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Touring Japan

Old 12-11-06, 10:46 AM
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Touring Japan

How hard is it to just fly over to Japan and try to ride a tour without any real planning?

How difficult is it to be understood without speaking any Japanese outside of a phrase book?
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Old 12-11-06, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclintom
How hard is it to just fly over to Japan and try to ride a tour without any real planning?

How difficult is it to be understood without speaking any Japanese outside of a phrase book?

I lived in Japan and toured there a few times.

All tours should take place without any 'real planning.' If you plan too much you destroy the very joy of toruing, which is its spontaneity and sense of freedom. Short of avoiding cities and basic knowledge of the climate/weather to expect, you are best of leaving the rest to the trip itself.

Japan is expensive. The roads are narrow but the cars are small, and I found the Japanese exquisitely polite and courteous on the roadway. It is a tough place to tour, though, since most folks tour in the summer and the Japanese summer consists of plum rains in late spring, searing heat in the summer, and frequent typhoons as you approach the fall. Hokkai'do, the northern Island, is an exception to this.

I wild camped in the country since there is alot of woodlands and fringes to rice paddies and such. Youth hostels are not worth the price. Save the money by wild camping and buying food in the ubiquitous small stores that dot the countryside.

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Old 12-11-06, 03:38 PM
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I lived in Japan through the 1990's.

Most Japanese learn a low level of a kind of English in school, so you'll be OK. Parents will thrust their darlings at you to practice English on. I good idea is for to learn to read katakana, an alphabet used for foreign - mostly English- words. This will allow you to read many signs and get a sense of how the Japanese pronounce English.

You'll want to get out of the cities as soon as you can. In rural areas you'll have no problem and you will be welcome at low priced minshikus (homestay) and ryokans (local style inn, food usually included). They'll want to know that you know how to use a Japaese style bath - soap and rinse off in the shower before you get in the communal tub and no peeking into the other sex's section - and whether you will eat sushi.

Plans aren't necessary. You'll have a blast.
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Old 12-15-06, 12:20 PM
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I have to agree with what has been said. You do not need indepth plans by any means. Especially in a country like here where you can pretty much camp in any park for free as long as you act within certian social bounds. i.e. tent up after dusk, down early morning. Learning the katakana is a small investment with great payback. It would only take you a few weeks to get that down if you really wanted to. So do not worry so much about plans. Whats the worst that can happen. You see a park, you pitch tent and sleep. Go for it. There are also a few decent websites with some national routes people have posted and you can grab some motorcycle maps once you get here. Look at sites like www.bikely.com, do a search on Tokyo. I think there are some longer distance routes on there for getting out of cities like Tokyo by bike. Which can be a bit of a concrete maze!. Have a blast.

Last edited by RayB; 12-15-06 at 12:27 PM.
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