Backroads Exploring Japan’s Rural Life & Nature: Half-Day Bike Tour Near Kyoto

Just a 20 minute shinkansen ride from Kyoto to our starting point, we offer an easy way to explore small town rural life in Japan on this leisurely beginner-friendly ride, with a local resident guide, fluent in English, to help you enjoy our area’s unique geographical and historical points of interest.

This 13km course features a broad range of sights such as rice and agriculture fields, historic trade routes, local villages combining old and new ways of life, a temple and shrine, a brief hike, and the shores of Lake Biwa, all in about 3 hours.

In our tours, we hope to both share and preserve our local culture and traditions. Toward this goal, we also work closely with municipalities and residents to ensure that we always respect the wishes and needs of the local communities that we visit.

Our convenient location and short tour time make it easy to explore more before or after your tour too, such as visiting Hikone Castle, or Lake Biwa!
* Duration: 3 to 4 hours
* Starts: Maibara, Japan
* Trip Category: Cultural & Theme Tours >> Cultural Tours




Just a 20 minute shinkansen ride from Kyoto to our starting point, we offer an easy way to explore small town rural life in Japan on this leisurely beginner-friendly ride, with a local resident guide, fluent in English, to help you enjoy our area’s unique geographical and historical points of interest.

This 13km course features a broad range of sights such as rice and agriculture fields, historic trade routes, local villages combining old and new ways of life, a temple and shrine, a brief hike, and the shores of Lake Biwa, all in about 3 hours.

In our tours, we hope to both share and preserve our local culture and traditions. Toward this goal, we also work closely with municipalities and residents to ensure that we always respect the wishes and needs of the local communities that we visit.

Our convenient location and short tour time make it easy to explore more before or after your tour too, such as visiting Hikone Castle, or Lake Biwa!

Itinerary
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Maibara, Maibara, Shiga Prefecture, Kinki

Our tour starts and ends at Maibara Station, and the 13km course follows the farming areas and villages surrounding Maibara, which in the past few decades have been merged into Maibara itself for governing purposes. Throughout the tour, our guide will slowly introduce you to this rural community which is both exemplary of traditional small town life, but also has many uniquely defining points of local culture.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Saienji, Maibara, Shiga 521-0092, Japan

This Chinese-influenced Zen temple is also the name used to describe the surrounding small village community. We’ll stop briefly to get a look at both, as this is a great example of a typical traditional rural village.

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Iwaya Zenkodo Temple, Iogi, Maibara 521-0091 Shiga Prefecture

We stop at this small 120-meter-high mountain for a short hike and refreshments. The temple was built into the side of the mountain! There’s also an Inari Shrine here, as well as an old manmade cave with a unique history. The top of the mountain offers a beautiful view of Maibara and Lake Biwa.

After this stop, we make our way through local rice and wheat fields to the shore of Lake Biwa with occasional stops, before circling back toward Maibara Station.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: 世継のかなぼう(世継湧水群), Yotsugi, Maibara, Shiga 521-0064, Japan

We’ll stop at this natural spring well shared by the local community since long ago, as part of the underground waterway between Mt. Ibuki and Lake Biwa. This water is untreated and not for drinking, but many locals use it for washing vegetables and for gardening. This section of the course is great for getting an up-close look at a variety of local agriculture, and just after this stop, we’ll also stop at the shore of Lake Biwa.

Duration: 10 minutes

Pass By: 琵琶湖干拓資料館, 522-3 Irie, Maibara, Shiga 521-0003, Japan

In pre-war Japan, this farm area was actually a smaller inland lake near Lake Biwa, but was drained and converted to farm land to provide much needed rice for the recovering post-war nation. Enjoy the agricultural scenery of this historical area as we make our way back to Maibara Station.