A popular outdoor activity in Japan, cycling is an ideal way to see the amazing country. From huge urban city spaces featuring bike pathways to parks and alleys, beautiful coastal regions, dense forests, and rugged mountains, Japan offers some of the most spectacular cycling routes.
In this guide, we will show you the best trails for biking in Japan. Whether you are a serious racer or a casual cyclist, you should be able to find a route that suits your skill level.
Where to Go Biking in Japan
1. Shimanami Kaido
Widely accepted as one of the best cycling Japan routes, Shimanami Kaido is a 70-kilometer stretch of an expressway that joins the islands of Honshu and Shikoku. While exploring this route with your road bike, you will travel over 6 bridges, cross the Seto Inland Sea, and pass across 6 smaller islands.
You will get to enjoy the view of the Tatara bridge – which is one of the longest bridges in the world – and also explore Seto Inland Sea National Park while journeying from the Hiroshima Prefecture to the Ehime Prefecture. You can also do your biking trip in reverse by traversing the Hiroshima side of Shimanami Kaido and exploring Onomichi and Fukuyama.
In addition to having a lot of sites to explore, the route is hugely practical for cyclists considering that it has 14 cycle docking stations where you can rent and return bikes. The route is also made unique by the fact that it has dedicated sections for pedestrians and the commuter bikes.
Distance: 70 Kilometers
Ideal for: All levels of cycling
2. Tour De Noto
One of the most epic cycling japan routes, Tour De Noto takes riders around one of the biggest peninsulas in Japan. Recommended for hardcore and seriously fit cyclists, the 249-mile route starts in the Kanazawa City and terminates in Toyama Bay.
The route has a landscape that will keep even the most experienced riders on their toes. If you intend to brave the whole route, you should ensure that your bike gears are adjusted perfectly – you will have to use the bike gear levers a lot on this route.
One of the finest seafood production areas in Japan, the peninsula is popular for its abundant nature and breathtaking coastline. On the way, you will come across picturesque, beautifully-preserved small villages and pristine landscapes. You will get to cycle at your own pace past spectacular rock formations, engaging fishing ports, and terraced rice fields.
Distance: 400.7 kilometers
Ideal for: Advanced riders
3. Yoyogi Park
Right in the heart of Tokyo, near Harajuku and Shibuya is Yoyogi Park – a beautiful and enormous wooded park that can offer one of the best cycling experiences. The park is family-friendly and ideal for a relaxed ride – if your kids know how to ride, you can always take them along.
The park features plenty of bike rental options for families, including adult bikes and kid’s mountain bikes. The park has coffee shops and food stalls – you won’t have to worry about bringing food if you intend to ride the whole day.
For nature lovers, cycling through the park in spring will allow you to view the Cherry Blossoms. In autumn, you will get to enjoy beautiful shades of orange, yellow, red, and gold leaves.
Distance: Over 5 kilometers of paved and non-paved paths
Ideal for: All cycling levels and families with children
4. Okawa-Kitakata Cycling Road
Located in the Aizu region, Okawa-Kitakata is a cycling road that stretches for 49 kilometers along the Okawa River, from Aizuwakamatsu to Kitakata. The cycling Japan route is packed with picturesque landscapes, historic scenery, and well-maintained biking trails.
While exploring the cycling route, look out for the beautiful Aizu’s Castle town and the stunning Mt. Bandai, which are known to look extremely appealing during the cherry blossom season.
This route is relatively easy to explore. Even if you just learned how to ride a bike, you should be able to explore almost every section with ease.
Distance: 49 kilometers
Ideal for: All cycling levels
5. Usa to Beppu
Present on Japan’s most southerly island, the route from Usa to Beppu in Kyushu is another beautiful cycling Japan route. Usa is home to one of the most important shrines in Japan, dedicated to Hachiman – the God of War and Archery. Beppu, on the other hand, is a popular hot spring resort town.
To get to Beppu, starting in Usa, you will have to ride your hardtail mountain bike for approximately 25 miles. While the distance might seem long, riders often find the sites extremely appealing – you won’t even know when you arrive in Beppu.
On arriving in Beppu, you can go ahead and check out the Eight Hells of Beppu, which are stunning hot springs for viewing only. You can then relax in one of the many hot water baths, steam baths, or sand baths offered in the city.
Distance: 40 kilometers
Ideal for: Expert riders
6. Awaji Island
Awaji Island is one of the few routes for biking in Japan that can be explored by both beginning riders and experts. The island has a variety of courses and routes – riders can choose the ones that best matches their skill level.
If you have never used your mountain bike on the island before, you can get a special map that is available locally. The map offers a wide range of objectives, ideas, and suggestions for cyclists planning to explore the island. The biking routes on the island have one thing in common – they all share a beautiful coastal scenery that is spread throughout the island.
Distance: 150 Kilometers
Ideal for: Beginning and expert riders
7. Maple Yaba Cycling Road
Utilizing abandoned railway tracks by the mountainside, Maple Yaba is a 36.1-kilometer cycling road that has a lot to offer. The gradient is not very steep – you can take on the trail with a regular touring bike without having to change your gears too much.
From attractive sites like the Yabakei Gorge and a rock tunnel from the Edo period to abandoned platform and old iron bridges, riders get to enjoy a nice time while exploring the route. The natural scenery is very attractive – in Autumn, you will get to enjoy the view of red maple leaves.
Once you put on your cycling overshoes and your biking shorts, you will start your cycling just in front of the Nakatsu Station and run along the Yamakuni River. If you did not carry your Aluminum road bike, you can rent a bike at the cycling terminal present at Yabakei Gorge.
Distance: 36.1 Kilometers
Ideal for: Experienced riders
8. Lake Biwa Yoshibue Road
One of the flattest routes in northeast Kyoto, Lake Biwa Yoshibue Road is a 26.2-kilometer cycling Japan route that is ideal for beginners. The trail starts at the Omihachiman railway station where riders can rent bicycles. It goes along the river, and then along Lake Biwa’s shore, allowing riders to explore Japan’s largest lake with an area of 670.4 square kilometers.
The bikepacking trail features numerous historical structures and monuments. Along the way, you will come across numerous remnants of the past, including a huge water wheel and castle ruins. The biking road also allows you to explore the Hachiman Bori waterways that were designated back in 2006 as a crucial cultural property.
Distance: 26.2 kilometers
Ideal for: Beginning riders
9. Sawara and Narita
A small town located near Narita Airport – Japan’s most used and largest international airport – Sawara is a hidden gem for tourists and bike riders. Edo’s atmosphere with the historical district and traditional canal has been well preserved in the town.
While exploring the town on your bike, you will get to enjoy the view of numerous traditional Japanese houses. If you did not carry your bike, you can always rent one at the Tourist Information Center in Sawara town.
A narrow river known as Onogawa River runs through Sawara town. You can enjoy cycling while enjoying the view of the serene waterways that were used as a mode of transport in the Endo Period (between 1603 and 1867). Toyohashi Bridge, over the river, is the highlight of cycling in the town – you can enjoy an impressive view of water falling into the river from this bridge.
Distance: Up to 16 kilometers of biking trails
Ideal for: All cycling levels
10. Nasu – Tochigi Prefecture
For cyclists who are up for a challenge, the mountainous Tochigi region might be a good option. From Tokyo, you can easily access the cycling routes – you will simply need to take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from the Tokyo Station to Nasushiobara Station.
Nasu biking region has a variety of courses and routes – these are ideal for the medium-level to expert level riders. Hardcore and expert mountain bikers can challenge themselves by exploring the towering Mt. Nasutake.
Distance: 19.6 kilometers
Ideal for: Expert riders
Q: How Long Does It Take to Bike Across Japan?
On average, it will take 67 days to bike across Japan. This will, however, be dependent on your riding speed and the paths you choose to follow. If you follow easier paths, you will be able to ride at a higher speed and you might be able to complete your biking trip sooner.
Q: Can You Bring Bikes on Trains in Japan?
In Japan, people are allowed to travel on the train with their bicycles. You can take the bicycle on any train at no extra charge as long as you store the bicycle in a bike bag. Unless the bike frame is foldable, you may need to remove the front wheel to put the bike in the bag. Your bike has to be completely covered in the bag.
Q: How Much Do Bikes Cost in Japan?
A new bike in Japan will cost anywhere from 6,000 yen to 60,000 yen. The price is largely dependent on the type of bike, its features, and its design. In Japan, most people tend to care for their bikes well. Hence, if you are on a budget and you cannot afford a brand new bike, you can always go for a second-hand bike – these are more affordable. The bike will help you save money on transport – this makes the initial cost worth it.
Globo Surf Overview
Featuring easy, flat routes and some challenging uphill biking trails, Japan has a route for every bike rider. All the paths feature spectacular scenery and hidden charms that cyclists can only discover on their bikes.
In this guide, we have shown you the top routes for biking in Japan. If you do not live in Japan and you are planning a trip to cycling Japan, you do not need to travel with your bike. Most of the biking trails have rental bike facilities – you can rent a bike, enjoy exploring the trails, and then return it once you ate done.