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Cycling the Length of Japan

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Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Cycling the Length of Japan

I will be cycling and "couchsurfing" the length of Japan, from Wakkani, Hokkaido to Kagoshima, Kyushu, from 16 August to 1 October 2013. It’s my intent to couchsurf or use Warmshowers as much as possible during my 45-day journey.

I’m a photographer, and will be using this experience to create a photo book story of the people and places I meet and see.

I’m looking for suggestions for couches, and would be interested to have any fellow cyclists join me on portions of the route.

I only need a couch or room, a shower, a place to park my bike, and a friendly host , even one who might like to be part of my photographic travel story.

My full itinerary and scheduled dates can be seen at:

ANY SUGGESTIONS or helpful advice will be most appreciated.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Suggestions for Hokkaido

Hi Robert,

I hope you enjoy your trip through Japan.

I cycled all around Hokkaido in June last year, and had a fantastic time. You can read about my trip/itinerary here:

Anyway, I wanted to ask whether you plan on camping? If you don't like camping, that is fine, but I had many great experiences camping in Hokkaido. The sites are always free or very low cost, and almost every one is within easy walking distance to an onsen, where you can wind-down and get clean the Japanese way. The best thing, though, is the locations - every camp site is right next to a lake, set in a forest or some other stunning spot where you can be close to nature and take some beautiful pictures.

If you havn't already got copies, I strongly recommend the Japanese Touring mapples. They are technically designed for Japanese motor cyclists, but work equally well for touring cyclists. They will provide you with extremely detailed road maps and help you to identify campgrounds. The only catch is that they are in Japanese.

You will get plenty of Japanese culture in Honshu, but Hokkaido is all about natural beauty and delicious seafood.

As for your route, I would strongly encourage you to get into the mountains a little more, although this will necessitate strong legs and camping. On your way out of Sapporo, I strongly recommend that you take the cycle way to Kitohiroshima and go past Lake Shikotsu. The lake is beautiful, and there is a cycle way running from Chitose to the Lake, following Route 16.

Best wishes for your trip.


Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Cycling the length of Japan

Vanessa, thank you for the note.

No, for this trip, for a variety of reasons, I will not be camping. I’ve looked into the mapple series, and may pick them up when I arrive as a back up. For navigation, I have a Garmin GPS and I purchased a detailed Japanese map (in English). I plotted my route using the Garmin Basecamp software, the GPS map, and Google Earth. Next I export the route and waypoints to the GPS device, and in a “perfect world”, I will have a turn-by-turn route in real time. But I know GPS is far from perfect, so I currently have backup map, but I agree that the mapple will be a good one to also have.

I plotted my route in mostly small roads, avoiding larger cities as much as possible (Sapporo is by far the biggest city I’ll be passing through). My biggest challenge was finding a good route from western Honshu to Fuji (I can’t cycle the length of Japan and miss the opportunity to cycle up Mt. Fuji!). But even along this route, I’m trying to be in the foothills as much as possible.

When I leave Sapporo I go to Lake Toya, which is southwest of Lake Shikotsu. You can see my full itinerary at

I will definitely check out your blog to read about your trip.

Take care,

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