Cycling the Japan Alps and World Heritage, Gokayama
This cycling tour begins at Matsumoto Castle. We set out on a comfortable cycling path with the soaring heights of the Japan Alps visible in the distance. On the following day, we head toward the Winter Olympic grounds at Hakuba, and then downhill to the Japan Sea. On the third day of cycling, you will have an opportunity to experience some of the more deeply spiritual Japanese traditions of tracing Buddha images or the ascetic practice of standing under waterfalls. But the real highlight of the trip is the cycling trip to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, a World Heritage site featuring village landscapes with distinctive historic thatched roof homes.
- Tour Date
- Oct. 25th ~ 31st, (7 days/6 nights)
- Tour Price
- JPY 324,000 (inc. tax)
- A largely flat cycling route acceptable for beginners, with some climbing at Hakuba. The option of switching to the train for the uphill portion is always available.
- Cycle the Azumino Basin, with breathtaking views of the Japan Alps.
- Relaxed Ride at Gokayama, a World Heritage site featuring village landscapes with distinctive historic thatched roof homes.
- Visit the historic farming villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, best known for their farmhouses in the distinctive thatched gassho-zukuri style.
- Visit Hakuba Village and the Hakuba Jump used in Winter Olympic ski jumping events.
- Overnight in Kamiichi, the village providing the setting for popular animation feature “Wolf Children Ame and Yuki.” Optional experiences during this part of the tour include a guided meditative exercise of tracing Buddha images, as well as the ascetic meditation practice of sitting under a waterfall.
- Easy access to Tokyo (3 hours) and Kyoto (2 hours and 20 minutes) from Kanazawa where the tour ends.
||Tokyo - Matsumoto
||Japan Alps cycling
||Kamiichi Fun Ride
||Gokayama Fun Ride
||Gokayama - Kanazawa
||Tours end after breakfast.
||Excluding Fun Ride
- Day 1 Tokyo – Matsumoto, Nagano Pref.
Meet at Shinjuku Station at 11:30 and take a train for Matsumoto, Nagano pref.
After check-in at a hotel in Matsumoto, we’ll visit the Matsumoto Castle, the oldest castle donjon remaining in Japan. After strolling the city, we have a riders meeting at the hotel to explain traffic rules in Japan, schedule, and route of the tour followed by welcome dinner.
Hotel in Matsumoto/ Meals: Dinner
- Day 2 Azumino cycling (Matsumoto – Ohmachi, Nagano pref.)
We start cycling with a scenic cycling road, called Alps Yamabiko (Yamabiko means echo). You’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Japan Alps. The first place to visit is a Japanese Horseradish farm, then we visit old restaurant, which has a museum. After lunch, we climb up little to the point where we can enjoy marvelous view. While cycling, we’ll have a chance to see lovely Dosojin, a guardian for tourists. After checking-in at a ryokan, we have an optional tour. That is to visit a Japanese sake museum where we’ll learn about sake and can taste it.
Stay at a hotel in ryokan / Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Day 3 Japan Alps cycling (Ohmachi ~ Kamiichi, Toyama)
Today, we head toward the Winter Olympic grounds at Hakuba, and then downhill to the Japan Sea. Along the road, we pass over three lakes, namely Kizaki lake, Nakatsuna lake, and Aoki lake. All of them are nice small lakes we can go round on the narrow trail. Then, we visit the Hakuba Jumping Stadium. I promise you a incredible view there!
Stay at a hotel/ Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Day 4 Kamiichi town, Fun-ride
You will have an opportunity to experience some of the more deeply spiritual Japanese traditions of tracing Buddha images or the ascetic practice of standing under waterfalls. Or you may want to go for hiking. There are so many options to do. It is up to you how you spend the day. In the evening, we take a train to Takaoka.
Stay at a hotel/ Meals: Breakfast
- Day 5 Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
Visiting Shirakawa-go and Gokayama is the highlight of the trip. Both sites are one of the World Heritage site featuring village landscapes with distinctive historic thatched roof homes.
We first visit Shirakawa-go and take a walk in the lovely village, then we take a bus for Gokayama. After having lunch, we start cycling around the area.
Stay at a ryokan / Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Day 6 Gokayama ~ Kanazawa
Today is the last day of cycling. Start cycling from the ryokan we stayed, we go up to Gokayama Pass. (If you are not in such a frame of mind, you can take a bus instead.) After Gokayama tunnel, it is a gorgeous downhill. On the way down, you‘ll see the Toyama plain being spread in front. In about 65 km, we arrive at a samurai town in Kanazawa, where we enjoy some stroll. We have a party tonight!
Stay at a Buddhist temple compound / Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Day 7 Kanazawa (no ride)
The tour ends after breakfast.<br>If you would like to extend your stay after the cycling tour, arrange railway, air or other post-cycling travel, please feel free to ask. We’ll be more than happy to help arrange it.
||Oct. 25th ~ 31st, (7 days/6 nights)
||JPY 324,000 (Inc. tax)
||272.2 km/168.97 mile
||2,241 m/7,351 ft
(Minimum Number of Participants: 4)
||Cycling leader, Tour Conductor, and Support van.
Items Included in Tour Prices
Rental Road bicycle (or cyclo cross bicycle/cross bicycle, if you prefer)
Van Support on Route
Water and snacks during the ride
Daily Luggage Transport
Experienced Ride Leaders
Meals: 6 breakfasts and 5 dinners
Transportation: Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel will be noted in your itinerary.
Sightseeing and Excursions: Admission to temples and shrines, special events and culinary experiences will be noted in your itinerary.
Not Included in Tour Prices
Airfare, alcoholic beverages and other personnel expenses
A limited number of single-occupancy rooms are available for an additional charge on most tours. If you are a single traveler, please ask about room availability. A single-occupancy supplemental charge will be applied.
To make your experience of Japan more authentic and memorable, we schedule some tour accommodations in traditional ryokan inns. Rather than single rooms, ryokan accommodate two to five people per room, with traditional tatami mat flooring and futon bedding. Please note that at Planet Adventure, we arrange for our guests to be accommodated in rooms divided by gender.
Photographs used in this site