Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Your Ultimate Bike Rental Guide in Obuse Nagano

Obuse is a lovely town in Nagano Prefecture, famous for delicious chestnuts and ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai from the 18th century. And, it is on your way to Jigokudani Monkey Park (=゚ω゚)ノ. While the main street of Obuse is within a 10-minute walk from Nagano Dentetsu’s Obuse Station, to really explore Obuse properly, you will want to be able to travel easily within a 2km radius from the station.

To save yourself some energy, you have a few options to move around in this not exactly small town. Apart from a really costly taxi, the shuttle bus, Obuse Roman-Gō stops at major attractions in Obuse. With 500 yen, you will be able to hop on and off the bus as many times as you like on any single day. For more information about the town bus, please refer to our Obuse article’s transportation section.

But if you would like some more flexibility, we recommend cycling. We reckon it is the best way to travel between all the places in the town that are worthwhile visiting. The rental cost isn’t expensive, and you will be provided with everything you need for your little bicycle trip!

Whilst there are a few bike rental shops in Obuse, we recommend maaru Nagano Obuse Sports Bike Rental Cafe (maaru 長野小布施スポーツ自転車レンタル&カフェ). Communication in English shouldn’t be a problem with the staff, and you can even stay overnight at their guesthouse on the second floor!

Bike Rental at maaru Nagano Obuse Sports Bike Rental Cafe

The idea of opening maaru was actually coming from the owner, Sakata San’s back pain. According to the TV program at the time, cycling is good for back pain. From there, therapy turned into a great passion for Sakata San, and maaru was open to sharing her passion with everyone who comes into her life!

The shop offers mainly two types of bikes – cross bike and road bike.

Cross Bike

The cross bike is for anyone who fancies an easy bike ride within the Obuse town. But a road bike is probably a better choice if you want to go a bit further to the towns next door or see the snow monkeys.

Road Bike

People usually take the Nagano Electric Railway to reach the snow monkeys. But how about cycling there from Obuse? It is only a 1.5 to 2 hours easy pace ride one-way, and the road bike will provide you with the ultimate comfort for long-distance cycling.

maaru’s Bicycle Rental Price Table

Cross Bike (yen)Road Bike (yen)
2 Hours                     1,500                     3,500
4 Hours                     2,600                     3,500
1 Day (9 hours)                     4,000                     5,000
2 Days                     6,500                     8,000
Add an extra 1 day                     2,500                     3,000
Add an extra 1 hour                     1,000                     1,000
Shower room                        300                        300
Helmet, Bike Lock, Front and Back LightFreeFree

Important: Please let maaru know if you don’t have insurance for riding a bicycle in Japan before you rent a bike. maaru will add you to their policy for free.

In addition to the above price list, if you rent out 2 bikes in one go for a day, you will get a discounted price per below:

  • 6,000 yen for 2 cross bikes
  • 8,400 yen for 3 cross bikes
  • 10,000 yen for 4 cross bikes
  • 7,000 yen for 1 cross bike and 1 road bike
  • 8,000 yen for 2 road bikes

Tip: Reserve and save! The below prices apply to both cross and road bike rental.
☛ The rental cost is 2,000 yen for cross or road bike rental if you stay overnight at maaru
☛ 1,000 yen off the one-day rental cost on weekdays
☛ 500 yen off the one-day rental cost if you have rented from maaru before
☛ On Mondays (exclude public holidays), ladies get 50% off on rental costs

eBike at maaru

In 2022, maaru introduced three eBikes for its guest to rent.

1 Person2 – 3 People
Weekdays7,000 yen6,500 yen
Weekends and Public Holidays5,000 yen4,500 yen
1 Night Stay at Guesthouse maaru + 1 Day Rental10,000 yen9,000 yen

How to Reserve Your Bike with maaru

Reservations can be made by filling out their web form HERE if you understand Japanese (or you can translate the webpage to English by using Google Chrome’s translation function). You can also email them at [email protected] in English.

Important Things to Note about Bike Rental at Maaru

  • If you want to rent the bike for more than a week, please negotiate with the shop
  • Bikes can be rented from 8 am if you make a reservation. Otherwise, the service starts at 9 am
  • Please return the bike you rent by 5 pm to the shop (note the shop doesn’t open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so if you are renting for more than 1 day, check with the shop beforehand to see if you can return the bike on their day-offs
  • You will need to show your ID to rent a bike, and if you are not 18 years old and above, you will need a guardian
  • If the weather is bad or you are unwell, they allow you to cancel your booking for free, given you notify them in advance
  • They don’t take cash payments at the moment

How Long Should I Rent the Bikes?

For information about making a booking and what the bikes look like, click HERE. Please note that the information on their English website may be outdated. If you notice any discrepancies between the information on this article and the information on their English website, you can either email them to confirm or let us know HERE and we will get back to you upon confirming with them.

→ They provide a free luggage storage service when you rent bikes with them
→ If you want to rent a bike outside of their business hours, you can always check with the shop by sending an email to [email protected] (English is fine)

Maaru Nagano Obuse Sports Bike Rental Cafe’s Business Hours

  • 9 am – 5 pm
  • The shop is closed for bike rental on Wednesdays and Thursdays

Guesthouse Maaru

There is a guest house facility on the second floor of the bike rental shop that you can book for staying. You will have the entire 2nd floor to yourself, so you will have complete privacy during your stay at Guest House maaru (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Click HERE for more photos of the facility!

The guest house can cater to up to 4 people. The price is really reasonable, starting with 1 person from 3,500 yen. The most you will be paying during the busy period is 8,000 yen.

Check-in time is from 3 to 8 pm, and please ensure you check out by 10 am to avoid 3,000 yen late check-out charges.

☛ As the guest house is located in a really quiet residential area, please consider the neighbors and stay quiet after midnight.
☛ Please don’t light up a fire of any sort on the property (even on the balcony). This includes cigarettes. Please note there is no gas stove in the guesthouse, and bringing in a portable gas stove is forbidden.

Tip: It is free to do laundry at Guesthouse maaru.

How to Book Your Stay at Guesthouse maaru

You can make a booking with Guest House maaru through their online booking form or through Airbnb.

It is probably easier to book through AirBnB if you can’t read Japanese. Note the cancellation policy is different between the 2 booking channels.

How to Get to Maaru

It is around a 10-minute walk from JR Obuse Station (小布施駅) or Hokusai Museum (北斎館).

Explore the Chestnuts Town Obuse

Obuse, a small town that is a 30-minute train ride away from Nagano’s city center, is known for the delicious chestnuts growing out of the fields. It is the destination that all sweet tooths can’t miss out on when they visit Nagano.

In addition, the town also has a couple of ukiyo-e attractions for those who are interested in artworks.

For more information, please refer to our article on Obuse!

Click the photo for more information on the attractions in Obuse!

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