Nagano eyes luring tourists with scenic Japan Alps bike route


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Lived there for 8 years and never had a car. Mountain bike everyday at average about 50 km per day. Carried my painting. Spend the days painting. One of the most beautiful places.

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When my kids were small, we stayed in a thatch roofed hotel called, it think Yakimochiya, やきもち家. It was along a mountain road that followed the terrain, half way between the river valley and the mountain tops and linked various mountain villages and high mountain rice farms. Beautiful is an understatement. I wished I had had my road bike with me when I visited for sure. I would put route 401 on my list of places for cyclists and no improvements are needed. BTW, Route 401 is above and to the west of Nagano city and south of the main road to Hakuba from Nagano. Not a fast route at all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I wish I could fix my typos. "..., I think Yakimochiya..."

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I can see it full of Harley Davidsons in the summer.

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I can see it full of Harley Davidsons in the summer.

I'm NOT the one who downvoted you but I would say it isn't the Harley's that would be the problem, but the sports cars. I was up above Tabayama in Yamanashi getting ready to MTN bike and nearly got run over while crossing the highway by a stream of 3-4 very fast curve hugging cars. Terrifying! My impression is that Harley riders are out to enjoy the scenery, unless you have experienced otherwise.

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I experienced riding around Mt Aso in Kyushu. Never again. At least the racing motorbikes have advanced skills, but the part time harley brigade ride in big groups of 20-30. Since my experience, I now rent a car.

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 My impression is that Harley riders are out to enjoy the scenery, unless you have experienced otherwise.

I have, when out enjoying mountain scenery myself. Like all large motorcycles, Harleys are noisy, and groups of them are even noisier. Frankly, they're a bit of a plague.

But from the rider's point of view, just fine if you're not that bothered about what it's like for other people.

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There are no large groups of Harley bikes/riders but there are motorbike groups who ride together in small numbers to large ones, including those huge Honda Goldwings and tri-bikes. The ones who pretend to be cops and dress up with flashing blue lights.

Those bike groups don't usually ride mountain routes, they want people to look at them.

Quite a few times in Nagano I did see various collections of sport cars.

I would ride the mountain tracks all day and never even see a single person just a various numbers of wild animals, including bears and hundreds of snakes. Watch out for bears if you stop.

Most of the route 401 is very narrow passing through villages on the way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NOOOOOOO!!!The mountains is the only thing we have left to enjoy and is clean and

peaceful. Look how trashed out Mt.Fuji has become. I don't even go there anymore.

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Biked along the 254 road from Mochizuki to Saku and back most days for 3 years was beautiful. Also biked to many other parts of the prefecture. There are great areas on the sides of the roads to bicycle on around most of Nagano. Enjoy!

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Great to see a mention of Route 401 on here! It's made my day! Completely idyllic rural Japan. its in Nakajo, an area within the boundary of Nagano City, but to the north-west of the city center. I've not stayed at Yachimochiya, but have been past on my bike. Its a lovely building and you can use the onsen without staying there. On the same road, there is a hilltop shrine with a sugi that is at least 800 years old. The road is narrow and pretty beat up, but its still asphalt and you can ride it on a road bike with 25c tyres. None of that expensive gravel bike nonsense. Just watch out for tree litter etc.

fwiw, that road is north of what is now the main road to Hakuba, the "Olympic Road" or Route 31. It is south of the old Hakuba-Nagano road, the much more scenic 406 that passes through Kinasa.

Getting back to the story, but googling ジャパンアルプスサイクリングロード produces a map that suggests they are just using the most predictable main roads that have plenty of cars on them. They don't even have the best views of the Japan Alps. The cycling map Nagano already produces has a Nagano to Omachi to Hakuba loop that tells people to go through the tunnels on R148 (tons of cars and trucks) at Sanosaka instead of the road below them that is quiet and just happens to be alongside one of the prettiest and cleanest lakes in Japan. This is terrible advice and places people in unnecessary danger. Never, seriously never, ride through a tunnel on a main road with no sidewalk if there is an alternative route. Uphill through a tunnel with trucks whizzing past at 80 km/h is asking for trouble.

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