Self Guided Cycling Adventure - Japanese Alps Nagano, Hakuba
Apr 15 - Jun 15
Jun 15 - Sep 15
Sep 15 - Nov 15
❄️Winter Ski Season
Dec 20 - Apr 30
Level 1-2 riders: we recommend hopping on an e-bike so that you can make the most of your time in this region.
See FAQ for Route Levels
Bike Price & Options
hybrid/road bikes are included at no additional fee
e-bike: $95 USD per day
Premium Ryokan Hotel
Luxury Ryokan Hotel
Luxury Mountain Chalet (recommended for groups & families)
Learn more about the ryokan experience, which includes traditional Japanese futon beds.
Single Location Options
Hakuba Village (Host of the 1998 Winter Olympics)
Multi Location Options
Norikura-dake (Japan's highest road)
Price per Rider
$398-478 USD per day
+ $100 USD per day Single Supplement
$730-$1,250 USD per day
+400 USD per day Single Supplement
RIDE THE JAPANESE ALPS
This self-guided tour is specifically designed to show off the best cycling routes of the Japanese Alps. Unpack your bags and set off on endless adventures covering this vast region, full of mountains, lakes, and shrines.
We'll show you the best places to ride: stunning forest roads along the sides of iconic Olympic ski slopes, through hypnotic rice fields, and around serene alpine lakes. If you want some time off the saddle, we'll recommend a gondola ride and hike to the top of the Hakuba ridge, reaching gorgeous summits that take you above 2500m.
*we recommend 3-5 days at each ryokan location.
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 ryokan hotels 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.
Choose your adventure from more than 30 GPS route options! We offer rides for all levels so you can pick your journey each day.
The itineraries below are 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 to enjoy breakfast in your yukata robes. Today’s selection of miso soup, fish, pickles, rice, and salad makes for a traditional Japanese breakfast.
Set off on the bikes and ride through the valley on gorgeous country roads & enjoy the flavor of the season: cherry blossoms in spring, lush terraced rice fields in summer, vibrant colors in autumn, and snowy wonderland in winter. Hop off the bikes and wander around a local shrine as you take in the peaceful tranquility of the surrounding area.
For lunch roll down the neighboring valley to stop at a local soba shop for a delicious plate of buckwheat noodles and locally grown vegetable tempura. Finally, head back to your ryokan for a soak in the hot springs and relaxing afternoon by the mountains. Reconvene for dinner and choose from a selection of cuisines: Japanese yakiniku (we'll recommend an amazing specialty lamb spot), traditional kaiseki dining, sushi, and other Japanese and Western option. Chat with the 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 wandering and exploring whatever inspires and excites!
- 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 the Japanese Alps
STANDARD & PREMIUM WESTERN APARTMENT-HOTEL
Unpack your bags at the heart of Hakuba’s entertainment and shopping district, Echoland. Closest to Happo One, the host mountain to the 1998 Winter Olympics downhill events and Hakuba’s largest ski resort. Each apartment features a private bedroom with split kings (king beds split into twins) and a queen size sofa bed. These units also include kitchenette, shower, separate living and dining areas, and laundry facilities.
These are simple yet luxurious self-contained apartments 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.
Please note that self-contained apartment and chalet options do not include meals.
PREMIUM JAPANESE-WESTERN HOTEL
We recommend this option for travelers who want the Japanese experience without sacrificing Western amenities. Each room has high-quality western bedding, private bath + shower, and the hotel also includes Japanese public bath and aesthetic. The hotel also includes a wide selection of Japanese and western cuisine.
Centrally located, your hotel will be an excellent base to reach the mountains for cycling, skiing, and hiking.
Public bath or private shower - your choice!
PREMIUM & LUXURY RYOKAN
Our premium and luxury ryokan partners are top of their class in the area. Located on serene roads in the countryside, these are amazing places for weary travelers to escape the hectic cities to relax in the beauty of the Japanese countryside. Enjoy freshly-prepared kaiseki breakfasts and dinners, as well as beautifully-crafted hot spring baths.
Premium Ryokan Bath
Japanese ryokan hotels are typically 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 prefer a own private bath, please ask us about room upgrades.
Kaiseki is an essential part of the Japanese dining experience. Multi-course meals will be freshly-prepared for breakfast and dinner at premium and luxury-level ryokan hotels. These local flavors and sure to surprise and delight you!
*please note that some dietary restrictions may be difficult to accommodate. We will make recommendations based on your specific allergies or dietary requirements.
Cultural Activities & Alternative Adventures
HIKE (July - Oct)
- Happo-ike + Karamatsu Hike – Take the gondola from Happo Station and enjoy a beautiful ridge walk through alpine wildflowers. Local tip: on weekends, the gondola has early start at 4am so you can enjoy sunrise on the mountain.
- Shirouma Summit – Reach the highest point in Hakuba and one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains. There are two main routes to reach the summit: via Sarukura Sanso Trailhead or via Tsugaike Ropeway. This is a full day hike, so please be prepared for a long day on the mountain. Crampons and hiking poles are highly recommended.
- Goryu Botanical Garden – Take the gondola from Escal Plaza for an enjoyable walk/hike through nature! A variety of wildflowers bloom during the summer, between July and September.
- Yari Onsen Hike – This out-and-back hike ends at a beautiful mid-mountain natural hot-spring source! Dip your tired legs in the footbath as you enjoy lunch, or soak in the co-ed outdoor bath (bathing suit optional) that looks out at Hakuba Valley. There are options to extend this hike to reach the summit of Yarigatake.
MTB (May - Nov)
- Iwatake MTB Park – Grab a lift pass and enjoy a beautiful day on the trails of Iwatake. Beginner friendly options available.
- Hidden Local Trails – If you are an intermediate-advanced rider, we can show you around some of the less-traveled trails in Hakuba. Guide is recommended for ease of access and navigation.
LAKE (May - Nov)
- Swim & SUP at Lake Aoki– We'll share the best spots to go for a dip in the beautiful and clean lake, located just between Hakuba Village and Omachi. SUP rentals are available lakeside.
- Wakeboard at Lake Kisaki – Let us know if you want to go for a few runs on the water, and we'll set up a reservation for a private boat to take you out! Recommended group size: 2-6.
SKI & SNOWBOARD (Jan - Apr)
- Piste Ski – Hakuba Valley has 6 main areas with world-class ski resorts. We know the best spots and will make recommendations based on the snow reports and your ride level.
- Powder Ski – We'll share our knowledge of the best spots to maximize your time spent in fresh pow.
- Tree Ski – Tsugaike, Happo, Cortina, Norikura, 47 - each resort has different types of tree-ski areas with different restrictions. We'll make sure you are safe and well-equipped to take on the incredible tree runs in this area that is famous for its incredible tree runs. Guide is recommended - please let us know in advance.
- Backcountry Ski – We'll connect you with local expert guides who will keep you safe and show you the ropes and the routes. Find truly once-in-a-lifetime runs in the endless beauty of Japan's backcountry.
We'll provide a map of our top recommendations in the area so you don't have to spend time sifting through search results.
While riding, our interactive map has all of our top choices for gelaterias, cafes, and restaurants in the countryside. Also, we have made sure to mark the convenience stores, perfect for quick snack stop or a mid-ride ice cream!
Breakfast – All premium and luxury level ryokan hotels will prepare a multi-course breakfast for you each morning. Wake up to an amazing selection of the freshest seasonal ingredients artfully prepared by the chef.
Lunch – On self-guided tours, lunch is not included but we will provide an interactive BTJ Google Map that you can download and access on your phone. You’ll find our recommendations, English translations, and descriptions of the best eats in the area.
Dinner – At premium and luxury level ryokan hotels, 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 – On this self-guided tour, we have labeled all of the best stops for snacks on our interactive BTJ Map.
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 can be rare on some parts of your route, so some comfort and patience with language barriers is very helpful.
- 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.
- Fully-serviced road bike or hybrid bike, with helmet and accessories. Please note there is an additional fee for an e-bike; please inquire in advance to reserve
- All accommodations during your tour
- Bespoke map to show you the best places to ride, dine, and explore in Japan's countryside
- Luggage delivery
- Text support during your tour to address any questions that come up
- Emergency support in case of accidents on the road