Frequently Asked Questions
What is HiddenJapanTravel?
HiddenJapanTravel is a small company that offers travel adventures in and around Ehime Prefecture. We use our local knowledge to ensure customers have unique experiences. We also put you in control of your trip – facilitating rather than guiding.
Is HiddenJapanTravel a licensed travel agent?
Yes, we are. Our details are as follows: 愛媛県知事登録旅行業-206号. Our license allows us to run tours all over Japan, but we like to focus on the island of Shikoku. Luckily for us, this is an area of exceptional beauty that we know intimately. We wouldn’t want to operate tours anywhere else!
Do you offer regular tours?
Yes, we do. You can see tour dates on the webpage of the tour you are interested in. Alternatively, drop us an email or call. If you can’t make one of the tour dates, please get in touch and we can check availability of the date that suits you.
I’m interested in a cycling tour. How fit do I have to be?
The Shimanami Kaido is 70 kms long and you’ll be cycling an average of 35kms a day. We ask that you consider whether this distance is too great for you. In our experience, if you can do light exercise (a fast walk or light jog) without too much difficulty, you should be able to make the journey. However, if you are at all unsure we recommend you consult a medical professional prior to booking.
How far in advance do I need to book?
Our tours fill up quickly, so it’s best to book ahead to avoid disappointment. This is particularly the case with tours over Golden Week, Silver Week, and during the blooming of the cherry blossom. However, we also know the importance of spontaneity! So get in contact with us if you’re doing things last minute, and we’ll see what we can do.
When is a good time of year to do a tour?
Whenever you happen to be in Japan! To be honest, the summer is very hot and humid, and it’s not easy being in the midday heat. That being said, if you feel you can handle the heat, there is good swimming to be had at that time of year. The rainy season hits Ehime in June, so that might be something to take into consideration as well.
I want to do the Shimanami Tour. How do I get to Imabari Station?
There are two stations in Onomichi. One is served by the Shinkansen, and the other operates local trains to and from Hiroshima in the west and Okayama in the east. We meet guests at the JR Onomichi station. For information about getting to this station, please look here
Can you arrange our travel outside of Ehime?
No, our license only allows us to operate tours in the north of Ehime (our favourite spot!). However, if you’d like to travel onto different parts of Shikoku after/before seeing us, we have friends who run amazing places all throughout the island, ask away.
Can you provide a guide for the Shimanami Tour?
One of our beliefs is that travel is most enjoyable when you are in charge rather than being led from place to place. It means that you participate in the journey, not just spectate. Don’t worry, we provide plenty of information and support so that you will be able to find your way and have a fantastic time. If you do feel that you need a guide, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.
What do I do with my luggage?
For our multiday tours, we collect your luggage at the start and deliver it to your hotel. It will be waiting for you in your room when you arrive. Simply drop it off at reception when you check out and we’ll take care of it. On the final day, we return your luggage at the designated meeting point.
Can I validate my Japan Rail Pass in Ehime?
Yes, you can do it at Matsuyama station. It is not possible to do it at Imabari station.
What happens if I have a problem with my bike?
We check the bikes very carefully to make sure that they are in excellent condition; however, we recognise that sometimes things go wrong. We provide you with a spare tyre and a repair kit so those who feel comfortable repairing a flat tyre, can. We’re also just a phone call away and will be with you as quickly as possible if you do have a problem.
I’m a vegetarian, do you have food options for me?
Please indicate this when booking the tour. We will inform our accommodation partners.
I can’t eat certain foods, what should I do?
Please indicate this when booking the tour. We will inform our accommodation partners of any food allergies. For lunch, we can provide a written description of your food allergy for you to show to a shop keeper.
Will I need to tip people?
No, tipping is not common practice in Japan. Just a smile and a handshake should make the hotel staff feel like they’ve done a good job.