A solid day of Japan introduction riding (101km and 2500m) from Takasaki to Kusatsu with two categorized climbs as we headed up and down the valleys of the beautiful Agatsuma area of Gunma. Roads vary from stunning mountain highways to narrow tracks deep through the back-roads.
Kusatsu an amazing traditional onsen town. Stayed at Ryokan Tamura
Day 2 Kusatsu to Hakuba
Having soaked away the pain in the onsets we headed up Mt Shirane through the fog on route to Nagano which included a great descent off Shirane. Wound our way around Nagano through apple orchards and quiet farm roads. Visited a 1500 year old shrine along the way to Hakuba..arriving in the fog and rain.
Accomodation was at a ski lodge called Santana B&B.
Day 3 Hakuba to Norikura
Today was a day of rain which greeted us as we left Hakuba on route to Norikura. Stunning lakeside riding early, driving rain and then a difficult final climb to our excellent accommodation at Northstar Alpine Lodge. Today was 123km with 1550m of climbing…plenty given the rain all day!
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Day 4 Norikura to Matsumoto
Day 4 required some route planning as heavy wind overnight had closed Mt Norikura which was going to be one tough thing to get up. So, after a great nights accomodation it was back on the road in wind and early rain. Nice start with a flat tyre on the descent for Ox. Pleasant ride to Matsumoto, picnic lunch in a park in warmth and then the add on climb was some big challenge up to Mt Ogahana. A varied day and tiring at 125km and 2300m of climbing.
Stayed at Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu
Day 5 Matsumoto to Lake Shirakaba
The start of this day is very painful but once done is masochistically satisfying. A brain busting 4km at average 15% awaits shortly after the start. Ride a straight line if you can or just zig zag up it as I did. There is no fun in this section! Beyond this challenge there is some very pretty riding and a wonderful descent into Lake Shirakaba. 69km with 1900m of climbing…punchy!
Stayed at Kimimatisou
Day 6 Lake Shirakaba to Mt Fuji (Fujikawaguchiko town)
Left the very pretty Lake Shirakaba early as we had 150km to cover which starts with a magnificent descent phase. Lots of lumpy bits as well for the first 100km and then the one significant climb on Motosu Muchi before bursting into the most magnificent view of lakes below and Mt Fuji in the background. A fun town to spend the final couple of nights in as well.
Stayed at Yoshimura
Strava Map https://www.strava.com/activities/1192586956
Day 7 The final day and a big one
This is billed as the big one with 2 climbs of Mt Fuji. Due to time we did Skyline and a few went up went up Azami part way. Me, I had an ice cream and waited!! First climb up Skyline is tough coming at then of a demanding week of cycling. Around 30km of climbing and 1800m gained. Some were spent after this. A great loop, very tiring and then very rewarding final coffee, dinner and beer. 140km plus or minus and 2800-3400m depending on the options you take!!
Strava Map https://www.strava.com/activities/1194144138