Ring Ring Road ride report (1)
Enjoy the travel atmosphere in 45 minutes from Ueno Station.
Tsuchiura, a rider-friendly town, with a 110-km round trip around Lake Kasumigaura.
Table of Contents
１. Isn’t it time to start planning your outdoor rides?
２. Enjoy the feeling of traveling in 45 minutes from Ueno Station! We recommend the Ring Ring Road.
３. What is Ring Ring Road anyway? First, a brief review.
４. The first day was a long-distance ride of 110 km, “Around Lake Kasumigaura!”
５. Lake Kasumigaura comes into view!
６. Tour of the Zero fighter model at the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum.
７. Riding between lotus root fields
８. Overlooking Lake Kasumigaura at Osukazu Agricultural Village Park
９. Recharge your stamina with the Unaju Burger
10. Stopover at the old town “Sawara”
11. The second half of the ride runs alongside the waterfront
12. Last stop at Kasumi Marche
13. Arrive at station, check in as is!
14. The Tsuchiura station has a great bicycle thrust, so I’ll sort it out once and for all here.
15. Racks available, showers available, bike rental available. Play atre Tsuchiura is perfect.
16. BEB5 Tsuchiura, a hotel that is too stylish and welcoming for riders to start and finish their trip.
Isn’t it time to start planning your outdoor rides?
With the spread of the new coronavirus, cycle events around the world have been canceled, including the 2020 Bike New York and Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenges, which have now been unavoidably cancelled.
On the other hand, many of us may have become more closely connected to bicycles in our daily lives, such as commuting by bicycle or taking up indoor cycling.
Still, we are not the only ones who would still like to “travel by bicycle”…!
It is also true that it is still difficult to travel long distances. So, we asked ourselves, “Where are some rides that are close and easy to get to, but still allow us to fully enjoy the feeling of traveling?” Here is what we came up with.
Enjoy the feeling of traveling in 45 minutes from Ueno Station! We recommend the Ring Ring Road.
*This article is a reprint of a June 2020 article.
As a sudden conclusion, if you live in the suburbs of Tokyo, I recommend the “Ring Ring Road,” a cycling road set up mainly in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The access from central Tokyo is amazing, and it is as easy as a 45-minute ride from Ueno Station on the Tokyu Tokiwa limited express train on the JR Joban Line.
The shorter travel time allows for a longer stay in the area, so even a two-day/one-night trip can be planned for 150 km or more.
The facilities adjacent to the station, introduced later in this section, are also quite well equipped for riders.
What is Ring Ring Road anyway? First, a brief review.
The ” Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road,” as it is officially called, is an approximately 180-km-long cycling course that combines the lakeshore road circling Lake Kasumigaura and the abandoned tracks of the former Tsukuba Railway.
Tsuchiura Station in Ibaraki Prefecture is located right in the center of this course and serves as a base station. The southeast course circles Lake Kasumigaura, the second largest lake in Japan, from Tsuchiura Station, and the northwest course heads toward Mt. Tsukuba, the symbol of Ibaraki Prefecture, on the former tracks of the abandoned Tsukuba Railway, which were converted into a cycling road. Both courses are mostly flat and easy to ride.
There are other ways to ride such as a hill climb course running at the foot of Mt. Tsukuba, but this time we will show you how we ran two courses, one around Lake Kasumigaura and the other in the direction of Tsukuba Railway, over a two-day and one-night trip.
The first day was a long-distance ride of 110 km, “Around Lake Kasumigaura!”
We started from the east side of Tsuchiura station.
Lake Kasumigaura comes into view!
Lake Kasumigaura appears behind the roadway about three minutes after we started!
Lake Kasumigaura is just to the left. There are no fences on the cycling course, giving it a sense of openness.
It is not a bike path, so riding on the left side is a must. However, I had the impression that there was not so much traffic.
Tour of the Zero fighter model at the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum.
We arrived at the first stop. Upon entering the facility grounds, we saw a checkered building, the Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum.
This place preserves and exhibits materials related to ” Yokaren (pre-college training)” the basic training education of teenage trainees for the basic training of aircraft pilots since World War I.
A popular exhibit is the life-size “Zero Fighter” model on the other side of the building!
The Zero fighter was manufactured in this neighborhood (Ami Town) at one time in its history.
Riding between lotus root fields
From here, the route continues through Lake Kasumigaura. The lake is on the left and paddy-like lotus root fields spread out on the right, giving the sensation of riding along the water’s edge.
Ibaraki produces the largest amount of lotus root in Japan. In particular, the lotus root cultivated using the water and fertile soil of Lake Kasumigaura is of high quality and popular as a specialty product.
We also look forward to the time when lotus flowers (lotus blossoms) bloom.
Overlooking Lake Kasumigaura at Osukazu Agricultural Village Park
Soon we will take a break at Osukazu Agricultural Village Park. A panoramic view of Lake Kasumigaura can be seen from the observatory.
You can faintly see the opposite shore, but it’s vast, like the ocean! And the back is a field of lotus root…it is exhilarating to have such a wide field of view.
Recharge your stamina with the Unaju Burger
It was about 20 km from Tsuchiura to here, and as expected, I was getting hungry.
Attracted by the “Unaju Burger” sign, we stopped by Tomitaya.
Eel between rice burgers, quite a presence.
It is reasonably sized, but at 480 yen, it is an excellent cosmetic product.
Stopover at the old town “Sawara”
As we approached the 50km mark and crossed the Inashiki Bridge, we decided to leave the Ring Ring course and take a detour. With the lake in the background, we headed south, crossing the Tone River to Katori City, Chiba Prefecture.
Sawara in the city is an “Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings” where merchant houses from the Edo period still stand side by side.
The coast of the Ono River is like a movie set.
Lunch was a filleted pork cutlet set meal (1,580 yen) at the historic “Kinoshita” restaurant!
This will recharge my energy for the second half of the ride.
The second half of the ride runs alongside the waterfront.
Back to the Lake Kasumigaura course for the second half of the ride.
There were no traffic lights, and the exhilaration of riding right next to the water, an attraction that cannot be experienced in urban city riding.
However, after 3:00 p.m., the wind began to blow and became stronger and stronger as the sun went down. I recommend leaving early in the morning and riding while having breakfast on the way.
Last stop at Kasumi Marche
We visited the Kasumi Marche for our last rest stop, just in time to catch the last minute before it closed at 16:00. They have a lineup of specialty products and local alcoholic beverages that can be enjoyed with a light meal.
But I was in the middle of a ride. I held back and had a ginger ale to refresh myself.
We arrived at Tsuchiura Station around 18:30. We started riding around 9:30 a.m. that day, so it was a 9-hour long ride.
Incidentally, the distance traveled is about 111 km.
Arrive at station, check in as is!
Goal at Tsuchiura station! Then, without a moment’s delay, check in at the hotel adjacent to the station.
The Tsuchiura station has a great bicycle thrust, so I’ll sort it out once and for all here.
In addition to the course, what was notably comfortable was the excellent rider reception at Tsuchiura Station.
The station building, Play atre Tsuchiura, was well-equipped with bike-friendly facilities.
Racks available, showers available, bike rental available. Play atre Tsuchiura is perfect.
For example, Le.Cyc Tsuchiura, a cycle store in atre, sells sports bikes and apparel items, as well as a full line of rental bikes.
The underground bike parking area has lockers, unmanned bike rental stations, and even shower booths! You can go home after your ride and wash off your sweat.
BEB5 Tsuchiura, a hotel that is too stylish and welcoming for riders to start and finish their trip.
The hotel directly connected to atre is BEB5 Tsuchiura, an accommodation facility operated by Hoshino Resort. This is a rider’s favorite! What is amazing is that you can check in with your bicycle from the side of the station ticket gate.
You can tell from the entrance that they are pushing for bicycles!
The outdoor atmosphere of the TAMARIBA café lounge allows guests to relax with friends, and wine and beer servers are available 24 hours a day.
On the accommodation floor there is a laundry room and a display that can be used for bike tuning (the removable ones can actually be used).
There is a bar in the hallway in front of the room to stand up the bicycles brought in.
In contrast to the chic hallway, the interior design of each room is playful! It’s unintentionally uplifting!
There was even room for a bicycle!
There are also quaint yakitori restaurants in the neighborhood, where you can enjoy an evening stroll.
Drinks were flowing as we reflected on today’s ride. Afterwards, we returned to TAMARIBA in BEB5 for another round of drinks with self-serve wine.
The next day, the ride will take you to the site of the old Tsukuba railroad line. Please come and see it.
45 minutes from Ueno! 2-day/1-night bicycle trip! Ring Ring Road Ride Report
Ring Ring Road ride report (1)
Ring Ring Road ride report (2)