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2021 Summer Events and Races in Japan

2021 Summer Events and Races in Japan

Tokyo’s Summer Olympics are taking center stage but there are still some great summer events and races to enjoy as Japan slowly crawls toward normalcy. Many events are being held on a smaller scale this year and some are still to be confirmed so always double check event websites for up-to-date information before attending.

Editor’s Note: The situation regarding COVID-19 is changing daily. We encourage readers to follow local guidelines for stopping the spread of COVID-19 and practicing social distancing, mask wearing and other safety measures where required. Participating in races and events is solely each individuals decision. 

summer events omm lite and bike hakuba
OMM Lite and Bike Hakuba

OMM Lite and Bike Hakuba

This entry-level race is designed to give newbies a feel of an Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) navigational race. The OMM Lite is a two-day race with some off-trail areas, but most is on trail with teams of two to five people. Families and friends who are not participating can camp with racers in the overnight camping area. The OMM Bike (the cycling version of OMM Lite) will be held simultaneously.
When: July 17-18
Where: Hakuba, Nagano

Wassamu and Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Hill Climb

Wassamu Ski Resort opens up one of its slopes for a 500-meter sprint to the top. If you’re feeling up to it, Nayoro Piyashiri Ski Hill Climb holds a similar race the next day. The two resorts are an hour drive from each other in Hokkaido.
When: July 22-23
Where: Wassamu Ski Resort, Hokkaido

Kakitsu Trail Run

This trail run follows castle ruins in the mountains of Harima. The race is divided into 30-kilometer and 10.4-kilometer categories.
When: July 23
Where: Tatsuno, Hyogo

Salomon 4100D Mountain Trail in Nozawa Onsen

This trail run is set in the ski resort and hot spring village of Nozawa Onsen. There are long (65 kilometers), middle (23 kilometers) and short (14 kilometers) courses and participants can run solo, as a pair or in a group. 
When: July 23
Where: Nozawa Onsen, Nagano

Mt. Rokko Trail Run and Summer Picnic

This trail run is held on Mountain Day in Japan at Mt. Rokko which overlooks Osaka Bay. The 28-kilometer course goes up to 1,750 meters and takes about six hours, while the 10-kilometer race goes up to 300 meters and takes around four hours. There is also a family-friendly rogaining challenge held the same day. 
When: Aug. 8
Where: Kobe Municipal Arboretum, Hyogo

Offroad Triathlon in Shobudani

Shobudani is a popular cycling and driving route in Hyogo. Racers can sign up for the full triathlon (swim 1,200 meters, cycle 13 kilometers and trail run eight kilometers) or go for the relay or lite options. 
When: Aug. 9
Where: Shobudani Forest Park, Hyogo

Central Alps Nishikoma Bokka

Bokka in Japanese means to carry supplies up a mountain. This climb goes up to Nishikoma, Japan’s central Alps’ northernmost mountain hut built as an evacuation hut in 1913 and the tradition of preserving this hut continues with this trail run. Runners can choose between three or 15-kilogram stacks of firewood and run up to the 2,690-meter-high hut at Mt. Shogikashira.
When: Sept. 5
Where: Kiso Mountains, Nagano

Zao Skyrun

Run from spa to sky in Yamagata. The run starts from Zao Onsen’s hot spring town and heads up to the 1,840-meter-high Mt. Zao. You’ll also pass by the vivid-colored Lake Okama. 
When: Sept. 11-12
Where: Zao Onsen, Yamagata

Shiga Kogen Hill Climb

This hill climb race goes to Shibu Pass, Japan’s highest peak on a national road. Cycle through Shiga Kogen and enjoy the region’s hot springs and nature. Application deadline is July 31. 
When: Sept. 12
Where: Shiga Kogen, Nagano

summer events Gran Fondo Myoko
Gran Fondo Myoko

Gran Fondo Myoko

Challenge yourself to Japan’s toughest one-day cycling event, which follows a 160-kilometer circuit around Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park. The trail has a 4000-meter elevation and 30 kilometers of off-road sections. The race starts and ends at Myoko Ikenotaira Ski Resort, where you can unwind with beer and music. 
When: Sept. 18-19
Where: Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park, Niigata

Sea to Summit

Montbell—Japan’s largest homegrown outdoor brand—is behind the popular Sea to Summit race series. Their goal is to invigorate local areas, holding events to experience nature through canoeing, cycling, trekking and other means of human-powered movement.

When and Where:

  • Aug. 21-22: Asahidake, Hokkaido
  • Aug. 28-29: Mt. Chokai, Yamagata
  • Sept. 25-26: Bizen, Okayama
  • Oct. 16-17: Chikuma River, Nagano
  • Oct. 23-24: Lake Biwa, Saga
  • Nov. 13-14: Kioku, Mie

2021 Summer Events and Races in Japan

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