anyone have any good route from Tokyo to Chiba for this Friday? I'm pretty new to cycling so would prefer bike lane and minimize the time riding on the road. I tried google map and Ride with GPS but none actually show me the bike lane between these two spots.
Bicycle lanes in Japan are few and far between... Where in Chiba to where in Tokyo? It's a big place. I've done early rides from the Palace to Kujikuri beach and it was mostly suburbia and not too much shoulder to ride on.
It's going to be urban riding the whole way. I don't have any information on what roads to avoid... In general don't undertake buses and trucks. Take the lane but yield when possible to let cars past. Point where you are going so people behind you won't be surprised. Thank other road users that yield for you. And if you feel unsafe on the road, take the sidewalk and go at a really slow pace.
Tokyo area just doesn't have much infrastructure to accommodate cyclists.
Little comment here, just in case - do not get fanatical with going as left as possible while on roads, especially when passing several parked cars. Drivers here are usually courteous enough to go beautifully around a cyclist but they can't see you if you go zigzags past parked cars - just go straight at such times, even middle of the road is fine. This is common sense but I see many people not knowing this.
So, normally I never feel qualified to answer any questions, and usually do the asking, but in this case, I feel more than qualified.
I live in Monzennakacho, but work in Chiba (very near Kaihinmakuhari Station). It's about 35km from my apartment to work. I've done it plenty, and have tried many different routes. Some are horrible, some are bad, and some are just ok. But none are good (at least none that I've found). I've never enjoyed it and have basically given up on finding a good route from Tokyo to Chiba. But I'm happy to let you know what I've found.
I began by riding along the bay (the best I could) as well as through the center of Edogawa, but I finally started taking a route through northern Edogawa because I found that the closer you are to Tokyo Bay, the more cargo trucks you'll have to deal with. Down that close to the bay, there aren't people riding on mama charis, or people in cars, or pedestrians so much as just trucks trucks trucks. And many are HUGE. Not only this, but it's very industrial down there, and it's not a bit designed for anything but transporting goods and raw materials from ships to other parts of Japan. It seems like the best route would be the most direct one, but not in this case. I found riding there to be simply: dirty, bleak, and dangerous. Honestly, it made me hate being on my bike.
Also, avoid the place where highway Keiyo Rd. crosses the Edo river (Edogawa) and meets up with highway 298. It's a mess of highway interchanges and overpasses that are not bike friendly. I felt really out of place the few times I tried to navigate through there. There are two smaller bridges just southeast of that bridge, but I have yet to find a convenient route to get north of Keiyo road from the bridges and the two roads that run along the river (near Myoden and Gyotoku stations). I have ridden it a few times, but it was always a stressful time that didn't make me want to return to try again. (if you find a better route, by all means, let me know please)
The best route I've found so far is to travel further north to take me further away from Tokyo Bay and all the trucks and the mess of highway overpasses. The most direct roue from the Ichikawa station area to Funabashi station is Route 14 (it's the yellow road on google maps, not the orange one. Keiyo road is orange, but for some reason it's also labeled with a #14, not sure why). Route 14 is rideable, but don't expect it to be a pleasure ride. Still a fair number of trucks, lots of traffic, and it can be tight with minimal or no shoulder, and often with many blind corners. Also, bike riding isn't as common here, especially not in traffic like you find in Tokyo, so drivers are less apt to expect you to be there, and are not as considerate. I do try to avoid 14 as much as possible, but unless you want to just take a lot of twisty-turny side streets, which will require you to do a lot of time consuming map checking and stopping at stop signs, it's probably the road you'll end up on eventually unfortunately.
I'm attaching a JPEG of the route that I normally took (the location of Funabashi station is indicated by the green arrow). You can probably dismiss the bit where I rode through Koto because if you're going to be coming from Shinjuku, you'll be travelling from further north (which means you'll be missing the best bit along the Ara River). If I were to ride that route, I'd probably just take Kuramae-hashi Dori (or something parallel to it) which is indicated by the number 315 on the map I attached, which runs north of Akihabara and South of Ueno Stations, until you cross the Ara River. After it crosses the Arakawa it links up with highway 60 which then connects to Route 14 just before it crosses the Edogawa. From there you'll have to decide what to do.
@EJH thank you for such an informative reply!! unfortunately i was bit too late to read this as we're already back and did exactly what you said not to do haha (which is to avoid the place where highway Keiyo Rd. crosses the Edo river) hah. Me and my buddy definitely will not go to that area again.. big intersection mass and trucks as you mentioned. The route you suggested will surely come in handy when we are going to do another Chiba Trip later next month!!
I have had nightmares about that intersection since they expanded it to the almighty clusterf#%k it is today, too.
However, I do ride route 14 regularly into and out of Tokyo with no problem. It is a busy road and if you treat it as such and are prepared for that it isn't much bother at all....apart from all the traffic lights.
@Eddie sorry you didn't catch my post before you left Eddie. I had meant to finish it and get it posted earlier, but I got busy at work. Did you actually ride over the overpass just across the river? I did it once, but decided just one time was plenty to not want to do it again. Yeah, when you head back out, give the other route a try if you want, or let me know if you find something better.
@Musashi13 yeah, Route 14 is rideable, but it's always a bit stressful. You definitely have to be alert and keep your fingers on the brake levers. The only time I semi-enjoyed riding it is when I've had to work late and was able to ride it after rush hour was over (8:00ish o' clock?). I just wish there were a few other options, but Route 14 is the most direct one there unfortunately.
Hi everyone, this is my first post, and thank you for having me.
I used this thread to assess and plan a trip from Shinkawa (central T.) to Ichikawa (eastern T.). I departed eastbound on route 10 over the Arakawa River and then turned N.bound where I eventually dumped out onto the 14. No issues on Route 14. Going N. high along the river embankment was a fun highlight, but interrupted several times by fences where I'd have to dismount and hump back down to the main road. No big deal. Also saw the Tokyo Boat Race HQ. http://www.mensjournal.com/travel/cities/a-day-at-tokyos-races-20131010
I bought and field-tested "OffMaps2", a smartphone app reliant on GPS and capable of running without eating your data. There is no manual, and the video doesn't explain how to set bearing to same as heading, but discovered that holding down the blue arrow can change this mode.
Last note is that under the Metropolitan Expressway Central Circular Route, an elevated hwy over the Arakawa, there is a strip of land that runs n.bound underneath it, that looks really interesting.
I don't do it anymore, but this was roughly my route from Chiba to Tokyo. Taking those two little bridges near Myoden then going under Baraki Nakayama station can save you from taking the dreaded Keiyo Doro over the Edogawa. It's a little convoluted, but worth it I think.