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Railway Cycling: A Thrilling Outdoor Adventure

Railway Cycling: A Thrilling Outdoor Adventure

Rail Mountain Bike Gattan-go is an exciting experience in the Kamioka area that seats adventure seekers on side-by-side mountain bikes along the tracks of the abandoned Kamioka Railway. 

The locals in Hida knew that the beauty and nature of the forested Kamioka Railway was special and wanted to find a way to preserve the line after it closed down in 2006 due to a lack of railway traffic. Thus the Gattan-go was created and the tracks were fully restored and remain well-maintained in this highly unique fusion for train lovers and cyclists alike. 

Cross bridges with views over the canyon
Cross bridges with views over the canyon

There are two courses available, one called the Town Course and the other named the Canyon Course. These two courses could not be more different and while both are interesting, the canyon course is recommended for those looking to get a bit deeper into nature. 

Both courses utilize an electrically assisted bicycle contraption that connects two mountain bikes together across the rails. There is a small car between the bicycles that allows for storage and/or a third rider to sit down and enjoy while the pedalists do the work. All in all, the activity is a pretty light exercise and no real cycling experience is needed as the course is fixed and quite safe. 

Pass by fast-flowing rivers
Pass by fast-flowing rivers

The course starts out with a brief training session and safety gear such as helmets and belts are equipped. The belt strap on directly to your bicycles as a safety precaution, but the experience felt quite safe from beginning to end. After the lead guide sets off, each group of two or three riders is launched with ample distance between the group ahead and behind. There can be anywhere from ten to forty people in a group, and at the rear another guide follows behind. 

The Canyon Course is a memorable experience through nature that opened in 2018 at the former Urushiyama Station and measures roughly three kilometers in length one-way. Riders are set on a course that takes them directly through the forested mountain railway. Long the way, visitors will go through eerily quiet railway tunnels, over bridges across flowing rivers, and through forested paths with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The course ends with a break time for snacks or drinks and in total will require around 60 minutes from start to finish.

Explore tunnels and bridges along the Canyon Course route
Explore tunnels and bridges along the Canyon Course route

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