Help Fukuoka to Tokyo - shortest route by roads

Noodles

Warming-Up
Oct 15, 2019
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Hello there!

In the weekend I plan to start my bicycle trip from Fukuoka to Tokyo but I have no idea about the route.

I need to obtain the shortest way, must be concrete and as flat as possible.

I am cycling from Europe and I had no problems to plan route for all countries before for example in the Kazahstan and China I was cycling mostly on the highways. In the Korea all the time on dedicated 4 river path because of the perfect quality.

I have a heavy luggage so I need good quality road but really no idea where I am allowed to cycling in Japan. Where I can do it legally? What type of the roads I can choose?

I do not have problems with traffic if this is legally but need yours help to choose best route/roads.

Could you please help me? I am confused about Japan and waiting for your proposals ;-)
 
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Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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Shimonoseki -> Hiroshima -> Okayama -> Himeji -> Osaka ->, Kyoto -> Nagoya -> Tokyo.

This is not my idea of a good cycling route, but it is the shortest. It's largely along the inland sea coast and then the Pacific coast.

You can cycle on all roads except expressways (toll roads) or expressway-class roads; these are marked with green signs. There will be a lot of trucks, and a lot of tunnels, and it will not be fun.
 

Noodles

Warming-Up
Oct 15, 2019
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@Half-Fast Mike
Thank you mate!
I was thinking about the same cities but there is so many roads that this is a really hard decision.
So if I good understand I can cycling only on the all roads with the blue marks (Google maps) like these:?

I will arrive in the Hakata Port so probably the best route for me is like this below. What do you think?

Plan:
From Hakata Port to Mojiko by Japan National Route number 3 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_National_Route_3

Then this road switch into Japan National Route number 2:
I have to cross the ocean by hmm this is probably tunnel, and then I will go all the time by this road to Osaka.

In the Osaka city this road switch into Japan National Route number 1:
And I will go all the time by this road to Tokyo.

Please check if I am correct because I want to prepare the GPX tracks ;)

@jdd
Thank you!
I know this website but this is not what I am looking for now :)
 

Gok

Maximum Pace
Dec 22, 2016
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@Half-Fast Mike
Thank you mate!
I was thinking about the same cities but there is so many roads that this is a really hard decision.
So if I good understand I can cycling only on the all roads with the blue marks (Google maps) like these:?

I will arrive in the Hakata Port so probably the best route for me is like this below. What do you think?

Plan:
From Hakata Port to Mojiko by Japan National Route number 3 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_National_Route_3

Then this road switch into Japan National Route number 2:
I have to cross the ocean by hmm this is probably tunnel, and then I will go all the time by this road to Osaka.

In the Osaka city this road switch into Japan National Route number 1:
And I will go all the time by this road to Tokyo.

Please check if I am correct because I want to prepare the GPX tracks ;)

@jdd
Thank you!
I know this website but this is not what I am looking for now :)
National Routes 1 and 2 will not be enjoyable (As @Half-Fast Mike said). Made the same mistake (partially) when I did Tokyo to Osaka. Heavy traffic, tunnels and there are many small sections (overhead bridges, some tunnels) that are off-limits to cyclists.

Plan your trip using any of the various apps that have 'Heat Maps' which show most traveled bicycle routes. Use google map street view as well to check what type of road you're on.
 

Noodles

Warming-Up
Oct 15, 2019
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many small sections (overhead bridges, some tunnels) that are off-limits to cyclists.
What do you mean? It is illegal to cycle there?
If I good understand the roads I have chosen are lawful and I can go cycle there?
 

Gok

Maximum Pace
Dec 22, 2016
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On National Highways, you may run into bridges and tunnels that have a sign that says 'No bicycles or carts allowed'. Sometimes there are alternative walkways dedicated for pedestrians, cyclists. But if it's highway in the middle of nowhere; there could be no alternative walkways.

Just one of the things I've experienced here...
 
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Half-Fast Mike

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I can cycling only on the all roads with the blue marks (Google maps) like these:?
Mostly, yes.

Roads with a 'shield' symbol are national primary routes. Those with hexagonal signs are prefectural routes. Even outside the cities they are generally lined with used car showrooms, pachinko parlors, and roadside junk food cafés.

Snap003.pngSnap001.png

Some sections have more than one number because the routes overlap.

Also some sections - especially of R1 and especially in Shizuoka prefecture - are for motor vehicles only. These are generally called "bypass" バイパス but that doesn't help if you don't read Japanese. There will be signs saying that bicycles/pedestrians are not allowed, when that's the case, and you'll usually see the recognizable 'no bikes' symbol. But sometimes it could be (Japanese) text only: 自転車通行禁止

TS_010.GIF

Here's a route between Tokyo and Kyoto that should be rideable all the way (I took it from a Japanese cyclist's blog)


Here's a resource that shows you the relative popularity of routes among (Strava-using) cyclists.


have to cross the ocean by hmm this is probably tunnel
Correct. You can't cycle either on the road bridge (expressway) or road tunnel (national route 2) but there is a pedestrian tunnel - 20 yen to push your bike through there. https://matcha-jp.com/en/1877

Take heart. Hundreds of thousands of cyclists have turned up in Japan with hardly a clue, and most of them have a great time. Most important tip: carry cash.
 

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Noodles

Warming-Up
Oct 15, 2019
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Ok I need to summarize everything because today I have to prepare my GPX files, tomorrow I plan to start Japanese part of my expedition :)

STEP (1)
From Hakata to Mojiko by Japan National Route 3 and then I have to go to the Kanmon Pedestrian Tunnel to cross the ocean.

STEP (2)
After that I can ride by Japan National Route 2 to Osaka without problem.

STEP (3)
From Osaka to Kyoto by Japan National Route 1

STEP (4)
From Kyoto to Tokyo by roads shared on the Mike's map.

Now everything is correct? Or you still see any problems :)?
 
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Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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National Route 2 to Osaka without problem
Can't promise that - I've never done it. Most of it is likely rideable, but (again) there may be "bypass" sections where you need to take a different, parallel route.

This blog has a bunch of maps from a cyclist who's done the route - you can scavenge from there.

 
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OreoCookie

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Usually, it is not smart to take the shortest, legal route. (As others have pointed out, bicycles are not allowed on certain roads, and unlike police in other countries, this is something that will eventually get you stopped in Japan.) Sometimes you have “slow roads” parallel to highways, which are much safer and also much more enjoyable. Moreover, you'd have a better chance to get supplies along the road, since certain smaller roads are often lined with convenience stores and small restaurants.
 
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Noodles

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Oct 15, 2019
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Thank you guys for help. I am in Tokyo right now. What I can say? Cycling on Japanese roads is not easy ;) but you can do it. Big traffic is everywhere and 99% time you don't have roadside but the worst are traffic lights. Sometimes you have traffic lights each 100 meters for 30 kilometers and it is extremely slow. Most of time you are waiting and you can ride max 10 km in one hour even if you have speed 40 km/h between traffic lights. A little frustrating but I met a lot of great people ;)

Thanks again for help!
 

joewein

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Sometimes you have traffic lights each 100 meters for 30 kilometers and it is extremely slow. Most of time you are waiting and you can ride max 10 km in one hour even if you have speed 40 km/h between traffic lights.
Think of it as interval training ;)

My rule of thumb for estimating riding time in urban areas with traffic lights is 18 km/h on distances short enough to not involve conbini stops or 15 km/h for longer rides (multiple hours). That does not involve any 40 km/h dashes. It does not pay to be in much of a hurry, you end up taking unnecessary risks trying to beat traffic lights or drafting buses and other big vehicles.
 
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microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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Tokyo
I am in Tokyo right now. What I can say? Cycling on Japanese roads is not easy ;) but you can do it. Big traffic is everywhere and 99% time you don't have roadside but the worst are traffic lights. Sometimes you have traffic lights each 100 meters for 30 kilometers and it is extremely slow.
First, I'm glad to hear that you made it to Tokyo. You don't mention any accidents so I guess you didn't have any. That's good.

What you'd call heavy traffic and what I'd call heavy traffic may be different; but this is a route I took on Saturday; within it, there's a slightly annoying number of traffic lights for the first and last 2 km, a very few traffic lights for a few more kilometres, and as far as I recall no traffic lights whatever for about 50 km. And there are stretches within this that have virtually no trucks, cars or motorbikes.
 
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Kangaeroo

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Thank you guys for help. I am in Tokyo right now. What I can say? Cycling on Japanese roads is not easy ;) but you can do it. Big traffic is everywhere and 99% time you don't have roadside but the worst are traffic lights. Sometimes you have traffic lights each 100 meters for 30 kilometers and it is extremely slow. Most of time you are waiting and you can ride max 10 km in one hour even if you have speed 40 km/h between traffic lights. A little frustrating but I met a lot of great people ;)

Thanks again for help!
Great ride!