travel is one of those things that naturally gives rise to queries, concerns and doubts, so we’re here to put your mind at ease. which trip is right for me? what do i do about visas? how much do i tip? should i have sushi or ramen for lunch? for questions, frequent and otherwise, this is the spot.
search for a tour
guided, self-guided tours or our pre-designed experiences. we have something for everyone.
get ready to ride
planning and preparation are key to a great cycling and travel experience.
understanding the rules and regulations of cycling in japan will help make your ride a safe and rewarding experience.
information / faq
choosing a trip
a ridejapan tour is a professionally guided bicycle journey. we aim to make our tours as good as they can possibly be and constantly fine-tune our services and itineraries. on all our tours we maintain a high standard of service and a fine attention to detail. through meticulous itinerary planning, careful preparation, thorough staff training and attention to our client’s needs, we deliver a comfortable, safe, fun and enriching travel experience every time!
we design all our own itineraries, carefully researching each new route and it has taken years to produce these carefully crafted experiences. we constantly review our tours to ensure that we offer the optimum experience, enhancing our existing experiences and developing new ones.
live. train. race. ride.
a cycling tours needs a solid and rewarding route, and this is the core feature of any successful tour. many high-end operators based outside the region offer frills with their service and style, but miss the point when it comes to the routes they take. with more than 10 years living riding, learning, ridejapan is, by far, the most professional and comprehensive cycling tour company in japan.
at ridejapan we make the effort to weave together enjoyable cycle routes with favourite destinations. as much as we can, we ride point-to-point and make sure we avoid the worst traffic, but we also like to linger in the more worthwhile places and always take the scenic route.
all cyclists need a good sense of balance and we try to strike the right balance between price and service for our tours. we want to provide the very best services and accommodation for our clients without being overly exclusive or expensive.
in terms of where we fit in the hierarchy of international bicycle tour providers we try to follow the middle way. we are certainly not the most expensive, and we are definitely not a cut-price operation. our tours are fully supported with vehicles, well-trained staff and a full range of top-end equipment. we take very good care of our clients.
our staff to client ratio is generally one to three. we do not make you fix your own flat tires or clean your own bikes and we certainly don’t assign chores. we provide more comfortable services and accommodation than most operations, but at a similar price!
ridejapan wants you to enjoy your time with us and in japan, so please select a tour that suits your ability. beyond that, we offer customization and flexibility and are happy to discuss variations of courses to suit the individual or group needs. the cycling component of our tours are designed so that you can complete part of a day’s route and hop in the team van or car for sections that may be too long or challenging for you. if you don’t feel like riding today; no matter; we can work out alternatives so that you can still enjoy your trip. no pressure, no stress.
all our trips require basic fitness, preferably acquired through riding your bike. the fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy the riding. we encourage you to use these metrics to gauge the suitability of a tour for you and your cycling abilities. keep in mind that local conditions, roads and the distance and elevation data that goes with them, are subject to change.
easy tours | 🔥
designed for those that like to absorb the sights and culture a bit more than the riding, so we drop the daily distance right down and take a very gentle pace with 2-4 hours of easy riding each day. while minimised, riding in traffic or a group is important and we recommend having these skills as a minimum. like with all our tours, the fitter you are then more you will enjoy your experience. these tours include our tokyo coffee ride or a easy flat roll along the tone river to a few days exploring nikko or mt. fuji. naturally our bespoke tours can all be customized to suit this type of riding experience.
intermediate tours | 🔥🔥🔥
ridejapan intermediate tours are suited to the majority of riders and we offer plenty of flexibility with balanced courses. distances vary, but typically 3-5hours cycling with a few hills each day. riders should have confidence descending and climbing along with riding in a group. traffic is a part of cycling and having confidence is important. riders should be able to easily ride 80-100km on hilly terrain for consectutive days and training for these tours will maximize your enjoyment. these tour typically include our japan cycling experience and some of our shorter tours where the terrain is demanding.
advanced tours | 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
if you looking for a challenge then ridejapan advanced tours are for you. typically over 100km each day with considerable climbing involved and advanced bike handling skills required. descending hors categorie climbs in all weather conditions, riding long distances over consecutive days is a must. we are much more likely to keep a higher pace and expect people who join these tours to have high level fitness and bike handling. riders must be able to ride 3000m and 130km at a reasonable average speed and alps route japan is a perfect example of this level. riders are monitored for fitness prior to commencing the tour.
ridejapan wants you to enjoy your time with us and in japan, so we choose a variety of accommodation options when designing a tour. japan abounds in accommodations, both western-style and japanese. types of accommodation vary widely in terms of style and services, however, all ridejapan cycling tours have been tried and tested to integrate with the best that the region and japan has to offer. we choose to stay in the familiar comforts of a western-style hotel, great after a long day in the saddle and simplicity is needed or to enjoy the comfort and personal attention of a traditional japanese inn, ryokan or western style lodge.
western style hotels
all of japan’s cities have many western-style hotels,with famous-name chains well represented in all larger cities. in these hotels, the staff will speak english. especially in peak tourist seasons, it is best to book far in advance. more than 220 member hotels of the japan hotel association(jha) have consistently high standards of service and facilities. the majority of these hotels will have the same amenities as any western establishment in any country, including heating, tvs, air conditioning and swimming pools, with the possible additional services of interpreters and shopping and health centers.
ryokan are a form of traditional japanese travel accommodation that has been widely used since long ago. combining the comforts of a hotel with those of your own home, ryokan are places where you can enjoy the unique culture and lifestyle which have developed in japan, and also her unique traditions of service.
furthermore, ryokan are located in every region of the country in places with distinctive local food, culture and points of interest, and offer an experience of the real japan as it changes with the seasons.
not that ridejapan uses them often, but one way to penetrate below the surface of the daily life you’re passing through, is to check into a minshuku. the japanese equivalent of guest-home type lodgings, minshuku are family-run businesses, with the rented rooms being part of the owners’ own home. they are often found in choice resorts and vacation spots, and feature moderate rates.
as befits their “home industry” status, minshuku offer considerably fewer amenities than strictly professional establishments. guests, for example, are expected to fold up their bedding in the morning and stow it away in a closet, just as a family member would. when in rome…
pension accommodations generally fall somewhere between the homey atmosphere of a minshuku and the more pampered amenities of a hotel.
they are usually found in areas popular for sports, such as near ski resorts and in mountains and their open-spirited philosophy and unrestricted management styles are usually very accommodating to anyone who is adaptable
what to expect
ridejapan prides itself on local knowledge and a comprehensive knowledge of the best areas and roads to ride. this ip is held close and forms the routes that are the core feature of a successful cycle tour and we make the effort to weave together enjoyable cycle routes with favorite destinations. as much as we can, we ride point-to-point and make sure we avoid the worst traffic. we linger in the worthwhile places and always take the scenic route. we design all our own itineraries, carefully researching each new route. we constantly review our tours to ensure that we offer the optimum experience and this is why ridejapan is the leading cycle tour operator in japan.
all cyclists need a good sense of balance and we try to strike the right one between price and service for our tours. we provide the very best services and accommodation for our clients without being overly exclusive or expensive. our tours are fully supported with vehicles, well-trained staff and a full range of top-end equipment. we take very good care of our clients.
our staff to client ratio is generally one to three. we do not make you fix your own flat tires or clean your own bikes and we certainly don’t assign chores. we provide more comfortable services and accommodation than most operations, but at a similar price.
our service begins long before the tour departs. to help you make your decision, we provide you with a detailed interactive real-time itinerary so that you always have the latest and up to date information. as our clients usually come from many different directions at different times, our tours have a designated starting point so do not always include pick up at the airport. (though we are happy to arrange transfers if you need one).
some of longer tours include products from our partners and usually have a souvenir kit available (either included or for purchase) along with discounted scicon cycle travel products and top class schwalbe tyres. of course if your tour has bike rental included, as a experienced bike-fit specialist, ridejapan makes sure you are super comfortable on your new bike.
you will meet your highly experienced cycle guides plus our staff and assistants who are responsible for taking care of you, your bike and to ensure that everything runs smoothly so you can enjoy a trouble-free journey with no worries about logistics or timetables.
the tour price includes all accommodation, all meals apart from lunch and beverages; and maybe a dinner or two in big cities, so you can make some of your own culinary discoveries. our support vehicles carry your luggage and provide a place for you to rest if you get tired. during the rides, we keep you topped up with water, fruit, soft drinks and snacks and we make sure you get a nice cold drink – and usually a cold towel as well – at the end of each ride and if desired a massage from our amazing masseuse who join us on the longer tours.
most meals are included and since so many meals we serve feature local cuisines, we do our best to deliver the real thing. we eat dinner together family style, which means sharing a number of delicious dishes, making sure it is an authentic feast worthy of hardworking and hungry cyclists. we strive to offer a good mix of accommodation on all of our tours, always aiming for local charm. depending on the tour, we stay at three- or four-star lodges that compliment the local culture, and sometimes logistics forces us to become creative.
who am i riding with?
statistically speaking, an average ridejapan tour consists of 12 clients, 2 tour leaders, one driver soignuer/masseuse and a driver/photographer. the group of 12 will be comprised of a few different nationalities (most often australian and us), speak at least two languages, contain slightly more males than females and have an average age of 42.
of the 12, two will return the following year to take another ridejapan tour, five will join another ridejapan tour within three years and nine will at least contact us to show an interest in joining another tour. we sometimes wonder what happens to the other one!
all 12 will contact each other at least once after the tour. around half will remain in contact, many will become good friends, and on more than one occasion we have been invited to a wedding!
our exceptionally good rate of return clients tells us we must be doing something right. it also tells us something about the people who join our tours. ridejapan cyclists are fun and part of the attraction of our tours is meeting like-minded people with a passion for traveling by bicycle.
solo travelers are always welcome and those who would like their own room have the option of paying a single supplement. otherwise we will arrange for a shared room with another solo traveler (of the same sex) at no extra cost. if there is no roommate available, ridejapan will cover the additional cost of a single room.
if you have found your perfect tour and read the booking conditions, here’s what you need to do to confirm your place. from the tour page click the ‘book now’ link or send us an email and we will get back to you discuss the tour in more detail and how to guarantee your place. all departures for this tour will appear, just select the date you’d like to travel and any available options. self-guided tours need a bit of back of forth through email as we build these custom to you, so send us message and we can go from there.
travelling with children
ridejapan offers a wide range of family adventures in some amazing areas of japan. the minimum age (for family trips) varies depending on destination, and ridejapan has set minimum ages to ensure that the included activities suit each age range. additionally, you’ll notice that some of the more adventurous destinations have a higher minimum age. please contact us for more details on family travel options.
who are ridejapan travellers
who are ridejapan travellers?
ridejapan cycling tours are for travellers with a yearning to get off the beaten track. whether you’re travelling solo, with a group of friends, or are aged 18 or 70, there is a ridejapan adventure to suit your interests and comfort level. each ridejapan cycling tour has a physical and cultural grading to help you decide if the trip is right for you. basic cycling ability is required for our easy tours and specialist fitness and bike handling for our advanced tours, and of course, just a sense of adventure and a curiosity about the japan culture.
how many people will be on my trip?
good things come in small packages, which is why we keep our group sizes down. this means we’re small enough to remain flexible as we thread our way through communities without intimidating our accommodation providers. on most of our trips you’ll be part of an intimate group of 12-16 people, though our group sizes are on average 10 people. group sizes are displayed on each trip’s overview page on our website.
are there age restrictions on your trips?
for the majority of our trips the minimum age is 15. an adult must accompany all children under the age of 18. our guided tours have a minimum age of 18. younger children can join us on our self-guided family trips and short break adventures, but check each trip for its minimum age, which is located on the trip’s overview page on the website. most of our trips don’t have a maximum age limit, but a self-assessment form is required for all passengers 70 years and over.
i’m travelling alone – is that ok?
this is the beauty of the ridejapan style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. we all love cycling and have an interest in japan.
if i am travelling solo, will i be charged a single supplement?
as a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. if you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips).
if you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly.
can we book a triple room?
depending on the trip style you choose, our trips are organised on a twin basis. as our bookings are made well in advance, individual room requests can’t be guaranteed.
can i book a single room?
you can book pre and post accommodation on a single basis; however, throughout your ridejapan tour, rooming is organised on a twin-share basis. some trips do have a single supplement available – check a trip’s overview page on our website, or their trip notes, to see whether a single supplement is offered. if so, please request this at the time of booking.
food, drink and dietary requirements
i have special dietary requirements – will they be catered for?
we will try our very hardest to accommodate all dietary requirements but in some out-of-the-way places it can be very difficult to guarantee. we will let you know if there are places on your itinerary where this is the case. please let us know at the time of booking of any food requirements or allergies and we’ll pass the information onto your leader. it is also a great idea to bring a card with your dietary requirements written in the local language for those times you are eating away from the group.
what will the food be like on my trip?
food is one of the most exciting parts of travel. there may be some familiar fare but often you’ll be confronted with the new, interesting and downright weird of the culinary world but we like to think of it as an adventure for all the senses.
can i drink the water?
japan has very clean and good quality drinking water, but also we advise having bottled water on hand. we stop regularly at shops where this can be purchased. in some destinations it may not be wise to drink the local water.
before you depart
currency and cash information
what is the currency in my destination? how much should i take in credit cards/cash? can i use my credit card during my trip?
japan is very much a cash-driven economy, with a lot of places still only accepting cash.
the national currency in japan is the japanese yen (¥). it's best to get some cash converted before you leave home so you have change to catch the train to your destination, otherwise you can access cash exchange places at the airport.
also keep in mind that while credit, debit and travel money cards are accepted by some larger companies in japan, many places (including hostels and small restaurants), will still only accept cash.
make sure you plan ahead so that you will have enough money on you for the day.
atms in japan
the main places to get cash out of foreign cards are at atms located inside post offices and 7/11 stores, as other atms may not accept your card. once you have inserted your card, you will usually be given the option to use the machine in english.
these atms can be found fairly easily in many parts of japan – particularly in large cities like tokyo, where 7/11 stores are everywhere – and the cost of withdrawing money from these atms is decent. just be aware that you may be charged international withdrawal fees from your bank at home, so it's best to check this before you leave.
ridejapan is committed to responsible tourism, because we acknowledge that while tourism provides locals with income to improve their standard of living, it can also affect their culture and environment. therefore, to lessen our impact we need your cooperation.
as a traveller, you play a major role in helping us maintain and improve our policy and practices. the following are some suggestions we would like to make, while specific cultural issues regarding responsible tourism will be discussed in more detail during the tour briefings.
do some research on the destination and culture you’re visiting. this greatly helps you get an overview of that particular place so that you can adapt yourself to its environment and people. we all come from different social and cultural backgrounds so please keep in mind that what you consider normal behaviour may be extremely offensive to others. so please be sensitive and show respect to locals and their customs.
taking photos is the norm among tourists, yet in certain areas people who practice animism or other forms of religion consider it taboo or bad luck. therefore, when in doubt, politely ask if you may take a photograph. if people seem reluctant or look away, simply don’t take the photo. it is also not advisable to photograph government officials and buildings as you may be asked to delete the photos or even have your camera confiscated.
plans do go awry sometimes and when things don’t go your way, try not to lose your temper, no matter how angry you are. instead, always try to smile because it can not only improve your mood but also reduce the tension. simply put, smiling goes a long way anywhere in the world.
souvenirs are available everywhere, but we encourage buying items that benefit the local economy and avoiding expensive shopping malls where most of the money goes abroad or to large businesses. while bargaining is often the norm in many countries, please do not generate ill-feeling by bargaining too hard. similarly, you should not bargain for items which you have no intention of buying.
again, we can’t do this alone. we need your cooperation, and together we can make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and sustain the earth’s diverse treasures for many years to come.
if in doubt, please ask your guide for advice.
do i need travel insurance?
travel insurance is compulsory for all ridejapan travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. you must provide proof of your travel insurance prior to the commencement of the tour.ridejapan requires that you take out travel insurance when you book your holiday.
what does my policy need to cover?
at a minimum, your travel insurance should be ‘comprehensive’, providing cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum coverage of us$200,000. we also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. if you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.
below is a basic introduction to the japanese immigration system. please contact your closest japanese embassy or consulate outside japan or an immigration bureau inside japan for official advice.
all foreigners, including foreign residents, get fingerprinted and photographed upon entering japan as a measure aimed at preventing terrorism. excluded from this procedure are persons under the age of 16 and a few special groups, such as diplomats and visiting dignitaries.
all foreigners receive a status of residence when entering japan. there are more than twenty statuses of residence, including “temporary visitor” for tourists, and a range of statuses for students, workers and relatives of japanese nationals and residents.
tourists and business travelers (temporary visitors)
if you are a citizen of one of the over 50 countries with which japan has a “general visa exemption arrangement”, you need only a valid passport to enter japan as a “temporary visitor”. otherwise, you need to obtain a visa before entering the country. temporary visitors from most countries are allowed to stay for up to 90 days.
if you are a citizen of austria, germany, ireland, liechtenstein, mexico, switzerland or the united kingdom, you have the possibility to extend your stay to a total of up to six months. you still initially enter japan on a 90 day permit, but can then apply for an extension at an immigration bureau in japan.
temporary visitors are not allowed to engage in any paid activities. however, short term studies at japanese language schools are permitted.
all foreign tourists in japan are required to carry their passports with them at all times.
safety and medical information
i am concerned about the political stability of japan?
the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority for ridejapan. with this in mind, we monitor world events very closely and ridejapan makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources, in particular the level of the australian government department of foreign affairs & trade (dfat) travel advisory. if this advisory is at level 4 ‘do not travel’ then ridejapan will either cancel the tour operated trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned.
how safe are my belongings whilst on the trip?
japan is renowned for being a very safe country for travel and your belongings, but while we take all the precautions we can to make sure your belongings are safe, travel insurance is a must for yourself and your items. while on tour our bikes are always locked in secure storage rooms, or kept in our rooms
what is the best way to carry money?
we recommend having access to money from a variety of sources – cash, cards and travel money cards are all commonly used. japan is still very cash driven, so always keep some on you and there are atm’s at all major towns and convenience stores.
cycle clothing essentials
at least two complete kits in good repair. (bibs, ss jersey, socks)
cycling shoes with new cleats
winter/summer base layer
gloves (both short and long finger)
wind/rain vest or jacket
winter or warm up jacket
shoe or toe covers
chamois cream and other recovery/comfort items.
not all these items will be required, but it is good to have them on hand, especially when descending at altitude as even in high summer, temperatures and wind chill can be extreme.
- 2 x bidons
- garmin or similar
- pedals (if renting from ridejapan)
- spare derailleur hanger
- new front and rear tyres & new tubes (no patched tubes)
- bike recently serviced and checked for by lbs
- new or recently new drivetrain with appropriate gearing ratios.
- new brake pads f&r
- new bar tape (no rips or tears)
- headset and bb bearings new or reasonably new
- braking surface on alloy and carbon wheels checked wear, check for play in bearings
- check wheels are true and spokes and in good repair
remember that your ridejapan tour experience and safety is a priority of ours and a lot of this rests in the hands of your machine; take the maintenance of your bike seriously.
any bike specific items that you feel may be needed (please contact ridejapan if any unsure and especially manufacturer specialist items).
for alpine tours and tours involving high mountains, please make sure that you DO NOT bring wheels with carbon braking surface. On long steep descents, ALL of these wheels are prone to delamination that can result in injury. contact ridejapan for more information regarding this.
ridejapan will provide free mechanical assistance in the event of an issue, but will bill for any parts required at a reasonable rate with any outstanding monies to be settled at the end of the tour. on longer tours (5-7day) we have the ability to order broken parts for delivery, but please make sure all bikes, clothing and accessories are in good working order.
anyone travelling on an adventure holiday should go to see their doctor for a check-up prior to the trip. japan is a modern country with no major however contact your doctor for any specific vaccinations you may need. your doctor will have access to the most up to date information about this. it is also a good idea to have a dental check-up before you go, as the facilities in many of the countries to which we travel may not be of the same standard as you are used to.
although every ridejapan tour carries a medical kit, it is advisable to bring a supply of first aid items for your own personal use. here is a sample list:
- insect repellent.
- antiseptic cream.
- suncream and total bloc.
- throat lozenges or hard sweets.
- painkillers. aspirin, paracetamol etc.
- anti-diarrhoea (diocalm or immodium).
- plasters (band-aids) and ‘second skin’ for blisters.
- antibiotics. a broad-spectrum antibiotic (such as ciproxin) suitable for a variety of infections.
- re-hydration salts. (dioralite).
- dextrose glucose tablets.
- multi-vitamin tablets.