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  1. #1
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    Nikko Mountain Biking

    (X-Post from Passion Winter Riding in Nikko Japan)



    Starting the New Year out right. A few days later I decided to check out some of our higher elevation trails.



    This trail is in the Kirifuri Highlands of Nikko in Tochigi Japan. 7.2 km (4.5 mi) after a quick descent to a river crossing, you have a steep climb for 1.7 km that leads to the above downhill. High point is 1218m (4020ft) descend to 645m (2128ft) for a total vertical of 573m (1890ft). The off camber stuff is quite tricky in the snow.

    Hard to tell in the video, but there is blood on the trail from a deer kill where the snow gets deep and kills my momentum. Thinking it might be one of my hunter buddies with a fresh kill, I went to his cabin. Unfortunately it wasn't his kill that I came across. Lucky for me though, he did have some wild boar stew on the stove.

    Here are some pics from the downhill before the snow.

    This is the river crossing before the steep climb up to to long downhill

    This is the steep climb

    The clearing at the top

    This picture is west (to the right) of where I exit the forest at :48. The mountain in the distance is the high point in Tochigi, Mt Nantai 2,486m (8,203ft)


    To anyone who might be interested in riding in Japan, I can provide logistical support to ensure your trip is a memorable one.

  2. #2
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    Wow, what great videos!

    Is that a chest or belly cam you have there

    I just recently joined up here and I'm looking through various boards and found this, impressive!

    I'm located in Tokyo, right downtown in Shinjuku, and I'm rebuilding my old Cannondale right now, but your videos bring back lots of memories of Mt biking in Canada, 20 years ago!

    Domo!

  3. #3
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    Velocipedist those vids are great. I`m in central Tokyo, too, and in the middle of building up a new mtb, finally putting to rest my Cannondale. Just yesterday I and a friend hiked all over Oyama in Tanzawa area close to Yokohama scoping out the riding possibilities. There`s a funicular up to around 800m but I have serious doubts they`d let me on with my bike. If I could get up there, the downhill ridge ride looks exactly like the one in your video. Huge potential there, I think.
    So I have to ask: doesn`t anyone give you grief for bombing around Nikko? It looks awesome and I`m psyched to head out there to give it a go. Have you tried Mt Mitake in Western Tokyo? A guy in a shop told me you can take a bagged bike up in the cable car to the summit. Pretty amazing, as there are shrines and temples all over it. The trails take you south, coming out near Mt Takao, which I know has `no cycling` signs...
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  4. #4
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    Nikko is 1/4 the square area of Tochigi Prefecture

    I have never had a bad biker - hiker interaction in Nikko (knock on wood). It has a lot to do with massive area and low population (less than a 100,000 people). And I really haven't been able to video any of my longer trails with the last snow flurry we had, hopefully in the next week or so some of the higher elevation stuff will open up.

    As to the bike, most bike shops in Japan sell specific Rinkou Bukuro bags to put your bike in for train travel. They only cover the bike and provide no protection at all, last time I asked a station attendant as long it doesn't look like a bike you are good. I figure some heavy duty garbage bags would do the job too.

    A trip to Nikko would be well worth it in my biased opinion. Great food and and great trails await!

  5. #5
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    I`ve been on the trains a few times with my roadbike in a rinko-bukuro, out to okutama area or, once, to Bosso penninsula. But off-road is my main thing (lived in Kyushu for many years; the whole island is like a mtb park) My Cannondale is old and beat and I just wouldn`t trust it, especially the fork, so I haven`t ridden trails for a long time.

    I just, today in fact, ordered an Intense frame from the US, and I`m hoping to have the build finished and be riding by May. Are you still going to be there in Nikko? I will definitely be taking the rig on the trains, heading out of Tokyo for excursions. And I live a short ride to Asakusa, where the Nikko trains leave from. It would be awesome to hook up with a local. Also looking to do some overnight trips to the ski resorts that have opened their gondolas for mtbs (WingHills, Fuji Panorama; ever been?know of any others?)

    d
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  6. #6
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    Never been to any of the Lift assisted areas (fujimi is a good 300km away from me, and Gifu is farther). I feel spoiled by the trails and solitude I have now. Near me in Ibaraki Pref. there are some pay for play shuttle spots, but most parks like that charge 500 yen per shuttle on top of a usage fee. All for trails that might be 3-4 minutes long if you aren't pinning it.

    I have some epic camping/riding loops that I am planning this summer that will be sick. On Monday I checked out a crazy 8km (one way) out and back that linked three good sized peaks together, high point was around 1,530m. (GyoujyaDake, JizouDake, YuuhiDake) Total elevation gain and descent was close to 1000m. There was some bike portage for sure, but the bombing descents more than made up for that. Soon the snow should all be gone.

    What intense did you pick up? I love my Uzzi. I am living long term in Nikko, so when ever you can make it up I can arrange some riding.

    edit: This is one of the better trails and, you can link to it from some other fun trails

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocipedist

    I have some epic camping/riding loops that I am planning this summer that will be sick. On Monday I checked out a crazy 8km (one way) out and back that linked three good sized peaks together, high point was around 1,530m. (GyoujyaDake, JizouDake, YuuhiDake) Total elevation gain and descent was close to 1000m. There was some bike portage for sure, but the bombing descents more than made up for that. Soon the snow should all be gone.

    What intense did you pick up? I love my Uzzi. I am living long term in Nikko, so when ever you can make it up I can arrange some riding.

    You are speaking my language.

    I got the Uzzi, works, large, with the new DHX Air 5.0. Was going to hold out for the Tracer29 but it`s looking like May or later and I just couldn`t wait any more. Plus the yen is strong, and WrenchScience has a sale on. Pulled the trigger this morning over coffee!

    So glad you have the same frame!

    I`ll definitely be in touch!

    d
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  8. #8
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    Do you realize you can hear your heartbeat on that vid?

    Crazy!
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  9. #9
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    Truth be told, you have the frame I want. Yours being the Uzzi Vp and mine being the last year of the Uzzi VPX. Not that I am complaining and considering this is my second Uzzi I am a fan. The Vps are so sexy though, one of these days when I can get some more change together.. You will be stoked on the ride, coming from your old ride.

    Could be dangerous though, you bring that up to Nikko and I could see myself wanting/needing a new frame. Congrats man, great choice

  10. #10
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    wow i'm glad i stumbled upon this thread. i also have an intense uzzi but it is the vpx and i live in kawasaki been here for 4 months now. anybody know of a nearby trail in yokohama?

    sorry i don't have my bearings yet, but where is nikko in relation to tokyo?
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  11. #11
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    Nikko shi Tochigi ken

    Nikko is in the northwestern mountains of Tochigi prefecture. About 2 1/2 - 3 hour train ride from Tokyo (JR trains through Utsunomiya, Tobu trains from Asakusa) say around 100km.

    Shoot me an email when you plan on visiting, I can set up some trail tours if you are interested.

  12. #12
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    Looks like we`re going to have to all get together - UZZI/UZZI/UZZI.

    The most accessible riding to Yokohama is supposed to be at Hayama, near zushi/kamakura. I haven`t been yet but it looks pretty easy to get on some trails.

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  13. #13
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    新禄 / New Green

    The monsoon season has officially started in Japan, but the rains have yet to fall in Nikko. And all of the "New Green" is is looking quite nice.

    Got out for an early morning ride with some of the locals on the Boshin trail. The Boshin trail flows down the escape route Ootori Keisuke used in 1868 during the Boshin War fleeing from the westernizing Meiji forces, before they had their final battle north in Aizu.


    and



    really need to remember to keep my camera properly charged.

    Next time I will be prepared and get the whole trail, about 5km and 550m vertical descent.

  14. #14
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    Sweeeeeet. I`m surprised how different the terrain looks compared to the stuff I`ve been riding in the Ome/Okutatma area. This Uzzi just rocks, it`s totally changing riding for me. I go out every Friday - almost no-one on the trails. The route I`ve been doing is 10km w/740m of elevation loss and 90% ridable, by me, in the dry. But I`m improving. Went out last Friday in heavy fog and rain... not a soul. Spooky, fantastic.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nikko Mountain Biking-mitaketrailshot9.jpg  

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    I am local to Ome and ride most weekends. Maybe I can take a Friday off after the rain season. You don't need the bag for the Mitake cable car and if you drive and are willing to peadl up to the station, there is free parking on the river in Mitake.

  16. #16
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    My standard route to ride to the cable car, take it up then ride to Hinode-san and down to Hinatawada. But this past Friday I decided to start from Okutama Station. I rode up the Nokogiri-toge, (around 1000m) which I`d done a few times on my roadbike and which recently re-opened after some landslides. Then from the ridge I got on the hiking trails and went up Otake-san. That was hard - too hard to do again, actually, but the ride down to Mitake was some of the best flowy single track, root-free, with streams and a few old wooden bridges. Plus the most amazing broken-down old shrine... I`d love to find a way to get up there without scrambling over rocky outcrops with my bike on my shoulder for an hour...

    Every time I ride I see other knobby tracks, but I`ve never met another rider. I swung fri/sat/sun weekends from May, when got my new bike, because I wanted to avoid the wknd crowds. But if you ride on sat/sun I`ll definitely go with you. And if you can take a Friday, even better. Friday the place is deserted...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nikko Mountain Biking-nokogiri-otake1.jpg  

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  17. #17
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    Well familiar with where you rode. Some of those tracks you see are probally mine. The combination of trails in that area is endless. A fun, all day route is to take the cable car up and then work to Otake. Instead of climbing up and over, continue past the shrine in your picture and circum-navigate the peak. From there the trail is all flow to Nokogiri-toge. Instead of taking the road back to Okutama, continue the trail at the pass to Gozen-yama. A ton of hike a bike, but a fun trail awaits that will drop you back on Rt 33. Spin back to Itsukaichi station for the exhausted train ride home.

    Had a perfect day on Hinode Saturday.

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    Mr. Velocipedist, don't be surpised if a car load of folks from Tokyo show up on your door step. Those trails look fun!

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    You are welcome anytime!

    Mattf,

    Drop me a line when you plan on coming up, I can give you the primo onsen DH tour 16km with 3,000 ft of vertical. Starting July 22nd I can guide on weekdays too (summer vacation). We just finished rough cutting a new beginner oriented 6km downhill run from the top of Kirifuri Kogen. This fall it should be butter.

    Look forward to showing your crew around Nikko.

  20. #20
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    Count me in

    If you have an extra seat I`d love to join. Any Friday or Weekend.
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  21. #21
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    Please, more singletrack pics.

  22. #22
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    Kirifuri Kogen (霧降高原 Misty Mountain Highlands)

    The Plains of Clarity  見晴台

    Here are a few picks I dug up from the top of Miharashi Dai. It`s a nice 7.2 km trail, with 1km of steep climbing and a sweeet 5km descent directly to the historical shirnes and and temples area of Nikko.







    Kisuge Daira キスゲ平



    Kinu Numa 鬼怒沼







    Oyama 大山







    Last edited by Velocipedist; 06-27-2010 at 11:48 PM. Reason: more pictures

  23. #23
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    Velocipedist those pics are great - dying to ride that kind of open terrain with the new Uzzi.

    Mattf that route sounds extremely hard, like hours of miserable struggle and terrifying downhills. When are we doing it?

    I rode the Mitake funicular train as usual yesterday (Friday July 2). I finally found the route to Musashi-Itsukaichi and it is killer, killer, killer. Those in the Tokyo area may have noticed the thunderstorms yesterday. That trail took me straight into the middle of one. Fog, then monsoon downpour, lightning flashing with simultaneous thunder cracks. The whole trail is ridgeline, so my wet, bald head the highest point around. The trail turned into a river. Vegetation flying everywhere. It was just beautiful.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nikko Mountain Biking-mitake-itsukaichi-6.jpg  

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  24. #24
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    Soon...send me a PM.

  25. #25
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    velocipedist, Nice Ventana! Is than an El Toro with S&S couplers or something a little more custom and beefy?

    Ride a Ventana myself, just with a little more travel though.

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    Nice pics, guys. I'm gonna come visit sometime.

  27. #27
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    Yeah you got it, El toro with S&S couplers. My travel/adventure bike. Great for finding the trails the uzzi wants to eat.

  28. #28
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    I figured I would revive this thread. Matt and Dave how about some photos from this past weekends ride.

  29. #29
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    Alrighty

    What a blast that was....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Nikko Mountain Biking-fuji-takanosu-9.2010.jpg  

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  30. #30
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    I'd love to ride Nikko. I am only about an hour away. Where is a good place to start?

  31. #31
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    When do you want to come?

    TheMajor: The classic Nikko ride is Ogura Yama, a short 3-4km loop that I like to call Cheap Thrills, Hot Springs near the trail entrance, and a Micro brewery near the exit. Its a great intro to the type of terrain you can ride in Nikko. I can shoot you directions when you come into town.

    Whenever you are interested in coming to Nikko I can arrange a guide / shuttles for the longer all mountain rides 10+km 1000m+ vertical descent, let me know when you are thinking.

    We are actually in the process of finishing off a new machine built 6km trail that will be a blast .


    The Ome crew: Man your trails make me drool, I wish I had a more free time to make a trip down to taste some of your singletrack. One of these days...


    Sticky side down Braap!!

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    Great shots Dave. It was a fun ride and there's so many more adventures that lie ahead. I will be going on vacation soon and plan to ride everyday I can. The Hinode/Mitake ride is just around the corner. When you get a chance you need to go on another adventure with us.

  33. #33
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    i'm jealous
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    i'd like to see how you transported those bikes via the trains! can you get back up to Mitake station after the end of the trail?
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    You can just use a bike bag that can be bought from any bike shop. In Japanese they called 輪行バッグ. I just used trash bags once and had no trouble.

    I am thinking about heading up to Nikko next weekend. Can you recommend any decent trails that aren't too far from the train station?

  36. #36
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    New Nikko Trail fall preview : Shugyoudou 修行道

    Major:

    Shoot me an email when you plan on getting to town, the nearest from the train station will be Ogura Mt, the entrance is near the Yurin Onsen. Any of the other trails will be a 5km+ ride to the trailheads.

    Not sure how flexiable your schedule is, but we are having a fall preview for our new 4.5km trail that will officially open for use next year, on Sat. November 6th you could get on in on some free shuttles that way and the its likely we will be hitting other trails in the area too.

    Lots of our trails are on private land and we have a really good rapport going at the moment for future building and use, please contact me if you have any questions, look forward to showing you around Nikko whenever you make it to town.

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    I am just looking to get out of Saitama and ride. Just looking to clock so miles in the saddle. How many trails are you guys maintaining up there?

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    Trails

    I would say we have about 20km of trails currently, 3 main lines that you can shuttle to the top and then link together with a little bit of pavement in between each trail. Of that a solid 10 - 15km is pretty clear of downfall and debris at the moment, with new lines going in as time permits. There are other trails we ride, but try to stay off of on the weekends defering to hikers to maintain good relations in the community. Love to have you come and wander around, If you can read some japanese you shouldn`t have a problem finding most of the close to town rides.

    Look forward to showing you around when you have time to come and ride.

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    Could you drop some pins on Google maps for me? I was planning to come this weekend but the Typhoon put me off as I expected. If the trail opening is next week then the timing is also pretty good.

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    This thread still operational? These trails of which you speak. Can you ride to the top then down again a bunch of times? Or is the juice not worth the squeeze?
    I live in Utsunomiya. Ride up and down Kogashi about 5 times a session, but looking for somewhere new.
    Hardtail GT

  41. #41
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    If you are in utsunomiya hit up Mr. Ohashi one of the mechanics at Kanto jitensha in Utsunomiya. Depending on snow the higher elevation trails may be singletrack plus bike portage. Mr. Kamiyama at Kamiyama cycle right at nikko IC across from 7-11 might be able to arrange a shuttle or group ride. I am back in the states right now, so I am not certain of the conditons, but nikko is blast to ride year round.

    Hope that helps.

  42. #42
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    Hi,

    I travel to Tokyo on a quarterly basis for business trips. Looking to do some MTB rides during the trips. Can I join any of you for the rides? I am good with any type of rides as long as its out in the mountains or forest. Please PM me.

    thanks!
    Ryan

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