Cycling in south Japan in June. good or bad idea?


Feb 7, 2018
Dear all,

I have 6 weeks off starting June 1st and was thinking about cycling in Japan. I have learnt that this could be the worst time of year in the south as it will be the height of rainy season. I wanted to cycle most areas of the country during this time (maybe even north to south) but now I am wondering whether to stick only to the north. I feel it would be a shame to come to japan for 6 weeks and not try to see the south region as well

If it's like a lot of tropical countries where the rain is predictable with heavy downpours for a couple of hours a day then this seems doable but if we are talking all day rains then I am having second thoughts.

I appreciate know body can advice on mother nature but if somebody has any experience on the trend of the rains or has done a cycling trip in June in the South I would love to hear your input.

These forums are a great way to find information before I set of so thanks for accepting me in the group



Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
I'd recommend you stick more to the North. Because rainy season ≠ rainy season. On Kyushu (in the South) it'd often rain buckets for several hours (and I mean that literally), no way you'll be on the bike. In Sendai, where I live now, we often get a “rainy mist”/“misty rain” which would only make you wet after an hour or two of exposure.

But even without rain, you'll have to deal with the humidity. On Kyushu it'd hover at 95-100 % with a lower temperature of 28-29 degrees — the temperature of the ocean nearby. When I lived there, I couldn't do sports until the late afternoon and even then you'll get exhausted much more quickly. If you stick to areas North of Tokyo, it'll be much more pleasant.

One option that you might consider is to ride in Hokkaidō, which I heard is extremely beautiful and the weather is much more temperate.
Likes: Joe McCarthy


Speeding Up
May 10, 2012
Kyushu can be very wet, and very hot, at that time of year. Aso is certainly worth the trip down here but it might be better to stay north of Tokyo.


Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
Hokkaido escapes the rainy season.

Perhaps a nice route up would be through Niigata > Yamagata > Akita > Aomori > Hokkaido, with a mix of quiet roads, coastal and mountain scenery.

If you are into racing, you could even squeeze in the Niseko Classic at the end of your trip.

Or just hang out in Niseko. Before flying back to Tokyo...



Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
Look at post #4, by SteveT. He gives twelve days of Tohoku maps--also some interesting pics on his flicker link there. There's a link in my post there to jcn, they also have some Hokkaido plans. I wouldn't want to be touring thru the day here in June, and I'm about halfway up, in Kanazawa.

The rain front is a stationary front that forms to the south and gradually moves north, so the rainy season will arrive first in Kyushu, and some weeks later in Tokyo, and the front usually gets broken up by changing wx patterns (or typhoons) by the time it would get to Hokkaido.


Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
Here are typical dates for the rainy season. No matter what season you come to Japan in you will get wet sometime over 6 weeks. Not sure what your budget is like but you could arrive in Tokyo and ride north. Do Hokkaido and by then the chances are that Kyushu will be semi dry so a flight down to Kagoshima and then ride up behind the front? I'd just ride North and do a cruise through Hokkaido. You can always change your plans depending on the weather.
Likes: Joe McCarthy
I'll second what OreoCookie said about the heat and humidity being at least as big a consideration as the rain. I try to avoid the south during the summer for that reason. Another good tip for staying out of the heat is to ride the mountain passes where it's cooler. It'll take longer to get between places overall but the mountains in Japan are just beautiful. I'd stick to the north and definitely go to Hokkaido. It's just right in June. If you're there towards the end of June you should check out Furano as it comes into lavendar season.


Feb 7, 2018
Hi all.

Thanks for all messages. This forum has really helped guide us. We have decided to follow your advice and head north from Tokyo Making our way to Hokkaido. We will follow a lot of Steve’s trip as everyone seems to recommend going up the spine. We arrive in 2 days so pretty excited about it all.

I was wondering about a route from Narita airport to Nikko.

It doesn’t seem that many people bike that part. Is a train a better option which would give us more time at the end of the trip to explore the Osaka area?
Likes: Joe McCarthy
I was wondering about a route from Narita airport to Nikko
Narita is really close to the Tone river which has a paved cycle path that runs along it all the way to Fujioka in Gunma. You can peel off the river near Ota station and take route 122 up to Nikko. It's a nice ride. River route is dead flat but can be very windy. Nice views along the way. 122 is fairly hilly towards the North end and has some pretty sections that run through woods and rice paddies.
Likes: Kangaeroo