Bicycle Tour of the North Alps in Japan: Nikko, Chuzenji-ko & Ashikaga 2019

2019:
Oct 13-20


2020:
Apr 9-16*
Apr 19-26*
May 11-18
May 21-28
Oct 25-Nov 1

*Cherry Blossom Season

Bold Dates are guaranteed to run!

Nikko National Park, Lake Chuzenji, Japan’s North Alps, Ashikaga, Mount Akagi
Premium Traditional Ryokans
⛰⛰⛰
35-77 km/day
300-1000m/day
$4,450 USD
(+$750 USD Single Supplement)

Bike Tour Japan’s highest rated tour, and for good reason! Explore beyond the bustling cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka the breathtaking mountains, grasslands, lakes, shrines, and hot springs of the Japanese countryside. Reconnect with your body and bike as we discover pagodas, temples, and historic hot spring towns. You’ll never forget the crisp clean air as you climb to the Hangetsu Observatory, with amazing views of Nantai and Lake Chuzenji below you. Each day, we’ll savor meals skillfully prepared by the region’s best chefs while enjoying local sake from the rice that was grown in the very mountains and farms we ride through. Wrap up each day with a relaxing soak in the zen hot spring bath at our ryokan hotel.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Land of Shoguns & Samurai

Meet our guides in front of the Nikko train station. We’ll welcome everyone and make introductions over lunch at a local restaurant. Then, off to see the Toshogu Shrine and museum at the edge of town where you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a land where Shoguns still reigned. Choose your own adventure with several ride options, or return to the hotel to decompress in the hotel’s onsen hot spring spa. Take a quick stroll around town if you’d like, before meeting up with the guides for a beautiful traditional Japanese dinner.

Stats: 16km, 150m gain and light walking at the shrine and in town.

Day 2 – Lake Chuzenji and Nikko Natl Park

Today, we begin our journey into the heart of the Japanese countryside by climbing the famous Irohazaka road up to sacred Lake Chuzenji. We’ll get our first glimpses of Mt Nantai’s enthralling volcanic shape. The full expanse of the North Alps will fill in behind Lake Chuzenji as we go up. Finally, we’ll roll through the Senjugahara grasslands and into the historic Yumoto Onsen Town. End the day with a traditional onsen meal and a soothing bath in the onsen.

Stats: 48km, 1,300m gain

Day 3 – Steaming Rivers and Ogres

This day, we ride over our highest pass of the trip on the side of Mt Nantai. We’ll follow the steaming Kawamata river as it winds through gorges into Kawaji Onsen Town, where you will soak in the calm nature of the Japanese countryside and the majesty of the volcanic power around you. Finally, we’re off to Kinugawa Onsen Town for your first ogre encounters and outdoor baths that hang over the Kinugawa River.

Stats: 66km, 1,200m

Day 4 – The Misty Highlands

Follow the river southbound through the small towns of Kinugawa and past the Onsen Ogres. Then, we will point our wheels northwest, for another climb with Mt Nantai and its counterpart Mt Nyoho in our sights. Finally, travel through the Kirifurikogen High Grasslands with breathtaking views of Lake Chuzenji surrounded by epic mountains. Our hotel this night will be in the grasslands, and we’ll offer outdoor hot springs with views that inspire.

Stats: 39km, 1,200m

Day 5 – The Winding Watarase River

Hit the onsen early for one of the most magical sunrises over the North Alps before breakfast. Then, it’s a quick ride down from the highlands into Nikko, before we begin rolling through the beautiful road along the scenic Watarase River Valley. Small town Japan and roads that literally sing as you roll over them (see Japan’s Melody Roads)! Mountains, rivers, lakes, and nature at their finest. We’ll give a final push when we a arrive at the base of Mt Akagi to the hotel tonight, about 1/3 of the climb up the mountain.

Stats: 77km, 1,100m gain

Day 6 – Caldera Lakes

Our final big climb–we will find the road’s summit on tranquil Mt Akagi. Crest the caldera, and be rewarded for all your hard work by unbelievable views of this ancient volcano, its lake, and the floating shrine within. We’ll take a lap around the lake and enjoy a delicious local lunch before flying down to our secluded Ryokan for the night.

Stats: 75km, 1,100m gain

Day 7 – Secluded Shrines and the First School

Today, we visit the Nagusaitsukushima Shrine, nestled deep in the heart of the Ashikaga Hills. We will immerse ourselves fully in the Satoyama experience, rolling through small towns and rice field landscapes. A stop atop a nearby hill reveals the Saishoji Temple, the town of Ashikaga, and the Gakko, the first school built in Japan. Take in the history, gardens, gates, and more as we meander through the serene Sano Valley. We’ll take a step back in time and find peaceful rest at the Ichinokan, a well-preserved and beautiful remnant from the past.

Stats: 50km, 850m gain

Day 8 – Mountain Top Sayonara

On our final day, we’ll head out one last time by bike for a flat ride through the country as it gives way to the Watarase River. Along this path, we begin to see all of the mountains reveal themselves in the distance. We’ll also get a spectacular glimpse of the vastness of the wondrous Tone Valley. A final short climb to the top of Mt Kanayama and we arrive at observation deck to soak in all that we have accomplished. The whole of the North Alps in splendid panorama! Down the mountain to the Daikoin Temple for a final exploration. Farewell–until the next adventure!

Stats: 32km, 240m

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Included

  • Fully-serviced, quality road bike, plus helmet and accessories
  • All accommodations: traditional Japanese Ryokan Hotels
  • Full meals: breakfasts, bento lunches, and dinners
  • Snacks and beverages between meals. We'll have snacks/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
  • Gratuities for BikeTourJapan guides (learn why we don't ask for tips!)

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)