Riding a bicycle on a former railway in Japan? Check! One of the highlights of our trip to Japan was the ‘Rail Mountain Bike Gattan Go!!’, an exhilarating outdoor activity born in the Hida Mountains, aka the Northern Japanese Alps.
As you ride an electrically-assisted mountain bike on the tracks of the abandoned Kamioka Railway, you will pass through tunnels and cross over bridges, surrounded by the gorgeous views of the alpine countryside.
‘Gata gata’ in Japanese is the sound of rattling, and indeed while riding the Rail-MTB, you can feel the vibration on the tracks. So, gata gata off we Gattan Go!!, here you’ve got the video! https://youtu.be/JnAGMt8Gun8
The bikes are mounted on frames and they come in many different options and combinations for up to 6 people. All available options can be viewed and booked online at Gattan Go! Official Website.
There are two courses: Town Course and Canyon Course. Both courses are roughly three kilometers one way, and it takes around 40-60 minutes for the round trip. As the bikes are electrically assisted, riding in both directions does not require much strength, and it’s absolutely safe.
Public transportation to the starting point of either course is very infrequent, but the good news is you can purchase a convenient combo ticket for the bus, taxi, and Rail-MTB at Takayama Nohi Bus Center (check the schedule and rates here
). With this ticket, everything will be prearranged and you’ll be picked up by a taxi driver at the Kamioka Bus Station. Back in 2018, a combi ticket was available only for the Town Course, making the newly opened Canyon Course inaccessible for us. Although we found out that we could have easily walked the distance of 1.5 km from the bus station to the Town Course trailhead, riding a taxi covered in spotless white lace was an experience in itself!
We spent a total of three hours on the way to access the Rail MTB for the thrill of this unique experience that last only 40 minutes (even shorter if you ride faster), but it was so totally worth it! We felt as happy as kids again and would love to check out the Canyon Course next time!
Bottom line: double thumbs up from us! What about you? Would you do it (again)?