walking tours will still be held in moderate rain or snow. Cycling tours will be cancelled for rain or snow, and we will opt to cancel if there is a 60% or higher chance of precipitation predicted as of 24 hours before your tour.

5. Tour Cancellation by You, the Customer

If you, or a member of the group submitted in your reservation, wish to cancel your attendance, the cancellation will be effective from the Japanese business day (normally Monday to Friday, excluding national holidays) on which we receive your written notification by email, mail or fax.

Cancellation charges will apply as follows:

  • 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

Please note that the time we receive a cancellation request will be calculated according to Japan Standard Time (JST), which is UTC +09:00. If you make a late cancellation incurring a charge, but have not yet payed for your reservation, we will request your cancellation charge by credit card or Paypal, payable by secure online invoice.

If any member of your party cannot join as planned, they may also transfer their place to someone else of your choosing. You must notify us of the transfer in writing by or before the time of your tour.

6. Reservation Changes Made By Biwako Backroads.

We put great care and effort into accuracy of tour information as presented on our website, promotional materials, and tour itineraries. However, since tours are planned and booked months in advance, there is some risk of changes beyond our control affecting tour routes or third party service providers included in the tours. In such cases, we reserve the right to modify the tours if necessary. Changes will normally be minor and we ask you to accept them.

If we make any significant changes to your tour, we will inform you as soon as possible. Significant changes would include tour dates, times, or a change of itinerary. In such cases you will be given the choice to accept the revised tour, or reserve a different tour (in case of price difference, you will pay remaining costs or we will refund any remaining balance), or cancelling your tour and receiving a full refund of all payments made to Biwako Backroads.

7. Reservation Changes Made by You, the Customer.

If you wish to make changes to your tour after the reservation has been confirmed, please notify us by email as soon as possible. The earlier you request a change, the better the chance that we can successfully apply it to your reservation. We will do our best to apply requested changes as soon as possible, but cannot guarantee to meet all such requests.

8. Tour Changes During a Tour Made by Biwako Backroads.

We reserve the right to change the itinerary of a tour already in progress in response to events such as disruption of scheduled transport services, changing political situations, weather conditions, natural disasters, illness or injury. Such decisions are made at the by Biwako Backroads or the tour guide. Every effort will be made to keep the tour as close to the original itinerary as possible, substituting similar alternatives and minimal changes whenever possible. Unless otherwise stated, the cost of any cancelled service will not be refunded. Your agreement to our reservation Terms and Conditions indicates that you accept the need to adapt itineraries when deemed necessary by Biwako Backroads or by your guide.

9. Duty and Rights of the Guide

While attending Biwako Backroads tours, there is always risk of loss or damage to property, injury or minor discomfort. Our guide will do their best to continually prioritize the enjoyment and wellbeing of the group as a whole. We expect all members of your group to accept and abide by the decisions of the guide. Our guide reserves the right to ask any member of the group to leave the tour if they act illegally or if their behavior is likely to harm or distress others. Under these circumstances, the behavior is treated as a breach of contract and no refund will be payable.

We and our guides do our best to ensure that your tour is successful, however, if you do have a complaint during your tour, please discuss the matter with your guide who will attempt to rectify the situation as soon as possible. If the problem is not solved to your satisfaction you must submit your complaint in writing to Biwako Backroads within 1 month of tour completion so that we may take further measures appropriately.

10. Your Responsibilities

We accept reservations with the understanding that you and all attendees are in good health, able to meet the physical demands of the tour, and understand the risks associated with the tours you are joining. Attendees under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. To ensure your safety, you must follow the guidance provided by all guides and activity operators, comply with local codes of conduct, and act responsibly and sensibly at all times, avoiding unnecessary risks. This includes, but is not limited to, the proper use of safety equipment such as bicycle helmets when cycling, following public traffic and transport rules, and obeying all written or spoken instructions and warnings regarding health and safety.

For foreign travelers, we strongly urge you to purchase traveler's insurance before departing your home country. Domestic residents are responsible for their own health insurance enrollment and health care coverage.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all necessary travel, legal, and health documents before your tour. We cannot accept any liability if you are refused access to any mode of transport or entry into Japan for any legal reason, and furthermore, tour cost is not refundable under such circumstances. If failure to have any necessary travel, health or legal documents results in fines, surcharges or other financial penalty being imposed on Biwako Backroads, you may be held responsible for reimbursing us accordingly.

You are responsible for any costs such as repairs, replacement, and cleaning fees incurred by Biwako Backroads for property damage, destruction or theft caused by you while on a Tour. If you discover any pre-existing damage, you agree to report this damage to a guide, representative, transportation service, or facility as soon as possible.

11. Personal Waiver and Release

You acknowledge that the tours and services offered by Biwako involve some level of risk to your health and safety. You acknowledge that at the time of agreement, you have considered any potential risks to health and safety and agree to release responsibility from Biwako Backroads and its employees, agents, and guides for all such risk from all claims and causes of action arising from any losses, damages, injuries or death resulting from risks inherent with physical and outdoor activities in a foreign country, and participating in tour activities such as those provided by Biwako Backroads.

12. Responsibilities of Third Parties

Some tour activities may be conducted or provided by independent third parties. Those third parties provide services according to their own terms and conditions. Some of these terms and conditions may limit or exclude the third party's liability to you, usually in accordance with applicable International Conventions. Biwako Backroads cannot accept responsibility for incidents such as accident or theft.

13. Privacy Policy

We promise to protect the personal information of customers and users of our website in accordance with the details of our Privacy Policy.

In addition, we generally apply the same privacy standards to all tour attendees. Your name or appearance in photos or videos for promotional, marketing, or social media will only ever be used after receiving your explicit consent to do so.

14. Changes to Tours or Terms of Service

While we reserve the right to update our Terms of Service, modify tour itineraries, and tour prices at any time, such changes will only affect reservations confirmed after the changes have been published. Such changes do not affect reservations that have already been confirmed or paid.

Last updated: 2019-05-01

Biwako Backroads
Shimotara 55-4
Maibara City, Shiga Prefecture
521-0016 JAPAN