Author Topic: Biking in Japan  (Read 20862 times)

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Offline Gigi

Biking in Japan
« on: November 10, 2003, 01:32:37 am »
I would be interested in hearing from any of you that have done bike touring in Japan.  My husband and I would love to tour Japan by bike but I cannot find too much information on the subject.


This message was edited by Gigi on 11-10-03 @ 10:05 PM

Offline jjacobs

Biking in Japan
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2004, 06:53:17 pm »
Hello. Have you had any luck finding info on touring Japan? I too am interested in this, and have noticed that there's nothing if anything out there on touring Japan. I lived there for 2 years 1970-72 and would highly recommend the country in general. They had alot of youth hostels, the people were very nice, cycling frendly food, very good train system, and no shortage of very interesting places to explore.This is obvoiusly dated info, but may be useful. I'd like to know what you've found out. Thanks

Offline drhillbilly

Biking in Japan
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2004, 10:47:51 pm »
I Haven't done any tours here (Tokyo), but I do ride quite a bit. There are some people who have toured and seemed to enjoy it. However, a few of the problems I have heard of--and observe--is the traffic near the cities is horrible. I often ride along a major highway an the exhaust fumes ares sometimes so overpowering as to make breathing difficult. On of the big problems with touring in Japan is the number of small, narrow, and very long tunnels you must go though. Finding a place to stay at night won't always be easy. While the Japanese are "friendly" to outsiders, some places will flat out refuse accomodations to foreigners--whether you speak Japanese of not.
The expense is not as bad as people would have you believe. It is certainly much less expensive for the average person here than is New York City.
Sorry that this is such a quick messy post---hopefully I can explain a little more when I have more time to write. There are actually several web sites with Japan specific cycling info--tokyo cycling, cycling japan are a few. Good luck if you come.

Offline Sjors

Biking in Japan
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2004, 05:25:32 pm »
I have not toured Japan myself but english cyclist and writer Josie Dew did. As far as I know she has written two books about it. I have read one titled "A ride in the neon sun" it describes a long tour in Japan. I don't know the title of the other book but you should be able to find them. Good luck!

Offline CmWebb

Biking in Japan
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2004, 07:02:15 am »
HI, Well I have been living here for a few years and have found the biking excellent. That said you do have to choose your route as there are some horrible roads but often just close by there are beautiful roads that see almost no traffic. The big draw back or plus depending on what type of cyclist you are, are the mountains. I believe a good place to find some info would be on If that doesn't work just type the "outdoorjapan" bit into your search engine and you should find it.

Hope that helps,


P.S. You can take your bikes on the train in Japan but you need to have a bag for them.

Offline tourist22

Biking in Japan
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2004, 10:01:24 pm »
I toured in Japan in the fall of '96. Started in Kyoto, around Biwa-ko, down to Nara and the coast from there. I returned to Tokyo by ferry. It was great. I now work for a Japanese company. The business culture is non-inclusive; by bike is way different/better. I stayed off of main roads(such as going between Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo) and had one horn blast in 8 days of riding. Pick your time to see some festivals(matsui). I didn't really know what was happening, but they were fun to see.

Hostels, ryokans are the way to go. I could not figure out camping there. I met some Japanese students touring in Africa this past summer. They were in a adventure club in Tokyo and recommended camping by gas stations. They have 22+ bicycling terminals, mostly near train stations. I tried one but it required the help of an english speaking local to get me in the door.

I sometimes ate at 7-11's. They had much healthier food than we have in the US.

Also, try searching for info from google Australia. I've since learned they have some touring companies that provide trips to Japan. I saw there ads in Australain Cyclist magazine.

If you want to take this offline, I could share my route and other info with you.

Offline mfh1399

Biking in Japan
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2004, 01:33:24 am »
Having visited Japan in the last three years and was amazed at how many people ride bikes.  But really none for recreation.  Japan is quite hilly except along the coastline and the traffic is very heavy and fast.  The roads very narrow but Japan is beautiful.  I would advise riding only in the country and then with caution.  Ive cycled in europe and in london but tokoy , i would never try it.  the language is another problem , only in the big cities do they speak english. but if your brave give it a try.  :)

Offline jjacobs

Biking in Japan
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2004, 07:11:49 pm »
the outdoorjapan web site looks very interesting and promising! Thank you. Hokkaido is where I want to go, Wakkanai city (the northern most point on the island). I know there are some hot springs "resorts" on the island too. I'm not interested in the cities, the smaller towns and villages will do just fine. Please keep the info coming, I really appreciate it.

Offline keith

Biking in Japan
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2004, 12:19:21 am »
Hi, I rode on the island of Hokkaido in June 2000. I rode from Sapporo to Wakkanai and the small island of Rishiri.  Except for Sapporo the traffic isn't very heavy.  I stayed in youth hostels and minshuku(like a B&B).  A little Japanese would help, not much English is spoken outside of Sapporo.  Becareful of very long tunnels, Flashing rear lights would be good!  Most people were very friendly and I loved my trip.  I'm going back soon, Maybe to the island of Shikoku.  Go, you'll probably enjoy yourselves.

Offline jjacobs

Biking in Japan
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2004, 01:46:19 pm »
Alright Keith! I was on Rishiri (and Wakkanai) '70-72, my dad was stationed there in the Air force.I want to go back as an adult and see if it really is as cool as I think it was. Did you go w/ a tour group or solo? The costal riding was excellent and I want to go back riding something a bit more "modern" than my Schwinn banana seat, high rise bars, sting ray bike. It was fasinating then, I imagine it would be even more so now. I'd probably start by flying into Sapporo and go north from there. Thanks for the tip re; tunnels and hostels, Trains are still good, and a cover bag is necessary for the bike? thanks again.

Offline keith

Biking in Japan
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2004, 09:08:54 pm »
Hi JJ, I was stationed in Wakkanai from 67 to 69. Wakkanai has changed since 1972, no more America base.  Now there are quite a few Russians in Wakkanai, makes it more intersting.  You have the best reason to bike tour in Hokkaido.  Yes you have put your bike in a bag to take it on the trains, no baggage cars.  You have to take the wheels off or have a folding bike.  The island of Hokkaido is probably the best place to tour in Japan, more open roads and less traffic.  The cheapest places to stay are Rider Houses.  These are for motorcyclists, but don't mind bicyclists. I rode by myself.  I don't speak Japanese very well, but was able to get by.  Actually lots of fun, kind of like "Lost in Translation".  I flew from Seattle to Osaka and then flew to Sapporo, with no problems with my bike in a box. "Ganbatte"(do your best in Japanese, which you hear a lot as you meet people). "Ja mata"(bye for now).

This message was edited by keith on 1-29-04 @ 5:26 PM

Offline debudebu

Biking in Japan
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2005, 08:55:56 pm »
It's been a whole year since this thread was posted, but I just found it.  Have you gone to Japan yet?  I grew up in Japan and Did lots of touring all over, especially in Hokkaido.  If anyone wants any info or wants to chat about touring in Japan you can e-mail me at

Offline jjacobs

Biking in Japan
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2005, 09:20:15 pm »
Hello david and keith. I'm obviously not too timely in checking this web site for responses. As I get closer to going to Japan, I'm sure that I will get better at finding out more. I ordered Josie dews book on riding in japan, hasn't come yet. Thank you both for responding. my e mail is  if you want to talk about riding in Japan. if you ever get close to santa fe New Mexico, I'll show you some great riding!! More russians in wakkanai, very interesting. I may have to make this trip happen SOON! Thanks again.

Offline mdgwind

Biking in Japan
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2005, 08:29:34 pm »
I am planning on bicycling on Hokkaido for about 1+ weeks July/August 2005.  I am looking for a place to rent bicycles on Hokkaido and for a good ~ 1 week long route. I thought I may start cycling near Sapporo, but am flexible. We prefer to not camp. Small towns and nice scenery would be great.

I fly into Tokyo on Saturday July 22nd 2005 and depart Sunday August 7th from Tokyo. My friend and I hope to bike 30-50 miles per day; we'll bring our own panniers, but we don't want to bring bikes because we'll be traveling to Tokyo and Kyoto afterwards.

Feel free to email directly as well:

Offline JunkMan

Biking in Japan
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2005, 02:41:40 am »
I am planning a trip to Misawa AFB in northern Japan this fall to visit my son.  I am thinking about taking my bike, but not sure what the weather will be like in October.  He got there in Feb, and there was a ton of snow on the ground.  

Would be interested in hearing from anyone that has ridden in that area.