Cycle the old Nakasendo road through picturesque juku-villages, preserved castle towns and along the pristine rivers of Gifu prefecture. Enjoy five days of road cycling from 20km / 13 miles to 55km / 34 miles per day
Located in central Japan, Gifu is known historically as a culturally rich and strategically key region, in terms of military importance, as well as transportation and trade. During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), its key highways were once bustling with traffic from traveling samurai, pilgrims, merchants, and craftspeople transporting their wares between east and west Japan – this was particularly true along the Nakasendo road linking Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo). In the old Mino province of Gifu, numerous historically important locations and sites still remain, such as the monumental battlefield of Sekigahara, together with 17 post towns along the old Nakasendo road, and numerous castles and merchant towns dotting the landscape.
Here you can discover traditional Japanese buildings that have been carefully preserved and protected over centuries by the locals and their ancestors. These precious historical structures convey a sense of the region’s past, up to the present. Weaving throughout the terrain are pristine rivers, expansive rice fields and rolling mountain-valleys, all of which makes for an exceptional cycling journey by bicycle through the heartland of Japan.
On this 5-day cycling tour starting in Kyoto, you’ll enjoy the timeless beauty of the Gifu region. Visit unique and historical Nakasendo post towns and castle towns such as Mitake-juku, Okute-juku, Mino and Iwamura castle town, where you can sample local cuisine, learn about regional culture, and cycle along river and countryside lanes. Stop at historic castles and well-preserved merchant homes, ride a ropeway car to the top of Mt. Kinka and Gifu Castle (or enjoy the short hike up on foot), and enjoy making unique discoveries along the way, all while sleeping at traditional Japanese inns.
Our carefully curated and easy to follow routes ride on a mix of mostly flat cycle lanes and peaceful rural backroads, with options suitable for entry-level cyclists through to experienced riders. Multiple options also enable you to tailor the ride using local transport to adjust the cycling distances on the day to match your level.
High-quality, lightweight aluminum cross bikes (GIANT Escape RX1) are provided as standard with our tour. We also provide a GPS unit, compact bike bag, spare tubes, patch kit, mini pump, low-wind resistant frame-mount bag and rear-mount saddle bag with each bike for your trip.
Read about luggage options here. Takkyubin Courier is ideal for our self-guided cycling tours, as well as self-guided walking trips.
Mino-machi (extra night)
On our Gifu and Nakasendo Self-Guided Cycling tour we also offer the opportunity to spend a leisurely second night in the picturesque merchant town of Mino-machi, partway along the tour. On this extra day, we offer an optional 19km riverside loop cycling course north of Mino-machi to a peaceful 1,300-year-old Shinto Shrine featuring unique traditional architecture, and situated along the banks of the Nagara River. As an optional side trip, it is also possible to visit the remote castle town of Gujo Hachiman further north of Mino-machi.
This tour also offers the opportunity to extend the cycling to Magome post town, and spend a final night in Magome at a comfortable Japanese inn along the Nakasendo.