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No time machine, no problem! The 8-day Nakasendo Trail cycling trip will take us back to 17th century Japan, retracing the steps of samurai warriors, merchants, pilgrims, and other travelers moving between Kyoto, the Imperial Japanese capital and Edo (Tokyo), the political capital of the time. We’ll stroll through historical post towns, feel the serenity of bamboo groves, marvel at centuries-old shrines and temples, and spend nights in traditional minshuku and ryokan. This will be an adventure to remember!

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  • Nakasendo is cultural treasure

    Feel the centuries of cultural interchange of goods, ideas, and traditions

  • Japanese culinary tradition

    Gastronomic riches reflect centuries of diverse cultural influences

  • Edo-period style lodging

    Dive back into the 1600s and stay at ryokan and minshuku at post towns


The Nakasendo Trail is more than just a cycling adventure—it’s a step back in time, a week-long journey to the Japanese Edo period, with well-preserved reminders along the trail. You will visit some of the most important and most beautiful post towns on the route, including Tsumago and Magome among many others. The rest of the cycling tour goes through serene woodlands, cobblestoned paths meandering through the mountains, remote villages, and a myriad of other landscapes. Join this guided journey and prepare for a total immersion into the Japanese Edo period, its culture, traditions, and its food.

  • The itinerary is just a sample—it is not set in stone, and neither are the daily distances, but this is what your cycling adventure should look like.

  • Make your way to GS Astuto Cycle Base in Annaka, where you’ll meet your guide and your team. Set up your bike, go through a briefing, and prepare for the upcoming days! Today you’ll cycle from Annaka to Saku.

    Distance: 50 km / 31 miles

    Four cyclists on the Nakasendo
  • Day 2: Saku — Narai
    Distance: 80 km / 50 miles

    Day 3: Narai — Nakatsugawa
    Distance: 75 km / 47 miles

    Day 4: Nakatsugawa — Inuyama
    Distance: 65 km / 40 miles

    Day 5: Inuyama — Maibara
    Distance: 72 km / 45 miles

    Day 6: Maibara — Kyoto
    Distance: 65 km / 40 miles

    River on the Nakasendo
  • Your Nakasendo cycling adventure comes to an end. Take the train to Kyoto—either depart home or stay longer to explore Japan.

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Meet your guide

GS Astuto
GS Astuto
GS Astuto was founded by Tim and Naoko Smith, with a couple of other cycle racers. They put an emphasis on challenging the status quo and have no fear of riding the paths unknown. When you ride with GS Astuto, you’re riding with expert experienced cycles who focus on cooperation and innovation. They pride themselves on operating Japan’s largest inbound single tourism tour in 2022 with 600 participants.
5.00 (4 reviews)
Nick Woollacott (source: Google Reviews)

Very highly recommended. Tim has great bikes and excellent local knowledge. I spent one night before a good early breakfast and then headed out for a loop as recommended by Tim which was the best 80kms I’ve ever cycled. Stunning scenery, beautiful ancient shrines, epic climbs on deserted roads and awesome food stops.

P Ryan (source: Google Reviews)

Little gem keeping it real. Great hosts, great location with endless adventures awaiting. Good food and an incredible treasure trove of bicycles and equipment and boundless knowledge and advice to go with it. What’s not to like.

Chris Morfas (source: Google Reviews)

Friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable hosts. You’ll leave with your stomach full, a smile on your face, and with the information you need to enjoy the Nakasendo.

Channing Chen (source: Google Reviews)

If you are tired of city life, GS Astuto is the best place for you to have a countryside bike adventure. It has easy access to forest road, paved road and trails. I have been there many times but still the wonderful experience surprises me every time!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced cycling guide with extensive local knowledge of the area
      • 7-day Nakasendo bike tour (6 days of biking)
      • Rental bikes (mainly titanium or carbon gravel road, e-bikes available)
      • Accommodation (best value and available option—mainly traditional Japanese minshuku, ryokans or a modern resort hotel)
      • Luggage transfer
      • Breakfasts and dinners during the tour

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Japan
      • Domestic transport (train tickets, buses, airplanes)
      • Support & gear on demand (while there is van support, the group is not followed and there is no support with incidentals)
      • Lunches
      • Helmet
      • Travel and medical insurance
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • In order to join this Nakasendo bike tour, you need to be in great physical condition. You will be cycling for a week, anywhere between 50 and 80 km per day (31-50 miles). Daily elevation gains are around 150-200 m (490-650 ft), with the biggest elevation gain in a single day being around 1,200 m (3,940 ft).

    What else is on the offer in Japan? Check out this biking & hiking Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage or a cycling tour of Hidden Japan on Shikoku Island.

    Any diet or medical concerns need to be mentioned prior to the tour. Each guest is required to have personal medical and trip insurance.

  • Here’s what you’ll need:

      • Comfortable riding or athletic clothing, preferably moisture wicking or synthetic material
      • Sneakers or sport shoes
      • Breathable outside layer or jacket
      • Sunglasses
      • Plenty of water, water bottle or hydration bladder
      • Daypack with snacks
      • Biking gloves are optional but recommended
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)

    Touring in Japan covers mountains, plains, and coastal areas, where rain is not uncommon. Weather in the winter can also get quite cold in the winter. Make sure to bring clothing appropriate for the season. Generally, pack light and use layers. Due to high humidity, a waterproof hardshell is great and effective as any membrane shell. High-quality Merino fabric base layers as well as high-quality bib or riding shorts are strongly recommended. You’ll be able to do laundry in most lodgings so you might not need as much clothing as you think.

    All attendees should have their own smartphone device with local data provisioning (e-Sim or similar).Each rider is responsible for their own cycling clothes and shoes.

    If you’re bringing your own bicycle or equipment, you will be 100% responsible for any spare parts, repairs, damages or losses. Your en-route guide is equipped for most mechanical issues, but they do not carry spares for bikes other than their own. Read more about this in the next question.

  • Rental bikes
    High-end conventional bikers or e-bikes typically featuring 1×11 or 2×11 wide range components are included in the price of the tour. You also get a repair kit (pump, tool, patches, etc.), safety lights, and “rinko” bags for the train. Helmet, rental clothing or shoes are not provided. If you bring your own saddle and/or pedals, they will be installed for you. Please do not bring racks, panniers, or other components without consulting first. Rental bikes are suitable for bikepacking type saddle bags, frame bags, or front, and not old-school expedition racks and panniers.

    Your own bike
    You can also bring your own bike! However, please keep in mind that land logistics in Japan may be challenging for bike boxes or cases that are larger than 200 cm (LWH). If you have a question regarding your specific box or case, just let us know. Also, if you bring your own bike, you will have to pre-arrange your own liability insurance (if you take your guide’s rental, you will automatically have liability insurance).

    For taking your bike on the train, you need to use a full coverage bag. They’re called “rinko” bags and they are generally provided with rental bikes on request. By removing wheels, the bike can fit easily into the bag and be placed in the designated area inside the train.

  • Lodging along the Nakasendo Trail is a step back in time, offering a unique blend of historical immersion and modern comfort. The towns are strategically positioned along this ancient route and they’ve evolved into havens for travelers seeking an authentic experience. You’ll be taken back to the Edo period with meticulously preserved architecture and interiors that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Staying in these lodgings offers more than just a bed—it’s a chance to become a part of the living history of the Nakasendo. From tatami-matted rooms to soothing communal baths, every detail speaks for the trail’s rich cultural heritage.

  • This tour is more than just cycling—it’s also a culinary journey. The gastronomic tapestry of dishes reflects the diversity of landscapes and cultures that the trail has linked for centuries. From traditional tea houses offering matcha and wagashi confections to the charming inns with hearty local dishes, each top along the way is a taste of the past intertwined with contemporary culinary craftsmanship. Whether savoring mountain vegetables, river fish, or succulent wild game, the culinary experiences on the Nakasendo encapsulate the essence of Japanese “washoku” principles—a harmonious balance of flavors, colors, and textures.

  • Group sizes and prices:

      • The group size for these tours is 10 people with 1 guide.
      • If there’s more than 4 people on tour, the price goes down by $250 per person.

    Nakasendo bike tour can be arranged for bigger groups, ideally up to 20 people to keep the experience authentic. Groups of over 10 people will usually be split into max 4-6 riders per guide to have a bit more dispersion and safety. Contact us prior to booking if your group has more than 10 people.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Children as young as 10 are able to go on trips with a legal guardian. That said, if you have a young rider strong enough to handle sustained climbs (either riding or walking their bike) of hundreds of feet, and rough terrain, then they may be able to participate on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has riders under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • To get to GS Astuto base, the starting point of your tour, most people fly into Tokyo and one of its two airports, Narita International Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND). From there, you can take a train or a bus, it will take you 1.5-3 hours.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.

    Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. For more information on travel recommendations and restrictions in Japan, please refer to Japan’s foreign travel advice.

    If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

    • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
    • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
    • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.


    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:


    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.


    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 30-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

    • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
    • For cancellations 30 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
    • For cancellations 0-29 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
Have more questions? Read our FAQ, or Talk with us
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