Summer Mountain Biking in Nagano

August 19th, 2016 by
Category: Outdoor Activities, Seasonal Topics

Suzushii naaa!

When I tell people that I live in Nagano, they always respond with an envious, “Suzushii naaaaa (How Refreshing)!” But while they’re imagining all of the grassy highland fields gently undulating in the cool breeze, I’m sitting in my apartment in Nagano city sweating profusely on my couch. I’ve been doing my best recently to get out of the city and into the cooler parts of Nagano, and this weekend I visited Hakuba for some outdoor adventures.

Last Monday, my coworker and I visited the Evergreen Outdoor Center to try mountain biking. It was another hot day in Nagano city, but the temperatures hovered around 30°C in Hakuba and a refreshing breeze blew through the valley.

Our guide today was Ya-chan, a former professional mountain biker who is now “taking it easy” by offering a variety of biking tours around the Hakuba area. She showed us the beginner’s route today, but there are also downhill and private tours that offer adventure and technical challenges. After showing us some important basics of mountain biking we headed on our way through the woods.

One of the many wooded paths we used around Hakuba.

We passed a variety of expensive villas and hit several rocky trails on our way to our first stop, the local Suwa shrine. We cleansed ourselves with water from the basin and stepped through the gates to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. In front of the shrine was a massive cedar tree. According to Ya-chan, it takes about 12 people to make a ring all the way around it. With only 3 of us, we admired the view and headed on our way.

Yamagishi-san absorbs power from the great tree.

We rode through some more woods and brush until we came to a campsite by the riverside. We gently laid down our bikes, took off our shoes and waded in the crystal clear water. Nearby a few kids were diving into a deep pool formed by the surrounding rocks. The air was hazy but we could still make out the mountaintops in the distance. After a leisurely dip, we somewhat reluctantly got out of the water, dried off and headed onto the last stretch of our tour.

Yamagishi-san and Ya-chan show off the ready position.

There were more severe uphill and downhill sections along Hakuba’s bike paths as well as some single track. We even hit a man-made jump or two. Eventually we popped out onto the main roads of Hakuba and headed to a local bike shop where Evergreen picked us up in their van and drove us back uphill. The tour was a great introduction to mountain biking and refreshing way to spend a hot summer day!

Additional Information

We did a halfday fun ride MTB tour with the Evergreen Outdoor Center. You can see more information about their various MTB tours here. There are also plenty of ski resorts which offer downhill courses for more experienced MTB riders. See them below:

Hakuba 47 Mountain Sports Park

Season: July 16th to August 23rd, 2016 (Open on Weekends and Holidays until September 19th, 2016)
Hours: 9:00 to 16:00
Location: Hakuba Mura, Central Nagano

Ticket type Adults Children
One Ride 850 500
Three Hour 3,000 2,500
One Day 3,500 3,000

Hakuba Iwatake

Season: Intermittently between July 2nd to November 6th (see website for more details)
Hours: 8:30 to 16:00 (until 17:00 during summer)
Location: Hakuba Mura, Central Nagano
Website (Japanese Only):

Ticket Type Adults Children
One Ride 1,200 600
Three Rides 3,000 1,500
One Day 3,500 1,750

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort MTB

Season: July 11th to August 30th, 2016
Hours: 9:00-16:30
Location: Nozawa Onsen Mura, Northern Nagano

Ticket Type Adults Children
One Ride 1,500 800
One Day 3,000 1,500

Fujimi Panorama

Season: April 29th to November 6th, 2016
Hours: 9:00 to 16:00
Location: Fujimi Machi, Central/Eastern Nagano

Ticket type Adults Children
One ride 1550 1,000
Three Rides 3,900 2,000
One day 4,950 2,500

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