alps route japan
japan's toughest tour
14-21 october 2023
8days | 7nights
alps route japan is a tribute to the mountains of japan. covering the high alpine passes, from gunma to nagano, and through the southern alps to finish on the slopes of mt. fuji. if you love riding high on some of the best roads in the world, you will love alps route japan.
everyday is different except that every day is the same as we challenge the best mountains of japan. we designed alps route japan to push the limits and now in its sixth year. 900km, 19000m of climbing stand between you and the satisfaction of completing a hard week on the bike. japan is known for its warrior samurai, do you have what takes to finish alps route japan?
ride with us some on some of the most amazing roads in the world.
it’s not all about riding epic mountains and we want you to experience the best of japanese hospitality, so accommodation is a perfect mix of alpine lodges, traditional ryokans and hotels. everyday is different, and every town is unique. our goal is to amaze you with japan off the bike as much as on.
with breathtaking scenery, challenging riding and plenty of off-bike experiences to enjoy as well, the stage is set for a uniquely rewarding cycling holiday – one you and your legs will remember for a long time to come.
are you up for the challenge?
the alps route japan cycling tour is an advanced tour and requires a high level of fitness and bike handling skill. however, with the full support of a great team, professional guides and the best support you can get all you have to do is the riding, we take care of the rest.
takasaki - prolouge (22km/500m)
we will kick of the tour with an easy afternoon roll around the hills west of takasaki. a good chance to test the bikes and test the legs still work after the flight. hope so, you will need them at the best over the next week!
takasaki - kusatsu (102km/2400m)
the first serious day on the bike, with a hilly course taking the riders deep into the gunma mountains and the waiting onsen (hot spring) town of kusatsu. a few climbs to keep the legs honest, but spectacular scenery and quiet roads should help take the riders minds off the elevation gain. a top first day.
kusatsu - hakuba (130km/2600m)
hopefully the legs got a good soak in the thermal hot springs, as today the riders will tackle the source of the thermals, the mighty hors categorie (hc) mt. shirane. climbing straight out the roykan, the next 20km will take the riders up to 2100m as they twist their way up the slopes of the volcano. it will be worth it, and the views and the ensuing 30km descent into the outskirts of nagano. the day does not end there, after lunch at a 1500year old buddhist temple, the riders will head up valley roads toward hakuba. one last pinch will bring the riders into the western alps where the scenery is as incredible as the roads.
we are in hakuba for two nights, so today arj heads on a loop deep into the mountains. japan is famous for its super smooth highways, but today we uncover the lesser used roads and trace a course through the hills where cyclists rarely go. expect some surprises on route and it certainly would not be arj without a hills or two.
hakuba - matsumoto (135km/3600m)
matsumoto is a ancient castle town and will be our overnight stop, however getting there will not be easy. another very hilly day as we make our way south. several short climbs early on to warm up the legs before the final hc climb up to the 2200m utsukushigahara.
matsumoto - lake shirakaba (65km/1800m)
after a few big days, the riders can enjoy a later start and a shorter course. however, do not be fooled by the distance, as there are some real surprises in store for this short, sharp day over up and over the beautiful venus line and kirigame highland.
climbing straight out of matsumoto, the riders face the 4km / 15% average route 283 climb, an old favorite of the arj course director. there will no doubt be complaints, as not only is it very steep, it is also rough hard pressed concrete, which sort of feels like pave. fun indeed, but the riders will be rewarded with stunning views across the venus line and a fabulous location for the overnight stop at lake shirakaba.
lake shirakaba - fujinomiya (151km/2600m)
today the riders head for the location of the final showdown, mighty mt. fuji. 150km on the agenda as we descend out of the central alps and down through the valley that separates yatsugatake to the north and the southern alps to the south. the first 100kms are mostly downhill and undulating, but this is japan, so a climb is never to far away.the biggest test for the legs will be the motosu -michi climb, an 8km climb that takes us up to the level of the mt. fuji lakes. the mountain itself reigns supreme as the group rolls along the magical lakes that make this region a treat for the eyes and for cycling.
mt. fuji (161km/4500m)
the final day of alps route japan is tough. with more than 750km in the legs and 16,000m of climbing, it is time to push the limits and dig deep to get to the end. this course is designed to test, and alps route is not the toughest cycling challenge in japan for no reason. 160km and 4500m of climbing will push body and mind.the challenges that face are the the two climbs up mt. fuji. yes, two. after an undulating 60km, the riders will face the first test, the mighty mt. fuji skyline road. starting at an elevation of 500m, it is 30km of climbing to the dizzying 5th station at more than 2300m. absolutely unrelenting and the legs will certainly feel the work of the previous week.a nice fast decent, brings the riders to what can only be described as torture, the dreaded and infamous mt. fuji azami line. 12km at an average of 12% gradient. this is where it all matters and the mind needs to be strong. get to the 2300m top of this and enjoy the feeling of beating mt. fuji and alps route japan.we descend off the hill and make the final 30km roll to the accommodation and the awaiting beers and bbq to put an end to sensational week on the bike and in japan.
depart for tokyo
• daily guided rides
• 4* accommodation on each night of the trip
• daily breakfasts and dinners
• sportful custom tour jersey
• ridejapan welcome pack
• bike bag transportation to final destination
what's not included
• daily lunches
• airport transfers
• beverages during tour
• travel insurance
• spare parts and bike supplies
book your trip
once you have decided on a tour, contact us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the tour enquiry form. after completion of the tour application form you have the choice of paying a trip deposit (with the balance due a few weeks before your trip takes place), or paying for your trip in full upfront. in both cases your place on the trip is confirmed at this stage, and we will follow up with more information in due course.
bespoke cycling tours
if you are inspired to ride with us in japan but would like to do so with a private group or on dates of your choice, then we’d be delighted to make that happen. please get in touch with our dedicated travel team to get the conversation started: email@example.com