Once upon a time, Rob fell head over heels in love with bicycles. He found it to be the perfect way to explore the beauty of natural landscapes, all while cruising at the perfect pace with friends. After finishing his string strumming studies at the Eastman School of Music, Rob took off to Japan. For two years, he worked, cycled, and created a community of coffee-lovers and bike enthusiasts.
For a decade since, Rob has been building routes on roads less-traveled with a goal of bringing international visitors to the overlooked parts of the Japanese countryside. In the off-season, he can be found zenning out on a sunrise-to-sunset bike ride, fueled by yakiimo (Japanese sweet potato) or moving dirt to make new MTB trails in Gunma Prefecture. From secret spots in Kiryu to unexpected cultural experiences in corners farther from home, Rob loves nothing more than to share delightful experiences with RINDO guests!
In a galaxy far away, there was a outdoor-lover named Michelle who began cycling after recovering from a sports injury. She grew to love her time on the bicycle in all its forms: as a way to get to run errands, as a physical challenge, and as a social activity that introduced her to some of the most kind and quirky people she'd ever met. After graduating from Yale, she went on a cross-USA bike tour where she met Rob. Since that fateful summer a decade ago, she's been coming to Japan and continuing to discover the endless wonders of the countryside, especially in the hidden corners that often go overlooked.
Michelle's heart is filled with passion for Japan's quaint mountain-side towns and all the outdoor activities it inspires, from cycling and hiking to skiing and swimming. She is often seen around Gunma, Tochigi, and Nagano, either cycling on a tiny windy road or helping guests as support staff on self-guided tours.
With snacks in her pockets and her bike at the ready, Michelle is always ready to go out for an adventure spin.
This story begins with a world traveler named Sijung, who explored Asia, Europe, and North America before settling down in Nagano, Japan. As a child in Taiwan, Sijung was captivated by Japanese animation and console games, which sparked his interest in spending more time in Japan.
After many years of living in cities around the world, Sijung and his wife decided to settle down in Nagano to raise their daughter away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In winters, he introduces international travelers to the Japanese snow monkeys. In summers, he helps local farmers with their vineyards and orchards. And in the remainder of his free time, he enjoys cycling across the stunning mountain ranges of the Japanese Alps. He is passionate about sharing his experiences in traditional Japanese farming as well as chatting about Japanese history as we ride through the countryside. Sijung can't wait to take a step back in time together and share the roads-less-traveled with you!
From the mists of the Pacific Northwest emerged Dustin. He grew up wandering under the shadows of the Cascade and Rocky Mountains. Sprouting from a family of green-thumbed gardeners, he always had an appreciation for the natural beauty of the world.
Dustin's legs have taken him all over the globe: from Nepal to China, New Zealand, Malaysia Borneo, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, all across the USA, and every prefecture of Japan. Across all his travels, Japan is still the place that Dustin considers home. From hiking to snowboarding, surfing to fishing, he's experienced many corners of the countryside and continues to be inspired by the stunning beauty of Japan's oceans, mountains, lakes, forests, and rivers.
After a long day on the bike, there's nothing Dustin loves more than soaking in an onsen near a babbling mountain stream and chowing down on his fave Japanese dish, hotate sushi. He's all about sharing his love of Japan's culture and nature with guests from all over the world. Come join Dustin on a ride through this enchanting land and let him show you his favorite spots!
Once upon a time, there was a Bostonian named June who headed from her hometown to New York to learn Japanese and creative writing. Sparked by a love for anime and manga, she immediately fell under the captivating spell of Japan's linguistic nuances and decided to set off across the world to submerge herself in the culture.
After a year of living in Kagoshima, Kyushu our intrepid explorer moved to Gunma Prefecture and has made it her home for the past four years. Through her work in translation and tourism marketing, she came to know Gunma like the back of her hand. As a child, June spent endless hours outdoors wandering through the woods with friends, and this love of nature and all things green still burns bright. When she had to give up her car, she discovered the joy of cycling and fell in love with long rides through nature and countryside villages.
When she's not exploring Gunma by bicycle, June can be found hiking up a mountain with friends, or pounding on a taiko drum. If you're lucky, you might even catch her performing with her team at festivals around Takasaki. June's excited for you to fall in love with all that Japan has to offer, just as she has!
The hero of this tale is a snow-loving Paolo, who took off from his homeland of Italy to travel around the world, picking up languages and all sorts of interesting experiences. Before making his way to Japan, Paolo got his Masters in International Development and worked as a manager for a Swiss child relief agency in Africa and the Middle East.
In addition to leading adventurous travelers on epic bike rides, he's also a pro at guiding folks up the legendary Mt. Fuji and taking powder hounds on backcountry snowboarding expeditions in Hokkaido. With his boundless energy, love for exploration, and infectious sense of humor, Paolo is the ultimate adventure buddy.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
At BTJ, WE ARE obsessed with experience.
Our team takes care of all the subtle details so that our guests can savor each moment. Bike Tour Japan’s expert guides are unbelievable hosts and knowledgeable ambassadors who will guide you on roads that have yet to be discovered by the outside world.
OUR CORE VALUES
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES THROUGH CULTURAL CONNECTION
We believe that traveling by bicycle is the best way to experience a place. Cycling brings you closer to the land and its people than just about any other mode of travel. But as much as we love cycling, it’s not always about the bike. Let us show you our favorite places to experience, learn, eat, explore, and relax, hidden in Japan’s mysterious countryside. We can’t wait to have you hop on the saddle with us to discover the joys of cycling in Japan.
It is our passion to encourage and empower YOU, our guests, to hop on the saddle to experience Japan on your own terms. We believe it’s not only an excellent way to connect with the culture, but it’s also good for our environment. At BTJ, we are consistently pushing to decrease the environmental impact that travel has on our world. This means refusing single-use plastics when possible, reducing food waste, promoting the use of reusable items such as water bottles, and recycling everything that’s left. We want memories of your holiday to last for years to come, but in terms of physical waste, we strive to LEAVE NO TRACE.
We like to keep things local on our trips. While many travel companies take guests to hotel chains that exist all around the world, 96% of our ryokan and restaurant partners are small, locally-owned businesses. We believe that we can build luxury experiences that are also authentic and true to the places we visit. Supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses strengthens the small towns we ride through, improves quality of life, and gets re-invested back into the communities we know and love.
We like to question industry standards and test new initiatives to make incredible experiences for both our guests and guides. Learn about our Fair Wage Promise and how Bike Tour Japan takes a different approach to tipping. [Learn More]