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    • Spring
      • spring outdoor japan shinano discovery

        2022 Spring Tours and Travel

        Check out these green season tours and experiences across Japan!
        video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.

        2022 Art Events in Japan

        Two of Japan's biggest art events return this year: the Setouchi Triennale on the Seto Inland Sea Islands and Niigata's Echigo Tsumari Art Field.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • Summer
      • Washi Papermaking Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
        Climbing Mt. Fuji Outdoor Japan

        Peaking in 2021: Climbing Mt. Fuji

        Thinking of climbing Mt. Fuji this summer? We talk to Mt. Fuji guides on best practices for scaling Japan's highest mountain.

        Japan Camping Guide

        Check out our picks all the way from Hokkaido to the Okinawa Islands and then plot your perfect Japan camping adventure.
        Japan's Digital Nomads Van Life in Japan

        Japan’s Digital Nomads

        Adventure couple Ruth Aisling and Bappa Shota explores Japan by van.
    • Autumn
      • Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

        Beyond the Brand: Pow Bar

        An interview with Megumi Scott, the founder of Niseko brand Pow Bar.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
    • Winter
      • Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
        Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

        The Indy Pass arrives in Japan to bring avid riders to local resorts that punch above their weight class and offer varied terrain.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
        video

        Hachimantai’s Powder History

        Discover powder and ski culture deep in Tohoku at Hachimantai.
    • Near Tokyo
    • Near Kyoto
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
      • Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.
        Kawazu

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
        Kaiyu Kochi Shikoku Outdoor Japan

        Snorkeling, Surfing and Sustainability in Koch...

        Enjoy the clear waters of Kochi by snorkeling and surfing while staying at a refurbished hotel committed to sustainability.
    • River and Lake
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kan...

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamand...

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        sawa nobori wakasa fukuivideo

        Shower Climbing High Abov...

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawanobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
        Iriomote Yamaneko Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote’s Endanger...

        Iriomote Island, one of Japan's last untouched wild places, is home to the endangered yamaneko wildcat.
        Iriomote Outdoor Japan

        Iriomote Activity Guide

        A guide to Iriomote's outdoors, hiking, diving, cultural experiences and accommodation.
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
      • Spring Skiing in Japan 2022

        It may be spring in Japan but you can still ski in select ski resorts open all the way to Golden Week.
        Indy Pass Outdoor Japan Tohoku

        The Resistance

        The Indy Pass arrives in Japan to bring avid riders to local resorts that punch above their weight class and offer varied terrain.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!
        video

        Hachimantai’s Powder History

        Discover powder and ski culture deep in Tohoku at Hachimantai.
    • Travel
      • sawa nobori wakasa fukuivideo

        Shower Climbing High Above Wakasa Bay

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawanobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.

        Market Watch: Oiso’s Shishimai Marche

        Check out this farmers' market in the beachside town of Oiso.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Protect our Winter POW Japan

        Protecting Japan’s Pow

        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
    • Food and Drinks
      • sawa nobori wakasa fukuivideo

        Shower Climbing High Above Wakasa Bay

        Learn about the uniquely Japanese activity of sawanobori, navigating up rivers and waterfalls, in the Wakasa region of Fukui Prefecture.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.

        Market Watch: Oiso’s Shishimai Marche

        Check out this farmers' market in the beachside town of Oiso.
        Shinano Town Outdoor Japan

        Go Deep into Shinano

        Discover Snow Country in Shinano Town in northern Nagano, popular for its deep powder but also its mountainous winter scenery.
        Protect our Winter POW Japan

        Protecting Japan’s Pow

        Professional snowboarder and environmentalist Goro Komatsu fights climate change with Protect our Winters Japan.
    • Races and Events
      • spring outdoor japan shinano discovery

        2022 Spring Tours and Travel

        Check out these green season tours and experiences across Japan!

        2022 Art Events in Japan

        Two of Japan's biggest art events return this year: the Setouchi Triennale on the Seto Inland Sea Islands and Niigata's Echigo Tsumari Art Field.

        2022 Spring Races & Festivals

        The start of the green season is a great time to start trail running, cycling and hiking. Check out these races, outdoor events and traditional festivals held this spring.
        Evergreen Outdoor Center Japan

        Japan Snow Guide: Winter 2022 Events & No...

        Check out the latest news and winter events held at ski resorts all over Japan in 2022!

Madarao’s Big 10 Trails

Mountain Biking in Madarao, Nagano

The Madarao Big Ten Trails are a mix of gravel roads, forest roads and single track trails. They vary in difficulty and fitness level so that there is something for people of all cycling levels.

#1 Lake Nojiri Back Door

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
Nojiri Back Door

Lake Nojiri Back Door, an intermediate ride mainly on gravel roads, winds around the back of Mt. Madarao and finishes at the clear waters of Lake Nojiri—perfect for a post-ride swim, SUP or canoe ride on those hot summer days.

TRAIL GRADE: 3
DISTANCE: 18 km.
COURSE TYPE: Graveller
ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 394 meters

#2 Furusato Road

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
Furusato Road

Furusato Road is an intermediate level trail that is mainly gravel down through Wakui and Nagata villages. It passes Oike Pond and Madarao-no-Yu hot springs. Wakui Village has three great soba restaurants. Nagata Village is the birthplace of one of Japan’s most famous song writers who penned “Furusato.” The trail ends at a temple on a river that is featured in his song.

TRAIL GRADE: 3
DISTANCE: 19 km.
COURSE TYPE: Graveller
ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 288 meters

#3 Bear Valley 

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
Bear Valley

The Bear Valley trail is an intermediate-level gravel downhill trail that goes through logging tracks and rice fields that are predominantly off road. The trail ends in Iiyama City, where you can go for lunch at a local restaurant after the ride.

TRAIL GRADE: 3
DISTANCE: 13 km.
COURSE TYPE: Graveller
ESTIMATED TIME: 1.5 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 75 meters

#4 Yama No Kami Downhill

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
Yama no Kami Downhill

Yama No Kami Downhill follows a tight ridge down through a valley traditionally used for sumiyaki (charcoal making). It passes an ancient shrine locally known as “Yama no Kami” (God of the Mountain). It is an advanced trail with extensive single track and steep sections. For experienced riders only; a guide is recommended.

TRAIL GRADE: 6
DISTANCE: 9 km.
COURSE TYPE: Downhill
ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 450 meters

#5 The Cow Trail

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
The Cow Trail

The Cow Trail was the old road used to bring cows up to graze on the summer grass of Madarao Kogen. It has excellent natural berms formed by the movement of the cows up the hill. It is an advanced trail with extensive single track and steep sections. A guide is recommended and experienced riders only.

TRAIL GRADE: 5
DISTANCE: 3 km.
COURSE TYPE: Downhill
ESTIMATED TIME: 1 hour
ELEVATION GAIN: 200 meters

#6 The Eight Monks Path

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
The Eight Monks Path

Named after the legendary Eight Monks of Madarao or “Hachibozuka,” this is a beginner-level ride that is an easy introduction to downhill mountain biking and great for families. It follows the old Bundo Road down the hill along the scenic Kiyo River Valley. The ride finishes in Iiyama.

TRAIL GRADE: 2
DISTANCE: 11 km.
COURSE TYPE: Graveller
ESTIMATED TIME: 1 hour
ELEVATION GAIN: 19 meters

#7 The Nozomi Grinder

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
The Nozomi Grinder

This is a tough, advanced gravel and single-track ride designed for hill climbers (and great on an e-bike) that visits beautiful Lake Nozomi before going down towards Okawa Village then straight back up the hill again. A guide is recommended and experienced riders only.

TRAIL GRADE: 4
DISTANCE: 10 km.
COURSE TYPE: Climber/Graveller
ESTIMATED TIME: 2 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 400 meters

#8 Okawa Shrine Run

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
Okawa Shrine Run

This is an intermediate ride that stays predominantly on gravel agricultural roads. The route is mostly downhill and goes past Lake Nozomi, Mt. Kenashi and the beautiful little village of Okawa and its shrine. The ride ends in Iiyama.

TRAIL GRADE: 3
DISTANCE: 20 km.
COURSE TYPE: Graveller
ESTIMATED TIME: 2.5 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 180 meters

#9 Tarumoto Circle

This ride starts at Yama No Ie Information Center, goes out to the Numanohara wetlands, down to Tarumoto Village and then back up to Yama No Ie via Akaike Pond. Tarumoto was an old onsen village on Mt. Madarao, but is now largely abandoned. It is a combination of gravel as well as largely unused bitumen back roads. It is a fun ride down and a long grind back up. This is a solid workout for advanced hill climbers or e-bikers.

TRAIL GRADE: 4
DISTANCE: 23 km.
COURSE TYPE: Climber
ESTIMATED TIME: 3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 643 meters

#10 Giro Gravel Bike Park

Madarao Mountain Biking Autumn Nagano
Giro Gravel Bike Park

​The Giro Gravel Bike Park at Madarao Ski Resort is run by the guys at Grinduro Japan. The park is designed with gravel bikes in mind with a system of courses within the ski resort suitable for families and beginner riders. It is an easy and safe introduction to off-road riding and is currently in the first stage of construction with plans to develop considerably over the next tow years. As it is within the ski resort, it costs ¥1,800 for adults and ¥400 for children. Rental bikes are also available.

For updated information, GPS Maps, trail type and grade details, visit Madarao Big Ten Trails’ website here.

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