Cycling and Cherry Blossoms in Spring: the Alps Azumino Century Ride

April 24th, 2018 by
Category: Events, Information, Outdoor Activities, Report

Taking a break at the Alps Azumino Park aid station

The 10th annual Alps Azumino Century Ride cycling event was held last weekend. Beginning in Azumino and extending as far as the ski resorts of Hakuba, the event course weaved through rice fields, orchards, and the lakes of Omachi. While the course was the same for all participants, there were different lengths available, ranging from 70km to 150km. Somehow, I found myself participating in the race along with one of my coworkers. But at least it was on the “friendlier” 70km tour.
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New Walking and Hiking Guide for Karuizawa

November 2nd, 2013 by
Category: Information, Outdoor Activities

Aussie expat and fellow Go-Nagano ambassador has been at it again. He just published his 3rd book in his Hiking, Walking & Biking Nagano Guide — the Karuizawa edition. Joining the Chikuma City and Ueda City editions, Peter’s guide gives detailed information on lots of well-researched courses from walks around town to vigourous hikes in the nearby mountains.

New Guide Book for Karuizawa

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Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada News: Taiko Concerts, New Cycling Tour and Free Onsen Baths

April 28th, 2013 by
Category: Culture Art, Events, Information, Onsens (Hot Springs), Outdoor Activities

This year onsen town Togura-Kamiyamada is celebrating its birthday.  The Togura side is 120 years old, and the Kamiyamada side 110 years.  On April 21st, we celebrated with an event that included a performance by our town’s geisha guild and lion dance troupe as well as free pottery and stained glass making lessons.  And on the 26th of each month from April to September, 2013, all of the inns and hotels will be offering free onsen baths.  Register at the Tourism Hall (tel 026-276-1056)  from 12:30, and enjoy onsen-hopping until 3pm. 

Togura Kamiyamada Onsen's Anniversary Celebration

Also coming up is a taiko drum concert series by our local troupe, Kamuruki-daiko.  They will perform at the main stage by the Kara-Koro onsen footbath in the park in the middle of town.  The energetic performances will take place most Saturday nights in June and September (specifically June 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th, and September 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th).  The concerts will start at 8:30pm and last approximately 30 minutes, with a chance at the end for people from the audience to come up on stage and try drumming with the group.  Kids will especially love it.

Taiko Drum Concert Series June and September 2013

One other exciting item is starting in May, guided cycling tours of the onsen town will be offered every Saturday morning.  The tours will start at the Kara-Koro onsen footbath at 10:30 am and will last approximately 1-1/2 hours.   ‘Mama-chari’ rental cycles will be provided.  The tour will cover everything from Designated National Cultural Treasures to hidden secrets and will take in the beautiful scenery of the Chikuma River and the surrounding mountains. The tour will also include a footbath stop and each participant will get a manju sweet to eat.  The tour will be led by an English-speaking guide for your full enjoyment.
Tours will take place every Saturday morning from May through November.
Price is 1200 yen, including cost of the rental cycle, insurance, and the manju sweet.
Maximum 8 people per tour, so reserve early!
To reserve, contact the Chikuma City Tourism Association.

Guided Cycling Tours of Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen Every Saturday Starting in May

Bicycle Rentals at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen + Family Fun Ride

May 16th, 2010 by
Category: Events, Information, Outdoor Activities

It’s spring time — perfect weather to get out and ride a bike.  And if you have been doing the typical sightseeing and are sick of riding trains and busses, take a break, and take a ride on a bicycle. 

"Green" Rental Cycles at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen

"Green" Rental Cycles at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen

Here in Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, new for this year are rental bicycles available for hire at 5 different ryokans and (soon to be) at the Tourism Center.   Members of the Chikuma Cycling Club rescued several bikes that had been thrown away at area train stations.  We spruced them up and painted them all an “eco” green color and are offering them for use for the day.  Prices are 500 yen per bike, or 200 yen for guests of Togura Kamiyamada Onsen ryokans. 

Rental Bicycles at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen.  The bikes are available at the following 5 inns:

Taki no Yu (Tel 026-275-2120, )

Kamiyamada Hotel (Tel 026-275-1005, )

Fukujuso (Tel 026-275-1071)

Ueda-kan (Tel 026-275-1881,

Kamesei Ryokan (Tel 026-275-1032, *English OK*)

Chikuma Cycling Club riding along the Chikuma River

Chikuma Cycling Club riding along the Chikuma River



Suggested places for cycling include the Chikuma Cycling Road along the Chikuma River.  You can ride south from Togura Kamiyamada past a lavendar field through Sakaki as far as Ueda, or north along the river to the samurai town of Matsushiro.  My kids and I like to ride north to the Inariyama area of Chikuma City and wander the narrow streets amongst the classic earthen walled storehouses.


Exploring the Obasute Masumune sake brewery by bike (above Inariyama)

Exploring the Obasute Masumune sake brewery by bike (above Inariyama)

One other thing to mention is that the Chikuma Cycling Club has a “Citizens’ Cycling” event schedule coming up for at the end of May:

Family Fun Ride to the Sakaki Rose Festival
Saturday May 29th, 2010
Meet at Togura Kamiyamada Onsen Tourism Center at 9am

*Follow the Chikuma Cycling Road along the Chikuma River to Kogai Bridge (rest stop)
*Peddle through Sakaki Town (tour various sites related to Sakaki’s samurai hero, Yoshikiyo Murakami)
*Stop at Lobinia Chocolate Factory’s factory store
*Have lunch at the Sakaki Rose Festival site
*Return via the Chikuma Cycling Road, finish at 2pm.

For those without bicycles, the Togura Kamiyamada Onsen green rental bikes will be available, so come and enjoy this fun event with everyone!