Ride out in Japan

Just got back from my holidays in Japan. Me and the Mrs were out there visiting the in-laws, so like you do when you’re visiting your inlaws I rented a bike and squeezed in a cheeky one day ride out. I used to live in Japan which is where I first got into biking, although back in the day, I was riding scooters and small bikes, so this was the first time to get on a proper machine and take it out into the mountains. Awesome day.

Japan really is one of the best biking places in the world - both for the twisty mountain roads and a generally very bike friendly attitude. I took some pics for you lot, below.

Renting a bike in Japan is pretty easy. You just need to get your international driving licence from the post office before you go and have a credit card (and not mind signing a contract you can’t read!) They rented me a helmet with the bike, but to be honest what they gave me felt like papier-mache - the only thing that can be said for it is it was legal, so I really missed my Shoei. I had managed to stuff my jacket/ boots/ trousers into the suitcase as they don’t rent that stuff, although it did mean I had to spend the whole 10 days with only a toothbrush and one pair of grundies!

There’s loads of bike rental places all over Japan. We were based in West Tokyo so I used these guys: http://www.rental819.com/recommended.php I wanted the CB1300 but at my branch the selection wasn’t as good as the website shows, so settled for a ZRX1200. Glad I did as it was an awesome bike and just gobbled up the steepest gradients. It took me a while to get used to it though - I found it a bit light at first for a big bike, but soon I loved it and now I would consider it as a next bike. Shame about the massive zorst though which was huge. It must have been stuffed full of cotton wool or something as it actually made no noise whatsoever! All the locals had replaced theirs, like you do.

While I was picking up the bike I had one of those funny chats with the shop staff who asked me “do you have Kawasaki’s in England?” Brilliant. He probably thinks we’re all riding round on 1960’s Bonnevilles.

The ride was brilliant - hooning up and down the mountain roads in the Okutama area west of Tokyo. Absolutely amazing scenery and the best roads you could wish for. The motorway takes you out to the mountains in less than an hour from Tokyo and then your in twisty heaven. Take a look a the map below and you’ll see what I mean! I was using a bike touring map - the purple roads are the “reccommended routes” (nice!). On top of that you’re going up and down some pretty steep gradients which makes for a very different experience to what you get round the Essex villages.

I kept thinking I’ll just do this good bit, then Ill take a break, but the good bit just never ended and by 4pm I realised I hadn’t stopped for longer than about a minute just to read the map! Couldn’t find anywhere open for lunch at that time as I was in the middle of nowhere, but eventually I managed to find a wizened little old man selling something unmentionable. Hey, when your hungry, hey grilled sparrow’s not as bad as it sounds…

If anyone is seriously interested in taking a holiday to Japan – then do it on a bike. Really it’s the best way to see Japan. Even in the cities it’s the best way to get around and no-one’s going to bother you with parking regulations, theft etc and as well as having some of the best riding of your life, you can get off the normal tourist trail and see some of the real Japan. Japan is a very inexpensive place to be (that rumour is a hang over from the 80s) although there’s no escaping that you’ll need to pay for your rental, but you get a better deal for a longer rental. Next time when baby John is a little bigger, me and the Mrs plan to do the job properly and do a full on 2 week tour. Watch this space.











And they ride on the left … ;)Nice post Franko, looks like you had a blast :smiley:

Hey Franko - I so enjoyed your post and the pics - thanks! Personally I find Japan and Japanese culture fascinating - from the pics it looks like such a beautiful country.

I’d love to visit Japan one day. :slight_smile:

Great pictures.

“Japan really is one of the best biking places in the world” - sou desu ne :slight_smile:

Looks great Franko, I’m very jealous - I love Japan - my greatest ever holiday was there some years ago… never thought about riding there though.

Having said that, in my dreams my riding holiday there would go something like this… (Ed-well maybe the first minute)


I really enjoyed reading this so thank you for adding it. The pictures are awesome and it makes me wanna go Japan even more than I already did, never considered it as a destination for riding, this thread has changed my mind, maybe I will change my honeymoon ideas from France to Japan!

Brilliant post Franko! Thanks for sharing. You look like you had a great time.

Japan is in my top ten list of places to visit and ride and this post helps affirm it!

Did you put an LB sticker on the bike? We try and do that when we go away, see how far the LB name can go :slight_smile:

craking lil write up franko:)

them roads look like KD city!!:D:D

That looks great! I studied Japanese for a couple of years at Uni and have been wanting to go there ever since. Never thought of it as a biking destination really tho.

Thanks a lot eveyone. Wasnt sure if people check in this section so often so great to see your feedback.

I think a lot of people see Japan as quite inacessible, but its actually a really easy place to visit. And definately if you comibne it with a biking holiday then you’ll have a blast. If you do ever head out there drop me a pm first. I lived there for 7 years so happy to share some tips.

Good piece of vid there Mu Chuu. Actually that road in the film is an awesome network of motorways up high on stilts which twists and curves round the buildings in central Tokyo . If you ride it at night you can look accross and see the salary men and office ladies sitting at their desks while you zoom by, trying not to scrape against the roadway walls.

Ha ha thats a good idea Jay, no I didnt take any stickers but will take some to hand out next time. Would be good to get some members in Japan!

Nice write up/photos - Looks like great fun

We drove a car through shikoku and kyushu, some really nice roads and scenery.

Now very tempted to rent a bike out there now!

thought the post was about organising a ride out in Japan…
was all excited.

Now i’m just jealous

Nice post Franko looks fab.

Franco that looks awesome, I have always wanted to see Japan , I hope to get out there one day but I have always heard it is very expensive

It was probably a bit cheaper in 2009:Whistling:

Thanks for sharing. I’ve just added it to my list.

I am very tempted to ‘nip on’ a bike out there :smiley:

Going to Japan this summer, never thought of renting a bike!

If anyone’s seriously heading that way, let me know and I’d be glad to help point you in the right direction in terms of where to rent a bike and good places to ride :slight_smile:

very nice… well done :slight_smile:

Cool experience dude