Tokyo to Nagano - route recs?

bawbag

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Mar 20, 2013
430
244
63
Tokyo
#1
Been invited to visit my friend's hometown in Hara, Nagano.
As I've been off the bike for six weeks and have a few more weeks to go before I'm allowed to get back on the old pushrod, I'm going to spend my time constructing the best route to get there. I want it to be as scenic as possible, and from what I can tell, Takaosan > Uenohara would be nice without being vein-poppingly hard on the old climbing front. I like a challenge, but I should take it a bit easy on my first proper post-injury ride, methinks.

This is my first effort:

Any of you fine people have any input on this? The only concern I have is the tunnel at the 90km mark. It gives me bad memories of the 299 tunnel; couldn't breathe, unbearably loud and frankly slightly terrifying.
 

Bartek

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Jun 28, 2010
248
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118
Chchibu
ewaandbart.webtobiz.net
#2
My recommendation is to go through Chichibu. Tokyo - Chichibu across Shiraishi toge. From Chichibu follow R299 to Ueno in Gunma. Then from there across Jikkoku toge still following R299. And finally across Mugikusa toge (still R299) and you're in Chino. This is probably the best option if you like mountains, but don't like cars. If you choose this route let know, so either I or someone else on this forum will navigate you across Jikkoku toge as there are some detours that must be made. Good luck!
 
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May 22, 2007
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#3
Been invited to visit my friend's hometown in Hara, Nagano.
As I've been off the bike for six weeks and have a few more weeks to go before I'm allowed to get back on the old pushrod, I'm going to spend my time constructing the best route to get there.
The "best" route will depend on the weather, and the time of day too. How many more weeks? The Yamanashi valley is boiling hot on a summer's day.
I or someone else on this forum will navigate you across Jikkoku toge as there are some detours that must be made.
A few of us (atop Wada last weekend) were talking about Jikkoku-toge and the fact that none of us had ever been there. Do please tell about the detours...
 
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Bartek

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Jun 28, 2010
248
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Chchibu
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#4
A few of us (atop Wada last weekend) were talking about Jikkoku-toge and the fact that none of us had ever been there. Do please tell about the detours...
There is actually one detour. The R299 between Ueno-mura and Jikkoku-toge has been closed for almost 2 years now due to a massive landslide. However, you can still reach the pass via an alternative road. After passing through Ueno-mura you will get to Y junction.

Going right (R299) will take you to Jikkoku-toge or Shimonita town (if you turn right later up the road).

If you go left towards Budou-toge you will have 2 options, 1 - to enter Nagano across Budou-toge if you keep going straight or if you turn right off the main road at about 2 or 3 km passed the Y junction you will reach the Jikkoku-toge.

Anyway, please take a look at the map. I'm sure it is much clearer than my explanation -

 

Bartek

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Jun 28, 2010
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Chchibu
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#5
And here's the route I recommend to take if you wanna cross over to Nagano, but don't like national highways with millions of cars and the hot sun hitting you all day long. The route is scenic as well as it will take through some villages in the Chichibu region where you will feel as if travelled back in time. As for the initial stage between Tokyo and Shiraishi-toge, please refer to other threads or wait for the recommendations of people from the Tokyo side of the hills. If you don't mind company for a part of this route in the Chichibu region let me know. Good luck.

 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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#6
Thanks for the route, Bartek! I am considering riding out to either Chino or Shiojiri in Nagano before the July 27/28 HFC Norikura weekend (depending on the weather and other factors) and your route will give me another option to avoid R20 (which I'm not a great fan of).

Before I was thinking about either:
Tim (GSAstuto) will probably also ride out there, but knowing our relative speeds I think I'll be more comfortable leaving several hours before him and then I might as well pick a different route.
 

bawbag

Maximum Pace
Mar 20, 2013
430
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63
Tokyo
#7
Thanks everyone!

I guess I haven't really ridden past Chichibu before; once I arrive I generally have a ghetto 100yen ice cream from the vending machine at the station, then hightail it back to Tokyo. I do enjoy riding the 299 for the most part. Certainly after that blasted tunnel the descent into Chichibu is great fun, anyway. The climbs are pretty sedate too, which is good for my totally out-of-shape body. Bartek; I very may well take you up on the offer of company in the Chichibu area. That would be a nice boost to the journey!

H-F Mike; I am indeed trying to avoid sweating like satan's ballsack in Yamanashi, so I'm aiming for the very end of August when hopefully the temperatures will have subsided a tad. Not likely, but beggars, choosers and all that.

I may need to scout out a more suitable chainring and sprocket for the journey than the HTFU setup I've been riding on thus far - a 42-23.
 

Bartek

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Jun 28, 2010
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Chchibu
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#8
Thanks for the route, Bartek! I am considering riding out to either Chino or Shiojiri in Nagano before the July 27/28 HFC Norikura weekend (depending on the weather and other factors) and your route will give me another option to avoid R20 (which I'm not a great fan of).

Before I was thinking about either:
Tim (GSAstuto) will probably also ride out there, but knowing our relative speeds I think I'll be more comfortable leaving several hours before him and then I might as well pick a different route.
No problem. This is the best choice to cross into Nagano. The R20 from Kofu in Yamanashi as well as 2 routes further north - R254 from Fujioka (Gunma) and R18 between Takasaki and Karuizawa are infested with trucks.

Also, the section on this map where the route crosses to Gunma-ken could be also tweaked a bit more as there are at least 2 other relatively quiter roads going across the mountains from Ogano-machi on Saitama side to Kanna-machi in Gunma. However, R299 is not bad at all as far as traffic is concerned especially on weekdays.

When do you plan this ride? I would like to join you for a part of it if you don't mind company.

Thanks everyone!

I guess I haven't really ridden past Chichibu before; once I arrive I generally have a ghetto 100yen ice cream from the vending machine at the station, then hightail it back to Tokyo. I do enjoy riding the 299 for the most part. Certainly after that blasted tunnel the descent into Chichibu is great fun, anyway. The climbs are pretty sedate too, which is good for my totally out-of-shape body. Bartek; I very may well take you up on the offer of company in the Chichibu area. That would be a nice boost to the journey!
The R299 is enjoyable but only from Chichibu. From Hanno up to the tunnel and then the tunnel itself are terrible places to ride, but then again I'm not from Tokyo and are not used to heavy traffic. Still I would rather ride across Shiraishi-toge as suggested on the map or n the other side of R299 through Oueme and Neguri and then across Yamabushi-toge.

As for the easiness of the route, please do not judge it by the profile. It may look easy as it is pretty much stretched on this map. In reality it is harder when it comes to steepness than the R20 through Yamanashi or any major routes going to Nagano from Gunma-ken (R254 and R18). But then on these smaller roads you can hear birds chirping, see wildlife, beautiful scenery and pass across beautiful old villages where time stands still. I think it is a good trade off.

Also, I doubt the temperatures in August will be any lower. I think you'd have to wait until October to experience cooler temps in this country. But there will be plenty of clean streams running by the road where you can cool yourself down and even springs where you can fill your drinking bottles. Anyway, let me know when you plan to do the ride and if I'm in town I will be more than happy to join you.
 

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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#10
I've ridden out to Nagano a few times and will actually be doing it again next month. HERE is a very nice route I've done from Chichibu, and HERE is an equally nice one from Takasaki. The route I'm planning on next month will start in Chichibu and will go out via Budou-toge instead of Jikkoku-toge, see HERE.
 
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