Nagoya to Nagano to Lake Biwa

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#1
Hi,
Thank you for all the information many helpful people have provided me to get from Tokyo to Nagoya. Since my last post, I have decided to continue all the way to Lake Biwa in Kyoto. I have seperated the trip into 3 days of riding. Starting in Toykyo, first night in Nagoya, second night in Nagano and finally in Kyoto (Lake Biwa) where I will meet my wife.

First Leg: Tokyo - Nagano (Chino)
Take a train to Chichibu and ride to Nagoya via R299. Find a place to spend the night and head off the next morning to Nagano.

Second Leg: Nagoya (Chino) - Nagano (out-skirts)
From Chino, I was planning to use R152 (Tsuetsuki Pass, Tsuetsuki Highway) and connect to R49. From R49, I was planning to connect with R210 than maybe R18 and somehow try to navigate through the city.

Third Lake: Nagano (Outskirts to Lake Biwa)
Open to suggestions.

I hope anyone can help me out. I am really looking forward to this trip and would like to have a large collection of photos and videos to remember and show the rest of the family.

Thanks in advance

Cheers,
Jon
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#3
I think you are confusing Nagano and Nagoya - just be prepared for different signage.
Thank you Ludwig. You are absolutely correct.

R299 from Tokyo to Nagano and possibly route 152 from Nagano to Nagoya outskirts. I did not want to enter the city area of Nagano because I think I would get quite lost besides I don't fancy cities too much. I plan to skirt around Nagoya over the top and swing back down cycling along the shore of Lake Biwa.

Jon
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#5
Pretty suicidal if you ask me. Route 299 from Hanno up until and through the tunnel is horrible - lots of trucks that will overtake you into oncoming traffic around curves, and the lanes are not wide enough for all of you. The downhill part into Chichibu is a bit better because you can flow with the traffic for most of it (if you are fast).

Your Day 1 also has a lot of climbing - and every pass involves a strongly increasing amount of climbing. Your last climb of the day takes you from the Chikuma valley at around 800m to a pass of almost 2,200m!

Day 2 is a full day on horribly busy national roads.

I don't know the roads on Day 3, but many look rather busy too.

I can't really recommend this trip...
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#6
Pretty suicidal if you ask me. Route 299 from Hanno up until and through the tunnel is horrible - lots of trucks that will overtake you into oncoming traffic around curves, and the lanes are not wide enough for all of you. The downhill part into Chichibu is a bit better because you can flow with the traffic for most of it (if you are fast).

Your Day 1 also has a lot of climbing - and every pass involves a strongly increasing amount of climbing. Your last climb of the day takes you from the Chikuma valley at around 800m to a pass of almost 2,200m!

Day 2 is a full day on horribly busy national roads.

I don't know the roads on Day 3, but many look rather busy too.

I can't really recommend this trip...
Thanks Ludwig. Perhaps I should start the trip from Chichibu instead of Hanno via R299?
On the other days, I will have to come up with an alternative plan I suppose. Definitely open to suggestions at this point.

Jon
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#7
I was studying the map of Japan again and thought a coastal route might be safer? I remember reading a blog of someone riding the coastal route. to Kyoto. Is this a better route to Lake Biwa?

Thanks
Jon
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#9
The coastal route works, but I would still recommend trying to avoid national roads and sticking to smaller roads. That should be possible for most of the way.

Also note that you will have headwind all the way - if you have the option of doing this route the opposite way, you will find it much easier.

BTW, it is of course also possible to choose a route through the mountains that minimizes busy roads and at least extreme amounts of climbing. I can help you with that but would need to know what your "limits" are, esp. three days in a row.
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#10
The coastal route works, but I would still recommend trying to avoid national roads and sticking to smaller roads. That should be possible for most of the way.

Also note that you will have headwind all the way - if you have the option of doing this route the opposite way, you will find it much easier.

BTW, it is of course also possible to choose a route through the mountains that minimizes busy roads and at least extreme amounts of climbing. I can help you with that but would need to know what your "limits" are, esp. three days in a row.
Thanks for the advice Ludwig. I kind off guessed that I will have head wind most of the way, but the route is almost completely flat. I thought of taking an alternate route passing Mt Awagatake from Shimada for a change in scenery and reconnect with R1 later. Regarding national roads, I agree that using less busy streets would be ideal and I suppose I will find them along the way as I go. I should probalby load the maps onto my GPS as well to be safe.
Well, to be honest, there aren't many mountains in Australia unlike Japan. I am a fairly good climber due to my small frame and ride about 400km to 500km a week, mainly commuting to and from work and some longer rides squeezed in between. I probably average between 4-4.5km a week elevation gain but not a long climb like the last mountain on R299. I wanted to give it a go because I have never done it before. I could still do the cliimb on a different day and ride to Lake Biwa using the coastal route. A ride up to Lake Suwa on R299 and a train back down or something. I am sure I will not be able to go there and back in a day or even two.

I saw some of the beautiful cycling you did around Nagano. The views were beautiful.

Jon
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#11
That's still pretty strong, so a mountain route would probably be doable. Let me know how you want me to help further.

The coastal route will have some nice views in some places, but most of it will be rather boring. It's the sort of thing you want to do if you just want to prove you can ride all the way to Lake Biwa. You could do it easily in two days rather than three days.
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#12
That's still pretty strong, so a mountain route would probably be doable. Let me know how you want me to help further.

The coastal route will have some nice views in some places, but most of it will be rather boring. It's the sort of thing you want to do if you just want to prove you can ride all the way to Lake Biwa. You could do it easily in two days rather than three days.
Thanks. I figured that the coastal route might get abit boring after a while.
A suitable route from Lake Suwa to Lakek Biwa would be great. I gather I should avoid any route with tunnels. Tunnels are rare in Australia and cyclist are not permitted in them anyway.
What would you recommend as a doable route from Lake Suwa Lake Biwa. I will probably like to do it in two days so a mid stop somewhere would be nice. The mid stop will depend which route you recommend I guess.

Thanks again
Jon
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#13
So here is what you could do:

Day 1: from central Tokyo to Matsubarako. No need to take a train. All pleasant roads. About 2,600m of climbing, 200km.

There is a place at the lake where Tom and I have stayed. No fancy accommodation, but not expensive either. Of course they don't speak English I would think.

Day 2: over the big pass into Chino, then along the Tenryukawa valley to Iida, from there over a big pass into Tsumago. All pleasant roads. About 2,400m of climbing, 180km. There is a longer version with more climbing if you take route 152 part of the way - which makes for some variation from the long Tenryu valley.

Stay in Tsumago which is a very famous postal town. Lots of tourists, but worth the visit. Plenty of accommodation, also for non-Japanese speaking people there (but I would think not as cheap as staying on Matsubarako).

Day 3: from there along the river towards Biwako. You will need to select less busy roads and it should be 160km in total, with little climbing other some up and down than a few hundred meters to visit the other famous postal town at the start of the day (if you want).

So all in all very doable with your background. I can map out Days 1 and 2 for you if you promise you will actually do it. I don't know the roads for Day 3 so your guess as to which roads will be how busy and scenic will be almost as good or bad as mine.
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#14
Thanks for taking the time to help me out. Its greatly appreciated. If you do visit Australia, I would be more than happy to help you out. I have ridden much of Melbourne to Sydney via the coastal route.

So here is what you could do:

Day 1: from central Tokyo to Matsubarako. No need to take a train. All pleasant roads. About 2,600m of climbing, 200km.

There is a place at the lake where Tom and I have stayed. No fancy accommodation, but not expensive either. Of course they don't speak English I would think.

My wife said she would write a note for me to pass to the owner of the place to tell them what I need. My Japanese is really quite poor and I would struggle if they had a strong ascent. I struggle trememdously trying to understand my brother-inlaw when he speaks in Osaka-Ben.

I checked out the location on Google Maps and it looks nice. What is the best route to get there? I assume R299 is not the route? I might still take a train from a place outside the main city areas to avoid getting lost in the city
.


Day 2: over the big pass into Chino, then along the Tenryukawa valley to Iida, from there over a big pass into Tsumago. All pleasant roads. About 2,400m of climbing, 180km. There is a longer version with more climbing if you take route 152 part of the way - which makes for some variation from the long Tenryu valley.

Stay in Tsumago which is a very famous postal town. Lots of tourists, but worth the visit. Plenty of accommodation, also for non-Japanese speaking people there (but I would think not as cheap as staying on Matsubarako).
I had a look at Google Map and I could work out a way to get to Iida which is route 19 followed by 18? Is that right? I could not find Tsumago on the map, but I found Nagiso, which I discovered was close by. From Iida, do I take Route 8 and connect to 256. I can cross the 256 and ride parallel to 256 through the residential area for a bit towards Nigaso.

This is the route I had in mind
http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/53303322



Day 3: from there along the river towards Biwako. You will need to select less busy roads and it should be 160km in total, with little climbing other some up and down than a few hundred meters to visit the other famous postal town at the start of the day (if you want).
This is the route I had in mind
http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/53305686/?new_route=1
What do you think? The only problem I see with this route is that I could get lost with al the twisting and turning.


So all in all very doable with your background. I can map out Days 1 and 2 for you if you promise you will actually do it. I don't know the roads for Day 3 so your guess as to which roads will be how busy and scenic will be almost as good or bad as mine.
Thanks for the offer. If you could help me out with Day 1 and comment or improve on Day 2 and 3 that would be great.
What is the road surface like? I was planning t bring 3 spare tubes, would that be sufficient?
Do you have the name of the accomodation at Matsubarako?

Thanks
Jon
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#15
Other possibilities.

IF, you're still OK with the train option, I'm pretty sure that for "Day-1", Rte.299 is the best option.
As long as take the train to Chichibu, and not Hanno - This would allow you to ride all the way to Chino on the first day.

If you ride from central Tokyo, as Ludwig suggested, his course will probably by-pass the "dangerous" section of Rte.299, near Hanno, and take you to the other side of the tunnel, near Chichibu. But you would not be able to ride to Chino - You'd have to stop / stay at Matsubarako.

If you make it to Chino, I would suggest taking Rte.19 to Ena.

If you make it as far as Ena, here is a possible route for day 3.

Ludwig' options will no doubt have much less traffic though.
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#16
IF, you're still OK with the train option, I'm pretty sure that for "Day-1", Rte.299 is the best option.
As long as take the train to Chichibu, and not Hanno - This would allow you to ride all the way to Chino on the first day.

If you ride from central Tokyo, as Ludwig suggested, his course will probably by-pass the "dangerous" section of Rte.299, near Hanno, and take you to the other side of the tunnel, near Chichibu. But you would not be able to ride to Chino - You'd have to stop / stay at Matsubarako.

If you make it to Chino, I would suggest taking Rte.19 to Ena.


If you make it as far as Ena, here is a possible route for day 3.

Ludwig' options will no doubt have much less traffic though.
Thanks for the input. The Day 3 seems not to different from the route I decided to use. The road running long the Kiso River does not appear to be busy since it is not densly populated and does not appear to have many buildings on the north side of the river.
For Day 1, I thought taking a train to Chichibu and riding along R299, but turning off at Route 124 which will connect to Route 2 where I can continue on to Koumi. There seems to be interesting accomodation at Matubarko which makes for a shorter first day or I could continue to Chino as you suggested. However, I think I wold prefer to take Route 480 pass Matsubarako which will reconnect with R299.
Hows that sound?

Jon
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#17
I suggested staying at Matsubarako rather than Chino because

- Chino is not such a great place that one needs to stay there

- Doing the biggest climb at the end of the day will always be hard, even if starting the ride in Chichibu

- There is no need to go as far as Chino because there are still two days left to do what in the end is not that much distance and climbing

- Getting to Chichibu by train will take up to three hours - not the nicest start to a three-day ride

Anyhow, if you want to do my suggested route, I'll provide the tracks later today and accommodation info.
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#18
I suggested staying at Matsubarako rather than Chino because

- Chino is not such a great place that one needs to stay there

- Doing the biggest climb at the end of the day will always be hard, even if starting the ride in Chichibu

- There is no need to go as far as Chino because there are still two days left to do what in the end is not that much distance and climbing

- Getting to Chichibu by train will take up to three hours - not the nicest start to a three-day ride

Anyhow, if you want to do my suggested route, I'll provide the tracks later today and accommodation info.
Thanks Ludwig. I appreciate that. 3 hrs on the train !!!!! I doubt I will survive 1 hr in the train. I would hate to navigate through a busy city but be on the bike as soon as possible. I will be travelling very light. Just a back pack with essentials.

What is the steepest sections I would have to encounter? If there is nothing rediculously steep like >15% over 3 to 5 km, I should be good with current bike set up.

Jon
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#19
What is the steepest sections I would have to encounter? If there is nothing rediculously steep like >15% over 3 to 5 km, I should be good with current bike set up.
I'm not sure such a thing exists in Japan. Japan has steep sections around 12% on some roads, but they rarely go for more than a few hundred meters. I haven't done the climb out of Iida to Tsumago, but all other passes on the route I am suggesting are not infamously steep. Some are just long, but at a manageable gradient.

What is your gearing?

BTW, I do my 2-3 day rides always without rucksack as conbinis and accommodation provide basically everything one needs. Thanks to the yukata one gets, it's possible to wash one's wear and let it dry over dinner and sleep.
 

silkishuge

Warming-Up
Sep 23, 2011
56
0
0
Sydney
#20
I'm not sure such a thing exists in Japan. Japan has steep sections around 12% on some roads, but they rarely go for more than a few hundred meters. I haven't done the climb out of Iida to Tsumago, but all other passes on the route I am suggesting are not infamously steep. Some are just long, but at a manageable gradient.

What is your gearing?

BTW, I do my 2-3 day rides always without rucksack as conbinis and accommodation provide basically everything one needs. Thanks to the yukata one gets, it's possible to wash one's wear and let it dry over dinner and sleep.
Thanks for the tip. The only thing I will carry is my runners, medicine, passport, camera and maybe a t-shirt and jeans, but with the Yukata, I could probably get away with not bringing any clothes other than what I wear. I will also be brining along charger for GPS and batteries. I should be fine with the weight. I will also be brining my mini video camera (literally the size of a gum) to share some of the footage with my wife and show her what she is missing out on. The video camera is invaluble in Sydney as many motorist aim for us like its a game.

My chain ring is 53/39 and lowest gearing is 39-26.

Jon