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SELF-GUIDED CYCLING ADVENTURE
GUNMA AND TOCHIGI

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Seasons
???? Spring Flowers
April – May

???? Summer Splendor
June – September

???? Fall Colors
October – December

☀️ Winter Sun
January – March

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Difficulty
⛰-⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰
Levels 1-5
20-150km/day
300-3,500m gain/day

See FAQ for Route Levels

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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
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

hybrid or road bike: no additional cost
e-bike option: $95 USD per day

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.

NAVIGATE 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

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.

CULTURAL 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.

ANNE

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]

JAMES

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 !!!! [The Japanese Alps 2016] & [Bespoke Tour 2018]

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