A Ride in Lake Miyagase: Closed Roads and Steep Climbs

Moving time: 3:20:07 – Distance: 66.4km – Climbing: 772m

This route was supposed to go through the Yabitsu pass. Unfortunately, halfway up the mountain, we found the road to be closed to the public. We decided on the spot to change the route and ride around the nearby lake Miyagase. Given the extreme summer heat, I admit that I felt a bit relieved to have an excuse to take it easy for the rest of the day. 

Lake Miyagase is an artificial reservoir that provides drinking water to thousands of households in the greater Tokyo region. Since it’s close to Tokyo, the lake is often crowded with weekend visitors and motorcyclists. However, visitors tend to gather at Miyagase Lakeside Park, where there are restaurants and souvenir shops. Other popular destinations in the area include the Prefectural Aikawa Park (where bikes are not allowed), the Miyagase Dam, and the Nakatsu river.

From a cyclist point of view, the lake area offers wide roads, multiple cycling cafes, and a few steep climbs. The climb from Hanbara to Miyagase Dam is especially brutal, with gradients up to 18 percent (hill-climb racing material!). If you need some calories after the climb, I recommend G.S Cafe and its filling egg and cheese toast. 

Overall, lake Miyagase provides a fun cycling ground for short rides outside of the city. During summer, the lake also gives a bit of relief from the excruciating heat and humidity of Tokyo. To be noted, there are a few pitch dark tunnels on the northeast side of the lake: remember to bring front and rear lights.