Land of Volcanoes Cycling Tour offers good experience. In Kyushu, there are some famous volcanoes. We'll bike there.
Day 1 – 25km: Arrival in Kumamoto station or Kumamoto/Aso airport. Transfer to hotel in Minamiaso. Fitting the rental bikes. Short ride to get our bearings and test the rental bikes.
Day 2 – 75km: Today is our big Aso tour. Mount Aso is the volcano with the world’s largest caldera. The steaming, active volcano crater of Mt. Naka in the central cone group of Mt. Aso is unique because it is the only place in the world where tourists can look down into the mouth of a volcano. The crater is even now steaming with white smoke and the surrounding area is covered with volcanic lava, creating an unworldly scene with no greenery at all. In the evening we relax in the onsen hot spring.
Day 3 – 75km: We say goodbye to the fumes of Mt Aso and head westward. A ferry brings us to the Shimabara peninsula. We climb 700m to Mount Unzen. In the late 19th century, Unzen was a favorite summer resort for European and American residents of Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila. Unzen Hell is the number one attraction of Unzen and can easily be located by its high, dense clouds of steam.
Day 4 – 65km: After visiting Shimabara’s samurai neighbourhood and castle, we eat at Himematsuya, the famous Guzoni restaurant in front of Shimabara Castle. Guzoni is a typical dish from Shimabara. It is said that it was first prepared in 1637 for peasants who participated in the Shimabara Revolt and who were in need of nutricious and very filling food. Traditional Guzoni incorporates more than 13 ingredients such as vegetables, fish, chicken and mochi (rice cake), all of them boiled together in a tasty soup.
With a full tummy, we ride to the southern tip of the peninsula. In Kuchinotsu, we take a ferry to Amakusa island, home to Japan’s first christians. In the early 17th century, when the then rulers began their crackdown on Christianity, many Christian converts were thrown into the boiling Unzen Hell, which made them escape to Amakusa. We stay in an authentic minshuku in Amakusa’s capital Hondo.
Day 5 – 90 km: Through valleys of green rice fields and with the blue Yatsushiro sea under our wheels, we bike down Amakusa island, hop on the ferry to Nagashima island and finally our legs bring us to Izumi, home of Siberian cranes and Japan Biking. With good legs we may decide to cross Nagashima to follow the east coast. This adds 3km and 250 altimeters.
Day 6 – 90km: Day 6 takes us across the Ebino highlands and finally brings us to the Kirishima National Park. Shinmoedake volcano is particularly active recently. After another hilly ride we really deserve the onsen hot spring.
Day 7 – 65 km: Another unforgettable vista on our trip: via the coastal road along Kinko Bay we approach Kagoshima with its enigmatic Sakurajima volcano. Optional bike tour around the volcano (35 km). In the evening, the brand new Kyushu Shinkansen bullet train (start March 12, 2011) whooshes us back to Kumamoto.