Our trip to Japan this May began as a simple idea. We wanted to hang out and ride with our good mate Henry who now lives in Tokyo. Excitement grew as others heard about the trip and wanted to join us as we set out on two wheels to explore new roads and discover all things 'Kawaii'. Our dozen strong bunch love to ride, but more importantly enjoy each other's company from the countless rides we've clocked up together. 

The route we've chosen will be, for the most part, roads unknown. We will ride a 977km loop through the Japanese Alps over 6 days with 18,160m total elevation. Starting in Tokyo we will make our way towards Mt Fuji, then up to the Northern Alps until we arrive at Minakami. From here we will be met by Adam, the owner of Blue Monkey Lodge, who will guide us through the remaining alps and back to Tokyo. 

We have named this ride Slowpokes The Rising Sun #slowpokestherisingsun.


Day 1 Plan: Tokyo — Gotemba

Date: Sunday, 17 May 2015 
Distance: 130km 
Elevation: 2500m
Major Climbs: Yabitsu Pass (774m), Ashigara Pass (748m)
Route Plan: We begin out journey from the hustle of Tokyo heading west towards Mt Fuji. Joined by friends from Ritte Japan we will ride through the outer suburbs of Tokyo before passing Kanagawa Kenritsu Tsukuikoshiroyama Park. With elevation starting to ramp, we will cross over the Miyagase Lake, heading South towards the day's highest point, the Yabitsu Pass. Descending to the valley we will turn West and ascend once more over Ashigara Pass until we arrive at our destination, Gotemba, in the foothills of Mt Fuji. 

Field Notes: For the full story, maps and photos of what actually happened on the day click here.

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Day 2 Plan: Gotemba — Chino

Date: Monday, 18 May 2015
Distance: 135km
Elevation: 2500m
Major Climbs: Road 719 Pass (1432m)
Route Plan: Departing Gotemba we pass Mt Fuji on our left and Lake Yamanaka on our right. We will continue through to Lake Kawaguchi before making our way through the Yamanashi Prefecture. From here we descend to the town of Chuo before slowly ascending our way to Chino in the Nagano Prefecture where we will spend the night. 

Field Notes: For the full story, maps and photos of what actually happened on the day click here.

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Day 3 Plan: Chino — Hakuba

Date: Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Distance: 110km
Elevation: 1200m
Major Climbs: Shiojiritoge Pass (1031m)
Route Plan: Heading towards the Northern alps of Japan we start the day riding along the shores of Lake Suwa before tackling a pass near Okaya. From here we follow the undulating valley through the Nagano Prefecture and exploring Lakes Kisaki and Aoki before we arrive at our destination Hakuba, well and truly in the heart of the Northern Alps.

Field Notes: For the full story, maps and photos of what actually happened on the day click here.

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Day 4 Plan: Hakuba — Yubiso

Date: Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Distance: 185km
Elevation: 4200m
Major Climbs: Shirasawa Domon (1086m), Sugadaira Kogen (1325m), Torri Pass (1374m), Daido Pass (797m), Road 270 Pass (1022m)
The Plan: We leave Hakuba, the outer most point of our loop from Tokyo, and begin a day with multiple mountain passes including Shirasawa Domon, Sugadaira Kogen and Torri Pass. Heading towards the Gunma Prefecture, we will hook up with Adam our cycling guide and owner of Blue Monkey Cycling Lodge in Yubiso, where we will spend our next couple nights.

Field Notes: For the full story, maps and photos of what actually happened on the day click here.

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Day 5 Plan: Yubiso Loop

Date: Thursday, 21 May 2015
Distance: 135km
Elevation: 3360m
Major Climbs: Mt Akagi (1446m)
Route Plan: Today's ride encompasses a loop planned by Adam, our cycling guide and the owner of Blue Monkey Cycling Lodge. We will explore the area surrounding Minakami, then onto Mt Akagi and back.

Field Notes: For the full story, maps and photos of what actually happened on the day click here.

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Day 6 Plan: Yubiso — Tokyo

Date: Friday 22 May 2015
Distance: 277km
Elevation: 4400m
Major Climbs: Konroku Pass (1628m), Konsei Pass (1982m), Ashio Pass (1116m), Kasuo Pass (1110m)
Route Plan: The final day of our ride is big! Really big! Nobody in our group has attempted such a long and demanding ride, let alone after 5 previous days of alpine riding. Leaving Blue Monkey Cycling Lodge in Yubiso we will attempt to ride 277km all the way back to Tokyo. The first half of the day we will climb the highest peaks of our trip including Konroku Pass, Konsei Pass and the less intimidating Ashio Pass. With 4400m of elevation primarily covered in the first 140km, the remaining 137km roll into Tokyo will be flat. We will be looking forward to a well earned ramen at the end of this day.

Field Notes: For the full story, maps and photos of what actually happened on the day click here.

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Follow Our Journey

Follow our journey each day on Instagram @slowpokesdayout or #slowpokestherisingsun.

If that's not enough follow the guys on the ride @bobbarrett_, @buzwin, @douglow@idyllic_cc@iamwilliam_nz@karlulbrich, @kellyexpress@nicske, @ritteaustralia@sacha_coles@t_ap@terencechinphotography@tjuzwin, and @_winglau


Field Notes

We will be releasing our daily field notes each week, which tell the full story and photos from each day. 
Day 1  — Click Here
Day 2 — Click Here
Day 3 — Click Here
Day 4 — Click Here
Day 5 — Click Here
Day 6 — Click Here
 


Slowpokes The Rising Sun Exposed @ Rapha Cycle Club Sydney

What: A collection of ornaments, coffee cans and photos captured on Japanese disposable cameras exposing the Slowpokes' adventure of The Rising Sun. 

When: Saturday, 20 June 2015, 6pm.

Where: Rapha Cycle Club Sydney, 410 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010.