The Japanese Alps 2019

The Tour of the Japanese Alps is our most challenging and ambitious trip: a week-long odyssey across the spectacular mountains of Honshu. These roads will push you to your limits and take you to the most breathtaking views that this country can offer. Join us as we conquer climbs, including Japan’s highest paved road, and delve into the unique cultures of traditional Japan. Along our journey, we will find serenity and peaceful rest in authentic ryokans, all equipped with natural hot-spring baths.

Be prepared to work hard and spend long days in the saddle, while creating lasting memories with the nature, food, traditions, and people of the Japanese countryside.

Overview

REGION: North Alps, West Alps, Central Range

TOUR DATES: September 22nd to 29th[Request a Spot] – dates are guaranteed to run.

DESTINATIONS: The North Alps, Lake Chuzenji, Mt Akagi, Mt Haruna, Ashikaga Foothills, Taguchi Pass, Utsukushigahara Highlands, Lake Suwa, Kirigamine Highlands, Ohdarumi Pass, and Mt Norikura (Highest Road in Japan)

DURATION: 8 DAYS | 7 NIGHTS

DIFFICULTY: 5/5

PRICE FROM: $5,300.00 USD

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $1,000.00 USD

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Booking for a private group ? Want to customize your trip, route, ryokans? [Contact Us]

Tour of the Alps 2018 - Route

Tour of the Alps 2018 Profile-EDITED2

Accomplished: 850 kilometers (530 miles), 18,000m gain (59,000ft gain)

Bike Tour Japan - Mountain Pass Climb

TOUR BY DAY

Day One: Shake Down in Matsumoto

Meet our guides in front of the Matsumoto train station. We begin with introductions and a light lunch at a local restaurant. Then, we will set off on a shake-out ride through a beautiful set of flat local farm roads. Gaze up at the surrounding mountains we will climb in the coming days. Return to the hotel to feast on a beautiful Japanese meal. Fill up your tank for the challenging rides to come. We recommend relaxing in the natural hot springs before calling it a night.

Meals: Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: The Foothills of the North Alps
The Day: 55km (34mi), 400m (1,300ft) gain and light walking in town
Accommodations: Biwa Hot Springs

Day Two: Mt Norikura – The Highest Road in Japan

Kick it off with a big one this year by taking on the highest road in the country. Take off at sunrise and begin to climb for 60km (40mi) with the largest elevation gain to the top of the West Alps! Take in the sights and breath deeply as we take to the skies for unparalleled views and colors. Volcanic rock, fall leaves, floating clouds–it truly is a canvas to be remembered forever. Lunch awaits at the summit with delicious warm food. Then, we’ll ride 60km of beautiful downhill road, making for one of the most epic descents of all time. Your sore legs are welcomed back with beautiful outdoor hot springs and a delicious meal. We recommend a cool-down stroll to the famous Matsumoto Castle.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: Mt Norikura – The Highest Road in Japan
The Day: 128km (80mi), 3,200m (10,500ft) gain in one climb!
Accommodations: Biwa Hot Springs

Day Three: The Central Highlands – Kirigamine & Utsukushigahara Highlands

Today, we head south to the Kirigamine (tr: Misty Highlands) on tranquil roads along the central mountains of Matsumoto. An initial climb takes us high up through thickets of bamboo forests, which eventually become the high grasslands of the Kirigamine. Then, we head down to the famous ski town and mountaintop lake of Tateshina. Finally, we will descend into the Saku valley before climbing the east side of the Utsukushigahara (tr: Beautiful Highlands). You will find that each corner of this wild and secluded road offers a new incredible view of Mt Norikura and the Matsumoto Valley, where we are staying for the night. To cap off the day, an onsen and a beautiful meal await atop the Utsukushigahara.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: The Kirigamine & Utsukushigahara Highlands
The Day: 105km (65mi), 3,100m (10,150ft) gain
Accommodations: Biwa Hot Springs

Day Four: Ride Across Japan

We will set off on an epic journey across Japan today! Starting from the Utsukushigahara, wave goodbye to the western mountains, and head east towards the Saku valley. A long ride through rural Japan takes us to our second climb of the day: the hidden gem of Taguchi Pass. A long steady climb at around 3-5% grades, this pass meanders through the best of Japan’s countryside. The road will take us through a tunnel before bringing us to our home for the evening in the city of Takasaki. A night out is in order after three long days of intense cycling. Kick back, feast up, and sleep in, because tomorrow is recovery day.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: Utsukushigahara, Saku Valley, Taguchi Pass, Takasaki
The Day: 152km (95mi), 2,800m (9,200ft) gain
Accommodations: Takasaki

Day Five: Recovery Spin on the Tone River

Wake up slow–it’s our rest day! Take a morning dip in the hot spring before we head out on an amazing recovery spin to our final home in the North Alps in Ashikaga. Today, we will take the Tone River path, free of cars and full of views of the North Alps ahead. Relax your legs, stop for photos, and enjoy the tailwinds that the Tone Valley creates as we head to a fantastic local sushi lunch on the river. After lunch, we will head to our “climb” of the day atop Mt Kanayama (80m gain). Here, we will explore ancient ruins and take in fantastic views of the North Alps. Just 10km separate us from our hotel, hotspring bath, and delicious dinner. Rest up and get ready for the final three days!

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: The Tone River, Mt Kanayama, Ashikaga
The Day: 70km (44mi), 400m (1,300ft) gain
Accommodations: Toyokan Ryokan

Day Six: Lake Chuzenji and the Watarase Valley

Our longest day of the trip (170km/108mi) is a true century adventure. And like all good adventure rides, this one will challenge and reward us. A long steady road take us to a magical land deep in the heart of the North Alps. We’ll arrive at the base of the famous Irohazaka Road (tr: Alphabet Road). With a switchback for each letter in the Japanese Alphabet, we will climb high up to the largest alpine lake in Japan, Lake Chuzenji. The challenge does not stop there, as we ascend another 300m to the top of Mt Hangetsu. From the Hangetsu observatory, we can see the true vastness and wilderness of the Japanese North Alps. Your hard work is rewarded, and the route returns the way we came, leading to an exciting afternoon flying down mountains and pacing long steady descents on pristine roads back. When you soak your legs in the healing waters of the local onsen hot-springs at the end of the ride, feel the mountain give you the strength to take on your next challenge.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: Mt Nantai, Lake Chuzenji, Mt Hangetsu, Watarase Valley
The Day: 170km (106mi), 3,000m (9,800ft) gain
Accommodations:  Toyokan Ryokan

Day Seven: The Volcanoes of the Tone

We take on the challenge of the two most prominent Volcanoes of the Tone Valley, Mt Akagi (tr: The Red Fortress) and Mt Haruna (tr: Harvest Mountain). We will experience two unforgettable climbs on Gunma’s finest roads as we crest the mountains to find worlds of wonder within the calderas. Celebrate our accomplishments as we arrive atop Mt Haruna and dive down the north side to Ikaho Onsen Town for a celebratory evening.

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Destinations: Mt Akagi & Haruna
The Day: 112km (70mi), 2,800m (9,200ft) gain
Accommodations: Toyokan Ryokan

Day Eight: Satoyama Countrysides

Our last day starts off with a number of simple pleasures as we take to the foothills of the North Alps. It’s a long and steady ride through valleys to lost villages and shrines. We will take our time to soak in the nature and wonder of the area and to reminisce on our accomplishments of the week. End with a final lunch in the wonderful town of Ashikaga. A final farewell to each other at the station until the next time!

Meals: Breakfast / Lunch
Destinations: The Foothills of the North Alps
The Day: 52km (32mi), 800m (2,600ft) gain

[Request a Spot]

Bike Tour Japan - Volcanoes and Mountains

Want more information on this tour? Send us a message to get a free phone consultation with full details and customization to make the dream trip!

Included:
  • Fully-serviced, quality road bike, plus helmet and accessories
  • All accommodations: traditional Japanese Ryokan Spa Hotels
  • Full meals: breakfasts, bento lunches, and dinners
  • Snacks and beverages between meals. We’ll have snacks/beverages both familiar and new!
  • Nutritional support before, during, and after each ride
  • All gratuities at hotels, onsens, and restaurants
  • Access to relaxing natural hot spring baths (onsens) each day. (Please note: private onsens are booked separately; if interested, inquire in advance)
  • Expert guides, with extensive cycling and local knowledge, who will go above and beyond to cater to your every need
  • SAG Wagon to support a variety of route options
  • Entry fees to museums, shrines, historic sites, parks, and other attractions
  • Baggage transfers and porterage from trip pick up to drop-off
  • Ability to purchase gifts, local snacks, local sake, etc along the way and put them in the van at any time
  • Pick up and drop off before and after your tour (Matsumoto Station and Ashikaga Station respectively)
  • Gratuities for BikeTourJapan guides (learn why we don’t ask for tips!)

BikeTourJapan strives for a truly immersive and unique experience. For this reason, each itinerary may be subject to slight modifications. Contact us for the most up-to-date tour inclusions.

Not Included:
  • Airfare
  • Concierge from Tokyo Station, Haneda Airport, or Narita Airport (please inquire)
  • Pre- and post-travel planning advising with optional upgrade to Full Planning  (please inquire)

[Request a Spot]