Back in May of this year, my girlfriend (at the time) and I spend a month in Japan. 3 weeks of that month was spend cycling from Tokyo to Hachinohe, a route that took us 1200km with 12000 meters of elevation and it was just incredible!
So I couldn't just leave it at that and although I've been very absent from LFGSS for months, I just have to share the experience and hopefully somebody else decides to take the same route after seeing this.
I used the route from CyclingAbout.com
(worth the watch), which was based on the route from "Length of Japan".
The first day was spend cycling out of Tokyo, which takes all of 30km, and the towns and cities around it. So not too much excitement there. Next few days are mainly cycling through hills full of rice fields and visiting the beautiful Nikko shrines and waterfalls.
We had a rest day in Aizuwakamatsu, which is a great little city to stay for an extra day and eat some green chocolate bananas.
After that we headed into some serious climbing, straight out of Aizu we had an 11km climb averaging 6%. Being on top of that mountain gave me a chance to show off my setup.
Continuing past the great lake Inawashiro and climbing up the vulcano Adata, which was a 15 km climb past both beautiful but sad abandoned villages and ski-resorts into a somewhat snowy top.
Descending into Fukushima was very weird. It's a pretty sizable city, but it is just so quiet there. Even for a Japanese city.. Which did mean a nice luxury hotel for next to nothing.
We rode along Abukuma river through Sendai towards the heavily 2011-tsunami hit coastal area. Haven't got any good pictures really from this part.. Since it was just brand new buildings, huge cemeteries, huge road and waterworks.. Though the people there were the most positive people I've ever met.
Now the stuff gets serious. Going back land inwards the first day brought us 3 climbs of about 6 or 7km, one of those being mostly 14% gradient and heavy gravel.
After this we had our one and only (!) day with (a total of 2 hours of) rain. But with beautiful countryside roads and hardly any traffic the whole thing was still very enjoyable.
Cycling past mount Iwate we had some close to private climbs, where the main highway was through a tunnel, the roads that go through the hills hardly get any use. PERFECT for us.
With 2 huges climbs left to go we first went up mount Hachimantai. A monstrous 30km uphill where most of it is around 9 to 11%. After about 15km the permanent snow started showing, slowly changing into snow walls all the way up to the top with snowboarders whizzing past and the sulfur smell from the hot water sources all around.
30km of climbing means 30km of decending through beautiful Japanese roads and villages. But the next day was back to business. We had to get through the Ou mountains, which was another 18km of solid climbing with large parts being 10% up hill. All the way up we where surrounded by beautiful waterfalls.
After a beautiful descent we stayed at a volcanic lake (a volcano erupted, collapsed and turned into a lake). And with just one day left had the best apple pie of my life.
The last day was just a descent through parts that seemed like a jungle with waterfalls and some rolling hills towards the end at Hachinohe.
The last thing to do was to catch a bullet train back towards Tokyo, covering what took us 3 weeks in just over 2,5 hours.
I've rambled on quite a bit here, but the trip was just so perfect. Always close to restaurants, convenience stores or in the worst case vending machines. We had around 23 to 26 degrees and sun every day, apart from the 2 hours of rain and one day around 10 degrees.
You can find my route here: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28897252
I've changed quite a bit from the original since some of the roads in the original are closed off. Hopefully any of you readers will consider doing this trip and find my route helpful!