Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I toured Shibutoge in Gunma Prefecture, known as the highest point on a national highway in Japan, on my favorite Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide. Shibu Pass is a scenic spot located at an altitude of 2,172 meters, where you can see a sea of clouds, Mt. Fuji, the Sea of Japan, and more. There are also many tourist spots around Shibu Pass, such as Kusatsu Onsen and Shiga Kogen, making it the perfect place to enjoy biking. This time, I would like to introduce the route from central Tokyo to Shibutoge, highlights, motorcycle parking, etc.
What is Shibu Pass?
Shibu Pass is a pass located between Nakanojo Town, Agatsuma District, Gunma Prefecture, and Yamanouchi Town, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, and National Route 292 passes through it. National Route 292 is called the Asama-Shirane-Shiga Sawayaka Highway, and is a driving course where you can enjoy views of volcanoes and plateaus such as Mt. Asama and Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane. Shibu Pass is the highest among them, and there is a stone monument marking the highest point on Japan’s national highways. This stone monument was built in 2004 and has become a sacred place for motorcyclists and drivers. Shibutouge Hotel also issues a “Japan National Highway Highest Point Achievement Certificate.”
From Shibu Pass, you can enjoy a spectacular view. Especially in the early morning and evening, a sea of clouds often forms, creating a sight that looks like a castle in the sky. If the weather is good, you can even see Mt. Fuji and the Sea of Japan, which is surprising.
Route to Shibu Pass
- The starting point is Nihonbashi in central Tokyo, and it takes about 3 hours to arrive at Shibukawa-Ikaho IC using the expressway.
- From Shibukawa-Ikaho IC, you can reach Shibu Pass in about an hour and a half using the national highway or prefectural highway.
- Along the way, there are sightseeing spots such as Kusatsu Onsen and Mt. Haruna, as well as the Asama-Shirane-Shiga Sawayaka Highway, which offers beautiful views of volcanoes and highlands.
The total distance is approximately 200km and the journey time is approximately 4 and a half hours.
Highlights of Shibu Pass
When you arrive at Shibu Pass, the first thing that catches your eye is a stone monument marking the
highest point on a national highway in Japan.'' This stone monument is located several hundred meters away from the Gunma Prefecture side. Many people take commemorative photos here, but please be careful as there are few parking lots. Shibutoge Hotel also issues aJapanese National Highway Highest Point Achievement Certificate,” so if you are interested, be sure to get one.
There is also an observation deck near the stone monument. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Yokote and Yoshigahira. Especially in the early morning and evening, a sea of clouds often forms, creating a sight that looks like a castle in the sky. If the weather is good, you can even see Mt. Fuji and the Sea of Japan, which is surprising. In the winter, it is also used as a ski resort, where you can enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
There are many other attractions around Shibutoge. For example, near the Kusatsu-Shiraneyama Rest House, there are Yugama Observation Deck and Yumiike Pond, which have a beautiful pale green color. In addition, the crimson pond that can be reached in about 5 to 10 minutes on foot from the parking lot offers a spectacular view during the autumn leaves season. Furthermore, there are tourist spots such as Shiga Kogen and Mt. Shirane, so you can enjoy the whole day around Shibu Pass.
Shibutouge motorcycle parking lot
There are several motorcycle parking lots at Shibutoge. I will introduce them below.
- In front of Shibutoge Hotel: This is the parking lot in front of Shibutoge Hotel. It’s free to use, but space is limited. It is close to the stone monument and observation deck at the highest point on Japan’s national highways.
- Shibutoge Ski Resort: This is a ski resort located a little beyond the Shibutoge Hotel. It is crowded with skiers in the winter, but it is free to use during other seasons. There is a large parking lot, but it is a little far from the stone monument and observation deck.
- Kusatsu Shiraneyama Rest House: This is the parking lot of Kusatsu Shiraneyama Rest House. You can use it for a fee, but it is close to Yugama Observation Deck and Yumiike Pond.
This time, I toured from central Tokyo to Shibu Pass on a Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide. Shibu Pass is a scenic spot known as the highest point on Japan’s national highways, where you can see a sea of clouds, Mt. Fuji, the Sea of Japan, and more. There are also many tourist spots around Shibu Pass, such as Kusatsu Onsen and Shiga Kogen, making it the perfect place to enjoy biking. There are several motorcycle parking lots, so you can choose one according to your purpose. A tour to Shibu Pass is sure to be an unforgettable memory for motorcyclists.
The above was sent to you by _hiroyuki.ta. Next time we look forward to!
*Shibutoge is written as Shibutoge in English.