How to Ride the Tokyo Olympics Cycling Road Race Course
While the Tokyo 2020 / 2021 Olympics had it’s hiccups thanks to Covid-19 Pandemic, the rescheduled games for summer 2021 went on in spectacular style broadcast around the world. That said, visitors were unable to visit Japan and cheer for their favorite competitors leaving many asking, “can I still make a trip to Japan to ride the Olympic road course?”
The good news is the answer is yes! While the entirety of the course is not accessible to the public, much of it is. Below we will show you the complete course, as well as our modified route for those looking to ride as much as possible of the original course. Also, while the course features some great riding, Japan is home to no shortage of incredible roads, many of which are virtually car free. Be sure to check out our other rides at the end to get more ideas of where to plan your next cycling trip to Japan!
The Tokyo Olympics Road Race Course (Official Route)
At a whopping 240km (150mi) and over 5,000m (16,400ft) of climbing the Tokyo Olympics Road Race was nothing short of an epic route! For most mere mortals these are numbers that demand multi-day touring, but for those that love to suffer, this route is indeed possible in just one day.
The route starts in western Tokyo around Musashinonomori Park and heads west towards the base of Mt Fuji (富士山). But not before the first big climb along the Doshi River (道志川) and over the Yamabushi Pass (山伏峠) at over 1,000m above sea.
Next, the route ascends the Fuji Evergreen Line. (note: this route is closed to bikes except during the annual hill climb event)
Finally, the route does two laps of the Fuji International Speedway, before a smaller climb over the Myojin Pass (明神峠) and a final lap to the line of the Fuji Speedway.
Riding the Official Route
As stated above, it is not possible to ride the Fuji Evergreen Line except on the annual hill climb event each year.
Fuji Challenge Ride Official Site
The Fuji Speedway is also not open to bikes, so for those that want to ride the route as closely as possible this alternative route is proposed below.
Alternative Tokyo Olympics Road Race Route
This alternative route removes the first 20km or so in the dense downtown of Tokyo. Instead, opting to start at Hashimoto Station closer to the western edge of the Metro Area. From here, the route is unchanged until the start of the Fuji Evergreen Climb. Here, the climb is substituted for the adjacent Fuji Yume Road (富士山夢ロード) up to the Fuji Skyline Road. After this, the route is identical to the original route except for the laps in the Fuji Speedway.
And that’s it! You end up with around 185km and 4,000m gain, still not a bad day in the saddle.
Comparing the Olympic Road Race Route to Other Rides in Japan
Much like the Passo Stelvio gets thousands of riders each summer thanks to it being the highest road in Italy, many riders will likely begin flocking to the base of Mt Fuji to try to ride Olympic Road Race Course.
Now, while the route is certainly not bad, it was optimized a high speed peloton of professionals on closed roads. This will be far from the reality of most cyclists that want to ride in Japan, as most will not be able to close roads from traffic or maintain blistering speeds of the professional pelotons.
So the question (I’m often asked) is, “I want to ride in Japan. Should I ride the Olympic Road Race Route?”
In short, the answer is yes IF. That is a big IF for a reason. If your top priority is to “ride what the pros road at the olympics”, then by all means, this is the only way to do that.
If you don’t mind mild to heavy traffic on the roads you ride, then this also could be a good choice for you.
But much like nobody ever complains they have too many gear choices when they have a wide range cassette on their bike, I’ve never met someone who complained there were too few cars on a route. Less is always better, so why settle for busy traffic roads when blissful car free routes are just next-door.
You are not fixed on the idea of riding exactly what the Olympics chose for a race course.
You would rather see Mt Fuji (or other spectacular mountains!) than ride on Mt Fuji in a forest for the most part.
You can’t / don’t want to ride 200+km. Seriously there are tons of fantastic rides nearby Tokyo that offer much more scenic riding for all levels from pancake flat to epic climbs with no cars!
More Japan Cycling Climbs Inspiration
Did you know, Japan has a road higher than the Stelvio? Has dozens of mountains over 2,000m tall? Has areas that cool to cold & rain and snow almost all year, and other regions that are sunny & warm most all of the year?
Check out our articles below on our favorite cycling climbs in Japan, and about the four seasons in Japan below!
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