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  1. #1
    Junior Member TokyoCory's Avatar
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    1500 Km Trip across Japan Any advise?

    Hi guys,

    Im planning a trip for September to ride from Tokyo-Fukuoka Japan. About a 1500Km trip. Im taking my Giant ATX Road bike with pannier bags and a BOB Yak. Im so excited about the trip. I will be camping the whole way. I am planning to do 100-125 Km per day. Maybe even do the ride back, but planning on jumping the train back. I only have 30 days, can 3000Km be done in 30 days? Any recommendations, thought or comments. What would you take for a repair kit and neccesities? Just looking for a little feedback.

    Currently im riding about 300Km on my 4 days off, then 4 days of work, maybe 50km total for those 4 days. Its pretty easy right now, no pain to speak of. How can i increase my distance? What kind of training should i do until September?

    Thanks for the feedback, anything is taken kindly. Bye guys...

    Cory
    Spinning Japan

  2. #2
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    For a long distance trip in Japan, I suggest the following:

    1) Know your route. I have not found any bicycle friendly roads in Japan that go for any real distance of greater than about 20 miles. These are usually along riverbanks. Often, bicycle lanes empty out into suicide motor lanes with absolutely no alternative but to turn back and find new routes.

    2) Make sure you bike is Japan appropriate. As any distance tourer will tell you, some repairs along the way are almost a certainty. If you bought your bike in the USA, you may find it difficult to get simple parts and fasteners in Japan. Go to a local Japanese bike shop and see what they have to do repairs. Can you get brake parts? I know that a lot of Japanese bikes have hub brakes rather than hand brakes. Check to be sure before you take off.

    3) Maps: There are good detailed maps available in Japan. Get them. Most local bookshops have them. Also carry a compass and believe your compass. Japanese roads do not make any logical sense. They were designed to confuse enemy invaders and those roads/streets still exist today. Look at a Japanese city map and you will see what looks like a spider web maze of streets that go nowhere, dead end, and twist off into opposite directions.

    4) Plan on making less time than you think: It is difficult to predict traffic and routes, so daily mileage is not easy to predict. Also, you will find a lot of fascinating things along the way that deserve exploration. This can set you back on daily mileage.

    5) Get an "Omamori" safety jingler from the local temples: These are to protect you in travel. Pray to your own God that you do not get hit by those crazy Japanese motorists. The young wealthy Japanese kids in sports cars are the worst (and there are a lot of them). They are spoiled rotten and will buzz you or hit you and let their mommies and daddies fix everything with the police and liability (if they actually get caught). Hit and run is a big problem in Japan. Carry a pen and paper to write down license plate numbers and details. The police are generally very cooperative in Japan.
    Mike

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    come down to okinawa and do the perimeter, what a great time!

  4. #4
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    I did a ten day trip last month around southern Kyushu from Miyazaki to Kumamoto and back to Miyazaki. Of the ten days I only rode for six or seven and did over 700 Km for the total trip. I rode for half a day with a guy going from Akuni which is well south of Fukuoka to Tokyo and I think he said the distance was 1400 Km so, your estimate might be a little high depending on the exact route you're planning.

    I didn't have any problems at all with the drivers and found them to be very courtious rather than rude. I did learn a few things.

    There are no campgrounds. Finding a place to sleep the first two nights was a problem until I figured out that you can pitch a tent almost anywhere and nobody will harass you. At one restuarant the waitress said I could pitch my tent on their doorstep after they closed. I came across a Harley type biker bar near Aso San and they said I could camp in their back yard. In the morning I discovered the door was left unlocked all night so that the people camping could use the facilities in the bar after it closed. There were three Harleys in there and a bunch of musical instruments on the bandstand and nobody stole them...amazing.

    The tunnels are scary so try to avoid them if possible. A good map was a big help.

    I used my roadbike shoes and saddle; this was not good because I rode slower, more upright, on the path which is rougher than on the smooth road and had to clip/unclip a lot more than I do on a normal ride. The saddle which normally feels good on 4~5 hour 80~100 Km rides felt awful after three days of ten hours in the saddle each day. I also walked through a lot of the tunnels and that was uncomfortable in SPD-SL shoes.

    Have fun!

  5. #5
    ~ Going the Distance ~ powerglide's Avatar
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    Good advice above!
    I used to tour Japan when I was a teen, once you get out of the cities there's some very bikeable stretches.
    That said, watch out for gutters and shoulder-less rural roads...easy to drift into one when tired.
    It's gonna be hot and humid, watch out for heat exhaustion and bring bug repellent!
    Have a blast!
    One more thing....3000kms in 30 days is possible, but considering you're pulling a trailor and probably want to 'smell the roses', and most likely would get lost, I'd say 3000kms is cutting it close.
    Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Powerglide is probably correct about the distance. Let's see, 3000 kilometers in 30 days is about 62 miles a day.

    That might not be a lot of road miles in the USA or Australia, but in Japan is will be for at least two reasons:

    1) The roads are more congested and you will be stopped by traffic and stop lights (yes, stop lights on highways and main roads in Japan).

    2) You will want to stop and see many of the fascinating things along the way and meet the wonderful people who are too charming to avoid. If you like photography, you will see many photo opportunities and will stop for pictures. As an example, on one of my Japan tours, I saw a group of elderly (ancient it seemed) ladies playing croquet. The photo opportunities were too good to pass up. Sure enough, I ended up playing croquet with them and later eating water melon. There went half a day, but it was sure better than being in the saddle.
    Mike

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