David Hobday, Manchester, England: Cycle Rural Japan Oct/Nov 2016
"If you want to see the real Japan, this is the way to do it. Get on a bicycle and travel with Richard-san and Takashi-san on this wonderful coastal ride from Tottori to Izumo via the dramatic Oki Islands.
On the trip we experienced ryokan, onsen, and, of course, traditional Japanese meals. The accommodation was comfortable and proprietors always gave us a very warm welcome. After a day cycling the onsen was a must. Most memorable was having a soak in a hot pool by the river in Misasa.
The Oki Islands were magnificent. The cycling and weather were perfect, with stunning coastal views and quiet roads. A geologist’s paradise, the islands make up a massive caldera with coastal features such as arches and stacks making for some awe inspiring cycling. We were even lucky enough to seea local sumo wrestling contest in one of the island’s small villages.
We continued our trip on the mainland with further coastal rides in the sunshine before heading for Matsue and an afternoon at the Adachi Museum of Art, a real gem containing one of Japan’s most impressive gardens. The cycling ended in Izumo at the Taisha Shinto shrine, a fantastic conclusion to a memorable cycle tour.
Thank you Richard and Takashi. It was a fabulous tour and brilliantly organised. You were both great company, and Takashi’s help with the bikes along the way was impeccable. Until the next tour…..?"
Ben mcknight, london, England: cycle rural japan oct/nov 2016
"From the start of the tour in Tottori City, to the last day in Izumo, this was an unforgettable holiday. I have done a number of cycling tours in Europe and was definitely up for doing one in Japan. Our brilliant tour hosts Richard and Takashi (Niwa-san) put together a superb trip for us that took in a variety of landscapes and natural beauty, rural small-holdings, temples and other historic sites, places to stay and cities and towns to visit.
The cycling was great, with a range of gradients, which added to the experience. We cycled along the coast of western Honshu with the Sea of Japan and the beautiful, boundless horizon on one side. We explored the more rugged terrain on the two Oki islands that we visited – the awesome sight of the Kuniga coast is one I shall never forget. And to be honest, I was not previously even aware of the islands!
My cycling companions, from England, Wales and Sweden, were terrific fun, as were Richard and Niwa-san, who were a mine of useful, sometimes surprising information, as well as being practical, ensuring we got breaks, snacks and drinks throughout each day of cycling. They also ensured that we got to try out different types of food, from fish – raw and cooked - to very local ramen, to Japanese omelette (okonomiyaki), plus some amazing full-on feasts and delicious traditional breakfast spreads. And if we were interested (and I was), we got to visit a few properly local hostelries.
All in all, a great trip, highly recommended and I hope to be able to take another Bushido tour in the next year."
Helen Griffiths, Cardiif, Wales: cycle rural japan oct/nov 2016
A truly great holiday and one I would highly recommend to those wishing to experience the essence of Japan.
The itinerary was well thought out and covered many of the natural wonders and rich culture & history of the Tottori & Shimane prefectures; starting with the sand dunes in Tottori, along the beautiful coastline of the Sea of Japan and Oki Islands, ending in Matsue with its quintessential Japanese houses and castle.
Each day was an adventure with its own highlights, such as hiking along the Kuniga coastline, visiting the temple complex at Mt Mitokusan, enjoying a veritable Japanese feast with a local family at their home in Matsue, and cycling over the ‘rollercoaster’ Eshima Ohashi Bridge, one of the steepest bridges in the world (google ‘crazy bridge’ and take a look!).
Richie, Niwa-san and my fellow cyclists were all great company and the group dynamic worked really well. After a day of cycling we would have a long soak in the onsen and then get together for an evening meal; often sampling the variety of food that Japanese cuisine has to offer. Along with a few glasses of shochu and/or sake to ease the tired legs (well that’s my excuse anyway!).
Both Richie and Niwa-san were the perfect hosts and ensured all aspects of the tour ran smoothly. Thank you!
Really looking forward to the next tour. Richie….. start planning!