Join this exclusive tour geared towards advanced cyclists and explore the magnificent landscapes along the Nakasendo Trail and across Western Japan. We will cross Japan`s highest pass Norikura and visit the world heritage village Shirakawago with its traditionalthatched roof houses. End the tour in Gujo, and discover the centuries old charm of this picturesque town.
Day 1: Nakatsugawa (Pre-tour briefing)
As the first day of the tour is quite long, we plan on having all tour participants arrive in Nakatsugawa one day before so that we can have a briefing and bike fitting, check our equipment and have a good night's rest prior to the rather demanding start of the tour.
Accommodation: Plaza Hotel Sakae
Day 2: Nakatsugawa to Nagawa (104 km)
We will ride along the old Nakasendo Trail, a centuries-old route between the imperial capital Kyoto and the shogun's capital Edo (present day Tokyo). The highlight of the day is the section between Magome and Tsumago, two traditional inn towns with especially scenic townscapes.
Elevation gains: (2,000 m) After a 400 m climb and descent at the beginning of the route, we will steadily ascend to 1,400 m before dropping down to 1,000 m at Nagawa, the day's final destination.
Accommodation: Sanso Watari Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Day 3: Nagawa to Hirayu via Norikura Pass (58 km)
After breakfast we tackle the long 40 km climb to Norikura Pass at 2,700 m on the Echo Line, a small road through the Japanese countryside. We will start at an altitude of 1,000 m and climb to 2,700 m where you can enjoy breathtaking views over the Japanese Alps from the summit of Japan's highest paved pass. Depending on our arrival time at our destination, Hirayu, there is the possibility for an optional tour to Kamikochi, a spectacular high plateau (25 min by bus).
Elevation gains: (1,800 m) There is about 1,700 m of climbing over 40 km with some steep sections and an average gradient of a little over 4%.
Accommodation: Hirayu no mori, a traditional Japanese "onsen" (hot spring) Meals: Breakfast
Day 4: Hirayu to Takayama (55 km)
After two rather intensive days, today's ride to Takayama is relatively easy. On the way we can enjoy scenic views over the mountains. Upon arrival in Takayama we will stroll through the historic township, visit a sake brewery and the old residence of the town magistrate (Jinya). In the evening there will be an optional dinner at a Japanese restaurant.
Elevation gains: (1,000 m) An initial 20 km descent to 500 m is followed by a climb back up to 1,100 m, after which the rest of the ride to Takayama is mostly downhill.
Accommodation: Takayama Country Hotel Meals: Breakfast
Day 5: Takayama to Shirakawa-go (60 km)
Before leaving Takayama, we will visit the traditional morning market. The winding route to Shirakawa-go through the mountains is very picturesque. After arriving in Shirakawa-go, we will stroll through the village, a World Heritage site, and visit one of the thatched-roof farmhouses.
Elevation gains: (1,400 m) The first 30 km are relatively flat, followed by a gradual ascent and then a final 700 m climb to Mt Soreyama, before arriving in Shirakawa-go.
Accommodation: Shirakawa-go no Yu ("onsen" hot spring) Meals: Japanese-style dinner
Day 6: Shirakawa-go to Gujo (85 km)
We will ride on small roads through Japan's remote countryside, where you can experience authentic rural Japan far away from the urban sprawl. After arriving in Gujo we will visit the Samurai castle, Gujo Hachiman, which overlooks the town.
Elevation gains: (1,400 m) We start at an altitude of 500 m, climb very gradually to 800 m over the next 35 km and from there to 1,350 m over 10 km, before a 35 km descent to Gujo.
Accommodation: Gujo Hachiman Inter Meals: Breakfast
This tour is organized in cooperation with Japan Travel. Please book the tour through their website
Minimum number of participants required for the tour to take place is 6.
Maximum number of participants is 16.
This tour includes:
• All accommodation with breakfast and dinner where indicated
• Entrance fees for sightseeing spots indicated in the itinerary
• Helmets (optionally you can bring your own), tools, tubes, and other spares
• Assistant tour guide
• Backup van and bilingual driver/assistant
• First aid kit
• Walkie-talkies where needed
This tour does NOT include:
• Transportation to/from starting and ending points of the tour
• Activities described as "optional" in the tour itinerary
• Meals other than those indicated in the itinerary
• Any other personal expenses incurred during the tour
Other important information:
This tour is for experienced cyclists who are used to extended days in the saddle and long climbs in the mountains with some steep sections (10-15% gradient). A sufficient level of fitness is essential. If you bring your own bike make sure the gearing is appropriate. As the weather in the mountains can change quickly, proper rainwear is essential. Temperatures in the mountains will be moderate to cool but as soon as we get out of the mountains the weather will be hot and humid. Please bring light clothing and sun screen.