7 Day Noto Peninsula Festivals & Seaside Bike




The 2015 itinerary has been improved! It will not follow exactly as described below, so if you are interested in the Spring bike and hike trip, please contact us for an updated version.

Overview & Highlights

Summers on hot in Japan, so we made a trip that includes all of the best tricks we have learned for keeping cool. From local festivals - traditionally happening in the middle of summer to keep peoples minds of the heat and hard farm work - to a cool sea breeze, or the wind in your hair as you cruise down a mountain valley.

The trip starts World Heritage site Shirakawago and a thrilling downhill ride through beautiful valleys, passing through rural farming villages and the vibrant trading post of Kanazawa.

From there you will wind your way around the peninsula, by bike and foot, on coastal and inland mountain roads, or gentle hiking paths along rocky seaside cliffs.

When not riding, you will have a chance to join one or more village fire festivals, see fishermen and craftsmen at work, and browse through busy street markets. An optional day of rest affords an opportunity to take a relaxing ferry toremote island where a small community has lived for hundreds of years, and the young women of the village still dive for abalone with nothing more than a mask and snorkel. For those who can't be kept still can take a more challenging ride through inland mountain villages.

The trip ends with amazing views of the Japan Alps in the distance, and convenient transportation connections to your next destination.

This is an active trip that covers 300 - 400 km and has altitude fluctuations of sea-level to 150-500m. The terrain is not difficult, but we will , on average, ride at least 5 hours each day for a full week with one day of optional rest. The support van is always available to transport weary travelers, but this trip was designed with riders in mind.

Detailed Itinerary

*The itinerary for this trip is tentative and may change due to weather or unexpected One Life opportunities. Contact One Life Japan for the most recent detailed itinerary.



Day 1

  • Route:    Shirakawago → Kanazawa
  • Distance:     60km (downhill & level)
  • Altitude:    1,500m - sea level

Activities:

Leave Shirakawago in the morning by support van to the top of a nearby mountain pass. The ride down starts steep (but safe!), descending about 1,000 meters over 30 km along a paved mountain road with great views. As the road begins to level out - but just a little - it passes through smaller villages before we reach the flatter, more populated Kanazawa. With gravity on our side, there will still be plenty of time to check into the Ryokan and explore some of Kanazawa's main Highlights:before dinner at one of the best

Possible Highlights:

  • Mountain views and exhilarating ride down winding valley.
  • Visiting three of Japan's most famous gardens, dating as far back as 350 years.
  • Walking the streets of the Higashi Chyaya, lined with geisha and tea-houses.
  • A tour of Kanazawa Castle.
  • Great local food in a small, stalls and restaurants that dot the streets.
  • A hot-spring to soak the evening away.

Day 2

  • Route:    Kanazawa → Togi
  • Distance:     60-70km on coastal roads
  • Altitude:    sea level - 60m

Activities:

Wake up early to hit the Omicho morning market, Kanazawa's largest fresh food market since the Edo Period and a busy and colorful network of covered streets lined by about 200 shops and stalls specializing in local seafood and produce. Bike, or catch a ride in the van out of the busy downtown, to a more scenic and peaceful bike path that follows the coast north, along the way we may have an opportunity to ride over the beach where the sand is so fine and packed together, that it is possible for cars and bikes to ride over it as if it was a road. Pass by what are considered some of the most beautiful rock formations and coastline in Japan arriving at Togi, a small fishing/hot-spring community where your room in a seaside lodge will be waiting, along with a meal of fresh seafood and a hot bath.

Possible Highlights:

  • Omicho morning market
  • Famous 8 km long, 50 m wide sand road made of tightly compacted fine sand, firm enough for a pleasant ride along the beach.
  • Uchinada Sand Dunes
  • Famous rock formations and coastal views
  • Togi Hot Spring Village
  • Beautiful beaches for swimming
  • Fresh, expertly prepared seafood dinner

Day 3

  • Route:    Togi → Wajima
  • Distance:     35km coastal w/ small mtn pass
  • Altitude:    sea level - 125m

Activities:

Leaving Togi, we will continue along the coast passing through fishing villages until the road ends. From here we have the option of taking a 2.5km hike over a low mountain pass with great views. Our bikes will be waiting on the other side and we resume the ride until we come across another 4 km section of walking trail that hugs the beautiful cliffs along the Japan Sea. We will arrive in Wajima in time to check into your Ryokan and catch a hot bath and the first night of a multi-day festival that the Noto Peninsula is famous for. Tonight is just a taste of the main activities that will be happening tomorrow night.

Highlights:

  • Rock formations and coastal views.
  • Short, isolated seaside hikes on gentle trails.
  • Kiriko Festival preparations.
  • Wajima village and Hot Spring.

Day 4

  • Route:    Wajima → Wajima (loop)
  • Distance A:      10km bike or walk
  • Distance B:     20-60km inland mtn. roads
  • Altitude B:    sea level - 400/500m

Activities:

Option A:

Wake up in time for the famous Wajima morning market before taking a relaxed ferry ride to the remote Hegurajima Island famous for women who continue tradition of diving for abalone shell fish, and its small single village population which, like many small villages, is in danger of extinction. This will be a relaxing day, hopefully with plenty of sun and sea-scent. You will have the option of walking alone with an English map we provide, or having us walk with you to explain.

An afternoon ferry ride (only one round-trip ferry per day) will have you back to the mainland in time for the grand finally of the Kiriko festival which starts at 8pm and lasts until midnight (a good reason to take it easy this day).

Option B:

If you're feeling restless and would like to peddle more than walk, we will head inland through the small farm villages far of the tourist trail. The fact that they are mountain villages means that there is a degree of up-hill, but if you are willing to challenge yourself, the scenery is willing to reward you. (even if you hitch a ride in the support van the scenery and downhill back to the coast will be reward enough). We will have you back to the mainland in time for the Kiriko festival which starts at 3pm, or the grand finally that begins at 8pm and lasts until midnight.

Possible Highlights:

  • See the traditional shell divers.
  • Visit the remote island village (population 100) that may soon be extinct.
  • Challenging mountain passes through small rural farming villages.
  • Kiriko Festival main event raging until midnight.

Day 5

  • Route:    Wajima → Suzu
  • Distance:     45-60km (coastal or mtn road)
  • Altitude:    sea level - 150m

Activities:

Saying farewell to Wajima, we have the option of taking another coastal road, with less up-down but slightly more traffic, or a mountain road passing through several small farming hamlets. either way is beautiful with its own charms. Along the way we have the opportunity to see a unique area where locals make the most out of their harsh sea-side environment with tiny rice-paddies nestled on the edge of a cliff - all hand-planted in the traditional way because they are so small they are not accessible by the now-common heavy machinery.

We will stop for the night at Suzu, a fishing town on the inland side of the peninsula. With good weather, one may be able to see Japan's Northern Alps in the distance from the outdoor hot-spring bath.

Highlights:

  • Unique Senmaida terraced rice paddies.
  • Tour of traditional lacquer maker.
  • Small mountain farm villages, or coastal fishing villages.
  • Famous lighthouses and rock formations with historical value.

Day 6

  • Route:    Suzu → Anamizu
  • Distance:     60km coastal/hilly
  • Altitude:    sea level - 100m

Activities:

Take a morning to sleep in before this relaxing ride between Suzu and Anamizu village. This ride takes us through lower mountain passes, and more coastal roads, this time with a great view of the Japan Alps in the background, passing the longest beach in Japan.

Highlights:

  • Remnants of unique fishing trap method that died with the last fisherman in the 90s.
  • Long flat ride through sheltered bays with views of not-so-distant Noto Island.
  • Satori Road trip through ten scenic and famous shrines.

Day 7

  • Route:    Anamizu → Nanao
  • Distance:     30-50km coastal & hilly
  • Altitude:    sea level - 50m

Activities:

Your last day will take you back into the larger city of Nanao, closer to the mainland, but not before a final breathtaking ride over two bridges connecting Noto peninsula to Noto Island, and a leisurely ride around the island with amazing views of the mainland.

Highlights:

  • Visit famous traditional glass makers of Noto Island.
  • Catch a glimpse of the resident wild dolphins, or visit the aquarium highlighting fish from the area.
  • A final grand lunch before you catch a train or bus to your next destination OR...
  • Spend the night at the famous Wakura hot-spring village before catching a morning train.
  • Great food in a small, local restaurants that dot the streets.
  • Of course, a hot-spring bath.

Pricing & Whats Included



  • Price: 330,000 JPY
  • Includes: Bikes, gear, snacks, accommodation, 6 breakfasts, 7 dinners, most lunches, entrance fees, guides, support van, maps, photos. (See below for details.)

    Does not include transportation to and from start and end points. Find travel options and costs here.

*Please note: This trip starts from Shirakawago, but does not include sight-seeing within Shirakawago, as this would loose a day of riding. If you would like to have a day to visit the museums on your own, we advise that you arrive a day in advance. Although there is no need for a guide to walk around the village, if you would like some deeper explanation of what you see in the museum, we can provide this as well for a small fee.



  • Bikes:

    Our cross touring and mountain bikes are selected to make your trip the most comfortable and enjoyable possible. Our frames are sturdy, stable, and light-weight, fitted with ultra-comfortable seats, handle bars and grips. Pannier saddle bags allow you to easily carry warm clothing, water, snacks, and any souvenirs you pick-up along the way.
  • Meals:

    Dinners, breakfasts, and most lunches are included. Perhaps the most important part of any trip to Japan is the food. While the well-known sushi and sukiyaki are available, we seek out local, traditional meals that have developed in the region over the centuries defining and being defined by the local culture and history. Wherever possible we choose fresh, local, organic ingredients grown by farmers we know - you will even get to meet some of them. Lunches will either be at local restaurants or luxurious picnics with macrobiotic, traditional vegetarian and zen foods overlooking beautiful mountain valleys.
  • Accommodation:

    Accommodations range from minshuku and ryokan, to seaside B&B
  • Entrance Fees:

    Most museums, baths, festivals, and other entrance fees are covered so you are free to go anywhere and do anything your wanderlust takes you.
  • Facilitators &Communicators:

    You have the option of riding with bilingual facilitators that have studied the area and culture and are anxious to share as much as you want to hear, and probably a lot you didn't even know you wanted to hear. (Of course, we will shut-up if you ask nicely). Alternatively, you can strike out on your own with scheduled meeting points. Either way, we will be available every step of the journey, whether you are trying to communicate with your host for the night, the old man at the vegetable stand, or trying to find a certain color of kimono for that perfect souvenir. We can also provide printed translations of important museum exhibits and explanation of various foods and interesting cultural artifacts found along the way.
  • Support Vehicle:

    Not only do we carry your luggage and have elaborate picnic lunches waiting at the perfect lookout point, but we also carry people when needed. If you would rather spend more time at a museum or napping on a mountain top while the rest of the group rides on, our support vehicle will help you catch up. Want to walk instead of ride? The support vehicle will take your bike to the next meeting point. Had enough up-hills for the day? Our support vehicle will carry you to the top leaving you to enjoy the cruise down.
  • Maps:

    Reading a map in Japanese can be a daunting task. We try to make it a little easier by adding some English where it makes sense, as well as important landmarks and points of interest. We even give you a pen to keep notes on the map of the one of a kind encounters and experiences you have along the way.

Getting There &Away



  • Start Point:      Shirakawago »
  • Finish Point:    Nanao Station »
  • Travel Time:    approx 4:40hrs (Tokyo ↔ Start)
  • Travel Time:    approx 5:00hrs (End ↔ Tokyo)
  • Travel Cost:     approx 15,000 JPY (round-trip)


Transportation Options

Takayama is easily accessed via train from Nagoya and there is regular bus service from Takayama to Shirakawago. Once you have registered, and let us know where you will be coming from, we can help you make the most convenient transportation plan to have you arrive at the start of the trip on time.

Please note: This trip starts in Shirakawago on the morning of Day 1. It is advised that you stay in either Shirakawago, or Takayama the evening before and catch the earliest bus which arrives at 9:50. If you would like time to explore the World Heritage Site, please plan to arrive one full day before the bike tour begins.


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We believe in A Better Way

One Life Japan's goal is to promote the recognition and exploration of possibility - the possibility within ourselves and within society to create a better life.

Possibility is born with an awareness and understanding of the whole process of life - its vast expanse with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows, its joys, and its challenges. This understanding is the first step to cultivating the capacity to think freely without culturally learned fears and formulas, to begin to answer for oneself what is real, and what is true.

We make use of the uniqueness, contrasts, and beauty of Japan's culture, nature, and history to introduce a holistic view, promoting an awareness of complexity, ecology, culture, and self.