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Tokyo Best Position


Oct 5, 2009
Greetings, Tokyo Cycling Club. Longtime lurker, first time poster. I'm an American from Los Angeles and have been doing road cycling since coming to Japan in 2007.

I have a question for you: if money, work, and family were not issues, where in Tokyo would you choose to live in order to facilitate your cycling training or experience?

I'm a single freelancer in two industries that basically necessitate moving to Tokyo from Kochi, where I enjoy all kinds of road cycling. There, I have steep mountains, gentle slopes, wide-open riverside roads, and flat coastal routes spreading out from my apartment like spokes on a giant wheel, each one beckoning every time I strap up.

I'd like to have those options as much as possible when I move to Tokyo, but having never seen or ridden the Tamagawa, Arakawa, or Edogawa courses or the mountains they lead to (?), I beg your advice.

What place in this metropolis will put me close to a regular coastal route, some river riding, and a good toge or two?

The coastal route is probably the most important for me since I can't tell by looking at the maps where a decent, uninterrupted stretch of good biking road might be (please tell me there is one!).

I'm looking forward to some of the routes and events I've read about on this message board. Thank you so much!

Hi Mac,

If you like moutains and longish hills - west Tokyo is your choice. I am in a somewhat similar situation and I stopped my choice on Tachikawa for a number of reasons:
- close to the mountains 15-20km to many mountain entry points (such as Ome, Itsukaichi, Takao, Hashimoto)
- Tamagawa / Asakawa cycling road is very close to the station
- Showa memorial park with "bike-only" circuit (paid entrance)
- many train lines including shinkansen, so getting to a remote place is not a problem

If you want to have hills at your backdoor, then Hachioji or Haijima are even better (or any of the entry points I mentioned above).
East is east, and west is west...

Hi Mac, and welcome!

It's hard, I think, to have easy access to all terrain from one spot in Tokyo.

As Sergey says, for big, epic climbs, it has to be the west side. The east side only has Mt. Tsukuba, and that's not that big.

If you include the Boso (Chiba) peninsula, though, the east side offers most of everything else. The Tone River valley and Lake Kasumigaura is dead flat, but has nearly empty river paths and lots of good roads for long hammering, as does the Kujukuri coastal plain. Further south, the peninsula is very up-and-down, with a good variety of winding roads and some modest climbs (<5km).

I like very few of the coastal roads in Kanto, they are almost always choked with traffic. That said, the very south of Boso is nice (the "Flower Line" and Shirohama area), and the Kujukuri coast road is okay (but you don't see the sea much).

Not a perfect analogy, but you can compare areas of Kanto to Europe:

Tone River and Kujukuri are like Holland; dead flat, water and windmills (literally). The wind is the challenge.
Narita, Sakura, to Choshi, are kind of like Belgium a la Tour of Flanders; narrow farm lanes, dusty fields, a low escarpment that hides some short but steep climbs.
Boso peninsula is the Ardennes, say, the Amstel Gold Race. Wooded and hilly, never getting really high but always up and down.
Finally, the west side is the Alps or Pyrenees, where the real climbing happens.

If I had my choice where to be, I'm not sure where I'd pick. Most of the active TCCers are out west, and so that's where most of the rides are... I often wish I was closer so I could do more of those rides. One the other hand, I've grown to like the variety available out here...
Gentlemen, thank you for your advice! Haven't made my decision yet but you've given me some things to think about.

Winters aren't so cold in Kochi, but I do shut down the serious mountain climbing in late November/early December because of ice on the roads up there. What's it look like in Tokyo and the surrounding area, is it rideable year round?
In the lowlands, it's year-round riding in Kanto. Down on the Boso peninsula, some of the less-trafficked roads that run through forest can, in some years, accumulate ice (two years ago, for eg), but otherwise winters are a non-factor. I think it's a different story for the high mountains out west, but the other guys know much more about that than I do...
In winter it's better to stay away from the mountains. You can still ride there at your risk, but it's best to keep it under 200 meters or so.
A passionate climbing friend of mine broke 2 of his fingers previous winter, when riding in the mountains over icy roads - out of cycling for 2 months :eek:uch:
In winter it's better to stay away from the mountains.

Sergey is right, it can get very icy and dangerous in the hills in winter. That said, if you pick the right days, you can cycle year-round in the mountains around here.

You can usually find a dry, ice-free climb somewhere. Some of my best mountain adventures have been in January. In February, things can get dicier, but climbs can still be had. In March, I start thinking about breaking out my shorts again!

Is this a poorly constructed sentence or should we avoid the rides in March :D

The grammar works for me. Now, if I had written, "...breaking *out* of my shorts...", I could understand your reservations. :)
The grammar works for me. Now, if I had written, "...breaking *out* of my shorts...", I could understand your reservations. :)

Sorry Deej. Forgive my childish attempt at humor. Its been a long week :)
Hey Philip, I hope this week is going better than last! We're overdue for a ride, buddy!

I'm returning to Tokyo after a year of blowing my savings.... (including a new bike:D)

and hoping to land a job that will let me live in West Tokyo near the Tamagawa. I love the mountains. I'd love to have wada-toge at my doorstep. hahaha.

also, in my opinion, non-cycling life is better west side. easier access to party spots in Shibuya ect, later last trains, closer to the pretty beaches.


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