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Allow me to introduce my favourite spot to enjoy cycling in Japan. Yamanashi’s Fruits Line is best experienced in Early April (all of the following photos were taken between April 1st and April 7th, 2019), however, I am sure that any date between April and November would be almost as enjoyable as the vineyards and orchards bear fruit.
I recommend you take an express train from JR Shinjuku Station bound for JR Yamanashishi Station along the JR Chuo Line. However, your tour should actually start from JR Kasugaicho Station (no express service). If the wait time is too long for the local train to JR Kasugaicho Station, you might better ride your bike to the start of the Fruits Line. You will need a folding bike if you plan to take the train. I have also seen several people remove the front tire of their bikes before boarding the train. Regardless of the type of bike you have, it must be stowed in a bag of some sort while in transit.
Below, you will find the basic information you need to make this cycling trip possible. The cycling course is about 32 km from start to finish. According to Google Maps, this course would take 7 hrs to walk, but it should take you between 2 and 3 hours by bike depending on whether you want to stop to take pictures, etc. There are hills, so be prepared to sweat a bit.
The numbers on the maps below correspond to the pictures that follow.
Why not enjoy a soak at Hottarakashi Onsen? The hot spring opens at sunrise and closes at 10 pm (Adults ¥800). Tattoos are apparently not a problem!
UPDATE: If you would rather take a bath closer to the end of your ride, get off the train at JR Katsunuma-Budo-Kyo (Katsunumabudokyo) Station in order to ride west to Hottarakashi Onsen. Just follow these maps in the opposite direction. I actually prefer this route, but be prepared to work hard on the ascent from the Fuefukigawa Fruit Park to Hottarakashi Onsen. If you are lucky, you will get a grand view of Mount Fuji as you soak in the hot spring!
Near the exit from the Fruits Line, there is a very attractive B&B called Suzuki-En. The price, ¥5,000 per adult, includes breakfast, and free wifi. You can contact Suzuki-En B&B at: +81-55-339-8522. If you use simple English, I am sure the B&B will be able to answer your questions and take your reservation. The main entrance and dining area are relatively modern, but your room will be in the section of the property that dates back some 120 years. Be sure to see the wonderful museum in the B&B’s basement.
The closest train station to Suzuki-En B&B is JR Katsunumabudokyo Station. This is a local station which only has express service during the harvest season from September to November. If, instead of spending a night at the B&B, you prefer to travel back to JR Shinjuku Station, you will have to take the train back to JR Enzan Station to catch the express train to JR Shinjuku Station during the off season. Enjoy your trip!
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