Machida to Niigata questions

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#1
Planning a summer biking excursion from the west side of Tokyo to Niigata. For those folks who've done this, a couple questions...

I don't care about speed and am hoping to find nice roads that aren't too busy with traffic, and make frequent stops to explore interesting things along the way. So... would I be better to go up to Ome and take 299 towards Chichibu and onward, (faster but perhaps not as scenic) or.... bike over to the Arakawa and meander up toward Niigata that way? It would be a bit further, but I've never been over to the Arakawa and a bike book I bought says there are some nice things to see along the Arakawa. Advice?

Second question... I'll be doing this in summer. I plan on camping mostly with the occasional stop at pensions when convenient. I have a tent and am hoping to get away with no sleeping bag... just a liner. If I camp in the mountains, will that be enough warmth for evenings?

Finally, rain gear. I have the heavy duty stuff and some lighter stuff. I generally don't mind long periods of riding in the rain ( a couple hours) so figure the light stuff would work. OTOH, I've never tried to ride for 5 or 6 hours in the rain and wonder if that might be a better choice. So, you old hats, best to take the heavier stuff or the light stuff?

Thanks in advance.
 
Nov 16, 2009
35
3
18
Vancouver, Canada
#4
Similar journey in 2010

I rode from Tokyo to Niigata last fall (as per my previous query of "Two Canadians to tour Chubu and Tohoku in 2010" on this site) on my way to Aomori and the Shimokita Hanto. We rode along the Arakawa as per the route suggested by Takashi Niwa in his "Cycling Japan: 10 of the Best Rides" and which was followed by Alan W. However, we deviated from his route at Ueda City and took route 144 and then route 35 which involved some climbing. We then descended and joined up with a cycle path along the Chikuma river and ended the day in Yudanaka which is a quaint onsen town and site of a famous bathing monkey park. After Yudanaka, we overnighted in Ojiya prior to arriving in Niigata. I'm working on a blog of my tour that I hope to post on this site shortly and which will have some more details.:)
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#5
How many days/nights do you want to spend and what part of summer?
Probably early August... Plan to get to Niigata in 2 or 3 days then do the Noto peninsula. Depending on my mood and how much I like the roads/traffic, I'll either bike back or take the train back to Tokyo. Something like 10 days plus or minus 1 or 2.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#6
Check out this blog by AlanW - He and Naomi rode there along Arakawa cycling-road and various other CRs along the way.
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/blog.php?b=51

You could also take Rte.17 all the way, but I can tell you, it's not very "scenic" - Alan's course will give you far more to look at.
Thanks for the link. Very nice report. Kind of backs up the info in the book I have (10 best rides). Might just be worth it to get over to the Arakawa and take advantage of all those cycling roads.
 
Jan 13, 2010
39
0
16
Victoria, BC
#8
I drove Rt 17 several times from Gunma-ken and it is UGLY. Avoid at all costs.

In 2005, I did Rt 299 from Saku to Hidaka and that was nice. (Historical note: It goes past the site of the 1995 JAL123 crash site.)

Last summer I rode from Ojiya to Yuzawa then cheated and took the train to Minakami. The ride from Minakami is nice and I did a side trip from Numata up to Fukiware Falls (a favourite). In Shibukawa you can get on a cycling road that goes along the Tone through Maebashi, Isesaki and points beyond.

I might do a C2C ride this summer too and I'm wondering about doing Tamagawa CR then Rt 53 up to Rt 299. Rts 45 and 51 past Myougi-san (stop for a hike) then join up with Niwa-san's route over Usui Pass (184 curves IIRC).

I just hope the rainy season isn't too bad this year. :(
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#9
I drove Rt 17 several times from Gunma-ken and it is UGLY. Avoid at all costs.

In 2005, I did Rt 299 from Saku to Hidaka and that was nice. (Historical note: It goes past the site of the 1995 JAL123 crash site.)

Last summer I rode from Ojiya to Yuzawa then cheated and took the train to Minakami. The ride from Minakami is nice and I did a side trip from Numata up to Fukiware Falls (a favourite). In Shibukawa you can get on a cycling road that goes along the Tone through Maebashi, Isesaki and points beyond.

I might do a C2C ride this summer too and I'm wondering about doing Tamagawa CR then Rt 53 up to Rt 299. Rts 45 and 51 past Myougi-san (stop for a hike) then join up with Niwa-san's route over Usui Pass (184 curves IIRC).

I just hope the rainy season isn't too bad this year. :(
I'm not doing Rte 17, I think. The Tamagawa CR to 53 then 299 is faster than cutting over to the Arakawa (I'd use highway 15 and catch the Arakawa north of Tokyo). But the Arakawa/Tome route looks nicer from the standpoint of more CR's, less traffic, and nice things to see along the way. Who knows... I might just do the C2C using different routes coming and going so I can compare.

Enjoy your ride this summer. Looks like rainy season has already started, so maybe by August we'll have good weather.
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#10
plan on doing C2C stupidity ride in a couple of weeks. Rough route is similar to Alan's blog... Leave Tokyo about 3 am, go up Arakawa CR up to about Kumagaya; hop on rt 17 to Takasaki ; hang a left at rt 18, climb up to Karuizawa; go downhill and hit Chikuma river CR (at around UEDA); pass Nagano then into Iyama (all on Chikuma river); hang a left at rt 292 and roll into Naoestsu. Plan then is to train home w/in same day. Ride is about 340km with 1700 m of climbing (i hate climbing).
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#12
plan on doing C2C stupidity ride in a couple of weeks. Rough route is similar to Alan's blog... Leave Tokyo about 3 am, go up Arakawa CR up to about Kumagaya; hop on rt 17 to Takasaki ; hang a left at rt 18, climb up to Karuizawa; go downhill and hit Chikuma river CR (at around UEDA); pass Nagano then into Iyama (all on Chikuma river); hang a left at rt 292 and roll into Naoestsu. Plan then is to train home w/in same day. Ride is about 340km with 1700 m of climbing (i hate climbing).
I'm impressed. You're hard core. I'm just an old duffer in awe of you younguns. If I were 20 years younger and had good knees, I'd give you a run for your money. :p
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#14
yep, was inpired by YellowGiant's pne day solo act of stupidity (SSSS) and did it solo last year in early April in a day.. big mistake because it was dark and -5 going up to Karuisawa, and plenty cold on Niigata side of the mountains... in the end its all about how may stupid things you've done... and this one was up there. This year I've found a few guys just as dumb... most of us around 50 years old. Slightly smarter this year and doign this in May (get lighter much earlier). Good to know that stupidity is part of DNA and does not diminsh with age.