Shizuoka – A Unique Cycling Destination
Japan is quickly becoming recognized as one of the world’s top cycling destinations – Cycling in Shizuoka has something for everyone.
Not only the majestic home of Mt.Fuji, Shizuoka has an abundance of riding options for all levels of cycle tourist. The Prefecture will also be home to nearly all of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games cycling events.
cycling in shizuoka
Throughout the Prefecture there are a variety of amazing cycling experiences just waiting for you to Explore.
Mountains that rival that of Europe. Abundant quiet roads where cars are seldom seen. A labyrinth of well paved roads and narrow country lanes with surprises around every corner – It is no wonder that secret is finally starting to get out to global cycling enthusiasts.
Cycle tourism in Japan has grown fast in recent years has seen more traditional destinations (France, Italy & Spain) quickly becoming over run by cyclists on their European holiday, especially during the peak summer.
Japan offers the cycle enthusiast a chance to explore some of the best riding in the World, to enjoy an unsurpassed level of respect on and off the road, and an ability explore roads that twist and snake though ancient villages and rice paddy fields.
Within easy reach of Tokyo and Osaka, easily accessible by bullet train, Shizuoka Prefecture is one of best regions in Japan to ride your bike.
With expanses of natural environments Shizuoka offers the cyclist great contrasts across short distances. The landscapes and terrain within the western region famous for its green tea plantations are very different from the plains, farms and rice fields that surround Mt Fuji, which is then in turn very different to the rugged and and steep coastal roads of Izu Peninsula.
Shizuoka also offers something for cyclists of all types from beginners right through to passionate cyclists – city cruising to mountain downhill chargers to hardcore hill climbers.
A good cycling destination is not all about the riding and it is important to have a diversity of key experiences in addition to cycling and with amazing regional food, particularly around the Izu Peninsula and lower slopes of Mt. Fuji, there is plenty on offer to refuel the weary body after a long day on the bike.
Multi-day bike touring, whether guided or self-guided, is a great way to delve deep into a region and a culture, with close proximity of towns Shizuoka is perfect for 5-7 day trips.
Let’s take a look at some of the regions more detail –
STUNNING COASTLINE, BEACHES, VIEWS, ONSEN, SEAFOOD
The Izu Peninsula is a resort area popular for its hot springs, beautiful coastlines, beaches, mild climate and scenic mountainous interior.
Located about 100 kilometres southwest of Tokyo, its proximity to the city makes the peninsula a popular weekend getaway.
This convenience offers the cyclist a lot of opportunity to escape the busy streets of the megacity and enjoy some amazing coastal riding with views of Mt. Fuji.
The more developed eastern coast of the Izu Peninsula is home to larger cities such as Atami, Ito and Shimoda, which are popular for their beaches and hot springs.
HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND
The easiest way to get to Izu Peninsula is on the Bullet train – getting off at Atami Station to access the East Coast and head down to the small surf town of Shimoda or get off at Mishima station and head down the more secluded West Coast of the Peninsula.
Bike rental options available within easy reach of the main train stations, as are lots of marked cycling roads with good signage and roads that are well suited to riders of all levels.
Like most of Shizuoka, this region is great for multi day touring and riders can experience a range of amazing off-bike experience, especially the onsen town of Shuzenji, which also happens to be home of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic velodrome.
The southern and western coasts, of Izu are less developed and well known for their rugged coastlines and spectaular views around Irozaki and Dogashima.
MT FUJI – HISTORY – SHIRAITO FALLS – MT. FUJI WORLD HERITAGE CENTRE
Fujinomiya is a city in Shizuoka Prefecture on the southwestern slopes of Mount Fuji.
The city grew up around Fujinomiya Sengen Shrine, the most prominent and important shrine in the region, which is also the traditional starting point of the approach up the mountain.
Many visitors still start the climb from Fujinomiya via the Fujinomiya 5th Station, as it is the shortest and one of the most popular routes up the mountain.
The region has several iconic landmarks and Mt. Fuji access making it a great base for cyclists.
HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND
Just a short bus or taxi from Shin Fuji Station to Fuji Station then a local train gets you to Fujinomiya Station.
Shin-Fuji Station information staff are extremely helpful and can point you in the right direction.
Alternatively, there are also daily buses (Yakisoba Express) that leave from Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit every morning that are convenient, very affordable and get you straight to Fujinomiya station in just over 2 hours.
Many local cyclists will take late bus from Tokyo Station Friday and stay at one of the comfortable business hotels near the station to be up early the next day to get the best views of Mt Fuji.
Fujinomiya is home to the Shiraito Falls, one of Japan’s most beautiful waterfalls. The falls can be found in the outskirts of the city in the Asagiri area.
LAKE HAMANAKA – RIDING UP THE TENRYU RIVER INTO THE ALPS – KANZANJI ONSEN – GYOZA
Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture is an industrial city west of Shizuoka city.
Hamamatsu has long been known for the production of musical instruments with Yamaha and Kawai prominent in the city, and motorcycles, with Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha also having factories in the area.
Historically Hamamatsu was an important communications centre in the Edo Period as it was the meeting place of the Tokaido highway (the route largely followed by today’s Tokaido Shinkansen) and the Shinano highway, which runs north along the Tenyu River to Matsumoto and Nagano.
Riding from Hamamatsu city following the Tenryu River is a popular cyclist trail and if at anytime you get tired the local train is never far away. #ridetenryu
HOW TO GET THERE AND AROUND
A great area for cycling and many established cycling routes around Lake Hamanaka are a fantastic way to explore the region with the onsen in the Kanzanji area particularly appealing to weary travelers.
Cafes and good signage, as well as a convenient bike rental both at Lake Hamanaka and Hamamatsu station that cater to beginners that just want to cruise around to the more serious enthusiast – doing a full circuit of the lake is popular with cyclists of all levels and is an incredibly satisfying experience – but beware – it is a big lake and it can get very hot in peak Summer.
There is also a strong local cycling community, who are super friendly and ready to welcome and show visitors some really unique off-bike experiences and great local cuisine including fresh oysters and smoked eel.
Hamamatsu is a sprawling city but once you get out of the urban sprawl you will are rewarded with spectacular nature as you follow the winding Tenryu River into the mountains.