The perfect point-to-point cycling adventure.
Starting in the megalopolis of Tokyo, this Grande Randonnée heads south through verdant, dense forests, on perfect pavement barely wide enough for a car, and riders will discover that Japan’s undulating, sometimes mountainous, terrain rivals the best anywhere. In the evening, as in the day, riders will sample the best Japan has to offer: hot springs, local food, traditional lodgings and hospitable people. We finish in the stylish city of Kyoto, renowned for its temples and vibrant geisha culture.
Single occupancy — 5 400 € per person
Let us challenge and inspire you, and fuel your passion for cycling. Using our vast experience of road riding and our love of the history of the sport, we have created Rapha Randonnées: point-to-point itineraries in cycling’s classic territories, and in select destinations across the world. Take on mythical climbs in the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites, or cycle the road less travelled through the beautiful landscapes of Japan, California or Corsica. Whichever you choose, you will experience the same levels of service and support. Rapha Travel team cars and experienced guides will be on hand with local knowledge, a morale-boosting chat or a full bidon every pedal-stroke of the way. And, at the end of the day, you’ll simply hand your bike over to our mechanics, who will return them in top condition the next morning. In the evenings all you have to do is enjoy your appointment with our pro-level soigneur, sample the regional wines and cuisine, and relax in our carefully chosen accommodation.
Flights, bike hire and travel insurance are not included
Single occupancy as standard
Randonnées are a real challenge, often climbing the same cols used in the biggest races in the world. But because they’re fully supported, they can be enjoyed by everyone from veteran riders with years of experience to relative newcomers who have put in the training and committed themselves to achieving something special.
|Arrival day Tokyo|
|Day 1 Okutama — Kofu||86 KM||2,176 M|
|Day 2 Kofu — Mount Norikura||197 KM||5,483 M|
|Day 3 Mount Norikura — Shirakawa||142 KM||3,272 M|
|Day 4 Shirakaway — Kaga — Fuki Prefecture||153 KM||2,700 M|
|Day 5 Kaga – Suigekka||154 KM||2,600 M|
|Day 6 Suigekka — Kyoto||125 KM||3,561 M|
|Departure Day Kyoto|
Tokyo is the world’s largest metropolitan area, home to around 37 million people. It overwhelms the senses at every turn: a high-rise neon jungle of bewildering density and endless surprises. From robot-run cafés to miniature jazz bars, rowdy izakayas (a type of Japanese gastro-pub) to traditional master craftsmen, Tokyo has the best of everything. The only trouble is finding what you're looking for in its labyrinth of streets and alleys. Tokyo’s famed futuristic architecture is beginning to wear its ‘80s roots a little more heavily, but it’s all part of the unique charm of a city where relentless progress is married to an unshakeable reverence for tradition.
Our first day involves a short train ride west from Shibuya-Tokyo to the commuter city of Okutama on the East Japan Railway. This mountainous region boasts the highest mountain in the prefecture, Mt Kumotori. The Tama River flows into Lake Okutama above the Ogochi Dam which serves as an important water source for Tokyo. Today we gently climb upstream along the Tama before summiting at the crest of the National Highway 411, taking in vast views of Mt Fuji and the fertile Kofu basin below.
Summit of National Highway 411, 1,472m
Today begins with another short train journey on the Chuo mainline to the small village of Kisofukushima. There are two routes, with the longer option a real epic. Heading deep into the steep river valleys below the famous Hida Mountains, we enter the remote Northern Alps that stretch through Nagano, Toyama and Gifu prefectures. Our final climb takes us up the lower slopes of Mt. Norikura to the Northstar Alpine Lodge where we enjoy a quiet evening, a BBQ and a soak in the hot springs.
Mount Norikura is the third-tallest volcano in Japan. The road we cycle over this morning is closed for most of the year due to heavy snowfall, and private vehicles are never allowed. Our ride begins with a 20km climb up to the summit of Mt. Norikura at 2,700 metres. We then descend through the steep river gorges that cut through the Alps to the UNESCO World Heritage region that includes the village of Shirakawa-gō. This village is known for the housing style known as gassho-zukur, characterised by steep thatched roofs designed to resist immense snowfalls. This evening we rest in one of our favourite Ryokan lodges. Nestled in a small village at the foot of the mountain, this will surely be one of the most traditional hotels you will ever visit. You’ll be able to enjoy a kaiseke meal by an open fire and enjoy a soak in the onsen hot spring.
Enjoy one last soak in the hot spring before we venture out into the deep river valleys and steep remote mountains of today’s journey. We begin by following the Shokawa River upstream and then cycling alongside Miboro Lake. A steep ascent that hugs the steep slopes of the mountain then climbs through dense forest up to the ski area of Shirotori. Following a technical descent, we begin our gradual 35km downhill following the raging Yanbara river. We eventually climb through terraced rice paddy fields, past pristine dairy farms and innumerous temples into the hot spring town of Kaga. First discovered 1,300 years ago by monks visiting Mt Hakusan, Kaga has been a top onsen destination ever since. Tonight we we stay at the acclaimed Hatori Hotel.
Hatori - Yamashiro Onsen
With the Sea of Japan to the west and beautiful snow-capped mountains to the east, Fukui enjoys splendid scenery all year round. Visitors flock to ski its numerous slopes, admire the rocky coastline, sunbathe on the sandy beaches, or relax in the hot springs. In addition to its beautiful natural environment, Fukui prefecture is home to a wealth of traditions. Come and make Japanese paper by hand and learn about a 1,500-year old local industry, polish your own unique lacquered tableware, sculpt pottery, construct a bamboo doll… the opportunities are endless. Today’s ride takes us south along this wonderful coastline, dotted with small fishing villages and with stunning views across the ocean. Here we enjoy rolling-to-flat terrain and an easy tempo as we make our way to our lakeside hotel on the stunning Lake Suigetsu.
Today we venture south to Obama, a city in the Fukui Prefecture. Obama was the gateway for travellers from China on their way to Kyoto, and you can see the Chinese influences in much of the local architecture. We then venture into the region of Miyama, a remote rural area in the mountains north of Kyoto. The area is famous for its traditional, kayabuki (thatched roof) farmhouses, over 200 of which are scattered across the local countryside. Unlike those found in many other districts, the majority of Miyama’s old houses survive as dwellings where people still live and work. This lends a nostalgic atmosphere to the area and gives us a chance to experience the traditional, authentic feel of rural Japan. Today’s lunch is a traditional, hand made soba in the village. This afternoon we arrive into our final destination of Kyoto, which served as Japan’s capital and the Emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868. Over the centuries Kyoto has been ravaged by war and fire: its characteristic wooden buildings are as vulnerable as they are beautiful. Finally, we will enjoy a celebratory dinner at a very quaint and typical Japanese eatery. The chef is a local cyclist who will create a customised meal for our last evening.
Transfers to Kyoto airport.
The team.. James, Nico, Vicki and Livio just blew my mind and exceeded my expectations. They were sooo patient even at my lowest energy point when I perhaps wasn't at my finest the team was always there for me!
— Randonnee Dolomites, July 2016
It truly was an adventure and a testing one at that. Your companionship made the trip pure pleasure. To sit and eat (steak after steak after steak) and laugh with you all after what were very challenging days will make the trip live long in my memory. Our greatest thanks goes to the Rapha Travel Team. Thank you Ben, Greg, Joe and Francois. I know it's very calm on the surface but I also know that so much goes on behind the scenes. Not only on the trip but back in the office as well. I knew what to expect. But even knowing that my expectations were exceeded. Thank you so much guys.
— Randonnee Pyrenees rider, July 2016
We have a fleet of top-specification hire bikes available for rent on our European departures. They cost £50 per day. We ask that guests requiring a bike tell us as far as is possible in advance, so we can guarantee the right size is available, and also to send us your fit measurements, so our mechanics can set up the bike for you ready for the start of your trip. If you’re renting a bike you need to remember to bring your helmet, pedals and saddle to your trip start.
When you’re riding you’ll always have at least one ride guide on the road with the group - on Randonnées there are high guide-to-guest ratios. There will also be a mechanic with a full tool kit and spare parts not far away – usually in a support car behind the group. Your guides and mechanics will be able to help you out with ride food and drink, as well as local knowledge, first aid, a morale-boosting chat and – if necessary – a hand to push you up the hill if you’ve run out of energy. They’ll do everything they can to keep you and your bike on the road but, if for any reason you can’t make it to the end, they’ll always make sure there’s a seat in a vehicle so you get safely home.
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 482 9175
Hours: 9.30am-6.00pm (BST)
Hours: 8.30am-5.30pm (PDT)
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 482 9175
Hours: 9.30am-6.00pm (BST)