See the best of Japan’s countrysides by bike
This tour is specifically designed to show off the best roads of the North Alps from one central location. Unpack your bags and set off on a week of adventures covering the amazing hills, mountains, lakes, and shrines of this region… all while building excellent base miles and conquering spectacular climbs! Climb to the top of volcanoes, ride around alpine lakes, and pace through country valleys on beautiful undiscovered roads of the North Alps.
Take your training to the next level
For cyclists or triathletes training for race season, this is a week that you won’t want to miss! We’ll ride on roads rarely traveled by cars that were almost made for cyclists, with landscapes of unforgettable scenery around every switchback. Take in the traditional Japanese Ryokan experience with wonderful accommodations, service, food, and of course, hot springs. We welcome you to come tour and train with us this fall with Bike Tour Japan.
The Trip At a Glance
Start Location: Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
End Location: Ota, Gunma Prefecture, Japan
Days Riding: 8
Maximum Group Size: 12
Total Distance: 662km
Total Climbing: 13,100m
Longest Day: Day 2 – Endless Zen Loop – 150km
Most Gain Day: Day 2 – Endless Zen Loop – 3,100m
Average Dist & Elev: 83km and 1,600m
Tour Dates 2019
- November 3rd-10th [Book Your Spot Today]
- REGION: Gunma and Tochigi Prefecture
- DESTINATIONS: The North Alps, Mt Akagi, Mt Haruna, The Hills of Ashikaga
- DURATION: 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
- DIFFICULTY: 4/5 (options for more distance each day)
- PRICE: $4,300 USD
Tour by Day
Want a more zoomed in view of a day on tour with us? Check out our in-depth view of Day 6 from our Tour of the North Alps.
Day 1: Satoyama and Ashikaga’s Temples
— 32km & 400m gain —
A big welcome as we all meet at Ashikaga station! Get our wheels on the road quickly with a shakedown ride through the foothills of the North Alps in beautiful Japanese countryside. Take in the surrounding area with views of all of the climbs in store for the week to come. A tasty lunch stop awaits at Ashikaga’s temple. Toss some lucky coins in the water, and make a wish for a safe and unforgettable week ahead. Then, we’ll ride back to the Ryokan to settle in for the night; a delicious dinner and a soak in the hot springs will get us ready for the big day tomorrow!
Day 2: Endless Zen Loop
— 150km & 3,100m gain —
Our biggest elevation gain and distance on this trip (don’t worry, there are extra river path miles for those looking to round up to 100mi). We begin six moderate mountain passes, but be sure to save some energy for our final ascent to over 1,200m above sea at the Kasuo Pass. Once we are over the pass, enjoy a well-deserved descent to the Watarase River valley and new views of all of the mountains to come. When we reach the valley, a ripping final 50km awaits at an average of -2% for some great pace-lining and short rollers to get to our home base. A delicious dinner awaits and a soak in the healing waters of the onsen hot springs will make for the perfect night’s sleep.
Day 3: Hidden Temples and the Kanahara Pass
— 82km & 1,300m gain —
Today’s ride consists of three moderate passes, each gaining about 300m. The first will take us past the tranquil hidden Lake Ume. The second to the Kanahara Pass with its beautiful exposed views on the descent. The last pass will take us up to the Saishoji Temple buried deep in the side of the mountain. A day full of exploration and wonder as we step back in time to explore the wonders of the Japanese countryside.
Day 4: The Red Fortress Mountain, Mt Akagi
— 110km & 2,200m gain —
You will see it from the day you arrive: the red fortress Mt Akagi dominates the skies of the Tone valley. Today, we will climb the hidden back road on the east side up its 100 switchbacks to the top of the volcanoe’s caldera. Atop, we’ll be rewarded with views of the caldera lake, floating shrine, and delicious local lunch. We will take a victory lap around the lake before climbing out of the caldera. Breeze through an unforgettable descent down the massive mountainside and take in the beautiful nature around you. Small rollers and a general downhill road takes us home, topping off the first half of our trip.
Day 5: Recovery Day
— 53km & 900m gain —
A new take on a few familiar roads while also exploring some hidden spots, this loop gives us a chance to take it easy and still see some amazing sights that few tourists experience. Sleep in and spin easy with these gently sloping valley roads and river paths. Give your legs some rest to prepare for the last three days of epic rides.
Day 6: Mt Akayuki and the Sakuhara Pass
— 90km & 2,300m gain —
Today, we’ll ride over another large pass at over 1,200m high, but first, we’ll roll over two moderate passes on quiet mountain roads that this area is so famous for. Breath deep and dive into the massive pine forests as you climb to the summit. Another great descent to the Watarase River leaves us with a beautiful and quick 50km steady ride home to Ashikaga.
Day 7: Mt Haruna and Ikaho Onsen Town
— 103km & 2,100m gain —
On our final big ride day, we head out to traverse the side of Mt Akagi. With views across the massive Tone Valley, Mt Haruna stands before us with its towering jagged peaks. Ride along the side of the mountain and take a quick turn to begin the famous Mt Haruna Hill Climb Course, a spirited race that is famous in the local cycling community. This is a climber’s dream: the hill begin with steady low grades that get slightly steeper every kilometer or two. It’s steady but unrelenting, and the hill’s final pitches top out at 14%. Catch your breath quickly at the top of the climb before continuing towards the caldera. We recommend taking a lap around the lake to enjoy the 360 degree views. We’ll leave the caldera from the east side before descending to the onsen town of Ikaho. Enjoy a dip in the bath, a delicious dinner, and a walk around town as the sun begins to set.
Day 8: Country Roads, Take Me Home
— 42km & 800m —
Our last day together, we will hit the best roads of the area one last time, including a final climb to the top of Mt Kanayama and its observation deck to see all of the mountains you have explored on this trip. We’ll enjoy a final lunch at the temple together before heading off to the station. Til the next cycling adventure!
*Direct bus from Ota Station to Narita & Haneda Airport Available – Must be booked in advance
*Direct Train to Asakusa Station in Tokyo Available every 30min
- 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 and 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 (Ashikaga Station)
- 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.
- 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)