Ride the Rail Mountain Bikes
Taking a ride on the Rail Mountain Bikes “Gattan Go!!” is the only experience of its kind in the whole of Japan, and one of the most unique things to do in the Hida area. This cycling adventure takes place in Hida Kamioka, a small castle town just a short bus trip from Hida Furukawa. The town locals started the Rail Mountain Bikes in order to preserve the abandoned tracks between the Okuhida-Onsenguchi Station and Kamioka-Kozanmae Station.
How it works is that two mountain bikes are fixed onto the old railway tracks with a metal frame that guides you along on a rolling mechanism. Electric batteries and gears help you glide along the tracks so you can focus more on the scenery than pedalling. Aside from the regular hybrid bikes, there are bikes with one auxiliary seat perfect for one extra passenger, or two person auxiliary seats that can accommodate a small family. Additionally, the staff can pedal you around in a cart attached to the bikes, which is great for those who would rather sit back and take in the scenery. After collecting your tickets and helmets from the front desk, you will be taken to a briefing room where the staff will give a safety lesson and instructions on how to operate the bikes.
The 5.8 km route is extremely thrilling, especially when riding through two pitch-black tunnels. Even in the summer months, it can be a bit chilly in the tunnels and along the elevated tracks that lie on the upper ridge of Kamioka.
The height of the track boasts some amazing views of the tiny mining town as you ride passed gaping valleys that turn a brilliant green in summer. You will pass over an elevated bridge until the end of the track where the staff are waiting to turn your bikes around in the direction of the information centre while you sip on ice cold water that comes straight from the mountain springs.
With eight tours a day, April through to November, the attraction is popular with families, romantic couples and groups of friends looking to take in some fresh mountain air and see the rural scenery of Kamioka from a unique perspective. There are limited spots available on the rail mountain bikes and tickets can book up pretty fast on weekends so we advise that you reserve in advance from their website.
Housed in the original station building, the main Gattan Go building is a ten minute taxi ride from Kamioka station for those coming by public transport. There is free parking available at the information centre as well as a resting area, a briefing room and a restaurant for hungry riders. From Takayama, take the JR train to Hida Furukawa and change to a local bus bound for Kamioka Bus station. Alternatively, the Nohi Bus offers a special ticket including the rail mountain bike ride, a round bus trip from Takayama City and the taxi fare between the Hida Kamioka bus stop and the Gattan Go information centre.