The Akiha Kaido runs from Chino City in southern Nagano down to Shizuoka Prefecture. The medieval pilgrimage route goes over six mountain passes, offering panoramic views of Yatsugatake and the mountains of the Central and Southern Alps.
The biggest climb is from Oshika Village to Jizo Pass and up to Shirabiso Pass, with an elevation gain of almost 1,200 meters. It can get quite chilly at dawn and dusk during this stretch, even in summer.
Once in Shizuoka Prefecture, the easiest path is cycling down along the Tenryu River; however the route over Yamazumi Pass and down along the Keta River is highly recommended. The river’s pristine water, as well as fresh green leaves in spring or summer and the autumn colors, is breathtaking.
You’ll pass the head shrine of the Akiha Shinto sect, where many come to worship the deity.