500km Cycle Ride


A 500km 4-day cycling tour through Japan for male & female riders of all ages and abilities. We usually expect 40-50 cyclists to apply. The 2021 ride is due to take place between October 7-10 but the ongoing COVID situation may mean another postponement.

Each day is 100-150kms, some of it flat, some mountainous. It may rain, it may shine, whatever the weather the ride goes on if safe. Why do KIWL riders keep coming back? Because it is a significant personal achievement, they experience the emotion of meeting the kids for whom they are raising funds, and they ride through breathtaking scenery mostly on quiet country roads. And, get fit while making new cycling friends!      


Starting in Echigo Yuzawa, the ride heads 150kms north to Niigata city on day one. Day 2 is a 100km visit to Sado Island. We then cover a very challenging 150kms to Kaminoyama Onsen in Yamagata on day 3, ending on day 4 with a 90km ride to a local Fukushima children's care home.

Is The KIWL 500 For You?

You don't have to be an elite cyclist, it's a tour not a race. Beginners can do it but must commit to training hard in the 6 months prior. You need the will to achieve sufficient levels of fitness, and have a functional road bike. It is a challenging endurance ride including significant climbs over mountain passes.    

What Is Expected of a Participant?

The KIWL 500 is above all, a fundraising event. Each participant is asked to raise at least ¥100,000 (about US$1,000). This can be self-donated, or colleagues, friends & family can sponsor. Others host their own fundraising events, or bring people to KIWL's other events.

Those who successfully introduce corporate KIWL sponsors are not asked to raise personal funds but can do if they wish. Corporate sponsorships range from ¥150,000-500,000. Companies make a donation to YouMeWe ensuring that 100% goes directly to benefiting kids in care.

Personal Budget for the KIWL 500

Each rider pays for accommodation & meals, their official KIWL kit and other disbursements. About ¥100,000 in personal expenses is estimated, plus train travel to the start and return home.    

To get a feel for the ride, watch the 2019 KIWL 500 video here, read about it in our blog, and view the gallery above.

Apply Now

Where & When?

Oct 7-10, 2021


Niigata, Yamagata, Fukushima

Apply Now