Cycling and History in the Kunisaki Peninsula (1N2D)

Price Per Person

Tour code : 009002Y

From JPY 37,000


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An invigorating cycle on a route taking in the splendid scenery of the Yabakei Gorge area; the vibes of Japan from decades ago in a retro district and a guided insight into a unique fusion of Buddhism and Shinto found on the island of Kyushu.

Trip HighLights

  • Overnight Stay in Traditional Ryokan
  • Lesser known area of Japan rich in history
  • Picturesque Cycling Course
  • Mix of self-guided activities and guided tours.

Quick Itinerary

Day One
9:00 Nakatsu Yabakei Tourism Association Trip starts here.

10:30  Maple Yaba Cycling Road  10km Cycling Course (About 6 miles) full of rich history.

   Ao-no-Domon Tunnel with 400 Years of History  Pass by historic tunnel and the Dutch Bridge.

14:30  Nakatsu Castle Area Guided tour of the area “under the castle” which prospered under the protection of the old stronghold.

17:30 Nankanoshima Ryokan
(or similar)
Enjoy a local specialty dinner in this cozy ryokan. It has a charming family atmosphere. In fall and winter, a local favorite dish of Bungo Aigamo is served. This is a delicious kind of duck dish unique to Oita Prefecture. Delicious, fresh sashimi is on offer through the summer.

   Showa Town in Bungo Takada – The Good Old Days  Evening stroll around the old fashioned district.

Meals Included on Day One: Dinner ☑

 Day Two
10:15  Rokugo Manzan – Remarkable Spiritual Culture of the Kunisaki Peninsula  Sightseeing Course with expert guide taking in Usa Shrine, Fuki-ji Temple, Maki Odo, Kumano Magaibutsu, Futago-ji Temple

  Local Specialty Lunch  
 Meals Included on Day Two: Breakfast ☑ Lunch ☑

Please see My Page after completing booking for a more detailed itinerary.

Access Information

Tour Start Point Nakatsu Yabakei Tourism Association
Tour Start Point Map
How to get to the Tour Start Point Train:
From JR Hakata Station – about 75 minutes by Ltd. Express train
From JR Kokura Station – about 30 minutes by Ltd. Express train
From JR Beppu Station – about 45 minutes by Ltd. Express train

Airport Access:
From Fukuoka Airport Subway Station: about 5 minutes to Hakata Station.
Change trains at JR Hakata Station.
From JR Hakata Station – about 75 minutes by Ltd. Express train
Tour End Point Beppu Station
Tour End Point Map
Time Required Two Days
  • Trip Locations & Experiences

  • Terms & Conditions

  • Hear From an Expert

Maple Yaba Cycling Road

Maple Yaba Cycling Road

This cycle path runs along a former railway line so the slopes are quite gentle. It is suitable for beginners. The total length of the course is actually about 35 km or 22 miles. As part of our trip, participants will cycle for about 10km or 6 miles, following the course of the River Yamakuni and taking in the breathtaking scenery of the Yabakei Gorge. This portion of the path is for cyclists only.

22km of the total 35km Maple Yaba Cycle Road is reserved for cyclists only. Some other sections of the course are shared with other vehicles.

Ao-no-Domon Tunnel with 400 Years of History

Ao-no-Domon Tunnel with 400 Years of History

A remarkable feat of engineering and perseverance, Ao-no-Domon was dug without any machinery centuries ago. This project was undertaken by a Buddhist monk named Zenkai. It took decades of work using just hammers and chisels.

Before the tunnel existed, the road was very treacherous. Many people and the horses carrying them were said to have perished while trying to get through this terrain. So, in 1735, the monk Zenkai started work on the tunnel.

Zenaki funded the work and was able to pay the laborers through takuhatsu – a kind of begging for alms which Buddhist monks undertake. So, in a sense, this was actually Japan’s very first toll road!

Nakatsu Castle Area

Nakatsu Castle Area

An English speaking guide will show you around Nakatsu Joka-machi, the area which built up around the castle centuries ago. Many other castle towns in Japan have districts called Joka-machi which have a kind of old fashioned charm.

In Nakatsu’s Joka-machi, there is a cluster of temples and the former residence of Fukuzawa Yukichi. Mr. Fukuzawa is considered a leading figure in the modernization of Japan and even appears on the 10,000 yen bill.

Nakatsu Castle itself was built by the Kuroda clan. The keep is a striking structure and a point of pride for the local people.

Showa Town in Bungo Takada – The Good Old Days

Showa Town in Bungo Takada – The Good Old Days

The Showa Era of Japanese history lasted from 1926-1989.

About 60 years ago, Bungo Takada was a booming town in the Kunisaki peninsula region. But as time went on, the town’s importance in local trade diminished.

The Showa Town project was started in 2001 to revive the shopping street districts of Bungo Takada. The retro feel of the town is very popular with visitors. In fact, about 40,000 visitors come to see this old fashioned district every year. The vibe of the area makes some Japanese people think of the Showa Years.

It is a pleasant area to walk and get a sense of the good old days.

Rokugo Manzan – Remarkable Spiritual Culture of the Kunisaki Peninsula

Rokugo Manzan – Remarkable Spiritual Culture of the Kunisaki Peninsula

The Kunisaki Peninsula is home to a unique religious movement called Rokugo-Mazan. This is a kind of mixture of Buddhism and Shinto mountain ascetics and is known for its many stone statues and famous temples.

This trip brings visitors to famous sites associated with Rokugo Manzan Culture.

・ Usa Shrine – The headquarters of a network of over 40,000 shrines dedicated to the Shinto kami called Hachiman. This deity from Japanese Shintosim is associated with warriors.
・ Fuki-ji Temple – The oldest wooden structure in Kyushu is located here and protects a sacred statue of Amitabha – the principal buddha in Pure Land Buddhism.
・ Maki Odo – A treasure trove of incredible statue art. Japan’s largest statue of Acala the Wisdom King is located here. It was made more than 1,000 years ago. This figure known as Fudo Myo-o in Japanese is a kind of protective figure. Another remarkable Buddhist statue is the Yamantaka standing at around 2.5 meters or over 8 feet tall. This figure with six faces, six legs, and six arms venerated in Japanese and Tibetan Buddhism is sometimes called the Conqueror of Death.

Kumano Magaibutsu – Magaibutsu are buddha figures carved into rock faces. The oldest and largest known in Japan are found here in the Rokugo Manzan heartland of the Kunisaki Peninsula. The figures were carved directly into the surface of the rock about 1,000 years ago.

Futago-ji Temple – Rokugo Manzan culture centered around this temple starting from the 17th Century onwards. It was known as a center for mountain ascetics - those on the path to enlightenment would enter deep into the mountains away from the world.

Rokugo Manzan’s name tells its own story. Roku means six. Go refers to a kind of small village or hamlet. The zan in Manzan can mean mountain and is also used in temple names too.

When the words Rokugo and Manzan are combined – it refers to the fact that all six “go” villages in the valleys of Mt. Futago on the Kunisaki Peninsula have had temples opened up in them.

Cancellations and modifications
If you would like to modify details, such as your traveling dates or the number of participants, please cancel your current reservation and make a new one. Cancellations can be made online through “My Page”. Please be aware that a cancellation fee may apply depending on the time of year.

■Cancellation period
[1)Within 60 days of receipt of payment. 2)Up to 8 days before departure]
Cancellation fee:None (free of charge)

[3 days before departure]
Cancellation fee:30% of the total tour fee

[the day before departure 1 day before departure]
Cancellation fee:40% of the total tour fee

[On the departure day On the day]
Cancellation fee:50% of the total tour fee

[After departure or in case of no-show]
Cancellation fee:100% of the total tour fee

About taxi drivers and sightseeing・Concerning your luggage
・For your convenience, we have arranged for taxis and mini-vans to allow you the comfort of traveling without being preoccupied about handling your luggage. Taxis will be available regardless of the number of participants however, due to space limitations, we ask you to inform us should you be traveling with more than 3 pieces per person (additional costs may incur). To respect your privacy, we work exclusively with experienced drivers who can only speak Japanese. For necessary information, we have prepared a separate document with useful phrases in English and other foreign languages.

・During the tour, large items such as suitcases and duffle bags will be kept in the trunk of the taxis. When getting on and off, please feel free to request access to your belongings from the driver at any time. However, we ask that you keep any valuable and fragile items as well as perishable food items with you at all times. Please acknowledge that we are not liable for any damages to your luggage in the event of an accident during transportation. We do not take responsibility for the damage, loss or theft of items due to negligence of the transportation company or its employees.

For customers joining tours during the winter period
・Over the winter season (December to March), it is not uncommon to see snow in Japan. Please understand that weather-related changes in the road conditions will also impact the tour schedule. If you need to catch a train or a flight to another city at the end of the tour, we advise you to give yourself extra time to work around any potential delays.

Itinerary Changes
・Tourist spots may sometimes need to be changed, or the length of travel time required may be different due to traffic conditions, etc. Please note that additional charges may be applicable if the arrival time is later than the end time specified in the itinerary.

Tour operation: regarding the minimum number of participants
・Tours may be canceled if the minimum number of travelers is not reached. In that case, an e-mail notifying customers to this effect will be sent up to 12 days before the start of the tour. Full refunds shall be issued for any canceled tours.

Shotaro Mihara from Nakatsu Yabakei Tourism Association

Shotaro Mihara from Nakatsu Yabakei Tourism Association

I love to introduce visitors to the wonders of Yabakei Gorge, which is on the Japan Heritage List. The gorge is also designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government. In fact, it is one of the new Three Great Views of Japan along with Onuma Pond in Hokkaido and the pine grove at Miho no Matsubara in Shizuoka. That’s quite a lot of accolades for one place! Shin-Yabakei’s scenes include a place with a fascinating name - Hitome Hakkei. The name of this spot tells its own story. It means that a visitor can take in eight distinctive, scenic views from one vantage point. The other-worldly rocks take on the dazzlingly beautiful hues of new green leaves in spring. The Yabakei Gorge is well known as a great place to see fall colors but the Japanese maples are a vivid green in spring and are definitely worth seeing. We can’t wait to show you the magic of Yabakei’s scenes!

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