Our Japan Cycling Tour is new for 2019 and designed to immerse you in a culture that most of us have never experienced. When picking a holiday destination some of us look for what is familiar; the Alps of the Tour de France or the climbs of the Giro d'Italia, but others look for something completely new and different. Japan is that destination! It is a land of complete contrasts, where ultra-modern technology and deeply rooted traditions sit side by side, and herein lies its appeal. You'll take a journey from the capital where the streets are brimming with 'high fasionista' youngsters and travel through the Japanese Alps where the peaks reach over 3,000 metres to arrive in Kyoto where elusive and elegant Geisha bustle around the cobbled alleyways.
A dedication to excellence pervades almost every aspect of Japanese life. The terrain is perfect for a cycling tour, variously undulating and mountainous. Experience Japanese hospitality, delight in remarkable food, all among some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The land, the people, the food, this is a week which will leave lasting memories with you forever. Please contact our experienced team if you have any questions.
Starting in Tokyo, the megalopolis of Japan, this Japan Cycling Tour Raid heads south on challenging roads dotted with climbs through verdant, dense forests on flawless pavement. The roads are barely wide enough for a car – a theme for most of the trip. Over the first three days, you will be treated to a mountainous buffet of perfection – deserted, unused roads, through dense forests, peppered with broad views. The climbs grow, the elevation soars and the roads grow ever twistier.
The Big Climb
Early in this Japan cycling tour, the route ascends one gigantic climb, Mount Norikura. Every bit the equal of Europe's greatest, Norikura gains 1,500 metres and tops out at 2,700 metres, like the Stelvio. It's big, it's tough, and it's worth the effort. After reaching the outskirts of Kaga on the coast, the route heads south away from the Japanese Alps. At this point, it is hard to imagine much better, but that's exactly what lies ahead.
On the other side; the Sea of Japan coast, the landscape opens up and welcomes the water and the beautiful autumn skies. We plough a path south along the coast with never ending views of the water. Then we head inland, to small roads that climb and climb and seem barely able to hold off nature's onslaught. Grass, trees, bushes, and vines are all barely held at bay at the side of the road.
During the day you will be treated to the best that Japan has to offer. That theme will continue in the evenings, with the chance to explore all things uniquely and wonderfully Japanese: hot-springs, food, lodging and people.
We finish after an unforgettable parcours in the stylish city of Kyoto, Japan's former capital, and by all accounts Japan's city of cities, renowned for its temples, shrines, and vibrant geisha culture.
Other New DestinationsCheck out our other unique cycling tours with the relaunch of our Norway Raid.
- Excellent accommodation at each location
- All breakfasts and evening meals at the hotel/restaurant
- On the road lunches freshly prepared daily
- Experienced guiding team and dedicated support vehicle on each ride day
- Local language guides
- La Fuga welcome pack
- GPX files and route maps for each day of riding
What's Not Included?
Please note tour deposits are non-transferable and non-refundable. Therefore please ensure you have the appropriate travel insurance in place should you have to cancel at the last minute.
Day 0: TOKYO (Arrival Day)
Upon your arrival into Tokyo, you will make your way from the airport into the bustling heart of Tokyo, Shibuya. The center of young generation, Shibuya is the most energetic district in Tokyo, offering countless restaurants, shops and entertainment.
This afternoon our staff mechanics will meet you to assemble your bicycle and we will host a briefing about the trip before we head into the heart of the city for dinner this evening.
Day 1: HIGASHI OME TO KOFU – 104 km / 2958 metres – 65 Miles / 6,100 Feet
We transfer into the heart of Higashi-Ōme, a mountainous region laced with deep gorges, raging rivers and mountain lakes. Our first ride sees us cycling uphill deep into the river gorge, with exciting side trips through lost villages. It’s the perfect intro into the style of riding we will encounter the rest of the week.
This afternoon, take a dip into your first Onsen hot spring at Hottarakashi Onsen, an open air bath sitting high above the valley floor below. Soak while taking in the stunning view of Mt. Fuji in the distance.
Day 2: KISOFUKUCHIMA TO MT NORIKURA – 100 km / 2978 metres – 62 Miles / 7,888 Feet
Another short transfer to the small village of Kiso-Fukushima, we will tackle the ‘Road through the Central Mountains’ which was part of feudal Japan’s network of highways. After a series of short climbs and valley riding, we will come to the base of the monster that is Mr Norikura. Mount Norikura is more than 38km long with a 5.3% average gradient. Topping out at 2,715m, it is the highest road in Japan and only cyclists and the occasional private bus are allowed up and over it. We will spend the first 20km on the lower slope of the mountain before we arrive at this evening’s ski chalet.
Day 3: MT NORIKURA TO SHIRAKAWA – 135 km / 3022 metres – 80 Miles / 8,600 Feet
Take in another morning Onsen soak before we make our final push up and over Mt Norikura. With no cars allowed, this early morning 20-mile climb at 5% is remarkable and at the summit there are breathtaking panorama of views above the tree line. Enjoy the 30-mile descent off the western slope of the giant before we soft pedal through the river valleys before lunch. We have one more substantial climb before we arrive at our final destination, the historic World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go (白川郷, Shirakawagō) along the Shogawa River Valley.
Tonight we will stay in a traditional Japanese inn, a ryokan, offering a nostalgic atmosphere. We can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot springs and local cuisine made with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients.
Day 4: SHIRAKAWA TO KAGA – 160 km / 2806 metres – 100 Miles / 9,206 Feet
Today is a special ride, we begin from our ryokan this morning, cycling along the Shogawa River heading do west. This ride has it all, fun punchy climbs, fast twisty descents, waterfalls, rice fields, temples and finishing off with a tiny mountain path too small for vehicles. Keep an eye open for bear this afternoon before we arrive into the hot spring town of Kaga.
Day 5: KAGA TO SUIGEKKA – 158 km / 1986 metres – 98 Miles / 4,500 Feet
Today we roll south and our first stop at the Sea of Japan is the Yushima bridge. Cycle over to Yushima island and visit the Shinto shrine. From here, we spend the next 60 miles along the coast of the Sea of Japan, jumping in at lunchtime for a refreshing swim.
Tonight we check into Hotel Suigekka, an isolated spa inn overlooking Lake Suigetsuko. The hotel is especially known for its sumptuous kaiseki dishes with lavish amounts of crab and other seasonal seafood. Inside the hotel is a number of hot baths and saunas that overlook the Suigetsuko and the mountains.
Day 6: SUIGEKKA To KYOTO – 144 km / 3326 metres – 89 Miles / 7,000 Feet
Our last days journey has us cycling tiny mountain roads north of Kyoto. The riding here is remarkable, some of the finest stretches of road any where! A few more stunning climbs with views across the Yamashiro basin, brings us to Kyoto, where you will be able to explore this afternoon. The evening will close with a celebratory farewell dinner in town.
Day 7: DEPARTURE DAY
A day to relax and enjoy your last few hours in Japan. Your bike will be already packed up ready for your flight home. You will be taken by coach to Osaka International Airport (KIX) for the journey home.