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Self Guided Cycling Adventure - Gunma & Tochigi

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Seasons
🌸Spring Flowers
March - June

🌈Summer Splendor
June - September

🍁Fall Colors
September - December

☀️Winter Wonder
December- February

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Difficulty
All levels - choose your route difficulty each day! Routes range from:

20-150km/day
100-3,500m gain/day

See FAQ for Route Levels

Bike Price & Options
hybrid/road bikes are included at no additional fee
e-bike: $95 USD per day

learn more about our bikes here!

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Accommodations
Single Location Standard Ryokan

OR

3-Location Premium Ryokans

Traditional Natural Hot-Spring Onsen (Public Bath)

Futon Beds

Learn more about the ryokan experience

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Single Location
Mt Akagi
Ashikaga
Kiryu Historical Silk Town
Gunma Prefecture
Tochigi Prefecture

Multi Location
North Alps
Mt Akagi
Mt Haruna
Ashikaga
Kiryu
Sano
Gunma Prefecture
Tochigi Prefecture
Ikaho Onsen Town

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Price per Rider

Standard Ryokan

$388-428 USD per day
+ $52 USD per day Single Supplement
*includes breakfast

Premium Ryokan

$592-$892 USD per day
+148-224 USD per day Single Supplement
*includes kaiseki breakfasts and dinners

UNFORGETTABLE CYCLING THROUGH JAPAN’S COUNTRYSIDE

This self-guided tour is specifically designed to show off the best road cycling routes of Japan’s North Alps from one central location. Unpack your bags and set off on endless adventures covering the amazing hills, mountains, lakes, and shrines of this region. Climb to the top of ancient volcanoes, ride around hidden calderas, and roll through valleys on roads that are still undiscovered. Welcome to the mystical foothills of Japan’s North Alps!

AN ADVENTURE FOR EVERY RIDER

Traveling by bike means something different to every rider. For some, it’s about grinding up the steepest roads and pushing the limits. For others, it’s a mode of travel that allows you to stop and enjoy the scenery. It’s a vehicle to enjoy local cuisine, tea, coffee, or sake, at every possible moment.

We have spent years on the bike, exploring all the best places to ride in Central Japan to bring you these must-do routes for every level. Ride on roads rarely visited by cars, explore unforgettable landscapes, and experience incredible scenery around every switchback.

At Bike Tour Japan, we attempt to capture the entire spectrum of experiences, whether it’s a morning of zen river paths followed by hot-springs and off-bike exploration, or a full day of epic volcano climbs. Your BTJ support team is always just a call or message away should you need help navigating Japan’s traditions, from ryokans to kaiseki meals, hot spring onsens to sacred temples. We can’t wait to share our home and wild backyard with you!

Join us on an unforgettable self-guided cycling tour of Japan. We’ll take care of all the details so you can ride, relax, and repeat.

ITINERARY SAMPLES

Choose your adventure from more than 35 GPS route options! We offer rides for all levels so you can pick your journey each day.

The itineraries below are all samples of a single day’s route for each ride level.

After a relaxing morning, enjoy a soak in the hot spring before you head to the dining hall for breakfast. A beautiful set of small plates greet you as you sit down with your yukata robes. Today’s selection of miso soup, fish, pickles, rice, and salad makes for a traditional Japanese breakfast.

After a relaxing morning, set off on the bikes and head out north of the ryokan. Winding country roads lead you through traditional towns that allow you to step back in time to a slower pace of life. Our route eventually comes to a town park with an incredible garden and row of sakura cherry blossom trees, which are in full bloom during spring hanami season. If you’re here in the fall season, incredible red and orange hues cover the mountains around you. Hop off the bikes and wander around the park as you take in the peaceful tranquility of the surrounding area and enjoy amazing colors of the beautiful cherry blossoms.

Next, roll down the neighboring valley to stop at a local soba shop for a delicious local delicacy of buckwheat noodles and locally grown vegetable tempura! The roads wind back towards town and you come across a small local temple that is marked on the map. Hop off the bikes again and head up to the main shrine. Ring the bell, make an offering, and send a wish to the gods. Finally, head back into town back to the ryokan for a shower and the perfect post-ride treat: a soak in the hot springs!

If your legs feel up for it, take a stroll through the rice fields behind your ryokan. Reconvene for dinner and head out for the local sushi joint, a short walk on the canal path. Interact with friendly locals and raise a glass to a fantastic day exploring the Japanese countryside.

Navagate With Ease

Our goal is to provide you with the tools to not only ride amazing roads, but also to dive deep into the local area and culture. Our self-guided packages include multiple routes and itineraries for each day, as well as an interactive map of the region with English translations and descriptions of each shrine, restaurant, cafe, snack stop, and more. Head out on one of our pre-built routes and hit all the sights and bites on the way. Or open your custom map of the area and spend the day exploring what excites you most.

RESOURCES PROVIDED

  • Garmin with preloaded routes
  • Custom map of the area with English translations and our top recommendations for sights, bites, and things to do
  • Pre-trip call to help go over all resources and make sure you are ready to have an amazing time in Ashikaga
Custom Map of Local Eat, Sights, and More!
Garmin Computers for easy GPS Navigation while Cycling

About our Ryokans

STANDARD RYOKAN

(Single Base Location)

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Standard Ryokan Room

Our standard ryokan partners are amazing hosts who will welcome you to simple Japanese style rooms, a quaint dining room with traditional Japanese breakfast, and amazing hot spring baths!

These are no-fuss accommodations with all of the amenities you need, a beautiful setting on the edge of town, and a walk away from a local grocery, where you can stock up on ride snacks. Based on the edge of town, it’s an easy ride to get into nature. It’s the perfect base for your countryside cycling adventure.

Bathing – Japanese ryokans are 1/2 ensuite, meaning they will have a toilet and wash basin with mirror in each room, but all bathing is done in the public ofuro bath area. This area is open to all guests staying at the ryokan. The tradition of public bathing is an essential part of Japanese culture. Please see our guide on bathing etiquette if you are unfamiliar with this, or send us a message and we would be happy to give you more info on onsen etiquette.

If you prefer a private bath area, there are options with our premium ryokan option.

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Outdoor Bath (Rotemburo) – Perfect for an after ride soak!

PREMIUM RYOKAN

(Multiple Locations)

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Some Premium Ryokan Rooms come with Private Bath

Our premium ryokan partners are top of their class in the area. Located on serene roads in the countryside, this is the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the hectic cities to relax in the beauty of the Japanese countryside. We have ryokan partners located in the depths of dense forests, on the side of volcanoes with views of massive mountains, and beside unique Japanese gardens. They all include freshly-prepared kaiseki breakfasts and dinners, as well as beautifully-crafted hot spring baths.

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Premium Ryokan Kaiseki Dinner

Bathing – Japanese ryokans are 1/2 ensuite, meaning they will have a toilet and wash basin with mirror in each room, but all bathing is done in the ofuro bath area. This area is open to all guests staying at the ryokan. the tradition of public bathing is an essential part of Japanese culture. Please see our guide on bathing etiquette if you are unfamiliar with this, or send us a message and we would be happy to give you more info on onsen etiquette. If you would like your own private bath, please ask us about room upgrades.

Cultral Activities and Sights

  • Ashikaga Flower Park – No. 1 Rated Flower Park and Winter Illuminations in Japan! Home to the largest wisteria trees, and wisteria infused ice cream, this is a must stop for flower lovers.
  • Ashikaga Gakko – The first school ever built in Japan. Next to the beautiful central park and temple in Ashikaga, visit the origins of education and see the traditional buildings of this ancient school yard.
  • Kiryu Silk Museum – Come explore the home of some of Japan’s finest silk. Learn about the history of the silk industry and weave your own silk fabric with the interactive loom exhibits!
  • Watarase River – a winding gentile river with amazing roads and river paths, car free and full of cherry and plum blossoms in the spring, giving way to incredible fall colors on the mountains in the fall.
  • CoCo Farm Winery – Local winery situated on the foothills of the North Alps featuring local sweet wines.
  • Orihime Shrine – The central shrine in town of star crossed lovers. The story goes that once a year in July the milky-way aligns across the great Tone Valley. If the sky is clear then Princess Orihime and her lover Hikoboshi on the other side travel across the starry night to be reunited for the evening. But if the skies are cloudy they must wait another year!
  • Shimaoka Sake Brewery – Local small batch family run for generations sake brewery offering tours and tastings.
  • Senbonzakura (1,000 Cherry Blossoms Park) – A scene straight out of an anime, this park in April becomes a springtime wonderland of thousands of cherry blossoms on the side of a massive volcano with views of the massive Tone Valley below.
  • Gunma Insect World – Home to the largest collection of insects in Japan. With both pinned insects and living, a treat for any insect lovers, as well as kids/teens!
  • Nagusai Shrine – Secluded shrine hidden deep in a quiet zen pine forest built atop massive boulders.
  • Miyozawa Shrine – Towering ancient pines engulf this magical shinto shrine that is home to the mighty kami (god) of the mighty Mt Akagi volcano upon which it is built.
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A Different Dining Experience

STANDARD RYOKANS

Breakfasts – In our standard ryokan option you will have a breakfast provided each morning at the ryokan. You will have a choice of Japanese or western breakfasts. You can mix and match, just be sure to let the staff know your preferences the night before.

Lunches & Dinners – We leave the lunches and dinners up to you, but don’t worry! We will provide an interactive BTJ Map that you can download and access on your phone. You’ll find our top recommendations, English translations, and descriptions of what they are known for.

There are 10+ restaurants within 1km of the hotel, and over 50 within a short bike ride or taxi. Also, the hotel has full service restaurant inside with a wide selection of delicious Japanese fare.

Snacks – Our goal is to have you covered every step of the way. We are there when you want us, and out of the way when you don’t. On this self-guided tour we have labeled all of the best stops for snacks on our interactive BTJ Map.

On The Bike – While riding, our interactive map has all of our top choices for restaurants in the countryside. Also, we have made sure to mark all of the convenience stores, perfect for quick snack stop or a mid-ride ice cream!

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PREMIUM RYOKANS

Breakfasts – In our premium ryokan option you will have a breakfast provided each morning at the ryokan. An amazing selection of the freshest seasonal ingredients artfully prepared by the onsite chef. A wonderful way to start of the day with a selection of small bites you will first eat with your eyes.

Lunches – We leave the lunches up to you, but don’t worry! We will provide an interactive BTJ Google Map that you can download and access on your phone. You’ll find our top recommendations, English translations, and descriptions of what they are known for.

Dinners – Arguably the quintessential Japanese travel experience. Don your traditional yukata robes and head down to the dining area for an unforgettable meal of the finest Japanese cooking. Local regionally sourced ingredients from the very farms and lakes you are riding by. Spring dishes typically include fresh fish, bamboo shoots, and cherry blossom-inspired foods. Summer dishes are rich in fresh veggies and fruits. In fall, you’ll find hearty mushrooms, fish, soups, and persimmons. And in winter, warm stews and fresh citrus.

Snacks – Our goal is to have you covered every step of the way. We are there when you want us, and out of the way when you don’t. On this self-guided tour we have labeled all of the best stops for snacks on our interactive BTJ Map.

On The Bike – While riding, our interactive map has all of our top choices for restaurants in the countryside. Also, we have made sure to mark all of the convenience stores, perfect for quick snack stop or a mid-ride ice cream!

REQUIREMENTS FOR SELF-GUIDED RIDERS

Riding without guides, mechanics, or a SAG vehicle means that riders must be comfortable without constant support while on the road. While your BTJ crew will assist in case of emergency, all self-guided riders must be comfortable with the following:

  • Navigation using Garmin/GPS device. If you have your own GPS, we will share GPX/TCX files to load onto your device. If you do not have one, we will provide a Garmin Edge for you to use. Familiarity with using digital navigation systems (GPS device and Google Maps) is necessary, as we do not provide physical maps.
  • Using Google Translate and body language to interact with locals if you do not speak Japanese. English-speakers are very rare in the Japanese countryside, so some comfort and patience with language barriers is necessary.
  • Basic bike mechanic skills such as fixing a flat tire, minor bike adjustments, etc.

If you are not comfortable with the above, let your expert BTJ Guides take care of the details for you! Explore our Guided Tours.

T. Koegel 🇺🇸

Bike Tour Japan was OUTSTANDING. The riding was incredible with beautiful Fall colors, quiet back roads and challenging climbs. The countryside is gorgeous and Rob knows how to end every day at the perfect ryokan with onsen baths and delicious food! Can’t wait to do another tour in 2018!

 

Tour of the North Alps 2017

D. Gray 🇮🇪

Our group of 4 enjoyed an incredible 3 days of self guided cycling in Japan in October. The information provided by BTJ before and during our trip was top class - very clear and professional. The selection of routes provided by BTJ was excellent and varied. Beautiful and quiet but challenging country roads. Excellent accommodation and the onsen was special! Michelle was extremely knowledgable, helpful and friendly. I would definitely recommend BTJ if you're thinking of cycling in Japan.
 

M. Chin 🇸🇬

The biking-ryokan-onsen combination is fantastic, loved it! Both you guys were great company, and we enjoyed the cultural exchange dinner conversations. Learnt a lot more about Japan in this short trip than from other Japanese holidays. The planning and organisation were professional, your eloquence with the language was impressive, and our bikes were a joy to ride. Hope to come again on another ride with BTJ in future!
 

A. Hipsley 🇦🇺

Rob and Michelle are a terrific team, offering a first class experience, thoroughly researched and planned to suit the riders and the conditions. From the initial enquiry, through the planning and registration to the trip itself, everything was easy and hassle free. I would thoroughly recommend BTJ as an amazing way see incredible sights and enjoy incredible cycling with great leaders and people.
 

Bespoke Tour 2020

J. Porter 🇺🇸

BikeTourJapan brought my dream vacation into reality. Amazing rides matched with unforgettable scenery, endless photo opportunities. I got to experience beautiful countryside, amazing hot spring towns, friendly folks, great food, all one could ask for, and to be on a bike, the icing on the cake…..cant wait for my next trip, on a bike…..in Japan, thanks Robert!!!

 

Japanese Alps Tour 2016 & Bespoke Tour 2018

A. Morgan 🇬🇧

After watching one of the ride vlogs on YouTube, I decided to drive up from Tokyo with some friends for a day trip. It certainly did not disappoint!

The location meant that we were quickly out of the down, able to ride along a beautiful river and then straight into the mountain roads. There were long stretches which we had to ourselves. And the beautiful thing about Japan is that the road surfaces are all immaculately well maintained, even for those roads that barely see any road traffic. So for those who enjoy zipping downhill at high speed (like me), it was really a treat.

Robert (our guide and company co-founder) knows the area very well. He was able to choose a route that matched our fitness levels and dynamically adjust it when we came across some random roadworks. Highly recommended.

 

Bespoke Tour 2020

S. Ball 🇬🇧

After the organisation of our wedding, we were happy to hand over the reins to BTJ to kick-off our honeymoon. Prior to the trip, Rob and the BTJ team were alert and responsive to our needs. We were met off the train and soon off on our adventure with BTJ’s high-spec bikes and Garmin. We thoroughly enjoyed our rides up and down and through the alps. The ryokans were varied and wonderful, with delicious food and the luxurious onsens were a blessing after a day in the saddle. We would like to thank Rob and the BTJ team for their dedication to providing an outstanding service. We will use them again and highly recommend others to do so too!
 

Bespoke Tour 2019

A. Fossett 🇺🇸

I'm not a cyclist, but I've been living in Japan for a few years and love any opportunity to explore the countryside and spend time away from the cities. I joined a day tour with some friends, and I'm glad I did.

Firstly, everything was taken care of - the team clearly knows everything that goes into well-planned outing, and every detail, from the equipment to communication and even meals was thoughtfully planned and managed. Secondly, our route took us along some beautiful scenes with lots of fresh air along well-maintained roads. Even with pretty good Japanese, there's no way I could have planned as smooth and enjoyable an itinerary, let alone managed the logistics outfitting our group with reliable gear. Thanks to Bike Tours Japan for an experience to remember - I'll be recommending them to friends who visit Japan in the future.

 

Bespoke Tour 2020

E. Rivers 🇺🇸

Bike Tour Japan organized a Self-Guided adventure for me over 5 days and 4 nights. Toyokan was an great ryokan in Ashikaga. The route planning and self-titled, "Eugene's Adventure Map," was amazing! I felt completely secure cycling along with Bike Tour Japan one message away on What's App. They turned my first time in Japan to an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. From the food, riding, and support, Bike Tour Japan is a great company to assist with your cycling needs while in Japan. I vow to return for one of the scheduled Tours!

 

Bespoke Tour 2019

J. Campbell 🇺🇸

Bike Tour Japan made possible an amazing Japan Adventure. Cycling the cities and country side while staying in a local Japanese inn (Ryokan) was the perfect way to see the area and experience its people/culture.
 

Bespoke Tour 2019

S. Gribble 🇺🇸

I've been on many great cycling vacations, but my experience with Bike Tour Japan was easily the best of all of them. Rob and Michael were incredible hosts: hugely knowledgeable about the area, top-notch hospitality, and best of all, really fun to be around. The bike routes were extraordinary; each and every day on the Ashikaga training camp felt as picturesque as a National Geographic documentary, and I rode a wonderful mixture of challenging mountains, valleys, and descents.
 

Ashikaga Training Camp: Tokyo Escape 2019

R. Dutton 🇺🇸

My husband and I have just returned from a most wonderful bike trip with Bike Tour Japan guides, Rob, Michelle and Michael. We were fortunate to be there when the maples and their red, golds and oranges were on fire with color. Just beautiful!! We visited hidden magical shrines tucked away in the forest. After interesting and sometimes challenging rides we soaked in fabulous hot spring-fed baths and tucked ourselves into cozy futon beds on tatami mats in the lovely ryokans. Meals were a real adventure too as we sampled every imaginable and artistically displayed culinary delight the Japanese are famous for. We just so appreciate how professional and fun our guides were. We had a blast, lots of laughs and great camaraderie. We highly recommend this trip
 

K. Shumaker 🇺🇸

The tour and a vacation of a lifetime. Robert and company were the perfect hosts and organizers taking us to places and situations in the Japanese culture we would never been able to access ourselves. Riding the Japanese Alps at peak fall colors dazzled my retinas and burned into my brain an experience I will never forget.
 
 

P. Burgess 🇦🇺

A group of us road the northern Japanese alps with Rob in September. Rob was a great host, rode with our fastest and slowest riders, provided food and drink and navigation. Rob is a great guy who loves riding and hosting tours in Japan. He is flexible with his planning and accommodates all types of riders. He also selects some amazing Ryokan and Onsen locations. I would recommend his tours to anyone looking to ride Japan
 

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  • Fully-serviced road bike or hybrid bike, with helmet and accessories. Please inquire in advance if you would like an e-bike (Electric Bike Rental: $550 USD)
  • Two BTJ Expert Guides, who will be your cultural ambassadors and road navigators during your cycling experience.
  • All accommodations: traditional Japanese Ryokan Hotels.
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and all snacks/hydration throughout the tour.
  • Luggage delivery.
  • Support and gear vehicle.