Japan Sea Bike Trail | Kubiki Cycling Route

Are you bringing your bike to Japan? Then don’t miss out on this Japan Sea bike trail – the Kubiki Cycling Route! One of the many great things to do in Joetsu – the Unknown Japan. The ride is an ideal way to begin or end your stay in Joetsu-Myoko.

The Kubiki Cycling Road stretches 32 kilometres along the Sea of Japan coast between neighbouring Itoigawa and Joetsu Cities passing through fishing villages and mountain farms, dotted with shrines, temples and some of the areas most-famous seafood areas and restaurants.

Japan sea bike route, Kubiki bike trail, web cam
Live webcam of the Kubiki Bike Trail (at right)

The Kubiki Trail is a classic bicycle “rail trail” – built atop the remains of the old Hokuriku Railroad, which was moved into the mountains via a series of tunnels and bridges more than half a century ago in the 1960’s.

The trail basically follows along the coastal Route 8 offering gorgeous views of the Sea of Japan and featuring a number of old train tunnels and bridges preserved as they were when they were last used. Cyclists will pass through scenic seaside and fishing communities (such as Nou Fishing Port), popular summer beaches (such as Nadachi), rice fields, traditional architecture and large seafood markets (such as UmiTerasu Nadachi and Marine Dream Nou).

The time taken is as long or short as you want. Done at a leisurely pace, including stopovers along the way, the ride can be done very comfortably in 4-5 hours – making it an ideal day trip. There are a number of small minshuku along the way that you may be able to stop at. However none of these are bookable online in English. You can find a range of Joetsu accommodation here not far from the beginning of the trail.

Japan Sea Bike Trail Japan Sea Bike Trail
Japan sea, bike trail

Things not to miss on the miss on the Kubiki Cycling Route / Japan Sea Bike Trail:

Visit and eat at Kaniya Yokocho (Crab Market Street) in Marine Dream Nou. There is also a maritime museum;

Tsutsuishi underground train station. A unique station in the middle of a tunnel. Visitor passes are available from the ticket office;

The many local shrines and temples along the route such as Nou Hakusan Shrine, as well as the Nou Museum of History and Folklore set in an old traditional farmhouse (entry fee is ¥100);

Take a side route to one of many of the local onsen hotsprings such as Maseguchi Onsen inland or at Umiterasu Nadachi right on the coast. There’s also a seafood market;

A small diversion to Route 8 to visit Benten-iwa Rock, a sacred rock and symbol of the Nou region. The Akebonobashi Bridge connects the rock to shore and a small shrine on the rock is dedicated to Ichikushima, the goddess of the sea (see video);

Plus plenty of breaks to take photographs of the spectacular scenery!

seafood markets joetsu-Myoko
Stop at the seafood markets at Marine Dream Nou

Important questions about the Kubiki Cycling Route / Japan Sea Bike Trail

Can I bring my bike on the train?
Can I bring my bike on the train in Japan?

In Japan, traveling on the train with a bicycle is permitted, even on Shinkansen with no extra charge. You can take a bike on any train at any time for free of charge if you store it in a bike bag called ‘Rinko bag’. See here for more info.

However, recently the local railways are allowing bikes to be taken on trains. Just check in with the station master or attendant to be sure before doing so.

japan sea bike trail train

What if I don't have a bike?
What if I don’t have a bike?

Rental bicycles are available at Itoigawa Shokai or Alps Information Center, Furusatto next to JoetsuMyoko Station – about 30 minutes ride from the start of the trail (book here) and Marine Dream Nou – including electric-assist bikes starting at a very reasonable 880 yen for two hours. Rental bike enquiries can be directed to: 025-566-3456 (Japanese speakers only). One way rental is possible but a one way fee of 5,000 yen applies. Please see here for more information.

Rental cycles are also available at the Myoko Tourist Center next to Myoko Kogen Station.

How do I get there?
How do I get there?

Catch the Hokuriku Shinkansen to JoetsuMyoko Station and then change to the Myoko Haneuma Line to Naoetsu. Or stay on the shinkansen to Itoigawa and ride back. See here for getting to JoetsuMyoko access information.

Can I book accommodation?
Can I book accommodation?

There are a number of small minshuku along the way that you may be able to stop at. However none of these are easily bookable online in English. You can find a range of Joetsu accommodation here not far from the beginning of the trail. At the Itoigawa end of the journey check out Hotel Route Inn or Live Cafe Hisui no Umi. For JoetsuMyoko Station accommodation check here.

Where does this Japan Sea bike trail start and finish?
Where does this Japan Sea bike trail start and finish?

It doesn’t run directly from each city, rather from the fringes of each city – Nakashuku in Itoigawa and Gozu in Joetsu. From the Joetsu end it’s best to access via the coastal road rather than the quite dangerous bypass tunnel on Route 8. At the Itoigawa end look for the Lawson store just after the start point.

kubiki bike trail map, Japan Sea Bike Trail
Click here for the Google map with sightseeing info

You can see a map and complete video of the ride here.

Can I download a map of the Kubiki Bicycle Road?
Can I download a map of the Kubiki Bicycle Road?

Yes! Download a comprehensive map of the Japan Sea bike trail here (English), or here (Japanese).

Are there any videos of the Kubiki Bicycle Road online?
Are there any videos of the Kubiki Bicycle Road online?

Yes! Here’s a couple.

 

 

Plus here’s one of touring around nearby Takada
 

I have another question?
Japan Sea bike trail
Views of the Japan Sea from the Kubiki Cycling Route