Gone riding: nagano strong

Enjoy the best of autumn in Japan's outdoor playground as we cycle 230km and climb 3,300m over the weekend

3 days / 2 nights ・ fall 2020

October 9 (Fri) – 11 (Sun)

register by  25 September, 2020

¥26,000 – ¥43,000
per person

see “Fees” below for more info

SOLD OUT

max. capacity 12
(minimum 4)

early fall
19 – 9°C
67 – 48°F

Nagano | Matsumoto | Hakuba | Venus Line | Azalea Line | Azumino | Lake Suwa | Utsukushigahara

about the trip

Say yes to Nagano! Enjoy the best of autumn in Japan’s outdoor playground as we cycle approximately 230km and conquer more than 3,300m of climbing over the course of a weekend. Structured towards intermediate level cyclists and triathletes, it’s a blockbuster training weekend to begin ramping down for the season…or ramping up for the winter!

Designed to make the most of the fall foliage, cooler temperatures, and Nagano’s beautiful outdoors, Nagano Strong is all about getting strong on the bike in Nagano. We’ll start the weekend by meeting on Friday in Matsumoto – just one bus or train from Tokyo and Nagoya. On Saturday, we’ll warm-up with a ride on the Alps Azumino Century Ride course to Hakuba and back for a total of about 132km. 

The real fun begins on Sunday. We’ll take the easy way south towards Lake Suwa, before continuing onto the Venus Line for a grueling hill climb (yes, it’s a Strava segment). Ease off the pedals as you make your way back north on the Azalea Line and return to Matsumoto. Freshen up at a local onsen facility before we part ways and return to where we came from. 

This bike trip was planned and coordinated in conjunction with the producers of the Alps Azumino Century Ride and Samurai Sports. Never rode in Nagano? Don’t miss this chance to make your debut with two guided rides on a blustery fall weekend. 

Cycling in Nagano open roads
lake on AACR sakura course

Option A.

¥26,000

includes
Accommodation: 2 nights at Super Hotel Matsumoto 

Meals: 2 breakfasts
Other: 1x cycling guide (4-8 pax) or 2x cycling guides (9-12 pax), 1x bilingual support guide, Wahoo Elemnt bike computer (free optional rental), 1x entry to onsen (on Sunday),  1x refreshment on Sunday post-ride
Single Rooms ONLY
excludes 5% online transaction fees

Option B.

¥43,000

includes
Accommodation: 2 nights at Super Hotel Matsumoto 
Meals: 2 breakfasts
E-bike rental for two days
Other: 1x cycling guide (4-8 pax) or 2x cycling guides (9-12 pax), 1x bilingual support guide, Wahoo Elemnt bike computer (free optional rental), 1x entry to onsen (on Sunday), 1x refreshment on Sunday post-ride
Single Rooms ONLY
excludes 5% online transaction fee

Calm mirror lakes
A cyclist's haven
AACR Sakura scenery
Stunning despite grey skies
Cycling in Nagano
Cyclists taking photos in Nagano
The Japan Alps
White-capped peaks year-round
Outside is free
Cycling in Nagano springtime
On the road in Nagano
Cycling in Nagano open roads
Open roads and fresh air

suitability and cycling conditions

This bike trip is open to cyclists and fitness enthusiasts of intermediate level and above. Generally speaking, we practice WATT (Wait At The Top); however, weather conditions can change rapidly and force alternate plans. Athletes MUST follow all instructions and defer to decisions made by cycling guides. 

・The Venus Line and Azalea Line features long, technical climbs and tight switchbacks combined with steep descents. 
・Not only do we cover approximately 230km over the course of a weekend, considerable climbing is involved. In particular, cycling the Venus Line involves significant physical exertion and demands stamina. 
Traffic is a part of cycling in Nagano; you must be comfortable with riding outdoors and sharing the road with vehicles.
Roads are always paved asphalt and tarmac roads in excellent to below average condition. 
・Cyclists are encouraged to ride and complete the full distance. Our itineraries are an approximation of our trips and at times, routes may change at the guide’s discretion to improve the trip experience. 
・We strongly recommend bringing your own road bike. However, rental e-bikes are available with Option B. TT and triathlon bikes are permitted.

alps azumino ride to hakuba

132km / +1,239m

venus line & azalea line

98km / +2,044m

Riverside in Matsumoto, Nagano

trip highlights

Specialized Vado SL4.0 (limited to 6; first come, first served)
Sizes: S, M, L 
includes helmet

itinerary

All athletes should check in at the Super Hotel Matsumoto by Friday evening. While dependent on place of departure, athletes traveling at their own leisure should allot the estimated travel time plus 30 to 60 minutes to allow for greater flexibility and a stress-free journey.

Below, we’ve listed below our recommendations to help you plan your arrival to Matsumoto:

From Tokyo
Shinjuku Bus Terminal <-> Matsumoto Bus Terminal (about 3 hours; ¥6,900 RT)
Bus timetable

Shinjuku station <-> Matsumoto station (about 1.5 hours; ¥6,620 one-way, non-reserved)
Shinjuku station -> Matsumoto station timetable 
Matsumoto station -> Shinjuku station timetable

From Nagoya
Meitetsu Bus Center <-> Matsumoto Bus Terminal (about 3.5 hours; ¥7,000 RT)
Bus timetable

Nagoya station <-> Matsumoto station (about 2 hours; ¥5,610 one-way; non-reserved)
Nagoya station -> Matsumoto station (9 Oct) departs 0900-1600  every hour, on the hour; 1740, 1840
Matsumoto station -> Nagoya station (11 Oct) departs 0952, 1051, 1153, 1253, 1355, 1453, 1553, 1653, 1752, 1907

Bikes must be packed in rinko bags to be stored in the bus undercarriage.
If you need assistance, please contact Samurai Sports.

Please note that with the exception of breakfast provided by the hotel, athletes are on their own for meals, including lunch and dinner.

Whether you opt for Option A or Option B, you’ll need to plan your own transportation to Matsumoto. 

We’ll have an early start on Saturday morning, so we recommend arriving in Matsumoto by 1800 on Friday, October 2. This allows for time to prepare your bike, explore the neighborhood, and eat dinner. With the exception of breakfast provided by the hotel, athletes are on their own for meals, including lunch and dinner. 

There is no briefing; please consult your athlete guide (sent via email about one week beforehand) for specific details and meet-up times during the weekend.

・Stay: Super Hotel Matsumoto
・Meals: n/a

Rise and shine! Grab breakfast and get ready to spend the day on the saddle. 

Today, we’ll ride a slightly abbreviated version of the Alps Azumino Century Ride, one of Japan’s most popular (and regularly sold out!) cycling events that takes place in April and May each year. Starting from our hotel, we’ll make our way north of Matsumoto with our eyes on Hakuba. 

We’ll ride past farming fields, besides rivers, and along lakes. A few punchy climbs are scattered throughout but we’ll always stay below 850 meters (2,800 feet). At Hakuba, we’ll observe some of the remnants from the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, before turning back. The route is not a true out and back, but some segments may be familiar. 

Though dependent on individual levels and preferences, we will all WATT (Wait At The Top) and regroup periodically. All athletes are expected to be able to complete this ride; there is no SAG wagon. Including breaks and lunch, we expect to roll back to the hotel by 1600. 

The evening is free – athletes are encouraged to spend their time relaxing at the hotel, exploring Matsumoto, and/or dining on local cuisine. 

0700 depart for Alps Azumino ride to Hakuba
1600
ETA hotel

・about 132km (82mi) | +1,239m (4,065ft)
・Stay: Super Hotel Matsumoto
・Meals: Breakfast (from 0630)

Ohayou! Hope you’re ready for a big day on the roads! Today, we’ll conquer less distance but almost double the elevation gain. We’ll head south towards Lake Suwa on Route 63 for a little under 40km. Once we get past Lake Suwa and hit our southernmost point of the trip, we’ll make our way north again with one massive climb of approximately +1,000 meters on the Venus Line for about 15km. 

We’ll encounter smaller climbs from 55km to 80km before the downhill on the Azalea Line where we’ll descend approximately 800 meters for about 15km on Route 67. Our last few km will be spent shaking out our legs and making our way to the onsen to freshen up before we make our separate ways home. With a 0700 morning start, we think we’ll be back in Matsumoto by early afternoon, but athletes are expected to be finished and at the onsen by 1600. 

Arrangements will be made for athletes’ luggage to be made available at the onsen after the ride. Yunohana Onsen Zuisho is located approximately 1km from Matsumoto station.

0700 depart for Venus Line and Azalea Line 
~1600 ETA Yunohana Onsen Zuisho 

・up to 98km (60.9mi) | up to +2,044m (6,706ft)
・Meals: Breakfast (from 0630)

Sticking around? 
The city of Matsumoto is the gateway to a lot of unique places! Home to  Matsumoto Castle, historic shopping streets, castle town neighborhoods, and several cultural facilities, including the Museum of Art and the Ukiyo–e Woodblock Print Museum, there are a plethora of experiences to learn about the history and culture of Matsumoto. The neighboring prefectures of Toyama and Gifu also offer a wide range of sightseeing destinations and activities. 

Recommended Nearby Trips 
・Kamikochi and Shirahone Onsen (by bus)
・Japan Alps alpine route and Kurobe dam (Shinano-Omachi station)
・Zenkoji temple and Nakamise shopping street (Nagano station)
・Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto station)
・Snow Monkey Park 
・Karuizawa and Kusatsu Onsen
・Shiga Kogen

Currently (as of August 26), residents of Tokyo are not eligible for the Go To Travel campaign. Consequently, if you only have an address in Tokyo, we cannot in good faith recommend signing up for this bike trip. If you have questions, please contact Samurai Sports at info@samuraisports.co.jp

Due to daily changes with the Go To Travel campaign, there is a likelihood that residents of Tokyo will become eligible for the Go To Travel campaign. If and when Tokyo residents are disbarred, we welcome Tokyoites to join us.

Please note this bike trip is only sold in conjunction with the Go To Travel campaign.

Stay at Super Hotel Matsumoto Tennen Onsen

Meet in Matsumoto

by Friday evening

Bring your own bike or rent an e-bike

register by September 25

Important Notices

・This bike trip has reached the minimum number of athletes and is confirmed. (September 9)
・This bike trip is now sold out. (September 15)

more information

ABOUT YUNOHANA ONSEN ZUISHO
Located about 1km from Matsumoto station, Yunonhana Onsen Zuisho will be our last stop of the bike trip. Freshen up before departing for the return trip! Visible tattoos must be covered up with tape.

Rental towels are available for a nominal fee. We recommend athletes to bring your towel(s) from home.

ABOUT SUPER HOTEL MATSUMOTO TENNEN ONSEN
Located about a 5-minute walk from JR Matsumoto station, the hotel features a natural hot spring bath on the ground floor. All rooms are fitted with a private bathroom, free wi-fi, and parking (¥1,100 per night). Rooms also include a kettle, flat-screen TV, hair dryer, and basic toiletries.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following measures are implemented by the hotel: all staff must wear protective masks, alcohol-based sanitizer liquids are placed throughout, maintain social distancing protocols, disinfection and thorough cleaning of guest rooms and facilities, and the provision of set meals.

This trip is priced per person based on single occupancy. There is no single supplement fee. Please note that at times, the accommodation listed may change at the discretion of the trip guides and/or Samurai Sports to improve the trip experience.

With the exception of breakfast, meals are not included. In an effort to steer clear of closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings, we do not have group meals planned. We acknowledge and understand that athletes will likely eat among themselves at various restaurants; please take the appropriate measures to keep yourself healthy and the community safe. 

All athletes will receive discount coupons provided by the Go to Travel campaign. On ride weekend, athletes will be informed regarding the specific restaurants and stores the coupons can be redeemed at.

Upon registration, you will be asked to describe any dietary preferences. Though no meals are included, we will make stops to fuel up throughout the ride. If you have specific dietary preferences, please let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate. 

Temperatures may fluctuate throughout the day and your trip, so it’s best to be prepared with all-weather gear and layers to keep you warm on the chilly mornings and atop mountains and cool under the afternoon sun.

Again, climate varies greatly by location, so please check the weather before you depart – we want you to have the right gear and be prepared for all weather scenarios. 

Please note that we will ride as scheduled, rain or shine. Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances, i.e. due to heavy rains, strong winds, and severe weather.

If you’re bringing your bike:
Bike
Helmet
Rinko bag
Emergency kit (spare tube, CO2, patch kit, multi-tool, etc.)
Cycling shoes
2 sets of cycling clothes
Water bottle (at least 1)
Comfortable shoes and/or running shoes
Comfortable clothes (two sets should do)
Rain gear
Sweater and/or jacket
Mask(s) or Buff 

Also consider:
Bike computer, i.e. Garmin Edge
Socks
Sunglasses
Chamois cream
Sunscreen
* Lightweight windbreaker or jacket or arm sleeves / arm warmers
* Cycling gloves

If you’re not bringing your bike:
2 sets of cycling clothes
Water bottle (at least 1)
Comfortable shoes and/or running shoes
Comfortable clothes (two sets should do)
Rain gear
Sweater and/or jacket
Mask(s) or Buff

Also consider:
Helmet
Socks
Sunglasses

Chamois cream
Sunscreen
* Lightweight windbreaker or jacket or arm sleeves / arm warmers
* Cycling gloves

Other Items
Camera and/or cellphone
Charging Devices
Toiletries and personal items 
Personal identification
Cash
Credit/debit cards
NHI card or proof of medical insurance coverage
Spare masks

This bike trip is only sold in conjunction with the Go To Travel campaign. The prices presented are made possible because of travel subsidies from the Go To Travel campaign meant to encourage and promote domestic travel. All athletes will be asked to sign a form agreeing to abide by the rules and regulations of the Go To Travel campaign. 

Single supplement: ¥0

Go To Travel Campaign Fee Schedule
* This tour is legally obligated to display this information. 
** excludes 5% online transaction fee

About the Trip
Our Pledge to Participants
During the trip, staff will diligently wash his/her hands, gargle, and thoroughly manage his/her physical condition.
Staff will wear a mask or buff throughout the duration of the trip. Though the mask may be unsightly and inhibit participants from hearing staff clearly, we ask for your patience and understanding. Please note that depending on the weather and intensity of physical exercise, staff may opt to wear no mask and instead, practice social distancing.
Participants who understand Japanese are encouraged to view the Japan Travel Associations guide to travel etiquette in the midst of COVID-19 here.

 

Upon Check In
Staff are required to take each participant’s temperature with a non-contact thermometer.
Participants with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher will be asked to leave and will not be refunded their trip payment (“Go To Travel Actual Payment”); transportation expenses must be borne by the participant.

On Day 2-3
Staff are required to take each participant’s temperature before breakfast.
Participants with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher after the trip starts will be asked to leave and will not be refunded their trip payment (“Go To Travel Actual Payment”); transportation expenses must be borne by the participant.

During the Trip
Make liberal use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands and fingers throughout the trip.
・Wear a mask at all times during the trip, including to and from the destination. Participants must bring their own mask(s).
Please note that according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s Heat Stroke Countermeasure Leaflet (Japanese only), masks are not recommended during strenuous physical exercise. In principle, this trip follows these guidelines pertaining to mask usage. However, if you cannot maintain your social distance during cycling, you may be asked to wear your mask.

Will I get a refund if the minimum number of registrants is not reached?
This bike trip requires 4 or more registrants. If less than 4 register by September 25, the bike trip will be cancelled. All registrants will receive a full refund less 4% to account for online transaction fees. 

I can’t go all of a sudden for whatever reason, can I transfer my entry?
Yes, you can transfer your bike trip entry to another individual, please use the self-edit function available here. Transfers are free and can be completed up until three days before departure (October 6).

Will I get a refund if I have to cancel my entry?
If you cancel your entry, you may be eligible for a partial refund depending on when you cancel. Please view the refund schedule below for details:

100% of your total amount (less 4% for processing fees) will be refunded if you notify us of cancellation no later than 1800 on September 18, 2020
80% of your total amount (less 4% for processing fees) will be refunded if you notify us of cancellation between September 19 and October 1, 2020
70% of your total amount (less 4% for processing fees) will be refunded if you notify us of cancellation between October 2 and October 7, 2020
60% of your total amount (less 4% for processing fees) will be refunded if you notify us of cancellation no later than 1800 on October 8, 2020
50% of your total amount (less 4% for processing fees) will be refunded if you notify us of cancellation no later than 1200 on October 9, 2020
0% of your total amount will be refunded if you notify us of cancellation after 1200 October 9, 2020, do not notify us of cancellation and/or are a no show

Subject to an official emergency declaration, the bike trip may need to be cancelled less than two weeks before departure. In such instances, all participants will receive a full refund (less 4% for online transaction fees).

If the safety of participants, team members, and/or partners appear compromised, Taste of Japan Bike Tours reserves the right to cancel the bike trip at our discretion. Refunds are not granted once the bike trip has commenced. Samurai Sports and Taste of Japan Bike Tours are not responsible for any losses incurred for non-refundable travel costs.

Do I have to bring my own bike? Can I rent a bike?
We strongly recommend you bring your own road bike. Triathlon and TT bikes are permitted, but not ideal for the weekend. Bikes in rinko bags are permitted in the undercarriage storage of the highway buses indicated in the itinerary.

Rental e-bikes (electric assist bicycle) are available for the weekend and must be booked in advance. Rental e-bikes come with a helmet. Please bring your own water bottle(s). Please select this option, along with size (by height range) upon registering. We do not have road bikes available for rent. 

Is there a maximum number of participants on a single Taste of Japan bike tour? What about a minimum?
Yes, we cap our trips at 12 guests. This allows us to ensure each guest the personal attention and support they deserve throughout the journey.

For this bike trip, the minimum number of participants is 4. If less than 4 participants register by September 25, the bike trip will be cancelled. All registrants will receive a full refund less 4% to account for online transaction fees. 

Can non-cyclists join Taste of Japan Bike Tours? What will non-riders do?
Due to the nature of this bike trip, non-riders should not join. We do not arrange alternate activities for non-riders. 

Can children join? Is there an age requirement?
This bike trip is designed for adults 18 and older. All guests should be 18 years old by the first day of the trip. If you have questions, please complete the inquiry form. 

Is gratuity included? Who do I tip?
If you believe the Samurai Sports and Taste of Japan Bike Tours team has gone above and beyond, please tip our guides at your discretion. 

How much should I put aside for incidentals? What personal expenses should I anticipate? Do I need cash or is my credit/debit card ok?
Most people find that ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 per day is enough to cover incidentals. Guests typically spend money on souvenirs and snacks. To avoid any potential mishaps, we recommend carrying at least ¥10,000 in cash at all times and tucking away another ¥10,000 just in case. 

Should I enroll in bicycle insurance?
Yes, you should be enrolled in bicycle/cyclist insurance if you ride a bike at all! We won’t verify but for peace of mind, please enroll. Rental e-bikes include basic insurance coverage. 

What about accident insurance and medical coverage? What if I get hurt?
Please bring your NHI card and/or private health insurance card.

Who are the tour operators for this bike trip? 
This tour is operated by J Travel Center and is sold by Samurai Sports.

J Travel Center
1-7-3 Hamamatsucho
Daiichi Bldg 3F
Minato, Tokyo 
105-0013
03-5777-4884

inquiries