Rail-MTB Gattan Go (レールマウンテンバイクGattan Go) is the name of an exciting activity in Kamioka near Furukawa and Okuhida that allows visitors to ride on electrically assisted bicycles on the tracks of the abandoned Kamioka Railway. During the safe and relatively gentle experience, visitors ride through tunnels and over bridges and are afforded great views of the surrounding mountains, rivers and towns.
Kamioka Railway was opened in 1984 to connect the town of Kamioka with Inotani Station on the JR Takayama Line; however, after cargo and passenger traffic dwindled, the line was closed in 2006. The railway was noted for the beautiful views it provided of the surrounding landscape, and in 2012 the three kilometer long Town Course was opened to cyclist, while a separate, second section, the Canyon Course, was added in 2018.
Both courses meassure roughly three kilometers one way, and cyclists require around 40-60 minutes to make the round trip. The Town Course starts and ends at the former Okuhida Onsen-guchi terminal station, while the Canyon Course starts and ends at the former Urushiyama Station further down the valley. At the turning point, riders dismount for a few minutes while the bikes are turned around. Because the grade of the track is gentle and the bicyles are electrically assisted, riding in both directions does not require too much strength and is particularly easy in the downhill direction.
The bicycles themselves are fixed to a rolling mechanism that straddles the track, and although there are most commonly two bikes to one roller, there are also larger rollers with seats for additional people to join without having to pedal. It is worth noting that the cost differs depending on which of these vehicles are chosen and how many people you are. Single riders can be accommodated only on the Town Course.
Ride sessions depart approximately once per hour, and there is a brief safety seminar that riders are to attend before setting off, which brings the total length of the experience to around 60-75 minutes. Prior reservations are not required, but are recommended on busy days. Reservations can be made online, by phone or by e-mail (see official website). The activity is not offered during the winter.
Access to the railway cycling activity by public transportation is very infrequent, and a rental car makes access much easier. Rental car outlets can be found in Takayama, Toyama, Matsumoto and Nagoya. By car, the activity's starting points can be reached in about 30 minutes from central Furukawa, in about an hour from Takayama or in about 40 minutes from Hirayu.
The Town Course starts and ends at the former Okuhida Onsen-guchi Station just outside of central Kamioka. The infrequent buses between Okuhida and Toyama stop at the station along the way (95 minutes, 1390 yen one way from Toyama; 50-90 minutes, 1460 yen from Hirayu; buses every 2-3 hours). Buses from Takayama and Furukawa run only as far as central Kamioka (80 minutes, 670 yen one way from Takayama; 45 minutes, 310 yen one way from Hida-Furukawa; buses every 1-2 hours) from where it is a ten minute taxi ride to the station (around 1500 yen one way).
The Canyon Course starts and ends at the former Urushiyama Station in the middle of nothing. The infrequent buses between Okuhida and Toyama stop at the nearby Nabetani bus stop along the way (70 minutes, 1390 yen one way from Toyama; 2 hours, 1460 yen from Hirayu, buses every 2-3 hours). Alternatively, the stop is also served by local buses between Inotani and Kamioka (15-20 minutes, 200 yen one way from either stop; infrequent service). Some of these buses also stop directly at the Gattan Go Urushiyama-eki (ガッタンゴー漆山駅) bus stop.
Wednesdays (except from late July through August)