Challenge level: 4 out of 5
|15 May - 25 May 2020||On Sale|
Spring into action and pedal past the volcanoes, hot springs and crater lakes of the Izo Peninsula, from the amazing city of Tokyo to the stunning Sadamu Bay.
Find your inner champion and join us in Japan on the year of the Olympics for this beautiful challenge. Starting in the outskirts of Tokyo, we‘ll cycle an approx. 366km route south towards the coast, taking in view after mesmerising view of the lush and mountainous peninsula. We’ll stop by Lake Yamanaka in the foothills of Mount Fuji, soothe our legs in the hot springs of Shuzenji, Kumomi and Shimoda and finish our challenge at the historic Odawara Castle.
Support a charity of your choice or self-fund your adventure, as you absorb the incredible Japanese culture, make fantastic new friendships and achieve a life changing challenge.
Worried about fundraising? Don’t be…
Cycle Japan 2020 is an Open Challenge, which means you choose how you fund your adventure.
You can self-fund and pay the challenge costs yourself without the pressure of a minimum sponsorship target; or you can choose sponsorship and commit to raising a minimum amount for a charity of your choice. It's your chance to do something amazing for the cause closest to your heart; whether you choose to support your local hospice, a small sanctuary or a national charity. It's completely up to you.
Places are likely to go faster than an Olympic sprinter for this challenge, so please register soon to avoid disappointment.
Our adventure starts at the airport in London, where we meet for our overnight flight to Tokyo, arriving on Day 2. Japan’s capital and the most populous metropolitan area in the world, Tokyo is nothing short of mesmerising. Exploring this incredible prefecture, you can come across both futuristic neighbourhoods and areas that seem to be from the past. Shops, galleries and parks aplenty, Tokyo also teems with pop culture, performing arts and a wonderful variety of cuisine. When we arrive at the airport, our local challenge leaders meet us and we transfer to our hotel in the city, where we have our challenge briefing, bike fitting and welcome dinner.
Kicking off from the outskirts of Tokyo, we cycle south west, through a stunning landscape of hills and valleys and finally into the mountains, until we reach our hotel near Mount Fuji’s largest and highest lake, Lake Yamanaka. Despite its location – Yamanaka-ko literally means “the lake in the mountain” - it’s the second most developed lake of Mount Fuji and is understandably, very popular with tourists and locals. Here, we can enjoy breath-taking views of the snow-capped Mount Fuji across the clear, blue lake, formed by lava flows from the volcano’s ancient eruption.
We follow our route south east, through the region’s lush countryside, past gorgeous, green mountains and forest, to the town and National Geopark of Hakone. This is a perfect place for us to stop and take in our stunning surroundings, with views of the Crater Lake Ashi, Mount Fuji and the natural hot springs. Hakone is also a place of interest for history buffs, as it was an important checkpoint on the centuries-old Tokaido route, one of the most important of the Five Routes that connected Edo (now called Tokyo) with Kyoto in the Edo Period (1603-1868). We continue on and eventually reach the gateway to Mount Fuji, Numazu City, which dates back to the seventh century. This beautiful city lies on Suruga Bay and enjoys the best of both worlds: mountains and sea all in one. That’s not even to mention Namazu, the mythological catfish monster, which lives in the nearby waters under the islands of Japan and causes earthquakes when angry.
From Numazu, we head out to the stunning Shuzenji Onsen, one of the oldest and most famous hot spring resort towns on the Izu Peninsula. The town is named after the zen temple, which was found about 1,200 years ago. We’ve earned ourselves a break and so take some time here to relax and soothe our feet in the Tokko no You foot bath. Well rested, we hop back on our bikes and head to the Toi Kinzan Gold Mine, which sits on the coast and was once the second largest gold mine of Japan, producing over forty tonnes of gold and ten times as much silver. We stop for another break here. Then it’s back in the saddle again, pedalling to the cliffs and caves of Dogashima, where we can admire the artwork of erosion: a unique plethora of stone formations, magmatic dykes and stony beaches. We end our day’s cycle with one last stretch that brings us to yet more hot springs! Kumomi Onsen is an amazing place to experience the “onsen” (hot spring) culture of Japan – just what we need after our long day’s cycle.
Today’s route awards us with unending amazing scenery, as we cross over from the south west coast of the Izu Peninsula to the south east. Along the way, we pass the wonderful port city of Shimoda, which sits on the west coast and as we’ve come to expect from the peninsula’s resort towns, is home to a range of natural hot springs. Aside from its natural beauty of green volcanoes, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and the hot springs themselves, Shimoda is also known for its political importance, as it hosted the treaty negotiations between Japan, Russia and the USA in the 1850s. We draw closer to the east side of Izu and finally reach our hotel in Ito, yet another very popular hot spring resort town. Here, new meets old with an awesome combination of well-developed modern districts and traditional, historic buildings, like the Tokaikan, a wooden ryokan (Japanese inn) built in the early Showa Period (1912-1926). Our evening is free to wander this charming, cultural town, kick back at the hotel or relax at one of the numerous hot springs, revitalising ourselves before our last day’s cycle.
Our last day on the bikes takes us back in the direction of Hakone and further on to our magnificent finishing point at the Odawara Castle. Sitting close to the Sagami Bay, the original castle dated back to the Edo Period in the 15th Century and survived multiple sieges and fires, only to be dismantled when the military government fell to the dictator, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The accurate reconstruction we see was built in the 1960s, based on Edo models and drawings. After visiting the castle, we settle down for our celebration meal and feel like Olympic medallists, as we toast our achievement, having conquered an incredible challenge.
We have a bit of excitement today, as we take a train back to the mind blowing Tokyo, our legs enjoying their well-deserved rest, so that we’re fully refreshed to explore the city tomorrow.
Our final day in Japan is free for you to spend as you wish in the amazing city of Tokyo. It’s an ideal opportunity to pick up some last-minute souvenirs and soak up the fascinating culture of Japan one last time. We then transfer to the airport on Day 10 and catch our overnight flight back home to the UK, arriving on Day 11.
Pay the challenge costs yourself and choose to fundraise or donate as much as you can for a charity, sanctuary or hospice of your choice.
Pay the balance yourself
Pay a non-refundable registration fee and then commit to fundraising the minimum sponsorship target for a charity, hospice or sanctuary of your choice.
Minimum sponsorship target
Cycle Japan 2020 is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part will have a low level of fitness when they sign up. This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, lose weight and have an experience of a lifetime. We provide you with a week by week training plan, which builds up gradually as the challenge draws closer, so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we leave for Japan. The route we follow is quite hilly, so we advise you to please include cycling up and down hills in your training if you can.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own and our Dream Challenges are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and life long friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.
Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for Cycle Japan 2020. Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow cyclists on your training and fundraising. You may also want to reach out to the fellow participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.
Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. The age range is likely to be from 18 to a youthful 80.
A cycle helmet is essential and must be worn at all times. Cycling shorts are also recommended and everyone will need their own water bottles or a camel back-type hydration system. Apart from that, no specialist equipment is required. We will supply you with a list of everything you will need to take before you go. Cyclists will have the use of 18 or 21-gear bikes and we suggest you bring the saddle or gel cover you are used to riding on.
We will stay in three star class hotels in shared rooms throughout the challenge.
No, your main luggage will be transported each day by our support team. You will need a bag to go on your bike or a waist bag for things like your camera, sun cream, tissues etc. Any extra items you may need during the day can be carried on the support vehicle, which you will have access to during lunch and the snack stops.
Yes of course! If you wish to extend your stay in Japan, you will need to come out of our group flights (and of course, we would deduct the cost from your balance).
In addition to paying your registration fee, you will need to budget for your airport taxes and the fuel surcharge (currently £400 but subject to change – up or down), personal travel insurance, gratuities, optional tours and personal expenses. Please also note that you'll be arranging and paying for your own lunch throughout the challenge.
You will also need to arrange and pay for your lunch and dinner on your two free days in Tokyo (Days 9 & 10). This is so that you will have more freedom and flexibility to spend these days as you wish.
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance, covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has a recommended policy, which we can send you. Otherwise, you can take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity cycle ride in Japan. British Nationals don't need a visa to enter Japan. You can stay as a visitor for up to three months.
The Dream Challenges team is here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself. Once you've registered, we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the event. The programme builds up gradually as the challenge gets closer.