Nikko/Aizu – Challenging

A Japanese proverb says, “Never say ‘Kekko’ (meaning I am satisfied), until you’ve seen Nikko”. Our ride starts in Nikko, a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries and the seat of Toshogu shrine, an UNESCO’s world cultural heritage site. We then explore its surrounding area which offers magnificent landscapes, lakes, waterfalls, and hot springs. We spend the latter half of the trip in Aizu, which is a scenic region in northern Japan surrounded by beautiful mountains. The route takes us through quaint farm villages, rice fields, and on narrow mountain roads. Our accommodations are mostly elegant ryokans (Japanese-style inns) which offer local charm and comfort as well as excellent onsen (natural hot spring bath). Our route encompasses several challenging hill climbs, and therefore is most suitable for intermediate to advanced riders.

  • Meet/Depart:  Tokyo/Tokyo
  • Trip Length:  7 days 6 nights
  • Price per Person:  300,000JPY   (for currency converter click HERE)
  • Single Supplement:  20,000JPY
  • Road Bike Rental:  5,000JPY
  • Ave. Temperature (High/Low) :  June 24/8C (75/46F)   October 20/7C (68/44F)
  • Minimum number of guests required for a guaranteed departure: 4

2020 May 31 – June 6  /  September 27-October 3

: Guaranteed departure

  • Picturesque rides in pastoral areas with several challenging hill climbs with spectacular views
  • Stay at elegant ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns)
  • Indulge yourself in great onsens (natural hot spring baths) – a perfect way to relax after your rides
  • Visit Nikko’s Toshogu, UNESCO’s world heritage site
  • Visit a variety of cultural/historical attractions in the Aizu region, including post town with thatched roof houses, an old samurai villa, and sake brewery
  • Oka Tours custom cycling jersey and a water bottle
  • All lodgings on a twin-share basis. A limited number of single-occupancy rooms are available for an additional charge on most tours. If you are a single traveler, please inquire for room availability and a single supplemental charge.
  • Meals (6 breakfasts 6 dinners. Lunch is not included.)
  • Guide and van support
  • Rental cross bike (or road bike with a supplemental fee of 5,000yen). If you would like to rent a road bike, please ask for availability in advance.
  • Any ground transportation (except for private taxis)
  • Admissions to museums and temples/shrines
  • Oka Tours custom cycling jersey and a water bottle

Trip Itinerary

Meet at the Tokyo train station in the morning and transfer by train to Shimo-Imaichi (takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes), which was once an important point of transportation in the old days. Our warm up ride starts on one of the old major roads lined with 380+ years old cedar trees, and then onto quiet country roads amid rice field and gently rolling hills. In Nikko we visit Toshogu Shrine, the site for mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who established the shogunate government that ruled Japan for 260 years until Meiji Restoration in 1868. You will be overwhelmed by the serene atmosphere and series of gorgeous engravings and statues that decorate the shrine’s buildings. Tonight we stay in a cozy pension which is located adjacent to Toshogu Shrine, and unwind in a nice onsen (natural hot spring bath). (Dinner included)
Our ride today starts with a challenging ascent to Lake Chuzenji via the Irohazaka road with 20 ‘hairpin’ turns. Then we bike along Lake Chuzenji and in the Oku-Nikko (inner Nikko) area which is blessed with magnificent natural beauty. We eventually head Oku-Kinu, which is known as “the home of secret spas”. We stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inn) which has excellent onsen baths. (Breakfast and dinner included)
After a smooth and gradual downhill in the morning, we start a challenging 13km ascent via Ozasa pasture to Kirifuri Highland, which is a home to beautiful azaleas in spring and colorful leaves in autumn. Past Kirifuri Highland, we enjoy spectacular downhill towards Nikko and then to Kinugawa onsen spa. Discovered around 300 years ago, Kinugawa onsen spa is one of the most famous hot spring areas in the northern Kanto region. We stay at a large Japanese-style hotel with excellent facilities for a relaxing and fun stay. (Breakfast and dinner included)
After breakfast we take a local train and transfer to the rustic Aizu region. In the morning we cycle on quiet country roads through rice fields. After lunch we ride into mountainous areas. We hunt two challenging passes, riding past beautiful rice fields and small farm villages. Tonight we stay at Yunokami onsen, a secluded spa with excellent hot spring water. You can soak in abundant hot spring water and relax – perfect way to end a long day of riding! (Breakfast and dinner included)
Following a smooth start on flat roads, we take on an ascent to Ouchijuku, an old post town on the road used long ago by Aizu feudal lords until the 19th century to travel back and forth to Edo (now Tokyo). Preserved thatched-roof houses give you an idea of what the town used to be like in old days. Past Ouchijuku, our ride starts with a steep but short climb, followed by a long descent through mountain forests into the Aizu Basin. On our way to Aizuwakamatsu, we stop by one of the oldest temples in the region and a sake brewery. We stay at a beautiful ryokan in Higashiyama onsen spa, Aizuwakamatsu’s back parlor. (Breakfast and dinner included)
In the morning we visit the Bukeyashiki (reconstructed samurai villa) in Aizuwakamatsu to see what the samurai lifestyle used to be like. Our ride today starts with an 11km climb to Mt. Seaburi, followed by nice descent to Lake Inawashiro. We then take on the toughest hill climb of the whole trip towards Lake Hibara, a serene lake situated halfway up the Bandai-san (Mount Bandai, a magnificent volcano). After lunch by Lake Hibara, we wind down by relaxing ride around the lake. We retreat in a western-style hotel by Lake Hibara. (Breakfast and dinner included)
Following breakfast, we leave Lake Hibara by shuttle bus and local train and transfer in Koriyama to the Shinkansen (bullet train) for Tokyo. Once in Koriyama, it is time to say goodbye to your leader/guide. You arrive in Tokyo in the afternoon. (Breakfast included)