Climbing Tokyo:

The Hinohara Grind to the Top

Switchbacks in west Tokyo
Smooth roads and switchbacks make west Tokyo a popular training grounds for avid cyclists (credit: KFC Triathlon Club)

The Basics

When: Sunday, October 6 (2019)

Where: Hinohara Village in west Tokyo (about 75 minutes from central Tokyo). Start from the Shimo Motogo parking lot on the Hinohara Kaido, finish 

What: 25KM (15.5mi) bike race with approximately 955m (3,133ft) of climbing. Now in its 9th edition, the Hinohara Stage takes place in early October each year and is the finale to the Tokyo Hillclimb Series. Participants may race as an individual or rally together a team of three for a collaborative effort.

Course map of cycling race

The Start

Hinohara Village

Bikes neatly lying on road before cycling race

Race Day Flow

• Six waves – first wave starts at 0630 with one wave departing every 2 minutes
• First mile is a no-pass zone and is an easy, rolling ride until the intersection
• After finishing, pedal over to Tomin no Mori 
• From 0800 to 0845, group return rides depart Tomin no Mori every 15 minutes, stopping midway at the Kazuma no Yu onsen center for a warm meal 
• From 0830 to 0915, group return rides depart the Kazuma no Yu onsen center to the Hinohara Village Hall parking lot where cyclists can collect their finisher entitlements and disperse
• Awards begin at 0915 at Kazuma no Yu onsen center; cyclists attending the awards ceremony must return to Hinohara on their own

Cyclists on standby before cycling race
credit: KFC Triathlon Club
credit: KFC Triathlon Club

The Good

• Immaculate road conditions

• Hearty Japanese meal after the race

• Early start means you still have the rest of the day

• Good finisher entitlements

Cyclist couple posing before cycling race in West Tokyo
The couple that races together, stays together! (credit: KFC Triathlon Club)
Cyclist leading a small pack on roads
Gary W. leading a pack (credit: KFC Triathlon Club)


• Black tech long sleeve tee

• Bag of locally-sourced potatoes

• Bottle of locally-sourced mineral water

• Free race photos

2019 Special

This year, Hinohara Village generously provided a unique wooden award (complete with laser etching!) for the fastest time recorded by a Samurai Sports registrant.
Man posing with award after bike race
An award unlike any - you could be a winner! (credit: KFC Triathlon Club)

The Not So Good

• Early start means you need to stay nearby or drive/carpool in the early morning
• 600 cyclists on a 25KM uphill grind – you have to hope everyone’s bike handling skills are at least decent
• Confusing finish
Long awards ceremony

Japanese food prepared on table
Meal included toasted onigiri, konyaku, potatoes, and tonjiru soup
Course Map of west Tokyo bike race
Informative course map displayed near the start line

Tokyo Hillclimb Series

April: Hinode Stage
May: Nariki Stage
July: Okutama Stage
October: Hinohara Stage