Tohoku

Justin

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Nov 12, 2016
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Apologies for such a broad and lazy question: I'm thinking of spending 5 days to a week cycling through parts of Tohoku, and as I've never been to the region and have no idea where to start, I was wondering if anyone here has some particularly good routes they could recommend? A Strava/RidewithGPS link would be fine.

I've done a bit of research, but don't really feel any more enlightened on the subject, or confident that I'm focusing on the best spots.

I'd prefer to rent a car and do self-contained rides each day, as opposed to one continuous route, so that will free me up in terms of where I can go. I'll be taking a road bike, so gravel is out unfortunately. I'm keen for anything in the 80-200km range, with a mixture of terrain, views, minimal traffic -- the usual stuff.

Cheers in advance.
 

Justin

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Nov 12, 2016
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Sorry, I just realised I should have posted this in the Routes forum. I don't suppose the moderators can move it over?
 

kiwisimon

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I live up in Tohoku and TBH I don't think a car is such a good option, It pretty much means all your courses are going to be loops and then driving time is wasted riding time. Aomori and Iwate are great. Book accommodation early and pretty much any road except route 4 and 45 are not too busy.

https://tokyocycle.com/threads/tour-de-tohoku-ii.7799/#post-109462 nice report from a young looking @thomas

https://tokyocycle.com/threads/route-4-revisited-or-22-hours-to-hachinohe.7796/ look at days 5 and 6 for loop days from Hachinohe. (Hachinohe is a days driving from Tokyo or a three hour bullet train ride (hint).

A lot of the Japanese sites are aiming their loop rides at more recreational riders and distances are typically under 45km or much shorter.
 
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Tanki

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Good timing on this thread. I had a weekend in Iwate at the start of the month playing rugby so no bike. My first time in Tohoku. I was struck by the views from the shinkansen, distant mountains and loads of seemingly bike friendly river routes running to the coast. Post match drives to onsen in the hire car were 4 wheel light and I have been thinking I must return with a bike. @kiwisimon what are the coasts like?
 

kiwisimon

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Pacific coast is very up and down and up and down. Travis has a good thread about it
https://tokyocycle.com/threads/4-day-ride-aomori-to-sendai-via-the-pacific-coast.7339
The Sea of Japan side is a lot less so, more rolling.
Pacific Coastviews are worth the effort and Sea of Japan is a bit of a bore except the sunsets. (I may be biased)

The river plain from Morioka to Sendai is likely what you saw but north of Morioka up to Akita and Aomori is also worth exploring.

Rugby in Hachimantai? I play goldie oldies a bit up here.
Kamaishi is hosting Fiji Vs Japan next month as a warm up for RWC. Tickets are like hens teeth. Silly having a World Cup in a 16,000 seat stadium.
 
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Tanki

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Kitakami. It will be the Uruguay RWC base. This year I didn't renew my subs for my local team as I wasn't getting enough game time and signed up with an oldies club. Should have done it earlier, good craic and lots of games. Kamaishi is silly and sentimental but I can run with that.
 
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jdd

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SteveT documented a tour down the "spine" of tohoku maybe 8-10 years ago, just searched a couple ways and was unable to find it.

Can anyone help?
 
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Justin

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Thanks all. Plenty of good stuff to go on. Looks like some great riding up there. Maybe I'll forget the car after all, as per @kiwisimon's advice. Cheers.
 

OreoCookie

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We have plenty of mountains here, which are beautiful. Going up Zao san is probably one of the longest sustained climbs in Tohoku, if you like that sort of thing. If you stick closer to the coast, then it is much flatter, which makes it less interesting to me, but perhaps that is more your sort of thing. Also, now all the mountain passes should be open (some open in mid to late May).
 

Justin

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Thanks @OreoCookie. I'm definitely more interested in mountains than flat coastal routes. Mt Zao looks good. Does it get a lot of traffic?
 

OreoCookie

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On the weekends there are sometimes traffic jams close to the top, but if you go during the week, it should be rather empty. Make sure to bring enough water with you. About 1/3 way to the top there is a rest room, but they have a sign that the water is undrinkable. Close to the top there are enough places to buy food and drinks, so you are not screwed. There is also a side road I'd like to take rather than the direct route, and there is even less traffic there.
 

SteveT

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