One of the frustrations of riding a mountain bike in Japan is the lack of long distance trails. For so many years now I’ve headed down a newly discovered promising gravel track only for it to abruptly end 200m or so later. There are trails out there but they are often difficult to find and with Japan home to so many mountains they are often extremely technical. Mountain bikers tend to keep trails to themselves too.
Recently however I heard about some dedicated cross country trails in Shinshiro, eastern Aichi, a mountain bike park called 26ism which I visited with my friend Alex, and also discovered a ridiculously long (for Japan) 25kms trail in southern Nagano. All were wonderful, not at all technical, and with just the right amount of climbing. Wonderful views were also on offer in Shinshiro and Nagano.
I plan to ride the Shinshiro and Nagano trail a lot more in 2019, 26ism not so much as there are similar free trails much closer to home.