Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak

12 Days | Hike sacred Kumano Kodo trails, bike along the impressive Shimanami Kaido and through historic Kyoto and kayak Japan’s Inland Sea.

4.8 out of 5 based on 17 reviews submitted.
Multi-Active Adventures
NZD $8,546
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Embark on an insightful cultural (and physical) workout with a 12-day active adventure across Japan’s ancient history, religious sites and natural wonder. Beginning in Tokyo, leave the crowds behind for a hike through post towns dotted along the Nakasendo Way, then continue to the Seto Inland Sea for a biking and kayaking adventure along the Shimanami Kaido. Stop by historic Kyoto before tackling the mother of all pilgrimages along sections of the historic Kumano Kodo. With the opportunity to explore diverse neighbourhoods and experience real hospitality along your way, discover the secrets, past and present, of an enchanting Japan.

Trip overview

Map of Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak including Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Osaka, Japan
Multi-Active Adventures
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 12
Trip code
This trip generates 36.17 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Hike between the preserved post towns of the Nakasendo Way – reconnect with the Edo history on this ancient trail connecting Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto.
  • Discover one of Japan's best cycling routes - the Shimanami Kaido which links Honshu with Shikoku across the scenic Inland Sea - and enjoy a cycling and kayaking experience
  • Temple-hop through the historic city of Kyoto with a guided ride past some of the major religious sites in the city - a perfect active way to explore this ancient capital.
  • The Kumano Kodo is one of only two World Heritage-listed pilgrimage trails in the world. Hike a section of the ancient route, arriving at spectacular Nachi Falls and Nachi Taisha Shrine.
  • Never lose sight of the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka. With options to extend your travel before or after your trip, you can continue your fascinating adventure through Japan at your own pace.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, World Bicycle Relief. Donations provide school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas with bicycles that provide access to education, healthcare, and income.

Is this trip right for you?
  • The active nature of this trip means that the fitter you are, the more you will be able to enjoy it. It is expected that travellers joining this trip will have had some experience hiking and cycling before joining this tour, and can swim. On some hikes you will need to be able to carry your overnight pack on the trail because we will forward your luggage to the next destination. Hiking distances vary from 3-15km per day with no more elevation change than 60-900m on one hike and cycling distances are around 30 km each. Please see the details of hiking, cycling and kayaking activities in each day’s itinerary.
  • The hikes on the Kumano Kodo and Nakasendo Way include sections rather than the whole trail, which gives you an experience of the trails without needing to commit to multiple days of strenuous trekking.
  • In some destinations you may be staying in a ryokan, which is a Japanese-style inn with shared facilities. It’s a great taste of tradition, but not everyone finds futon mattresses on the tatami mat floor, small bathrooms and proximity to other guests as comfortable as more Western-style hotels and beds. Read more about ryokans in our ‘Accommodation’ section of the Essential Trip Information.


Map of Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak including Japan



4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner


Boat, Public Bus, Metro, Bullet Train, Train, Taxi, Walking, Bike, Kayak


Hotel/Ryokan (11 nights)

  • Tsumago - Waki Honjin
  • Nakasendo Trail - Magome to Tsumago hiking
  • Onomichi - Shimanami Kaido cycling
  • Ikuchijima Island- Sea Kayaking
  • Kyoto - Fushimi Inari-Taisha
  • Kyoto - Gion District walk
  • Kyoto - Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
  • Kyoto - Mt. Daimonji-yama hike
  • Kyoto - Kyoto Cycling
  • Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
  • Kyoto - Daitokuji Temple
  • Shingu - Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine
  • Kumano Kudo - Hiking
  • Kumano Kodo - Kumano Nachi Taisha
  • Toba - Mikimoto Pearl Island Museum
  • Osaka - Dotombori District walking tour
Add on activities
  • Tokyo - Tokyo After 5 Urban Adventure - JPY17000
  • Tokyo - Kanpai Tokyo: Shinjuku Drinks and Neon Nights Urban Adventure - JPY15000
  • Tokyo - A Tour Through Tokyo's Kitchen (with World's Largest Fish Market) Urban Adventure - JPY11500
  • Tokyo - Made In Japan Shopping Tour: Cultural Curiosities Urban Adventure - JPY8850

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. As this is an active, multi-activity trip you will need to have an excellent level of fitness. Please read the itinerary carefully to make sure that you'll be able to make the most of the activities on this trip and enjoy an active adventure in Japan.
2. A Single Supplement is currently not available for this trip due to limited rooms at many of our properties.
3. At some destinations, larger luggage will be forwarded on ahead of you, so ensure you also have a smaller overnight/day pack with you for essentials and a small day pack for use during activities. Please check the itinerary for details.
4. It is essential that you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains. Luggage from 160cm to 250cm may require an additional JPY1000 oversize luggage fee per train journey. Luggage over 251cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains at all. Please notify your tour leader at your Welcome Meeting if your luggage is from 160cm to 250cm so they can make the necessary arrangements.
5. We are currently unable to book pre or post trip accommodation at our start and finish point hotels due to limited room availability. We recommend booking a hotel of your choice through your booking agent.
6. We are not able to book airport shuttle service for Japan now. Japan has an extensive and efficient public transport system and the joining and finishing point instructions are listed in the Essential Trip Information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Read Essential Trip Information


4.8 out of 5 based on 17 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Sarah · Traveled October 2023
Great mix of city and nature experiences! An introduction to some beautiful areas of Japan that I’d love to come back and explore further!
Review submitted 03 Nov 2023

Susan · Traveled October 2023
Great trip for the active traveller who likes a mix of city and small town, rural experiences. The forest hikes were an absolute highlight as was our ‘exceptional’ group which bonded beautifully. Also loved the outdoor onsens and final banquet topped with karaoke.
Review submitted 02 Nov 2023

Mark · Traveled October 2023
We had a brilliant holiday. The itinerary was busy but great fun. Our only negative feedback would be that for an activity holiday, more meals (especially breakfast) should be included
Review submitted 03 Nov 2023

Tania · Traveled October 2023
Unfortunately this is a budget tour with a luxury price. The actual amount of time spent hiking, cycling and kayaking is minimal with more time being spent on trains, up to 5 per trip! The accomodation varied between fabulous (the traditional Ryokan) and very poor (old dated hotels and a guesthouse equivalent to a backpackers hostel). Very few meals were included in the tour. What made our trip great was Leo, our guide, and the other people in our group. Leo was the most enthusiastic person who worked tirelessly to ensure we were all looked after, we cannot fault him.
Review submitted 19 Oct 2023

John · Traveled September 2023
You likely would not post my review, because we were not pleased with this tour. We have taken group tours with different providers in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Italy, France, Croatia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Morocco and Ecuador, and we rate this Japan tour at the bottom!
Review submitted 10 Oct 2023
Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak
NZD $8,546