Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.
This time, I toured from Tokyo to Nikko Irohazaka on a Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide.
Nikko Irohazaka is a slope on National Route 120 in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, which is divided into the first Irohazaka, which is only for downhill slopes, and the second Irohazaka, which is only for uphill slopes.
The name comes from the fact that it has 48 sharp curves, and is said to be likened to the song Iroha.
There are signs saying “i”, “ro”, “ha”, etc. at each curve, and the difference in elevation is about 440 meters.
In autumn, it is a perfect driving course with beautiful autumn leaves, and is one of Nikko’s most popular spots.
Among them, the view from Akechidaira Observation Deck, located halfway up Daini Irohazaka, is outstanding, offering a panoramic view of Mt. Nantai, Lake Chuzenji, and Kegon Falls.
This time, I would like to introduce my impressions and things to keep in mind after riding a Harley on Nikko Irohazaka.
Route to Nikko Irohazaka
To get from Tokyo to Nikko Irohazaka, take the Tohoku Expressway from Shuto Expressway No. 6, get off at Utsunomiya IC, and enter Nikko Utsunomiya Road.
Nikko Utsunomiya Road is tolled, but there are no toll booths and the system is automatically recognized by ETC.
Drive along Nikko Utsunomiya Road, exit at Kiyotaki IC, and enter National Route 120.
If you continue along National Route 120, you will arrive at the entrance to Daini Irohazaka.
This route covers approximately 200 kilometers and takes about two and a half hours.
Highlights of Nikko Irohazaka
The highlight of Nikko Irohazaka is its spectacular ups and downs and winding slopes.
The second Irohazaka slope (uphill) has two lanes and the road surface is good, but there are some vertical grooves and cat’s eyes, so be careful.
Also, there are many tourist buses and private cars, so it is best to avoid trying to pass them or take the line.
At the Kurokamidaira Observation Deck along the way, you can look down on the winding Daini Irohazaka Hill.
The photos taken from here are sure to be Instagrammable.
At the Akechidaira Observation Deck, you can take the Akechidaira Ropeway to the observation deck.
From the observation deck, you can see Mt. Nantai, Lake Chuzenji, Kegon Falls, and more.
Especially during the autumn leaves season, the colorful scenery is a feast for the eyes.
There is also a restaurant and souvenir shop at Akechidaira Observation Deck, so you can enjoy taking a break and shopping.
Daiichi Irohazaka (downhill) is a single wide lane with no center line.
The road surface is rough and there are many hairpins with 180 degree turns.
The steep slope you’re going down will make it easier to speed up, so it’s important not to increase your pace unnecessarily.
On curves, there are many cars that approach the edge for no reason, so be careful.
Also, please be very careful when passing tour buses.
While running along Nikko Irohazaka, you may see wild Japanese macaques.
Their cute appearance makes you want to take a photo, but please do not feed them.
Feeding not only disturbs the monkey’s ecology, but also poses a threat to humans.
Nikko City has enacted an ordinance prohibiting baiting, so if you violate it, you may be fined.
Nikko Irohazaka motorcycle parking lot
There is no dedicated parking lot for motorcycles at Nikko Irohazaka, but you can park your motorcycle at the parking lots at Kurokamidaira Observation Deck and Akechidaira Observation Deck on Daini Irohazaka.
However, space is limited, so there may not be any spaces available during busy times.
In that case, you can park at the Kegon Falls parking lot near the exit of Daiichi Irohazaka, or the Nikko Nature Museum parking lot on the shore of Lake Chuzenji.
There is a fee for parking in these lots, but it’s cheaper if you rent a motorcycle.
Nikko Irohazaka is a scenic road where you can fully experience its power and beauty when riding a Harley.
However, it is also a popular tourist destination, so you have to be careful about traffic and congestion.
Also, it gets especially crowded during the fall foliage season, so it’s best to leave early or aim for a weekday.
After running Nikko Irohazaka, please enjoy the surrounding sightseeing spots and hot springs.
There are also official Harley dealers in Nikko city, so you can do maintenance and shopping as well.
If you are touring Nikko Irohazaka on a Harley, please refer to this article.