I recently completed my first bike trip together with my girlfriend and I really enjoyed it. Now, I´m planning my second one and I chose Japan because for many years it has been on top of my destination list. Still working on motivating her but she's already willing to come :)
Japan is so big, and we are so slow, that's why I came here for advise. Hopefully you can point me in the right direction. I'll list some information so you get an idea of our trip. Feel free to point flaws!
Because of Visa situation, we have only 90 days. I really don't feel like getting out of the country and try coming back for extra time.
Mostly we will camp in our tent, in public land or private land when given permission. I read that most of the time we're better off asking people rather than stealth camping.
Hard to say at this point but let’s say 20€ per person per day as a reference.
Only thing I know for sure is I want to spend quite a lot of time in Hokkaido. We’d probably finish the trip there and then take the ferry down to Oarai (if we leave the country through Tokyo).
I basically discarded winter because that would be too harsh in Hokkaido, and summer because it’s just too hot everywhere else, and also more tourists. I’m leaning towards spring, leaving Hokkaido for the last bit so it’s a bit warmer. So maybe 15thMarch to 12thJune or something like that. The alternative would be to arrive in Sapporo in late August/September and then work our way down.
I think we can cover about 4000km by bike in that time. Yes, we are not the fastest riders :D In our previous trip we usually rode for 4-5 days and then took a day off. In some places we would stay longer if we really liked it, or needed a longer break. I read many people covering 90+km per day no problem. This is definitely not us. I’d say 70km is a much safer number. I rather miss some spots that having to rush for days or having to take main roads to shorten distances.
We’re all about beautiful landscapes and honestly don’t care much about landmarks. We’re not going to spend 2 days on a highway to get to a city to take that postcard picture of that temple. I’m sure we’ll have our fair share of temples along the way :)
My girlfriend doesn’t enjoy big cities, and I don’t enjoy the hassle of getting into a big city. I assume traffic to get into the major cities (Tokyo,Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto…) is very high, so probably we will not go there unless we need to.
She also hates tunnels but I think she’s just out of luck this time because apparently there are plenty of those in Japan. I hope they have lights, or sidewalk, or both :)
My main interest besides landscapes is Food. I’ll eat pretty much everything I can afford on my budget. I’m a big fan of Japanese food (and I don´t mean sushi). I like cooking myself. I’ll probably cook many dinners (Rice curry, onigiris, ideas are welcome) and eat lunch out if that makes sense.
My original plan was to do Honshu (focusing in the southern half) and Hokkaido (probably West to East), but I’m open for suggestions.
I´m gonna list places I´d like to visit or other cyclists have told me that are nice for our trip, as well as other regions I do not want to visit, probably because other people told me they are uninteresting, boring, industrial, too busy, etc. I will update them if I get feedback from the community. If you think landing in March somewhere other than Tokyo might be a better plan, also let me know.
PLACES I’D LIKE TO RIDE:
Lakes around Mt.Fuji, Noto Peninsula, Jigokudani and surrounding mountains, Lake Biwa, Shiretoko Peninsula+Teshikaga lake area, Biei+Furano unless not so nice out of flower season.
PLACES I´VE BEEN TOLD ARE NOT SO NICE TO BIKE:
Honshu’s NW coastline.
Other people mentioned NE Honshu is still damaged from the tsunami and not so nice. I don’t think it’s uglier than the road that goes South to North since, when I look on GoogleMaps, it looks like this one is all built up with cities.
I can use so much information from you guys! I could use info regarding planning, regarding specific roads that you enjoy or dislike. While I don’t plan on writing down a plan and following it no matter what, it would help me a great deal to get as much feedback as possible.
If you made it to this point thanks a lot for reading. I know it’s a long post but I rather give you as much info as possible so you know what we´re up to.
Cheers and thanks a lot for reading!