One of our favourite Japanese movies, Little Forest, has a lengthy bike riding opening scene. The main character, Ichiko, is riding on a narrow road, lots of greenery around her & wind in her hair. She stops in a place overlooking rice fields and a small house surrounded by mountains and trees.
As the movie goes on and we watch her living in that small house, farming, cooking and enjoying life. It’s hard not to start picturing yourself in her place. But what are the chances of that actually happening? In our case – low, very low.
During our last visit to Japan, on a picture-perfect afternoon, a dream came through. Well, at least for a few hours and no farming required! We had a chance to channel our inner Ichiko and ride bikes through rice fields and villages.
One of our stops on this trip was in Takayama. It’s a town in the Hida region with a beautiful old town area, quite popular with tourists. From there we had to take a 15-minute ride on a train to Hida-Furukawa – that’s the starting point of the cycling tour with Satoyama Experience.
The standard cycling tour is 22km long. That shouldn’t put you off, even if you’re not the fittest person in the universe. The route is mostly flat (to be honest, we encountered only 1 steep part), or downhill, and rest stops are aplenty.
During this over 3 hours-long ride, you make your way around villages, rice fields & farming areas but also visit a local market & see some traditional houses. You also learn while you ride – about history, agriculture, seasons and produce. It’s a very different way of seeing Japan and one that we highly recommend.
Of course, you’re not riding alone. It’s all done with a friendly guide. In our case, it was Hisa, who had an answer for every (even the trickiest) question we threw at him, great local knowledge and who was able to take great photos of the group while riding a bike. Some skills!
The price is 7300 JPY and that includes guide’s services, bike, helmet, insurance and tax.
You can also see some footage from the bike tour here (starts about 2:51):
Thank you to Satoyama Experience for inviting us on this tour. We truly loved it!