The best place to go on a bike trip in Japan! Six cycling routes filled with the charms of Japan

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Many people would like to travel around Japan by bicycle, but are unsure of what routes to take, or are worried about whether they can travel safely by bicycle because they do not understand traffic rules, or do not know the best routes to see around the perfect scenic spots in Japan.
For those who are interested, we would like to recommend six cycle routes that have been certified as "National Cycle Routes," which allow tourists to enjoy Japan's spectacular scenery while touring sightseeing spots in various regions.
Let us introduce you to the six cycle routes and their respective highlights.

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"National Cycle Route" allow visitors to tour Japan's attractions safely, securely, and comfortably

Only cycle routes that meet the following five conditions are certified as "National Cycle Route" by the government.

Establishment of Route Safe and attractive route that is able to contribute to the promotion of cycling tourism
Riding Environment Environment in which anyone can ride safely and comfortably without getting lost
Hosting Environment Gateways for cyclists that are accessible via various modes of transport. Rest facilities that cyclists can use and accommodation facilities to stay overnight. Facilities and programs to help cyclists to enjoy the charms of the region as well as systems and facilities for support in an emergency.
Information Dissemination Facilities and systems that offer information that can be easily obtained at any time
Initiative Frameworks The necessary initiative frameworks have been established for maintaining the standard of the cycling environment

Cycle routes certified as "National Cycle Route" allow cyclists to enjoy cycling while sightseeing in Japan's world-class landscapes and spots.
In addition, another attraction of these routes is that they provide a safe, secure, and comfortable environment for cyclists, with rest areas and accessibility via various transportation.
The following six cycle routes are currently designated as "National Cycle Route".

  1. Tokapuchi 400
  2. Pacific Cycling Road
  3. Toyama Bay Cycling Route
  4. Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road
  5. Biwaichi
  6. Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road

If you want to enjoy a real bicycle trip in Japan, we recommend the cycle routes certified as "National Cycle Route," which allow you to enjoy the beautiful nature and townscapes of each of the four seasons, and tour the region while experiencing the local lifestyle and culture.

"Tokapuchi 400" where you can enjoy the magnificent nature of Hokkaido

Let us introduce the attractions and highlights of each cycle route certified as a "National Cycle Route".
First, let's start with the "Tokapuchi 400," a 403-km long core route that links the Tokachi Plain in eastern Hokkaido in a figure-8.

Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost prefecture and offers magnificent natural scenery.
The "Tokapuchi 400" offers a wide variety of scenery, including a mountain route in the north that leads up to Mikuni Pass and the Panoramic Route in the south that offers views of the Hidaka Mountains and vast plains.
If you visit Hokkaido, why not take a bicycle trip on the "Tokapuchi 400" to fully enjoy the magnificent nature?

Three selected attractions of the "Tokapuchi 400"

Among the many spots that can be visited with the "Tokapuchi 400", we have carefully selected three spots where you can fully enjoy Hokkaido's magnificent nature.

1. Lake Yudo (Toyokoro-cho)

A brackish lake located in Toyokoro-cho town in eastern Hokkaido.
The lake, which has a circumference of approximately 19 km, and the surrounding wildflower garden are designated as a cultural asset of the town.
It is a spot where visitors can enjoy the magnificent nature that is the charm of Hokkaido in a tranquil setting.
The beautiful scenery of autumn leaves is also one of the highlights.

Lake Yudo, where you can enjoy magnificent natural scenery
Lake Yudo, where you can enjoy magnificent natural scenery

2. Mikuni Pass

Hokkaido’s highest National Route, the pass rises 1,139 meters above sea level.
The 30-meter-high, 330-meter-long Matsumi Ohashi Bridge and the vast sea of trees are the highlights of Mikuni Pass.
The vast sea of trees around the pass offers beautiful seasonal changes, from the overwhelming fresh green foliage in summer to the autumn colors in fall.
At the top of the pass is the Mikuni Pass Café, where visitors can take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee.

"Mikuni Pass" with a sea of fresh green trees
"Mikuni Pass" with a sea of fresh green trees

3. Manabe Garden

Manabe Garden is a circuit style garden consisting of three themed gardens.
Visitors can enjoy the growing process of thousands of varieties of plant collections that have been collected from all over the world over the past 60 years. There are also new varieties of plants that can only be found here.
Another attraction of the garden is the café where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea while admiring the beautiful garden.

Fresh greenery in Manabe Garden
Fresh greenery in Manabe Garden

Japan's most scenic spots are all over the place! Pacific Cycling Road

This 1,487-km long cycling route runs from Chiba Prefecture along the Pacific coast of Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, and Mie Prefectures to Wakayama Prefecture.
It is the longest of the "National Cycle Route" and is home to many of Japan's world-class scenic spots and tourist attractions, including Mt. Fuji.
This cycling route is recommended for those who can stay in Japan for a long period of time and want to enjoy full-fledged cycling and sightseeing.

Three carefully-selected tourist spots along the Pacific Cycling Road

The Pacific Cycling Road that boasts a long distance of 1,487 km.
With many of Japan's representative tourist and scenic spots, there are too many attractions to introduce in this article alone.
Among the many tourist spots, we will introduce three carefully selected sightseeing spots that you should definitely stop by.

1. Inubosaki

Located at the easternmost tip of the Choshi Peninsula, Inubosaki is a cape with a circumference of about 500 meters that juts out into the Pacific Ocean, and is surrounded on three sides by water on an abrasion platform.
The view of rough waves breaking on the reefs below the steep cliffs is a powerful sight.
It is a popular tourist spot, with the white-sand Kimigahama Beach in the vicinity and the coast with many strange and huge rocks to the south.

A cape surrounded by strange and huge rocks crashed by rough waves
A cape surrounded by strange and huge rocks crashed by rough waves

2. Shonan Beach

Shonan Beach is a coastal area and beach of Sagami Bay located from Chigasaki City to Kamakura City.
National Route 134, which runs along the Shonan Coast, is a great place to enjoy cycling while feeling the sea breeze.
There are also parks and restaurants along the coast, making it a great spot for a stroll or a rest.
The view of "Enoshima island" and "Mt. Fuji" from the Shonan coast is a must-see.

Enoshima Island and Mt. Fuji seen from the Shonan coast
Enoshima Island and Mt. Fuji seen from the Shonan coast

3. Bentenjima Seaside Park

"Bentenjima Seaside Park" is located at the southern entrance to Lake Hamana in western Hamamatsu City. The park is lined with palm trees, and the tropical atmosphere of the promenade gives visitors a resort-like atmosphere. There is also a one-day hot spring where visitors can relax after a hard day's cycling.

"Bentenjima Seaside Park" overflowing with a tropical atmosphere
"Bentenjima Seaside Park" overflowing with a tropical atmosphere

Enjoy alone or with family! Toyama Bay Cycling Course

This is a 102-km long cycling course along the bay coast from Himi City to Asahi Town in Toyama Prefecture. The course has a low gradient, and blue navigator lines are drawn as landmarks, making it safe and secure for cyclists to enjoy.
There is also a "family course" that allows cyclists to tour around museums and tourist spots, making it a great option for those visiting Japan on a family vacation.

3 Selected Sightseeing Spots on the “Toyama Wangan Cycling Course“

The "Toyama Bay Cycling Course" is dotted with spectacular views of Toyama Bay and the majestic Tateyama Mountain Range. We will introduce carefully selected spots where you can fully enjoy the beautiful scenery.

1. Shinminato Bridge

The "Shin-Minato Bridge", one of the largest cable-stayed bridges on the Sea of Japan side, spans Toyama New Port. The total length of the bridge is 3.6 km, including the approach section. The main tower supporting the bridge is 127 m high, and the main bridge section spanning the sea is 600 m long. The bridge offers a spectacular view of the Sea of Japan, the Tateyama Mountain range, and the Noto Peninsula. The lighting up of the bridge is also one of the highlights.

Illuminated "Pirate Ship" and "Shin-Minato Ohashi Bridge"
Illuminated "Pirate Ship" and "Shin-Minato Ohashi Bridge"

2. Kaiwomaru Park

The "Kaiwomaru," a sailing ship called the "Lady of the Sea," is moored in this park.
The park is dotted with the Japan Sea Exchange Center, which exhibits models of sailing ships from around the world; the Bird Park, where about 150 species of wild birds can be observed throughout the four seasons; the "Green Pergola," a corridor 180 meters long and 10 meters wide; and the Fureai Plaza, which has a large playground equipment "Nami no Hammock" and other various playground equipment. On weekends, the park is crowded with families and couples enjoying a stroll.

A bay area centered on the sailing ship "Lady of the Sea"
A bay area centered on the sailing ship "Lady of the Sea"

3. Amaharashi Beach

Amaharashi Beach is located in the northern part of Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture.
Located within the Noto Peninsula National Park, it is a scenic spot selected as one of the "100 best beaches in Japan," "100 best white sand and green pines," and "88 best beaches in Japan. The view of the Tateyama Mountain range, with its 3,000-meter-high peaks, and the meiwa over Toyama Bay is truly spectacular.

Spectacular views of the Amaharashi Beach
Spectacular views of the Amaharashi Beach

In the following article, there's a model course combining the Toyama Bay Coast Cycling Course and the Kubiki Bicycle Road. If you're interested, please check it out!

Enjoy both natural scenery and historical sights! Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road

This is an approximately 180-km-long cycling course that combines the abandoned tracks of the former Tsukuba Railway and the lakeshore road circling Kasumigaura.
One of the features of this course is that you can visit not only natural scenery but also historical and cultural sights. This cycling course is recommended for those who want to enjoy not only Japan's nature but also its history.

3 Selected Sightseeing Spots on “Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road”

We will introduce you to the viewpoints where you can see beautiful evening views of Kasumigaura, a park that is one of the 100 most scenic spots in Ibaraki, and other spots along the "Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road".
Be sure to try the unique catfish burger, which has become a hot topic of conversation.

1. Tennozaki Park

"Tennozaki Park" is located on land jutting out into Kasumigaura and offers a panoramic view of the lakeshore scenery. The beautiful evening view of Mt. Tsukuba and Kasumigaura is a must-see. It is recommended to visit "Tennozaki Park" at dusk.

Evening view from Tennozaki Park
Evening view from Tennozaki Park

2. Roadside Station Tamatsukuri / Namegata City Tourist Product Center Koi Koi

"Roadside Station Tamatsukuri" is located near the Kasumigaura Ohashi Bridge in Ibaraki Prefecture.
It sells processed products such as "catfish" and "carp" from Kasumigaura, as well as fresh and pickled foods from local farmers.
The unique hamburger based on "catfish" and "carp" caught in Kasumigaura, available at the food court, has become a topic of conversation.

"Roadside Station Tamatsukuri" where you can enjoy unique foods
"Roadside Station Tamatsukuri" where you can enjoy unique foods

3. Ayumizaki Park

Ayumizaki Park is designated as Suigo-Tsukuba National Park as the most scenic spot in Kasumigaura. It is one of the 100 most scenic spots in Ibaraki and one of the 100 best natural spots in Ibaraki, and the beautiful view of Mitsumataoki from the observatory is one of the highlights of the park. Visitors can also enjoy a walk around the local museum, aquarium, forest park, Ayumi-an hermitage, and private house garden.

Sunrise from the observatory in Ayumizaki Park
Sunrise from the observatory in Ayumizaki Park

Easy tour of tourist spots around Lake Biwa! Biwaichi

This 200-kilometer cycling course circles Japan's largest lake, "Lake Biwa", in a counterclockwise direction.
It is an exhilarating experience to ride under the open sky and gaze at the shining surface of the lake in the pleasant breeze.
The area is also rich in history, and visitors can enjoy touring historical sites such as ruins of castles and inn towns.
There are bicycles available for rent and a cycle train that allows visitors to bring their own bicycles on board.
Although the course can be completed in one day by those who are accustomed to riding, it is recommended to spend two to three days while enjoying sightseeing and dining.

3 Selected Sightseeing Spots of "Biwaichi"

Biwaichi has many attractions, including the natural beauty of Lake Biwa and cultural facilities such as castle ruins, temples, shrines and Buddhist temples.
Among the many attractions, we will introduce a selection of the most recommended sightseeing spots.

1. Lake Biwa Terrace

"Lake Biwa Terrace" is a nature resort overlooking Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, from an elevation of approximately 1,100 meters. Enjoy a luxurious time at the two terraces on the tops of Mount Uchimiyama and Mount Horai, where you can relax and enjoy a meal while admiring the spectacular view.

Enjoy your meal with a view of the largest lake in Japan.
Enjoy your meal with a view of the largest lake in Japan.

2. Lake Biwa Bridge

The 1,400-meter-long, 6.5-meter-wide Lake Biwa Bridge connects Otsu City and Moriyama City in Shiga Prefecture. Not only can pedestrians and bicycles cross the bridge free of charge, but there is also a bicycle-pedestrian path so that cyclists can enjoy cycling in peace. The Lake Biwa Bridge is arch-shaped so that boats can pass under it, and its highest point is about 26 meters above the lake surface. The bridge is surrounded by an unobstructed view of Lake Biwa.

The 1,400-meter-long, 6.5-meter-wide "Lake Biwa Bridge"
The 1,400-meter-long, 6.5-meter-wide "Lake Biwa Bridge"

3. Shirahige Shrine

Shirahige Shrine, the oldest large shrine in Omi, is located in Ukawa, Takashima City, Shiga Prefecture. The vermilion-lacquered Otorii (grand gate) stands in the middle of the lake, and the shrine pavilions are located across National Route 161. The shrine enshrines "Sarutahiko", the god of guidance and path opening, and offers blessings such as match-making, child bearing, good luck, academic achievement, traffic safety, and safe navigation. Why not visit the shrine to pray for an enjoyable cycling experience?

Lake Otorii of Shirahige Shrine
Lake Otorii of Shirahige Shrine

Enjoy the spectacular view of the Seto Inland Sea! Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road

This is Japan's first 70-km bicycle route across the straits, connecting Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, and Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture.
The route has attracted popularity and attention not only in Japan but also from all over the world, as cyclists can enjoy a pleasant sea breeze while enjoying a spectacular view of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

3 Selected Sightseeing Spots on the "Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road"

The "Shimanami Kaido Cycling Road" offers such beautiful scenery that it would be a shame not to ride slowly.
Among the many scenic spots, we have carefully selected three spots that we particularly recommend.

1. Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge

The "Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge" spans the Kurushima Straits in the Seto Inland Sea, connecting Oshima and Shikoku. It is the world's first triple suspension bridge, spanning a total length of approximately 4 km.
In addition to the view from the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge, visitors can also enjoy the observation spots from which they can see the entire Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge and the surrounding islands. Among the many observation spots, the view of the Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge floating in the mist from the "Itoyama Observatory" in Imabari City is so powerful that it will take your breath away.

"Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge" floating in fog
"Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge" floating in fog

2. Kirosan Observatory Park

An observation park at the top of Mt. Kiro, located at the southern tip of Oshima.
Said to be the best view on the Shimanami Kaido, "Kurushima Strait as seen from the summit of Mt. Kiro" has been selected as one of the 88 scenic spots in Shikoku.
Kurushima Kaikyo and Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge offer different scenery depending on the season and time of day. The ever-changing beauty from dusk to sunset is worth seeing.

Kurushima Kaikyo and Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge in the evening seen from Kirosan Observatory Park
Kurushima Kaikyo and Kurushima Kaikyo Bridge in the evening seen from Kirosan Observatory Park

3. Imabari castle

Imabari Castle stands peacefully on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea in Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture.
It is a sea castle with a unique structure, including a five-story, six-story castle tower and a moat that draws in seawater. It is one of the "Three Great Sea Castles of Japan" and "One Hundred Famous Castles of Japan," and is designated as a historic site in Ehime Prefecture. The top floor of the castle tower is a 360-degree panoramic observation platform from which visitors can enjoy a magnificent view of the Seto Inland Sea and the Shimanami Kaido.

Imabari Castle, a sea castle with a unique structure
Imabari Castle, a sea castle with a unique structure

5 Points to Consider When Traveling by Bicycle in Japan

In Japan, bicycles are positioned as light vehicles under the Road Traffic Law and are considered a type of car. When traveling by bicycle, please be aware that you are traveling as a "car" and observe traffic rules. Among the many points to be aware of, be especially careful of the following five points.

  1. Drive on motorways and stay to the left of the lane
  2. Obey traffic signals and stop signs at intersections
  3. Give priority to pedestrians
  4. Turn on your lights at night
  5. Do not drink and drive


In this article, we have introduced the appeal of "National Cycle Routes", which allow cyclists to tour Japan's most scenic spots and sightseeing spots on a bicycle.
With cycle routes certified as "National Cycle Routes," you can not only enjoy sightseeing, but also enjoy a safe and secure cycling trip with great support for cycling beginners.
Bicycle rentals are available on each cycle route, so you can enjoy cycling even if you do not bring your own bicycle.
If you are planning a bicycle trip in Japan, we hope you will choose a cycle route from the "National Cycle Routes", which are all the charms of Japan.