Pedal Power: Explore Yamanashi’s Cycling Trail
Mt. Fuji, Yamanashi
Follow the bike trails of future Olympians as you explore the beauty of Yamanashi prefecture on a day’s escape from Tokyo. Stretching from the capital to the base of Mt. Fuji, the 234km route travels through four prefectures, including Yamanashi. Starting along the Doshi Road, the green prefecture’s section of the trail offers a ready-made tour of local life and natural wonder. While competitors will have little time to admire the scenery as they race to the finish line, regular cyclists—from beginners to the more experienced—can take their time and enjoy the views of Fuji, relax in onsen and take in the traditional charm of Yamanashi.
Whether visitors arrive with their own bikes or rent them along the way, the route is a balance between well known sights and little-known corners. In Doshi Village, a great starting point, there are plenty of small sightseeing spots like the Kubo Suspension Bridge. Reaching across the Doshi River, it offers stunning views of forest-covered mountains and forms the perfect introduction to the landscapes of Yamanashi. As the route runs through the small town and alongside the river, visitors can stop off at the local culture center and the roadside station which serve as oases for road bikers.
Shaded by towering trees and dotted with family-run restaurants, shrines, and small temples, the route offers plenty of stop-off points. The local speciality of hoto is the perfect lunch: a filling bowl of thick noodles and seasonal vegetables. Legend has it the dish was named after the sword of a samurai, used to cut the unusual noodles for serving. While favored in winter, the nutritious dish is a treat throughout the year for those looking to refuel.
Heading towards Yamanakako, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, riders will be greeted by views of Mt. Fuji. The most celebrated sight in all of Japan, the sacred mountain is an iconic symbol of nature, be it snow-capped or cloud-covered. From the lake’s shores, reflections create unforgettable views as visitors cycle along the waterside paths. The nearby Mikuni Pass Panorama-dai is on the route, offering incredible vistas across the shimmering surface. If visitors stretch their trip to Fuji-Yoshida City, they can see the famous Chureito Pagoda framing the view of Mt. Fuji with cherry blossoms in the spring, creating one of the most sought-after views in Japan.
Cycling around the lake’s waters allows for a relaxed exploration of the small villages, beautiful picnic spots and local cafes that surround it. Those lucky enough can extend the trip with a relaxing stay in Shimobe Onsen Town. Hailed for healing the famous warlord Takeda Shingen (1521–73) after battle, the town’s warm waters are the perfect way to unwind after a day of cycling. Further North, Shosenkyo Gorge offers stunning natural scenery, with valleys of golden-leaves in autumn and rushing rivers to admire. For wine-lovers, Katsunuma has wine-tasting and grape picking—a perfect afternoon for couples and families too.
Whether visitors can cycle for a day or a long-weekend, Yamanashi Prefecture’s slice of the Olympic trail is a perfect introduction to the area’s natural beauty.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Cycling Road Race Yamanashi Course Presentation (YouTube)
This article is written in cooperation with Yamanashi Prefectural Government.
Office of Promotion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Strategic Policy Planning Department, Yamanashi Prefectural Government
1-6-1, Marunouchi, Kofu, Yamanashi, 400-8501, Japan
For more details, contact DMC Japan to discuss ideas and locations.