Emerald Dragon - Trail, Tsudanuma/Narashino-city to Owada, Japan

Emerald Dragon - Trail, Tsudanuma/Narashino-city to Owada, Japan

DESCRIPTION

Rider's choice, paved or sandy, rocky tree-lined paths. Some hills, but nothing terrible. A tiny bit of single-track, and some mud. Really, a little bit of everything--even Sumo wrestling!!

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-3 of 3  
[Nov 27, 2001]
Sprocketeer

If you're new to mountain biking, or want to take a relaxing ride, I recommend taking the bike path from Makuhari Beach, and continuing onto the dirt path after the rest stop at Hanamigawa Koen for just a taste of the rough stuff. It's all nice and not too hard even for beginners.

Customer Service

Hey Folks! I forgot to mention, this is Chiba-ken I'm talking about! Oops. Anyway, if you're coming from somewhere by car to try out my trail, I recommend you find Hanamigawa Koen (Hanami River Park). They have parking there, as well as bathrooms and all. Even better, if it's your first time in the area, is to park at Makuhari Harbor, which is right next to Inage Beach Park--the paved cycling course starts from there and features maps and such.

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I can only really mention places in Chiba I plan to ride next, as my goal is to ride the entire prefecture. So far I've ridden up to Ibaraki by way of Narita, and that was pretty good as well as physically challenging, but not genuine mountain biking. I've ridden to Tokyo, and that's really road/street riding--I don't really recommend it. My next goal is to ride to Tateyama, on the southern tip of Chiba. I went down there once for business and it features strikingly beautiful coastlines as well as many interesting sights, such as temples built into mountain sides and castles. The fall leaves down there are the best I've seen in all of eastern Japan.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Feb 16, 2002]
Chiba Kid

By definition, reviews are perspectives. My perspective here will be geographical in nature. Some of this trail may not be worth reviewing, while some of it may better be left a secret for those who love it for its quiet ride.

First, let me clarify that the trail "beginning" lies to the North of the KEISEI-SEN (train line); its "head" is somewhere North of the confluence of the JR KEISEI and SOBU lines, and East of the KEISEI TSUDANUMA station (not to be confused with the nearby TSUDANUMA or SHIN TSUDANUMA stations).

The trail is more of a sidewalk, which we don't really have here in Japan, so it's nice to be off the street. It's got some nice tree coverage in places, and it is also quite wide on the initial unpaved stuff. However, the street runs right next to it, and there are freequent stops with street crossings, and a multitude of pedestrians. Thus, this portion of the trail is hardly worthy of a review. Here is where my perspective comes in: If you live in the area, it would certainly be the preferred trail to get to the HANAMIGAWA. If you do not live in TSUDANUMA, as I do not, I would not really go out of my way to ride this section.

Value comes in where the HANASHIMA-KOEN (park) begins. This is where the temple is (though I didn't see any sumo here). Thanks to Sproketeer, here, I finally checked this area out. The temple is from the KAMAKURA period, and boasts (in English) a 750 year old statue of Buddha which you can only view every 30 years -- and no information on when the next viewing is.

As Sproketeer says, the HANAMIGAWA trail is a lot of fun, and this portion is what I'll base my rating on. It stretches from MAKUHARI at the South and (carrying on to the SHINKAWA (river) trail, which is not part of Sproketeer's review, so it will not be a part of this one either (and although it is paved, it is really the best thing going out here, and I go out there as often as I can).

The HANAMIGAWA trial is smooth, but still off road. I like to stop here for lunch because of it's realative solitude (there are occasional birdwatchers, walkers, and of course cyclists). Very green area, you are running along a "ravined" area with thick foliage on both sides. Sometimes you will pass by bamboo groves. My main gripe would be it's too short! And not remote enough!

Customer Service

Skip the first leg of the trip and get on to the HANAMIGAWA river trail from the quickest access.

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I want to explore as much of the BOSO peninsula (Chiba prefecture, in essence) as possible. I'm trying to get into more off road riding. I've seen some woodsy trails in the Southern region, and hope to do it all someday soon.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Feb 24, 2002]
Sprocketeer

ALERT TO RIDERS!! SAVE OUR TRAIL!!! OK, the roadies need the asphalt running from Hanashima Koen to Makuhari Beach and I don't mind riding it either. It really is nice, BUT have you all noticed that Hanashima Koen has fallen to the great scorge of Japan.

I'm talking pavement. I'm talking leveling. I'm talking about the cutting up of Japan's nature areas into geometric shapes and covering them with cement. As the song goes, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!!"

I can only assume that our little stetch of dirt is next to go under the cement mixer. Let's save it. Let's get together and mountain bike to the mayor's office.

Customer Service

As Chiba Kid says, the dirt amounts to maybe 5 kilometers. The rest I added for distance and just how to get to it because otherwise from riding there, I really have no idea other than taking the train to Owada Station on the Keisei-line. Even then, it would be a bit of a mystery unless someone showed you--which I'd be glad to do.

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There are none. They're all covered with asphalt. It's getting so we'll have to drive or take trains to the south just to get a bit of tree cover over a dirt trail. With all that Japanese people go on and on about loving nature, they sure abuse the hell out of it. Historical accounts of long ago depict a Japan in which the river sides and areas by the ocean were great places of enjoyment. The epicenter of Japanese culture is not in it's temples, castles, and on the streets of Kyoto, but in it's natural forests, on it's river banks and beaches. Poetry, art, and all the seasonal celebrations are based on how Japanese people have historically enjoyed these natural areas--yet it's disappearing fast so that politicians and beaurocrats can squeeze money out of the government for public works projects--which is Japan's version of "pork money." Just to find a spot of grass or dirt in Japan these days--even in rural Japan--is a rare thing. It's about to disappear completely.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-3 of 3  

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