It is generally well known that outdoor activities and Japan go together like bread and butter. The Land of the Rising Sun can easily be considered as one of the most versatile nation’s in southeast Asia when it comes to exploring new things and experiencing some of nature’s finest. A popular form of transportation in Japan is the bicycle – it’s cheap, significantly faster than walking, reliable, economically friendly and most of all, healthy.
Of course, there are different types of biking. There’s riding a cycle as a form of commute, and then there’s using the bicycle as form of active sport – in this case, mountain biking to be precise.
With its natural diversity, there are many places in Japan where one can use a mountain bike for the purpose it had been built for – to ride around rough terrain, dodge trees and enjoy a rush of excitement. A good place to start would be Nagano and its surrounding region. Nagano is known for its hilly landscape, including a very active wintersport life in the cold months, making it an ideal area.
As with many other Japanese things, there exists variety and appeal to all levels. Beginners can start with the slow and relaxing rides that feature numerous scenic routes around the mountains’ lakes, rivers and occasional villages. The mountain biking scene is also in a state of growth, especially in the Nagano region, creating an influx of related events and competitions for those experienced enough to compete.
For the tourists, however, there are less extreme options and activities available, especially for those wishing to see more of Japan’s nature and tranquil beauty. The easiest way to explore them is to simply book a tour with an operator, which is ideal for groups and families. Some tours go for only a few hours, some last half or whole days and some even offer multi-day events, all depending on what the visitors wish to see and do in their time there. These tours tend to be very affordable and don’t require much in terms of equipment – all that participants need to bring is a good pair of running shoes and the motivation to ride across rural Japan on the back of a bike. All fitness levels can be accommodated for and the tour guides speak a variety of languages, making mountain biking through Nagano a wonderful experience suited for all ages.
First image by saipanquinn.blogspot.com
Second image by evergreen-hakuba.com