In late 2016 I got in contact with my riding friend Tyler Van Gils after hearing he was keen to travel Japan. After pestering of other mates to join us, we decided to hire a van and see where we ended up. Prior to flying out, a few friends recommended I get in touch with Paul Chetwynd from Freeride Adventures Japan. With limited video footage or maps on where we'd be able to ride, needing a guide was vital to finding some of Japan's best trails. After receiving a plan for the first few days of our trip, we landed in Tokyo in late July, catching the train to a van rental place near the airport.
From here we drove towards Nagano, where some of Japan's best trails are kept. We discovered the riding and trail building culture to be nothing like what we'd experienced in Australia or Canada. Riders were secretive with trails that had been built, and very protective. Paul explained to us the sensitive nature of trail building in Japan and that we'd have to be careful how we rode with absolutely no GPS tracking of the rides that we did.
The first few days we camped out at Fujimi Panorama Bike Park, either going on trail riding day trips to locations that Paul showed us, or riding the bike park. Unfortunately, specifics of the trail locations can't be disclosed but I strongly suggest that if you're interested in riding Japan that you make contact with Paul to show you around Japan.
From here we drove further North to meet some Australian trail builders, Evan and Jimmy, along with Japanese trail builder Mucky. From here we rode a bunch of locations around Hakuba Iwatake with some of the most amazing scenery and incredible trails ever. The trails comprised of incredible flowing descents with perfectly loamy dirt. We had the pleasure of staying at Evan and Jimmy's lodge at Hakuba, giving us a good few days break from being cramped in the van with the bikes.
From here we drove back South towards Tokyo, taking in the sights along the way and exploring Tokyo. Thanks to Paul for making our trip an incredible one, I couldn't recommend him more highly. Also thanks to Evan and Jimmy for their hospitality.