Advice Wanted: Nagano to Tokyo

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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#1
At the end of July I'll be at my wife's parent's place in Nagano-ken between Tatsuno and Shiojiri for four days. While I am there I plan to hit Norikura and hopefully the Venus Skyline for two different full day rides. Additionally, we'll be staying in Nagano-shi for at least a night, and I'm considering riding from there back to home in Tokyo. Regarding the potential ride back to Tokyo, I could depart from Nagano-shi, Matsumoto, or the Suwa area. It looks like the easiest and shortest way home would probably be from Nagano-shi.

With that information in mind I have some questions.
1) From any of the aforementioned starting points, what would be a good one day route from Nagano-ken back to Tokyo?
2) If I left from Nagano-shi, what do you think of this potential route?
3) I can probably get dropped off just about anywhere, what would be a good Norikura Skyline route/loop that would let me end up here?
4) Maybe this route for my third question?

These three rides (Norikura Skyline / Venus Skyline / Nagano to Tokyo) will probably be too much for me to do within the time frame I have available on this trip, but I'll almost certainly do two out of three. And, at some point I will definitely do them all, so your feedback and advice is appreciated! Thank you in advance for your help!
 
May 22, 2007
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#2
3) I can probably get dropped off just about anywhere, what would be a good Norikura Skyline route/loop that would let me end up here?
4) Maybe this route for my third question?
Pete your route is definitely open and available for cycling. The tunnel you've chosen between 87 - 88 km is uphill in the direction you've marked, although the road condition is pretty good. Alternative is to take the tunnel immediately to the north and ride alongside the dam/reservoir. Quite nice.

ProRaceMechanic is your man for the local knowledge. He lives close to your 100 km mark.
 

Yamabushi

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#3
Cheers Mike, I have actually already ridden that tunnel and am completely comfortable with it going either direction. It's wide and well lit.

As for ProRaceMechanic, I am definitely hoping to hook up with him for one or more of these rides.
 

Mike

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Sep 24, 2007
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#4
Pete, it looks very similar to the route Ludwig and I took last year. As the other Mike said, definitely go past the dam...that was spectacular and well worth seeing. They may also be still doing construction at the Super Rindo...it was pretty full on last year. Have a look at the picture with the tractor across the road...they seemed keen to keep everyone out. Be ready to roll quickly past them because you certainly don't want to turn back once you've come that far!

https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/blog.php?b=70
 
May 22, 2007
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#6
Roads around Norikura

They may also be still doing construction at the Super Rindo...it was pretty full on last year.
Construction definitely finished on Super-Rindo section A. I have confirmation on that from two independent sources within the last week.

However there was very heavy rain in the region on Thursday, causing landslides and other mess in Kamikochi. Even if this affects Super-Rindo it should be cleared up in a month from now.

The roads (thanks, Chuck!) are open as shown...

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fimg837.imageshack.us%2Fimg837%2F779%2Fnorikurasuperrindo2011o.th.jpg&hash=c5aaf654311178c01cdf17d7316c5bb9
 

Yamabushi

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#8
@ProRaceMechanic - Great, I was going to send you a message to see if your were able to ride. I'll be getting out to Tatsuno sometime in the afternoon on Saturday, July 30th, and will hopefully get some sort of shortish ride in that day. I am wanting to hit Norikura on Sunday, and hopefully Utsukushigara Skyline and the Venus Skyline on Monday. I hope we can hook up one or more days.

Additionally, looking forward to whatever advice or other info you have!
 

Yamabushi

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#9
So it looks like this is my plan:

- Saturday, July 30th: Arrive in Tatsuno in the early afternoon. Go for a short ride in the afternoon.
- Sunday, July 31st: Cycle Norikura back to Tatsuno
- Monday, August 1st: Cycle from Suwa-ko to Nagano via the Venus Skyline
- Tuesday, August 2nd: Return to Tokyo. If I've got enough energy left, I'm considering coming back by bike.

ProRaceMechanic, will you be able to ride with me at all?
 
Jan 20, 2009
130
4
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Yokohama
#11
I've been up to Hofukuji pass on route 181(your km 91), and I have seen the road you are planning to take to the same pass and I believe it is dirt/stone /gravel... Will take a look at that map again tonight just to be sure.:bike:
 
Jan 20, 2009
130
4
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Yokohama
#13
Yeah, you might have to take rte 254 to the 12 and bypass hofukuji pass if you want ashphalt...unless it's been paved within the last 5 years!! Too bad though, the hofukuji descent is a moss-filled fun fest.:D:D

Best of luck with it.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
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#16
Hi Pete, sorry for not jumping in earlier. These days I have time to look at the TCC site only quite sporadically. Looks like you must be about to depart, so I hope you see this on time.

The Venus Line is very nice if the weather is good (unfortunately the forecast is not that great to say the least - you need to expect rain up there and not much of a view). Also, I would recommend avoiding it on weekends - the traffic is just completely crazy.

I once wanted to complete the Line just the way you have mapped it out. However, I missed the turn for the 181 and ended up down in Matsumoto before I knew...

Basically, this route 181 does not really exist any longer. It's a rindo overgrown with plants. I would love to try it one day, but definitely only with my cyclocross. I would not recommend you attempt it with your road bike.

The other thing to note is that your route involves an awful lot of climbing - basically more than I have EVER done in any one ride! The reasons are:

- Quite some climbing to get out of the valley up onto the Venus Line

- The Venus Line itself has a lot of up and down, and these are not small rollers, but really quite some climbs

- That climb up to Utsukushigara is quite long

- And then you have another even longer climb up to the r181 turn, from below 1,000m to 1,800m. Coming towards the end of your ride, this is hard! You could avoid this by riding over the gravel path that crosses the Utsukushigara meadows.

- There are more climbs (theoretically) if you made it across route 181.

So net net this is a little crazy and I cannot recommend the route as planned, because of weather, traffic, climbing and "road" condition.

Your Norikura plan looks fine, though again the weather is likely to make it pretty miserable. Norikura even more so than other mountains attracts the clouds and it will likely be pretty cold and windy rain at the top, with no views.

You might want to think about postponing your plans... :(

Your Nagano to Takasaki route looks good (I've done parts of it), but the amount of climbing is not trivial. And once you hit the Kanto plain, it will be a pretty hot slog home...

Good luck!!
 

Yamabushi

Maximum Pace
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#17
Thank you for the feedback, Ludwig!

Obviously, there is nothing I can do about the weather, but The Venus Line leg is planned for Monday, hopefully that will minimize the traffic a bit. Additionally, I plotted this ALT ROUTE as a way around the section I was asking about. To address the excessive climbing, I have some alternative flat routes that I could take from the 104km mark if I find that I don't have the legs for the remaining two climbs. Also, I have the option of getting dropped off up on the Venus Line instead of climbing up to it if I find I don't have the energy.

I realize my plans are rather ambitious, but you don't know if you don't try! And, there are always ways to bailout if need be. :D
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#20
This one should work. And it also saves you this big climb.

R181 is overgrown right from the start - in fact so much you may not even notice it. I missed it and only remembered it later...