Tokyo Escape: A Zen Week Exploring Japanese Forest Roads

2020 Nov 3-10 🍁
2021 May 9-16
2021 Nov 6-13 🍁

🍁 Fall Colors
⭐ Guaranteed Trip

Level 4 out of 5
Daily Distance: 60-150km
Daily Elevation: 1,000-3,000m gain

See FAQ for Route Levels
Explore Bike Options

Standard Traditional Ryokan Hotel + Futon Japanese Bed + Public Hot-Spring Onsen Bath

Single Base Location

Learn more about the ryokan experience

North Alps
Mt Akagi
Mt Haruna
Gunma Prefecture
Tochigi Prefecture
Ikaho Onsen Town

$4,500 USD

+ $300 USD Single Supplement

+ $750 USD EBike Rental

The Zen Experience

This tour is specifically designed to show off the best road cycling and traditional culture of Japan’s 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 ancient volcanoes, ride around hidden lakes, and pace through valleys on undiscovered roads in Japan’s North Alps.

Find true zen and serenity as you ride on car-free roads, walk through ancient temples in the forest, and enjoy the healing powers of the onsen bath each day. You won’t believe that we are only an hour from downtown Tokyo!

Take your MENTAL and PHYSICAL training to the next level

We ride on roads rarely visited by cars, explore unforgettable landscapes, and experience incredible scenery around every switchback. Additionally, your BTJ support team will be here to help you navigate and understand Japan’s traditions, from ryokans to kaiseki meals, from hot spring onsens to sacred temples. We can’t wait to share these unbelievable experiences, on and off the bike, with you this fall!

Ready for this epic adventure? Please a provide a link to your strava/mapmyride/etc account or describe the most challenging ride you’ve completed in the past 3 months, including distance, elevation gain, and time. We request this information for all of our Level 4-5 tours to confirm that the trip will be a great fit for your current riding ability.

Set up a time to connect with us over the phone or book your spot on tour now!


Day 1 – Satoyama & Ashikaga Temples

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 Satoyama (Japanese countryside). Take in the surrounding area with views of all of the climbs in store for the week to come. Enjoy a tasty lunch stop at Ashikaga’s temple. After, 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!

Stats: 32km & 400m gain

Day 2 – Endless Zen Loop

Today is our biggest elevation gain and distance on this trip (don’t worry, we will offer additional miles for those looking to hit 100 miles). We begin with six moderate mountain passes. 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.

Stats: 150km & 3,100m gain

Day 3 – Secret Temples & Kanahara Pass

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.

Stats: 82km & 1,300m gain

Day 4 – The Red Fortress Mountain, Akagi

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 volcano’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.

Stats: 110km & 2,200m gain

Day 5 – Recovery Day

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.

Stats: 50km & 500m gain

Day 6 – Hidden Backroads

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.

Stats: 90km & 2,300m gain

Day 7 Mt Haruna and Ikaho Onsen

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.

Stats: 105km & 2,000m gain

Day 8 – Country Roads Take Me Home

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!

Stats: 42km & 800m gain


  • Fully-serviced, quality road bike, plus helmet and accessories
  • All accommodations: traditional Japanese Ryokan Hotels
  • Breakfast each morning (Standard and Premium/Luxury Ryokan options)
  • Kaiseki Dinner each evening (only for Premium/Luxury Ryokan option)
  • Emergency pickup support
  • BTJ guide chat throughout the tour for basic questions and assistance
  • Pickup and drop off at Ashikagashi Station or Shin-Kiryu Station

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from the tour.
  • Pre- and post-tour planning (please inquire if you would like assistance in planning your travels in Japan outside of the tour)
  • Meals not listed above
  • Pickup for non emergencies