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Help me plan my tour of Japan!

Old 09-11-18, 12:30 PM
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Help me plan my tour of Japan!



Hey guys, so I've been working out a route for my month long bicycle tour of Japan and this is what I've come up with so far. Looking for input on the route, places to check out, things I might be missing or inexpensive transit options I can use to trim the fat. Don't really want to be stressing about falling behind on my schedule so much that I can't stop and enjoy places and I'd like to fit in a rest day in Kyoto and one in Osaka. Right now I'm planning to take at least one ferry (kitakyushu-Osaka) but I was thinking the right rail line would help me cut down time in some other areas too! (Shinkansen is just too expensive and unfortunately I won't use the train nearly enough to justify a JR pass)

Check out the map I've been working on:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VE...B5&usp=sharing

Right now the plan is
Oct 2-4
Tokyo
Oct 4-7
Tokyo - Sendai
Oct 8 - 11
Sendai to Numata
Oct 12 - 15
Numata - Kyoto
Oct 16 - 21
Kyoto - Kitakyushu
Oct 22 - 25
Round trip to the Takachiho gorge in miyazaki, ferry from kitakyushu to osaka (or all the way to tokyo if I'm behind)
Oct 26 - 29
Osaka - Tokyo
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Old 09-11-18, 09:14 PM
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What's your total cycling distance? At a glance it looks like a lot for a month. I've covered most of those areas but on multiple shorter trips, say five to ten days or so.

My standard advice is to get on the forums at tokyocycle.com and share your route there. I don't care to pick through maps myself, but the folks on that forum will know every meter of your planned route.

Bummer that it's October. I'm touring South America now but I'll be back in Japan in November. But October is fantastic riding weather there. Will be great for you I'm sure.
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Old 09-11-18, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell
What's your total cycling distance? At a glance it looks like a lot for a month. I've covered most of those areas but on multiple shorter trips, say five to ten days or so.

My standard advice is to get on the forums at tokyocycle.com and share your route there. I don't care to pick through maps myself, but the folks on that forum will know every meter of your planned route.

Bummer that it's October. I'm touring South America now but I'll be back in Japan in November. But October is fantastic riding weather there. Will be great for you I'm sure.
It's about 3200km atm. Easily doable for me but I want to trim some fat if I can to keep from feeling rushed. I'll check that forum out, appreciate it!

South America must be lovely! Another one that's on the bucket list for sure. I work as a bike mechanic so I can't get much time off in summer, stoked about how good the weather will be in October!
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Old 09-11-18, 10:25 PM
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What do you want to see?

how many history of Japan books have you read?
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Old 09-12-18, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
What do you want to see?

how many history of Japan books have you read?
by books do you mean wikipedia articles?

I really want to see Mt. Zao & Mt. Chausu, (the volcanoes near sendai), Hojuzan Risshaku Temple in Yamagata, Hot springs in Gunma & Nagano, Kurakake pass in gifu, Mt. Koya, Shiminami Kaido cycling road, Motonosumi Inari Shrine, Takachiho Gorge, the big cities and pretty much a million other things
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Old 09-12-18, 12:47 AM
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No terrorist threats to speak of but it's a bit shaky still earthquake wise. Those landslides were NASTY.
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Old 09-12-18, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast
No terrorist threats to speak of but it's a bit shaky still earthquake wise. Those landslides were NASTY.
I hope they haven't made any of my planned roads impassable

What regions were most affected anyways?
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Old 09-12-18, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BigKev93
I hope they haven't made any of my planned roads impassable

What regions were most affected anyways?
When was the last time you checked what's been going on in Japan?

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/ea...al-summer-2018

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45417035

Eight dead as Typhoon Jebi slams Japan, sends 2,600-tonne tanker crashing into a bridge - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


By the time you go, everything could be all right. And you might not be affected, but it would probably be a good idea to check ...
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Old 09-12-18, 04:40 AM
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There's a hell of a lot to see in Japan. We went from Kyoto to Sapporo in 5 weeks via Sado, Niigata and Sendai and it still felt pretty rushed.
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Old 09-12-18, 05:57 AM
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I live in Japan and I would not do that route. Do you want to experience the best of Japan or show off to yourself that you did ALL Japan? No on else will be impressed.


Japan has lots of ugliness. 99% of rivers have multiple dams. Coastlines are covered with concrete tetrapods. Electric cables tangle streets. If you want to enjoy Japan you need to plan your route carefully. Focus on a few areas. For example: Tohoku, Kii Peninsular, Biwako, Shikoku. Take trains between them. You need a nylon bike bag to get on the trains.


I would start by watching my videos on Youtube and write down the places you really like. Touring is about site seeing, feeling the atmosphere, listening to a temple gong in the mountains, not just riding endlessly and pointlessly.


My youtube channel is called waddo.
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Old 09-12-18, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
Touring is about site seeing, feeling the atmosphere, listening to a temple gong in the mountains, not just riding endlessly and pointlessly.
While I agree with your advice for his tour, we can probably chill with telling people what touring is. Some people like to cover big miles on their tours, even if it comes at the expense of the off bike experiences.
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Old 09-12-18, 07:46 AM
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And some people (many) spend a fortune coming to Japan and only peddle on awful roads. I offered my advice to avoid that. And I am already quite chilled.
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Old 09-12-18, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
By the time you go, everything could be all right. And you might not be affected, but it would probably be a good idea to check ...
I just kinda assumed that typhoon season would be over in october and it'd be fine

Originally Posted by Trevtassie
There's a hell of a lot to see in Japan. We went from Kyoto to Sapporo in 5 weeks via Sado, Niigata and Sendai and it still felt pretty rushed.
unavoidable I suppose.

Originally Posted by waddo
I live in Japan and I would not do that route. Do you want to experience the best of Japan or show off to yourself that you did ALL Japan? No on else will be impressed.


Japan has lots of ugliness. 99% of rivers have multiple dams. Coastlines are covered with concrete tetrapods. Electric cables tangle streets. If you want to enjoy Japan you need to plan your route carefully. Focus on a few areas. For example: Tohoku, Kii Peninsular, Biwako, Shikoku. Take trains between them. You need a nylon bike bag to get on the trains.


I would start by watching my videos on Youtube and write down the places you really like. Touring is about site seeing, feeling the atmosphere, listening to a temple gong in the mountains, not just riding endlessly and pointlessly.


My youtube channel is called waddo.
I've already put a lot of effort into compiling the places I want to see, there just happen to be a lot of them. I doubt any of these roads will be all that bad given they're mostly from the Japan Cycling website. I like to ride a lot on tours and I can't really afford to get a JR pass and bike bag on top of everything anyways.
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Old 09-12-18, 01:10 PM
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here's my google mymap for Marthas Vineyard: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?...532532749&z=13

I prefer to do my routes in ridewithgps, either create my own or serch for one, then import them into googlemy map and put a link in the description back to ridewithgps.
granted my martha vineyard map is much simpler. but i really like routing in ridewithgps, being able to see bike paths layer turned on and jumping into streetview when necessary.

I like google my maps for marking places I want to see, lodging and other things.
I wish there was a place for prople to view and collaborate on google my maps. I also wish authorship was controlled at layers, not global for the whole map.
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Old 09-12-18, 04:16 PM
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You'll still find interesting things to see and do, even in the ugly bits... the weirdest things pop up.
There are also some nice bits of coastline north of Kyoto past Lake Biwa. We caught a ferry from Joetsu to Sado Island, then on to Niigata, then rode across to Sendai across a couple of big passes. You could go the other way. Noto Penninsula is really scenic, and has been passed by by modern Japan, as has Sado Island. And there is a bit of magic coast south of Noto that has been bypassed by the main road that is very scenic too.
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Old 09-12-18, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BigKev93
I just kinda assumed that typhoon season would be over in october and it'd be fine

Maybe ... but I'm thinking more in terms of damaged infrastructure.


You may want to double check that your roads and other facilities are open and operational.
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Old 09-12-18, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by preferdownhill
here's my google mymap for Marthas Vineyard: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?...532532749&z=13

I prefer to do my routes in ridewithgps, either create my own or serch for one, then import them into googlemy map and put a link in the description back to ridewithgps.
granted my martha vineyard map is much simpler. but i really like routing in ridewithgps, being able to see bike paths layer turned on and jumping into streetview when necessary.

I like google my maps for marking places I want to see, lodging and other things.
I wish there was a place for prople to view and collaborate on google my maps. I also wish authorship was controlled at layers, not global for the whole map.
unfortunately there isn't much on ridewithgps or similar sites for japan
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Old 09-13-18, 06:18 AM
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Yes, nylon bags cost 30 dollars. That's a lot of money. And you can buy a train ticket, not a JR Pass. But I understand, the plan is the plan.

You will only come to Japan once in your life and it seems a shame that you will not really experience it. Please remember, I live here. I know what your plan actually is.

Any way, I hope you enjoy yourself. And feel free ti change your plan mid stream.
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Old 09-13-18, 07:53 AM
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In Japanese, you might need to google translate: ??? **********???? - **********
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Old 09-13-18, 09:16 AM
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I played around with the data some. its quite a bit and mymaps starts to really have problems.
I switched to google earth and downloaded kml from this site:Japan Bicyle Touring - Length of Japan Bicycle Tour Route | A Journey of 1000 Li
and put together this map of Japan: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?...jPgEFOJ9EcJgLo

Note, you can download the kml data, I put it on my phone with dropbox, then open with the phone app, Maps.me, which is open source and works very well offline and your kml data will be offline once loaded in maps.me.
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Old 09-15-18, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by waddo
Yes, nylon bags cost 30 dollars. That's a lot of money. And you can buy a train ticket, not a JR Pass. But I understand, the plan is the plan.

You will only come to Japan once in your life and it seems a shame that you will not really experience it. Please remember, I live here. I know what your plan actually is.

Any way, I hope you enjoy yourself. And feel free ti change your plan mid stream.
a shinkansen ticket from tokyo - kyoto is still like $150 CAD, and from what I've heard a bike bag that doesn't fall apart is more like $100
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Old 09-15-18, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by preferdownhill
I played around with the data some. its quite a bit and mymaps starts to really have problems.
I switched to google earth and downloaded kml from this site:Japan Bicyle Touring - Length of Japan Bicycle Tour Route | A Journey of 1000 Li
and put together this map of Japan: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?...jPgEFOJ9EcJgLo

Note, you can download the kml data, I put it on my phone with dropbox, then open with the phone app, Maps.me, which is open source and works very well offline and your kml data will be offline once loaded in maps.me.
Thanks! This helps a lot, I've been meaning to sort this out so I can actually use it turn-by-turn navigation style but it would've been a huge pain in the ass having to trace the routes myself!
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Old 09-15-18, 11:55 PM
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University Map Libraries FTW !
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Old 09-19-18, 05:48 PM
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Hi, I'm new here and I've just started getting back into biking. (mainly to start bike packing)
I live in Japan in the Nagasaki Prefecture neck of the woods.

Lately, I have been observing how the locals and the race guys ride their bikes down here.
In the Omura area, which is a small city, most locals stick to the bike paths that they have recently built into the sidewalks.
Unfortunately, they don't run through the whole city and are non existent on the outskirts.
Now the fun part you will experience as you leave the safety of the city.
On my one hour drive to work, to Sasebo Naval base, the roads are rough and the bikers don't have much room to maneuver.
It almost seems like suicidal to ride with that little space here. I would love to ride to work, it about a 66km ride.
But from what I've seen, no thanks, I don't have any kid courage left in me-lol
Good luck on your trip, Oh, & Typhoon season lasts all the way to November, bring rain gear coz it always seems to be raining here.

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Old 09-20-18, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo
I live in Japan and I would not do that route. Do you want to experience the best of Japan or show off to yourself that you did ALL Japan? No on else will be impressed.


Japan has lots of ugliness.

You know, some people find even the ugly/mundane parts you constantly whinge about to be pretty interesting. Just because *you* don't enjoy it doesn't mean other folks won't. I grew up in a sanitized tourist trap, so I can't stand em when I'm traveling.

It's better to ask OP what he/she is more interested in first IMHO.


That said, OP's route isn't really where I'd want to go, but I've always had far more odd/interesting experiences doing less than "ideal" things that people always suggest.
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