Yesterday myself and a couple of friends (who are much more experienced bikers) went from Tokyo up to the mountains of Nagano. To get the stats out of the way, we did about 500Km from between 7am and about 9pm.
We jumped on the Chuo Expressway at Chofu and ran up to Chino City in Nagano Prefecture, biked around the mountains, having stopped at a faux English Garden for some (very tasty) gingerbread biscuits, then relaxing over a real Indian curry for lunch, before taking in some awesome vistas around the mountains, including the Venus Line run and Suwa.
After running up the mountains we then dropped down into the valleys where life is simpler, slower, and three guys coming through on bikes actually turns heads.
What was interesting is that as far as we could tell, the main vehicles in the area are small white Suzuki mini-vans. Anyway, when we got a little confused on the twisting mountain roads between tiny, almost stereotypical rice fields, the men who seemed to be patrolling in these vans were very happy to help us out.
One thing I wont go into details on is the ‘Summer only’ road. Yes. That was interesting.
I managed to take a few photos at stops, and though they don’t capture the fun, they should, I hope hint at some of the beautiful scenery we saw along the way. As before, the weather was fantastic as you can see in a few of those shots; even up high in the mountains it never got cold or wet.
The way back wasn’t too bad either; the Chuo was relatively clear, and the Dangozaka service station was relatively empty meaning the run back was smooth, without any jams.
Bottom line: a great trip, maybe even better than the first one, and a big driver for me to actually organise one or two of my own one day trips over the Summer, in spite of what will be blistering weather!