Nikko North Alps Tour: Historical Towns and Hot-spring Onsens

2020 Tour Dates
Oct 25-Nov 1 ⭐ 🍁 🍱

2021 Tour Dates
Apr 9-16 🌸
Oct 22-29 🍁

🌸 Blossom Season
🍁 Fall Colors
⭐ Guaranteed Trip
🍱 Almost Full!

Difficulty
Level 3 out of 5

Max Distance: 100km
Max Elevation Gain: 1500m

See FAQ for Route Levels

Explore Bike Options

Accommodations
Premium Ryokan Hotels + Futon Japanese Beds + Public Hot-Spring Onsen Bath

Learn more about the ryokan experience

Regions
Nikko National Park
Lake Chuzenji
Japan’s North Alps
Kirifurikogen
Ashikaga
Mount Akagi
Mount Haruna

Price
$4,950 USD

+ $1,000 USD Single Supplement

+ $750 USD E-Bike Rental

The Nikko North Alps Tour is our highest-rated adventure, and for good reason! Explore the incredible mountain range known to be the ancient home of the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which effectively ruled Japan from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. When you explore with BTJ, you won’t believe that this kind of magical route is located just two hours away from central Tokyo! We’ll take you on an unforgettable adventure to breathtaking mountains, grasslands, lakes, shrines, and hot springs nestled deep in the Japanese countryside.

Take in crisp clean air as you climb to the Hangetsu Observatory, with amazing views of Nantai and Lake Chuzenji below you. Each day, savor meals skillfully prepared by the region’s best chefs while enjoying local sake from the rice that was grown in the rice fields we ride through. Wrap up each day with a relaxing soak in the zen hot spring bath at our ryokan hotel.

Ready for this journey? Set up a time to connect with us over the phone or book your spot on tour now!

Drone Shot River

Itinerary

Day 1 (20km | 300m) Land of Shogun & Samurai

Your BTJ guides will be ready to meet you at the exit of Tobu-Nikko Station. After introductions and bike fits, we are off into the hidden forest roads behind Nikko Historical City. Enjoy gentle slopes and traditional rice fields with dramatic mountains in the background. Then, roll into a lovely Japanese lunch before putting on your walking shoes to spend the afternoon exploring the Toshogu Shrine World Heritage Area. From here walk across the street to our hidden ryokan perched atop a hill overlooking town. When you’re ready, meet up with our guides for a beautiful traditional dinner and our first toast to a great week ahead!

Day 2 (60km | 1100m) Mystical Forest Roads

Today, we will take our first journey into the heart of the Japanese countryside. Begin by riding deeper into the mountains on quiet roads up to a secluded pass far off the beaten path. Then dive into secluded forests to the neighboring valley to visit the Furumine Shrine, famous for its traditional Tengu Masks. After exploring the shrine we will head to a lunch of fresh regional food before wandering through nearby local mountain villages as we make our way back to the ryokan for another amazing evening.

Day 3 (35-50km | 1000-1400m) Chuzenji Cloud Climb

Today we take on our first big climb of the trip up the Irohazaka Alphabet Road to the Oku-Nikko National Park. Though it’s a decent amount of gain, the slopes average around 5-6% and the views from the observation deck are worth the big effort! Once atop the pass, we will go through the tunnel to the base of Lake Chuzenji, Japan’s largest alpine lake at over 1,200m above sea. Your rides will offer an optional climb as an add-on for any riders who want more time on the bike. Then, enjoy a wonderful lunch by the lake take before rolling up to the highlands of Yumoto Hot Spring Town.

Day 4 (0-60km |0-1,200m) North Alps Exploration

Today you can choose your adventure. Nikko National Park is full of wonderful cycling, hiking, and forest bathing opportunities and we will have a selection ready for a great day basking in beautiful nature. Choose to join the group for a gorgeous ride on the Nikko Eco Road/Hangetsu Observatory Loop. Or, enjoy one of our favorite hikes: the Senjougahara Waterfall Loop. For for those looking to push it up the local giant, climb to the peak of Mt Nantai with a summit of more than 2,400m!

Nikko Eco Road/Hangetsu Observatory Loop Ride (60km, 900m)
Senjogahara Waterfall Loop Hike (24km, 300m)
Mt Nantai Summit Hike (9km, 1,200m)

Day 5 (90km | 1200m) Winding Watarase Valley

Our longest distance day, today you reap all of the rewards of your hard work climbing as we dive back down from the Oku-Nikko highlands and head south along the mighty Watarase River Valley. Scenic foliage, small towns, and delicious local eats await as we cross from Tochigi Prefecture into Gunma Prefecture. From here we turn west and have our last climb of the day as we head up the first third of Mt Akagi, the Red Fortress Volcano for our mountainside retreat at Akagi Onsen.

Day 6 (75km | 1300m) Akagi, the Red Fortress Mountain

Take to the skies one last time as we finish the 100 switchback turns to the top of the mighty volcano Mt Akagi-san. Your efforts will be rewarded with sweeping views of its two caldera lakes. Then, dive into the center of Akagi’s central lake, adorned with a mystical shrine. After offering a prayer, we will fly down the main road to lunch at a famous local soba shop. From here we will cross the Watarase River and take to the nearby town of Kiryu following the river north out from town to our riverside ryokan for the evening.

Day 7 (65km | 700m) Silk Town Explorations

After 6 days of riding and exploring, our last full day together will be an incredible mix of hidden shrines, forest-baths, and traditional scenery. The main route will take us on a small climb in the morning over the Akayuki-san Pass to the hidden Nagutsaitsukushima Shrine, a seldom seen treasure of the area. From here, we will visit Ashikaga and Kiryu. In Ashikaga the Gakko, the oldest school in Japan, and in Kiryu, visit silk mills rich in silk production history.

Day 8 (0-40km | 0-200m) Sayonara!

On our final day, we will head out one last time by bike for a flat/downhill ride through the country back along the Watarase River towards Kiryu. Roll down the river path and connect to the town of Ota where our last climb to the central park of Mt Kanayama gives views of all the distance we have covered throughout this week-long journey. Enjoy lunch and coffee in Ota before we say farewell until the next time!

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Cycling on Japan North Alps Roads
Japanese North Alps Ryokan Meal
Japanese Temple

North Alps Map

Included

  • 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.

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from the tour
  • Meals not listed above
  • Alcoholic beverages