Did you know the sunniest place in all of Japan is just 2.5 hours by train from Tokyo?
The town of Hokuto in the northwest corner of Yamanashi Prefecture is known for having the most sunlight hours year-round in all of Japan. With over 2,500 hours of sunlight per year and the beautiful scenery of the Yatsugatake volcanic range in the backdrop, Hokuto is a great place for outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking.
Getting to Hokuto
From Shinjuku Station, take the Chuo Line Limited Express to Kobuchizawa Station (2 hours). Then transfer to the local Koumi Line for Komoro and get off at Kiyosato Station (25 min) in Hokuto. Total fare: ¥5,650.
Getting your bike rental
Just outside Kiyosato Station you will find Kiyosato Easy Cycle. They have 15 e-bikes with moderate range that are perfect for exploring the mountains and rice fields of Hokuto.
Bike rental costs
1 hr – ¥1,000
2 hr – ¥1,500
3 hr – ¥1,700
5 hr – ¥2,000
1 day – ¥2,300
Where to ride in Hokuto
Kiyosato Rice Fields to Highlands Loop: Explore the rice fields and highland pastures of Hokuto with the Yatsugatake volcanic range in the background.
Stats: 14 km and 400 m gain
Route: Follow this link for a map of the Kiyosato Rice Fields to Highlands Loop.
Makiba Park Highland Farm
Green pastures and happy cows that have some of the best views in Japan. Great stop for burgers, ice cream, and views of the rice fields and Fuji in the distance.
Higashizawa Bridge Observation Deck
Panoramic views of the large, red bridge that spans the Higashizawa River. Perfect spot to soak in the views of the Yatsugatake Mountains and fall colors.
When to go
Hokuto sits at 1,000 m–1,500 m elevation, so the best time to visit is from April to October. Expect cherry blossoms around mid to late April and fall colors around mid to late October.
You’ll be dealing with mountain weather, so be sure to bring layers as the temperature can vary a lot throughout the day.
Special thanks to Rob Mcmanmon from Bike Tour Japan for this guest post.