Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Your Ultimate Bike Rental Guide in Obuse Nagano

Obuse is a lovely town in Nagano Prefecture, famous for its delicious chestnuts and ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai from the 18th century. And it is also on the 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 (おぶせロマン号) 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 inspired by the owner, Sakata San’s back pain. According to the TV program at the time, cycling was said to be good for back pain. From there, therapy turned into a great passion for Sakata San, and maaru was open to help share 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 towards the town’s neighbouring area or to see snow monkeys.

Road Bike

People usually take the Nagano Electric Railway to see 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)Electronic-Assisted Bike (yen)
2 Hours                     2,000                     5,0005,500 yen for weekdays
7,500 yen for weekends and public holidays
4 Hours                     2,600                     5,0005,500 yen for weekdays
7,500 yen for weekends and public holidays
1 Day (9 hours)                     4,000                     5,0005,500 yen for weekdays
7,500 yen for weekends and public holidays
2 Days                     6,500                     8,0009,500 yen for weekdays
11,500 yen for weekends and public holidays
Add an extra 1 day                     2,500                     3,0004,000
Shower room                        300                        300
Helmet, Bike Lock, Front and Back LightFreeFree

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

Tip: Reserve and save! The below prices apply to both cross and road bike rentals:
☛ The rental cost is 2,000 yen for cross or road bike rental and 4,000 yen for the electric-assisted bike if you stay overnight at maaru.
☛ If you rent more than 1 bike for 1 day, you will get 1,000 yen off per extra bike you rent.
☛ 1,000 yen off for the one-day rental cost during the weekdays
☛ 500 yen off for the one-day rental cost if you have rented from maaru previously
☛ Check maaru’s Instagram to see when is the next Lady’s Day because on the day, ladies get 50% off for cross and road bike!

To make a reservation, refer to maaru’s website HERE!

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 rented bike by 5 pm to the shop (note that the shop doesn’t open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so if you are renting it out for an extra day or two, check with the shop beforehand to see if you can return the bike during their day-offs.
  • You will need to show your ID to rent a bike, and if you are not 18 years old and above, a guardian may be required.
  • If the weather is bad or if you are feeling unwell, they will allow you to cancel your booking for free. However, you must notify them in advance.
  • The shop currently does not accept cash payments.

How Long Should I Rent the Bikes?

→ 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] (written 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 a stay. As you will have the entire 2nd floor to yourself, 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 3,750 yen.

Check-in time is from 3 pm to 8 pm. Please ensure you check out by 10 am to avoid the 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 lighting up cigarettes. Please note that there is no gas stove in the guesthouse, and bringing in a portable gas stove is forbidden.

Tip: It is free to do your 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 that their 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 cannot 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 artwork.

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

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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *