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Bike tour Japan

Old 03-07-18, 03:28 PM
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busys
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Bike tour Japan

I am going to be in Japan from Mid May to Mid June.

1. Any suggestions where to ride? Or where are the best places to ride?

2. Trains and bikes. Do most trains take bikes? Any special accommodations I need to make to get a bike on a train? (Europe was pretty easy to get a bike on a train)

3. Camping. Easy to camp in random parks or non-campgrounds?
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Old 03-07-18, 07:02 PM
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the inland sea...

this one is on my bucket list.
https://cyclingtips.com/2014/11/cycling-shimanami-exploring-japans-inland-sea-by-bike/
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Old 03-07-18, 07:54 PM
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Sounds awesome. I've always wanted to visit Japan and I've heard great things about bike touring it. How much are you planning to budget for the trip?
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Old 03-07-18, 09:45 PM
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We liked Hokkaido ... wouldn't mind going back and circumnavigating it.

There was something about the trains ... I think we needed to have folding bikes or put ours in boxes if we were going to use the trains.

I don't know about just camping anywhere, but they've got some nice campgrounds or hostels.
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Old 03-07-18, 11:12 PM
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My wife and I did Hokkaido, loved it! Bikes on trains are a massive hassle IF they train allows them at all. There are some awesome cargo shipping services available between airports and major cities. We shipped 2 bikes and both sets of panniers between Sapporo and Tokyo Narita for less than $100, something like 2-day service. Pretty good bargain considering they bikes weren't allowed on the Shinkansen at all.

As stated above, for the few that allow them, bikes must be boxed or bagged, peddles off, and must be stored behind the back row of seats...if there's room.

Campgrounds are plentiful in Hokkaido during the summer camping season (mid-late summer I think). Look for the places with Onsens because nothing beats a beer and a HOT soak after riding all day. Just be sure you learn how to do it correctly...I goofed it the first time and literally drove all the locals out...for all I know they drained and cleaned the tubs after I left.

Have fun!
Sam
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Old 03-08-18, 01:00 AM
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2. Your bike needs to go in a bag .
3. With a little common sense camping is very easy.
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Old 03-08-18, 01:38 AM
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We did that last year.
Great experience.
We used Length of Japan as a guide (it is not signposted or anything).
We did not take any cooking gear, Japan's food is great and affordable.
We started in Fukuoka, ending up in Tokyo, next time (there WILL be a next time) we'll be going to explore Hokkaido.
Wild camping is easy, most public parks have spotlessly clean toilets.
Drivers are very courteous, and quite a few stopped to give us sweets and/or drinks.
Any questions: just ask.
And read more about our trip: Japan/ (in Dutch but with some use of google translate probably understandable, and otherwise: just look at the pictures ;-)
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Old 03-08-18, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by busys View Post
I am going to be in Japan from Mid May to Mid June.

1. Any suggestions where to ride? Or where are the best places to ride?

2. Trains and bikes. Do most trains take bikes? Any special accommodations I need to make to get a bike on a train? (Europe was pretty easy to get a bike on a train)

3. Camping. Easy to camp in random parks or non-campgrounds?
1 - This entirely depends on what you're in to.

2 - Most JR trains will take bikes, you need to bag it though. Google "Rinko Bukuro". Avoid rush hour trains, and keep in mind that there are non-JR lines and trains that won't allow bicycles.

3 - I've never been hassled but I always set up camp in an out of the way spot fairly late and leave early before anyone shows up in the morning. I've had friends get harassed by cops but they were kinda being jerks by setting up in fairly busy parks while people were there. Don't bother anyone and you'll probably be fine. I'd check out campgrounds on your route though, some have laundry facilities etc. and that can be nice.


Side note - unless you just like cooking, I wouldn't bother with it. There's a lot of convenience stores, restaurants etc. and you'll often find vending machines in totally random places.
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Old 03-08-18, 09:59 AM
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Best cycling we’ve found in Japan:
1) Shiminami Kaido, it’s short but leads to
2) Shikoku, various places but the Iya Valley is best known.
3) Hokkaido is great; trains are less frequent and can be crowded.
4 My personal favourite: Ishigaki and Iriomoto. Small tropical paradise. Can’t get the rustic pineapple stands out of my head!
5) My sons favourite is the Fuji Five Lakes area.

TRAINS are not set up for bikes. You can still take them (if there’s room). There are no luggage compartments on Japanese trains. Your bike must be taken down and placed in a bag (rinko). The bag costs about $50 at Mont Bell. If you are lucky (and quick) you can just fit the bagged bike behind the last row of seats in a compartment. Otherwise, if the train is pretty empty you can take up a row (2 seats) or, more commonly, place it carefully out of the way in the closed off area between two cars. Plan your getting off well ahead as stops are brief and there can be some crowding by the exits. Remember too that the courtesy is for those boarding to wait for those exiting - so hustle, because they need to get on.

Trains and subways in large cities are different. Most Japanese are very tolerant but realize you will be a serious imposition and do what you can to avoid inconveniencing commuters (including avoiding rush hours). You will likely stand with your bike. Don’t block passages or doorways. Japanese cities are fairly easy to cycle around once you get used to slower cycling on the sidewalk in the busier areas.
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Old 03-08-18, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jurjan View Post
We did not take any cooking gear, Japan's food is great and affordable.
Would you mind elaborating on the cost of food? I am really attracted to the quiet, orderly polite society I perceive Japan to be (for the most part) but had been told food was very expensive.

Is it feasible to fly in somewhere and just ride without the trains? When I tour I quit my job and have LOTS of time. I'm also very big and so is my bike so if normal people have troubles fitting a bike on a train...

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Old 03-08-18, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Would you mind elaborating on the cost of food? I am really attracted to the quiet, orderly polite society I perceive Japan to be (for the most part) but had been told food was very expensive.

Is it feasible to fly in somewhere and just ride without the trains? When I tour I quit my job and have LOTS of time. I'm also very big and so is my bike so if normal people have troubles fitting a bike on a train...


We flew into Chitose airport (Hokkaido) and cycled from there. Just one thing ... they don't like bicycles in the airport, so as soon as your bicycle is built, wheel it outside.

I don't recall that food was particularly expensive, but then I'm coming from an Australian perspective on food. Oh ... rice seemed expensive, and that surprised me.

And yes ... random vending machines everywhere!! They even serve hot coffee in cans.
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Old 03-08-18, 07:23 PM
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On this page, we talk about our trip through Hong Kong, Taiwan, and then Japan ...

Charlene (Machka) - 2012 Round the World Tour

With photos!
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Old 03-08-18, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TallTourist View Post
Would you mind elaborating on the cost of food? I am really attracted to the quiet, orderly polite society I perceive Japan to be (for the most part) but had been told food was very expensive.

Is it feasible to fly in somewhere and just ride without the trains? When I tour I quit my job and have LOTS of time. I'm also very big and so is my bike so if normal people have troubles fitting a bike on a train...

Food prices depend on what you want. Iím not sure where youíre coming from. If North America Iíd say food is 10-20% more expensive; but then, itís 20-30% better! Ramen, Mos burgers, Tonkatsu, car sushi are all examples of cheap eats.

Yes, you can fly and ride. I have flown in to Haneda (one of two major airports serving Tokyo) and ridden all over the city. I have also flown to Several smaller centres such as Wakkanai in Northern Hokkaido and ridden directly from the airport. in fact, flying to ride is the best way to make big jumps. The fares are good - I believe both JAL and ANA offer domestic flight deals ( usually about $100 each way) to tourists who fly in to Japan with them. They are also very careful with bikes and take them as normal baggage without extra fees (if within your allowance).
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Old 03-09-18, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
On this page, we talk about our trip through Hong Kong, Taiwan, and then Japan ...

Charlene (Machka) - 2012 Round the World Tour

With photos!
Thanks for the link Machka, I've read some and bookmarked it to read further tomorrow. Sounds like Japan is going to be added to the list of places to go. Did you speak any Japanese at all when you went? I'm starting to think it may be worthwhile to learn even though the country is so small, they seem to have values similar to my own which is rare. Quiet (with the exception of Blue Moon) OMG what a concept! Haha. Really looking forward to reading more.
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Old 03-09-18, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
Food prices depend on what you want. Iím not sure where youíre coming from. If North America Iíd say food is 10-20% more expensive; but then, itís 20-30% better! Ramen, Mos burgers, Tonkatsu, car sushi are all examples of cheap eats.

Yes, you can fly and ride. I have flown in to Haneda (one of two major airports serving Tokyo) and ridden all over the city. I have also flown to Several smaller centres such as Wakkanai in Northern Hokkaido and ridden directly from the airport. in fact, flying to ride is the best way to make big jumps. The fares are good - I believe both JAL and ANA offer domestic flight deals ( usually about $100 each way) to tourists who fly in to Japan with them. They are also very careful with bikes and take them as normal baggage without extra fees (if within your allowance).
That sounds great!

What about fatty meat? I try to eat mostly high fat and meat when I can but I suspect that would be even more than 10-20% more expensive. Bacon is life!
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Old 03-09-18, 01:51 AM
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Regarding foodprices: we did not find it very expensive at all.
Maybe a little more expensive, but like Mountain Mitch mentioned: at least 30% better tasting.

oooohh, by the way: orderly society: not when biking: on the streets in the cities they cycle both ways on both sides of the road AND both ways on both sides of the sidewalks.

Fatty meat: no problem, they eat fatty meat, remember the wagyu beef!

oooh, and be prepared to be stared at: i'm just under 2 meters and was being stared at quite a lot.
So was my GF, who is 'just' 1m70 (she's perceived tall over there, just like in South America)

We just flew in and started cycling, never used a train over there.

We did try and learn a bit of Japanese, but found that you don't really know enough words to have a real conversation after just a starters course.
However: being able to read is handy: you can read menus, and by vocalizing (internally!) quite a few words are revealed to be from foreign (English / even Duch) origin (and thus understandable).

Last edited by jurjan; 03-09-18 at 01:58 AM. Reason: added some extra info
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Old 03-09-18, 10:12 AM
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I have fifteen years experience living and cycling in Japan. PM me if you have any specific questions. Not to be a jerk, but these specific questions are asked about three or four times a year on here.

You can wild camp pretty much anywhere. I've never worried about setting up late and leaving early. Leave no trace applies, obviously.

Bikes are allowed on all trains, but you need a bike bag and you'll need to take the front wheel off. And bringing your bike into a rush hour train in any big city is not a great idea. That's probably the only time you might be refused entry.

Hokkaido is a great place to cycle but my favorite trips were getting into the middle of nowhere in Shikoku and island hopping around Kyushu.
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Old 03-10-18, 08:58 AM
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I live in Japan.

Check some if my videos below. they should give you plenty of ideas about where to go.

If you have any specific questions, just email me.

I would say: buy bike bags and take trains to avoid awful urban sprawl. Try to take mountain roads rather than busy main roads. They will kill you at first but well worth it. There is not much flat land so finding a good wild camping place can be tricky. But if you can find a park, be discreat and you will be ok.

Personally I used google earth to plant my trips.

https://www.youtube.com/user/waddo
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