As mentioned at the outset, this route starts either at Toyama (from which you head due east along the coast) or at Itoigawa on the Japan Sea coast (from which you head due and south up into the mountains via a series of tunnels. The Toyama-Itoigawa portion is quite long, but there is a nice (though unfortunately very short) seaside bikepath just outside Toyama, and there are enough other nice spots along the way to make this section worth a spin if you have the time and energy. Be sure to leave very early in the morning in order to have time to cycle the 50 km up through the tunnels to Hakuba, or else take the train for that section -- or overnight at Itoigawa. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you attempt to cycle the road up through the tunnels at night. On my last visit, I was told about a cyclist who had died recently trying to do just that.

Leaving Hakuba, your two main options are Matsumoto and Nagano, as depicted in the Story section. The distances are not that different and it’s really a matter of where you intend to go next or what you want to see. Usually I opt for the pretty lakes and castle of the Matsumoto option.

The Story & Photos section assumes you will start from Toyama and covers both the Matsumoto and Nagano getaway options.

Story & PhotosHakuba_Story_%26_Photos.htmlHakuba_Story_%26_Photos.htmlshapeimage_13_link_0
Nuts & BoltsHakuba_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlHakuba_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlshapeimage_17_link_0