Ride 4 days loop from Takasaki-Matsumoto

romain dmr

Feb 15, 2018

we are trying to design a loop from Takasaki for 4 days ride (May 19-22) with ~150-200km & 2500-4000m elevation a day, see below tentative map ; the highlights so far:
- takasaki
- haruna lake
- kusatsu
- shirane
- nakano
- nojiri
- jinbadairayama or more west hakuba ?
- shirakaba lake
- matsumoto (target to sleep there on day 2)
- utsukushigahara
- akagi-san?
- tateyama (looks forbidden by bike ?)

==> do you have some recommendation (somewhere we really need to go or not to go) ? the idea is to avoid big roads and take tiny scenic road with nice climbs.


p.s.: we did a previous bike trip at the beginning of GW with 2 climbs around fuji (Subaru &Skyline, Azami was closed we will have to go again to attempt 1 day all 3 climbs) https://www.strava.com/activities/1538230507 and another day around hakone https://www.strava.com/activities/1540440250



Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
Kusatsu is shut because of imminent volcanic eruptions. You may want to check what roads are closed and what are open in that region. But I know you can’t get over Kusatsu proper.


Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
On Saturday, the roads up and down Haruna Lake on your route above will not be closed, but the road around the Lake is closed between 9 and 12.
Last edited:
Feb 15, 2018

thank you everyone for the feedbacks.
we have finalized the route: the ascent from movescount is a bit higher than reality.
day 1 (19-MAY): kusatsu - matsumoto (183km, 5770m ascent) http://www.movescount.com/map?route...zoom=10&activity=4&heatmap=true&style=terrain
day 2 (20-MAY): matsumoto - hakuba via norikura (184km, 4800m ascent) http://www.movescount.com/map?route...zoom=10&activity=4&heatmap=true&style=terrain
day 3 (21-MAY): hakuba - takasaki (135km, 4360m ascent) http://www.movescount.com/map?route...zoom=11&activity=4&heatmap=true&style=terrain
day 4 (22-MAY): takasaki - kusatsu (98km, 2000 ascent) http://www.movescount.com/map?route...zoom=10&activity=4&heatmap=true&style=terrain

few questions:
- do you have some feedbacks on the route? if it s better to take some parallel routes sometimes?
- do you know if there are lockers at kusatsu train station ? so then we can leave 1 pair of shoes, and clean clothes and bike bags for 4 days there (the lighter we ride the better).
- do you know if the road in green below will be open to bikes (mostlikely close to cars) ? the blue one is already going to 2700m might be good enough, but would be crazy to do the full loop.

hopefully weather will be ok (forecast are quite bad for this saturday) and also i hope not too busy traffic on the road, especially on sunday in the valley.

Happy rides



Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
If you're checking back on this...

For the route shown in blue on your map, just above the junction of 84 and 300 (area called Norikura Kogen or Norikura Highland), the road on up to the top is open to cyclists, buses, and taxi/tour vehicles--but not private cars.

From the top, you can continue down the other side to route 158 (still closed to cars as far as there). IMO, route 158 down from there (as far as the junction with 300) is rather dangerous--it's busy, and there are quite a few dark tunnels in poor condition. ((Bikes do go this way, and I may be too cautious, but I've driven this section several times, and I'm still not comfortable in the tunnels. YMMV.)

If you need to shorten this day for some reason, skip the green section and just try to get to the top and back down the same way. Depending on conditions (and your condition) back at Norikura kogen, you could choose to go direct on down 84, or turn on 300 to go past Shirahone onsen.

Back down towards Matsumoto when you turn north toward Hakuba, it's great that you've avoided routes 147/148 --known to be dangerous.

Good luck out there!