Kyushu’s Sakura Cycling Road

Home to wondrous landscapes and lush green fields, Kyushu is Japan’s secret garden. If you get the chance to travel to this wonderful part of Japan, consider renting a bike for at least a day to explore Kyushu’s marvels deeper.

Start of the Yaba Cycling Road

Oita Prefecture in Eastern Kyushu is known for having the most hot spring sources in Japan. But did you know that there are also two well maintained bicycle roads with rental bike stations in Oita? These are the two best ones that we found after a bit of research:

  • Yaba Maple / Sakura Cycling Road: as the name says, ideal during cherry blossom (sakura) and red leaf (momiji) season
  • Kunisaki Cycling Road: lesser known, new cycling route with a range of excellent rental bikes available

This article will focus on the Yaba Cycling Road, which is 35km long and follows the former Yaba-kei Gorge Railroad (discontinued in 1975). Here are some tips about cycling in Kyushu during cherry blossom season! If you prefer visual content, check out our video below!

Bike Rental in Oita Prefecture for the Yaba Cycle:

  • Yabakei Cycling Terminal: rent bikes for ¥700 per day. They are fairly old Giant bikes so check the condition before taking off. Rent a helmet for free.
  • We recommend driving to the cycling terminal and making use of their free parking. It takes about 1.5 hours by car from Beppu City to the Yabakei Cycling Terminal.
Rental bikes & rental car at Yabakei Cycling Terminal

Highlights of the Yaba Cycling Route:

  • Following the path along the Yamakuni river towards the sea is recommended for sakura season.
  • Following the path inland is recommended to see the beautiful red maple foliage in the autumn.
    • This path is more within nature with the feeling of cycling in a forest while staying on a paved bicycle path. Again, you can cycle through unique tunnels and see old stone bridges. It‘s quite a bit colder on this side, so wrap up!
  • For more information, check out the official website!
A cool place en-route to rest, buy some snacks and do a small hike!

3 Tips for the Yaba Cycling Road:

  1. Use your own bike if you have the opportunity to bring it, as the rental bikes are quite old.
  2. Beginner cyclists or those with limited time can just cycle into one direction of the river and return. Make a choice depending on if you want to see the cherry blossoms or red maple leaves. The cycling terminal is in the middle of the full course, so you don’t have to cycle the whole 35km.
  3. No need to plan a route in advance – the majority of the road is for cyclists only and you will find a big map and recommendations with viewpoints along the way frequently.

We hope you’ll enjoy this cycling road and activity in Kyushu off the beaten track. We’ve loved receiving comments on our Youtube Channel recently that we helped fellow cyclists with planning their next trip. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about your holiday itinerary in Oita Prefecture, Kyushu!

– Her

If you’re looking for more cycling routes in Japan:

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