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Recommended guides for short touring trip this June


Mar 17, 2024
Hi all, will be in Yokohama for a conference mid June this year. First time in Japan, but experienced traveler (inc. Asia) and long-time cyclist (road, gravel, MTB).

Since I'm there for work but will have a week extra, I was thinking of finding a guide/rental setup for a 3-6ish day tour. I can ride solo with a rental road/gravel bike, or with a good guide. But my days are specific to the week June 22-28th plus or minus a day or two.

I was thinking of riding around Nagano area, the "Alps" -- but open to suggestions. I'd love to get some traffic light/free roads or gravel paths, onsen and ryoken, good climbs and descents. So any guides/rental shops in that area would be welcome -- plus of course tips on routes.

https://biketourjapan.com/ashikaga-self-guided/ - My wife works occasionally with Bike Tour Japan as a guide. You can't do a rental only situation from them, but you can do a self-guided tour which could include a bike rental. Of course they also give a lot of support with routes, accommodation, etc.

There are also some services in Japan that do bikes only, like https://roadbikerentaljapan.com/ - I personally don't know anything about their business, I've just come across it online.

My wife and I have done many multi-day trips we refer to as "bike glamping". We take all of our own gear, but typically stay in hotels / ryokan. https://www.ramblingramsbothams.com/blog/the-matsumoto-bike-tour - On this trip we went from our home in Ishikawa, through Nagano and back. I think focusing on that area is a great idea. Nagano is one of my favorite places to ride. Look into Kiso District with climbs like Ontake. There's also the Venus Line up above Matsumoto from around Lake Shirakaba. Kind of like the US's Blue Ridge Parkway.
Try Tim Smith in the mtns of Gunma: (more options top left)

And this one, that I have no experience with, but have seen mentioned here.

I don't know if you are fixed up yet, but I can thoroughly recommend this company for guided tours: https://www.cyclingjapan.jp/

I have used them on 3 occasions for small group tours with students both before and since Covid, and they have always been excellent. They have English speaking guides, support vehicles etc - very professional set up. The company is owned by a really nice guy called Ken.

I see they have this tour scheduled for June, which might suit you: https://www.cyclingjapan.jp/2024Tohoku9days-CJ.pdf

Otherwise, they can do bespoke tours as well.

Best wishes,
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