Motorbike Riding in Japan

Riding in a first world country certainly has its perks. Very little crime means you won’t have to keep an eye on your bike at all times and your belongings back at the hotel are relatively safe – but don’t tempt fate – keep your important stuff on you at all times. The people of Japan are welcoming, friendly and helpful, even if you don’t speak the language. The scenery in Japan is unique to Japan and awe-inspiring to the visitor. The coastline is worthy of a trip of its own, dotted with small villages and towns, each of these settlements has a history of its own from fishing to warfare. The island routes take the rider through winding passes and past mountains as high as the Alps. The roads are immaculate and well maintained.

Seasons

It is essential that you choose the time of your trip – arriving during the typhoon period will mean an extended stay in your hotel room, trying to dry out your wet kit. So, it seems that May and November would be the best times; the roads will be slick and the temperature high. Stay away from over the cold first two months of the year. If you’re willing to brave the last of winter months, March and April, the cherry trees in bloom are out of this world, but they only stay in flowers for a few weeks. The mountains are still capped with snow at this time, so stay south and visit the coastline. The northern areas are still bitterly cold and the roads, if open, will be slippery. June/July is the rainy season, and October is the typhoon period.

Travelling

If you intend staying in small hotels, these will be booked out over the holidays when Japan goes on vacation for short visits. Roads will be busy and hotels booked – so book before you depart for Japan to avoid sleeping in the open. If you are travelling outside of summer, be sure to pack rainproof clothes, including boots. Make sure your electronics are sealed and dry. If necessary, make sure your International Drivers Permit is valid.

Routes

From Tokyo, travel the Izu Peninsula to get a close up of Mt Fuji and experience the mountain passes. Plan on a daily distance of 250 to 300 km for rides on lesser-used roads. While in the area, visit Shikoku via Mie and Wakayama. Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s larger islands. It is about 220km long and a maximum of 150km wide. This small island is home to a population of nearly 4 million people. Mie is in the Honshu area and has a population of just under 2 million. Mie has historical Shinto holy sites and also is home to the Suzuki International Racing Course.

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