Breathtaking Scenery and History! A 2-Day Cycling Route on Ring Ring Road

Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road is a 180-kilometer cycling route in Ibaraki Prefecture. This is a designated national cycling route because it is safe to travel and equipped with well-maintained rest areas and accommodations along the way. You can select from a variety of cycling paths, enjoy the scenic beauty of Mt. Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura, visit historical sites, shop for souvenirs, and savor local cuisine.

Tsuchiura, a recommended starting point, is easily accessible in about an hour by train or car from Tokyo. You can also rent a bike in the city. This time, we'll introduce a two-day cycling itinerary around sightseeing spots along the route from Tsuchiura to nearby Mt. Tsukuba and charming spots to visit near Lake Kasumigaura.

*Please keep in mind it is illegal to ride a bicycle after consuming alcohol.

1 night, 2 days

Day 1

station

Tokyo Station

train(Train) 50 minutes
station

Tsuchiura Station

train(On foot) Immediate
Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura

Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura

Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura is a facility that offers cycling services and is directly connected to JR Tsuchiura Station. The facility has bicycle and rental shops and is fully furnished with coin lockers and shower rooms. Additionally, it offers information on Ring Ring Road and other cycling routes.
The available rental options cater to a wide range of needs, from road bikes to electric bicycles. Three rental services (Japanese only) have their own respective rental methods, so you can choose the option that best suits your preferences.

1. le cyc (1st floor shop and rental service)
Rentals are available for a wide variety of bicycles, gloves, and other cycling gear. Reservations are required. The equipment must be returned to the original rental location.
Rental time:
Weekdays: 10:30-19:30
Weekends & national holidays: 10:00-19:30

2. Ibaraki Wide-Area Rental Cycle (available via the 1st floor Le cyc counter)
Rentals for a wide variety of bicycles. Reservations required. Can be dropped off at 11 locations.
Rental time: Can be rented for multiple days.

3. Hello Cycling (first basement floor)
Rentals for electric city bikes. Unmanned rent is available through the app. Must be returned at the original rental location.

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train(Bicycle) 5 minutes
Kijō Park

Kijō Park

The park is a historical symbol of Tsuchiura and was developed from part of the former Tsuchiura Castle. The castle, constructed in the late Muromachi period (1429-1440), was commonly known as "Kijō" ("Turtle Castle") because it resembled a turtle floating in the water. This also carried over to the park, which was named Kijo Park. Castanopsis trees, designated as a natural monument by the prefecture, and a lawn square can be found in the park. You can also see historical heritages that portray the vestiges of the former castle, such as Yagura Gate and Kasumi Gate.

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train(Bicycle) 1 hour
Oda Castle Ruins

Oda Castle Ruins

Oda Castle was the residence of the Oda clan, an incredibly influential family in the area from the 12th to 17th centuries. Currently, only the ruins of the castle remain.

At the time, the Imperial Court was divided into the Northern Court in present-day Kyoto and the Southern Court in present-day Nara Prefecture. The castle was the regional headquarters for the Southern Court during the Nanboku-cho period (1336-1392), a time of conflict between the two courts, and is a designated national historic site.

During the 20th century, the center of the castle was bisected by the tracks of the Tsukuba Railway.

After Tsukuba Railway became defunct in 1987, almost the entire line was re-developed into Tsukuba Ring Ring Road. The section of the tracks that bisected Oda Castle is separate from the route but was modified to go around outside the ruins. However, the railway tracks remain a passage cut and feature a cross-section view of the earthwork.

The railway earthwork and moat remain part of the castle ruins and are preserved as a historic park. The information center has exhibits in the style of historical scroll paintings and excavated artifacts, which can be viewed for free.

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train(Bicycle) 20 minutes
Hirasawa Kanga Ruins

Hirasawa Kanga Ruins

The Hirasawa Kanga Ruins was established as a government office over 1,000 years ago, during the Nara (710-794) and Heian periods (794-1185). They are a designated national historic site.
Hirasawa is the name of the area where the ruins are located, while Kanga refers to a government office. It is believed that taxation rice was stored here.

Roughly 60 building ruins, traces of moats, fencings, and more were identified to be from the Nara and Heian periods through archaeological excavation. Three of its buildings, all with different architectural structures, were restored to give visitors a look into what ancient architecture was like.

Due to being near Ring Ring Road, it's a recommended place to stop by while cycling.

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train(Bicycle) 1 hour and 20 minutes
Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura

Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura

Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura has its entrance on the same floor as the Tsuchiura Station ticket gates.

Certified as a "cyclist-friendly hotel," it offers rooms allowing guests to bring bicycles and some rooms even equipped with dedicated racks. The corridors are also wide enough to easily move bicycles around.

The hotel is also equipped with special hangers and other tools, laundry nets, shoe dryers, and maintenance space. Bicycle rental is also available.
In addition to providing cycling information and services, BEB5 Tsuchiura also offers activities that allow guests to enjoy the attractions of Ibaraki by bicycle.

The lounge has a relaxed atmosphere with a bar counter where alcohol and drinks such as whole melon cream soda are served.
There are also board games and interesting events such as a smoothie-making experience using a bicycle with a blender.

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train(On foot) 5 minutes
Tataki no Ikkyu Tsuchiura Branch

Tataki no Ikkyu Tsuchiura Branch

Tataki no Ikkyu Tsuchiura is an uncommon restaurant that combines warayaki (a cooking method that sears the surface of food with straw fire) from Kochi Prefecture and Ibaraki ingredients. The restaurant's most highly recommended dish is the fragrant warayaki bonito. Ibaraki Prefecture has a strong bonito-eating culture and the highest consumption of this fish in the entire country. Additionally, the restaurant specializes in local ingredients with a menu that includes straw-roasted Tsukuba chicken, braised Hitachi no Kagayaki (Ibaraki pork brand), fresh Kujihama whitebait, and Tsuchiura lotus root tempura. They even offer desserts made with dried sweet potatoes from Kurosawa Farm, which has a history of winning first place for its products. The restaurant is also committed to the quality of its alcohol menu, serving Japanese whiskies such as the rare Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as Japanese sake collected from various sake breweries within the prefecture.

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train(On foot) 5 minutes
stay

Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura

Day 2

stay

Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura

train(Bicycle) 25 minutes
Yoshida Lotus Root Farm

Yoshida Lotus Root Farm

Ibaraki Prefecture is the top lotus root producer in Japan, with the vegetable growing especially well around Lake Kasumigaura. Yoshida Lotus Root Farm not only cultivates the root vegetable but also produces lotus leaf tea and lotus root products. They aim to grow lotus roots in a way that is great for the environment and your body while avoiding using pesticides as much as possible. Lotus roots―eaten boiled, stir-fried, and even raw―are highly nutritious in vitamin C, tannins, calcium, and dietary fibers and offer many health benefits. Lotus leaf tea is also effective for swelling and constipation, expelling toxins from your body, and is great for beautifying the skin.

At Yoshida Lotus Root Farm, you can visit the lotus fields and purchase lotus root products as souvenirs. Lotus root must be eaten fresh, so advance reservations are required if you wish to buy any produce.
Due to being near Ring Ring Road, it's a recommended place to stop by while cycling.

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train(Bicycle) 25 minutes
Sakihama Oyster Shell Bed

Sakihama Oyster Shell Bed

The Sakihama Oyster Shell Bed and Tunnel Tombs formed approximately 120 to 130,000 years ago when this area was at the bottom of the ocean. This oyster shell bed was shaped by the exposure of geological formations deposited with fossil oyster shells. During the late Kofun period between the 6th and 7th century AD, this place was used as tunnel tombs dug into the slopes. A total of 17 tunnel tombs were discovered in various types, including tombs with only a main area for the coffin, while other tombs had three parts in the front and two sides.

Because it is near Ring Ring Road, it's a great place to visit while cycling if you're interested in Japanese history.

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train(Bicycle) 40 minutes
Kasumi Kitchen

Kasumi Kitchen

Kasumi Kitchen is on the second floor of the Kasumigaura Exchange Center and faces Ring Ring Road, the national cycling route along Lake Kasumigaura and its lakeside. The menu brings out the best ingredients from Ibaraki and Kasumigaura under the concept of "local production for local consumption" combined with health consciousness. Menu items include the Hitachi beef tendon curry, fresh icefish rice bowl, boiled icefish rice bowl, fish burger, and minced carp cutlet burger (the menu is subject to change.) The interior is characterized by recycled supplies and furnishings from local schools that have closed down. You can also enjoy a barbecue with local ingredients without bringing anything yourself while admiring Kasumigaura's nature.

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train(On foot) Immediate
Ayumizaki Park

Ayumizaki Park

Ayumizaki Park is located next to the Tsukuba Kasumigaura Rinrin Road, which is part of the national cycle route. It offers stunning views of Kasumigaura, the second-largest lake in Japan. The park features a local museum, an aquarium, a forest park, an Edo-period private garden, and an old private house named Ayumi-an. The aquarium displays 1,500 Kasumigaura fish of about 110 species, and outside, there is a small viewing platform and a combined deck with playground equipment. The Ayumi-an Tea House has a tea room and tatami room, where visitors can take a break and enjoy a cup of green tea. The Ayumizaki Observatory, located a short distance up the hill, has an attractive view and has been selected as one of the 100 best views in Ibaraki.

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train(Bicycle) 25 minutes
Fujimizuka Kofun Park

Fujimizuka Kofun Park

Fujimizuka Kofun Park is on a hill that overlooks Lake Kasumigaura. During the Kofun period, several tumuli (burial mounds) were mainly constructed between the 3rd and 7th centuries by packing earth over the top of the tombs. The keyhole-shaped mound at the park's center is the largest tumulus (burial mound) presumed to have been constructed in the early 6th century. It measures 78 meters in length and is one of the largest tumuli in the prefecture.

Much like its name, you can sometimes see Mt. Fuji from the top of the tumuli. House-shaped and cylindrical haniwa (terracotta funerary figures) excavated from nearby tumuli, rare haniwa found in Japan, and exhibit panels on excavations are displayed in a museum at the foot of the hill.

It is recommended that you stop by this place if you are interested in Japanese history. It is located near Ring Ring Road.

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train(Bicycle) 40 minutes
Kappo Ryokan Izumiso

Kappo Ryokan Izumiso

Izumiso, a traditional Japanese inn next to Lake Kasumigaura, prides itself on its freshwater fish cuisine. Their simmered carp cooked with a secret sauce and unagi kabayaki (eel fillet skewers grilled in a rich sauce) are especially popular dishes. Guests can enjoy an extensive view of Lake Kasumigaura from their rooms or visit the Jomon Gallery on the premises where works from artists in the local and neighboring areas are exhibited. Izumiso is located near Ring Ring Road, the national cycle route, and is recognized as a cyclist-friendly inn. Not only can you rent and return your bicycle here (reservations required), but the inn also provides washers and dryers. Plus, there are some rooms where bicycles are allowed to be brought inside!

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train(On foot) 10 minutes
Hirose Company

Hirose Company

Hirose Company is a sake brewery on the banks of the Koise River established in 1805. Blessed with cold land suited for sake brewing and groundwater from the Mt. Tsukuba system, the brewery produces sake, umeshu (plum liqueur), and other liqueurs. Shiragiku, one of their notable brands, is excellent as a souvenir since it's exclusively crafted using rice grown by contract farmers in Ibaraki Prefecture.

You can make an advance phone reservation if you want to tour the brewery.

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train(On foot) 10 minutes
station

Takahama Station

train(Train) 10 minutes
station

Tsuchiura Station

train(Train) 50 minutes
station

Tokyo Station

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