I want to Bike Tour through Japan...

Jan 8, 2018
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#1
Hi, I'm Aaron
I'm am a structural engineer and fairly recent University grad based out of Seattle. As the title says I am looking to do a bicycle tour through Japan in the very near future (first route will probably be something like this: http://japancycling.org/v2/cguide/part5/).

Thing is though, While I am an avid cyclist (ride to work 2-3 times a week [2 in winter], plus at least one +50km ride every weekend [winter is ski season]), I have no idea where to start when it comes to bike touring. I am here to ask for advice in regards to planning, touring, traveling in Japan, places to visit, and just general help.

I'm not sure if I want to go solo, or tour with a partner. I'm 24 and it is a little tricky finding a partner of similarish age.

Again, Any advice would be appreciated
Thank you very much
Aaron
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
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Yokohama
#2
Hi Aaron,

I'm probably not the best person to ask since my experience in riding in Japan is mostly rides near Tokyo. There are lots of sources you can find on youtube or internet to help you get general information about biking here.

You might try Paul Evans' site on FB. Lots of info there about biking throughout Japan. Search TCC's forums for areas or topics of interest. Lots of good route info there. Strava or Ride with GPS also have good route info.

Once you get more specific with your plans, then you might consider coming back here for more input or try the Half-Fast Cycling site on FB.

Good luck with your planning.
 

ryanm

Speeding Up
May 28, 2016
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#3
I agree with the above. You will probably get more helpful replies if you ask specific questions.

One thing to keep in mind is that you might not find many English speakers outside of larger cities (you might not find many English speakers in larger cities either). Finding help if you have any kind of bike or other trouble might be tough if you do not speak Japanese.
You might want to also think about going on an organized cycling tour.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
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#4
There are a few things to consider: Do you want to place an emphasis on making a distance (e. g. go from the Northern tip of the main island Honshu all the way to the South) or do you want to do it for the scenery and make stops in some places you consider worthwhile (e. g. Kyoto)? Doing 150 km per day for 2-3 weeks is a different idea of a trip than ~80 km per day with a few longer trips in between. Do you intend to plan the whole trip or do you want to play it by ear for a bit? Do you intend to camp? What kind of bike do you have?

Also, when you write you want to come soon, what does that mean? February or March? Depending on where you want to go, you might also have to contend with snow (some of the mountain passes here in the Tohoku region at ~1,000 m have snow well until April).
 
#5
Hi Aaron,

I do quite a bit of touring in Japan. I agree with the other posters though that a bit more information would be useful. The seasons have a big impact on what you should be preparing for where touring is concerned. Right now, for example, it's snowing in Tokyo! For the route you proposed I'd recommend coming further into the spring or waiting until early autumn. If you have to come in the summer then I'd scrap your planned route and go to Hokkaido or somewhere mountainous instead. The heat and humidity for that route would have you sweating buckets.

You may know already that there's a lot to see along that route. It roughly follows the most famous of the "five routes" from the Edo period in Japan called Tokaido (East Sea Road). Here's the Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tōkaidō_(road). So there are a whole load of shrines and temples and places to stay along the way. The downside is that it's also a pretty busy route in terms of transport, being the main link between Kyoto and Tokyo, so it might take some planning to avoid the busy roads. I imagine the accommodation can also be pretty expensive. Try checking out the Japan Youth Hostels site: http://www.jyh.or.jp/e/ they have a lot of traditional tatami and futon hostels that are usually pretty reasonable.

Having said all this, touring in Japan is really fun and generally not too dificult. Have a look at this post to get an idea of the best unique things about Japan cycle touring: https://simplemechanicalobjects.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/5-reasons-to-go-cycle-touring-in-japan/. If you have any more specific questions, let me know.
 

alvin

Warming-Up
Mar 6, 2018
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#6
Hi Aaron,

Actually im planning to do similar tour like yours, mine will end in Osaka.
It will be my first tours so i cant help much on experience side. but maybe we can trade info on how planning and stuff goes.

cheers!