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Japan in March 2015

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Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Japan in March 2015

Hi we are thinking of spending 3 weeks touring in Japan. Our idea is to fly to Narita airport near Tokyo in late March, get a train to Hiroshima and then cycle North to Tokyo following the cherry blossom.
Has anyone cycle toured in Japan? I'm wondering is it usually ok to put your bike on the train in Japan and can we ride form Narita airport into Tokyo when we arrive or do you have another suggestion?
All tips will be much appreciated.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Hi, For the last two months,

Hi, For the last two months, I've been doing intense planning for my Japan in trip for cherry blossom time too. So i can tell you a few things i've learnt and point you in the right direction for learning some details.

That said, i'm flying into Osaka but i understand, You can ride from Narita airport but not from the airport at Osaka becuase its on an island and bikes are not allowed.

Anyway if you want to put your bike on a train in Japan, you have to take off both wheels and wrap it in a bag or sheet plastic. There is a japan cycling website that this describes in good detail. Try to find that site. Its produced by some japanese. Look up "rinku" and japan bicycle touring and you should find it.

A second option you have is to send your bike separately by special delivery. I haven't looked into this in detail but its a common practice and well regarded.

Look at the japan guide website forum for more questions as this forum here isn't well frequented by people who know all the things you may need to know. That site is the government tourism website and its very good. The other tourist info site i have come up and like is gojapan

I recommend you look at booking your accommodations for some places, particularly kyoto well in advance because accommodations book up fast at this time of year and you will struggle to find cheap options. I haven't really had any success with warm showers but you may. No one lives where i want to go. There's always couchsurfing too.

The Japanese don't seem to like people rocking up on the doorstep the day they need a bed so try to book in advance of a few days at the very least if you are going to use paid accommodation.

There are some blogs on crazy guy on a bike. So far i've only read one. Its worthwhile reading a few blogs if you can find them.

I found to be a good site for accommodation. There's also hostel world which is not as good becuase you have to pay a deposit.

Also if you have time start learning some japanese suitable for touring cyclists on the course i am developing on Its called Japanese for touring cyclists. And the way the program is structured makes learning very painless and in fact quite fun. Even if you only learn a few phrases, it will help. I think my name on that site is called Going2Japan. I didn't build the website but anyone can put together a course.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Touring Japan

thanks Andrea, I'm not overly keen on bagging my touring bike so may have to look at flying.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
I can asssure you that no one

I can asssure you that no one is overly keen on bagging their bikes and in your case, flying is probably the cheapest option anyway. But if you fly from Tokyo to Fukuoka, then you will have to repack your bike anyway, unless you don't go and visit Tokyo before flying south. I"m doing something like that when i fly from Osaka to Fukuoka.

For my part, i searched high and low for ways to avoid it when i realised the implications of arriving in Osaka. Someone else chose to fly into Nagoya instead but for me that's out of the question because it would be much more expensive.

However, now because of the route i've chosen, i am actually considering a number of train jouneys in order that i can visit certain places and to save me from riding through hours and hours of urban roadways. For my situation, i figure half an hour of bike dismantlement is the easier option.

I'm not sure if i've mentioned Peach Airways yet. Look them up for your ticket. They have sales from time to time so wait for one of those. You have to book the bike at the baggage counter.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Rinkou bags

Nick, I have travelled on Shinkansen with a bike in a bag, the guy at the ticket counter gave me a seat close to the exit and the small luggage holding area. I still carry a small bag and gloves for emergency packing, Typhoon, snow whatever. For us foreigners it is not ideal but the Japanese cyclists have it down to a fine art. The main thing to remember is to travel as light as possible if not camping out and are basically credit card touring.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真

There are many convenient ferries, and of course buses in Japan. Even a bike thrown in an underneath compartment will need to be covered, with trash bags or a tarp, to contain any dirt or grease.
After struggling with all this on my first trip, I now cycle tour Japan with a folding bike. They are cheap to pick up there.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真

Thanks guys- food for thought! indeed.

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
There are ferries but these

There are ferries but these are not as cheap as a flight. For the ferries they are not as convenient as you might wish. I looked into this also. Use the ferries if you can but I have genearlly found they did not go where i wanted them to and when they do, they are more expensive than other options.

You can take a ferry from tokyo to kyushu or from Osaka/Kobe to Kyushu but mostly the ferries either go very long distances only (for quite a bit of money) or connect places that are not otherwise connected such as islands.

Its also pretty difficult to find out about the ferries but i did it by mainly asking the tourist info people and the forum i mentioned.

On a bus i wouldn't be too confident that you don't have to dismantle the bike in all cases but you could get lucky from time to time. Even in Australia, they don't like it if you don't dismantle the bike. Its not going to be any better in Japan.

I have explored all this and so have others before me.

In addition to the above tokyo to Kyushu, There are ferries from:

Kyushu, Beppu and nearyb to Shikoku.
Hiroshima to Shikoku
And just south of HIroshima to Shikoku.
Takamatsu on shikoku to the Honshu and the islands of Naoshima and possibly also Teshima which is nearby and shodoshima.
From Wakayama to toshima in northern shikoku.
From shodoshima to Himeiji.

Of course there are others but this is probably the list of what might be useful for the OP.

If you look on google earth and probably googlemaps it shows the ferry lanes.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真
Tokyo ferry

Hi, just a quick update , the Tokyo to Kyushu no longer runs as of December 2014. The only one one is Sunflower from Osaka.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真

thanks for all this info

WS Member ユーザー WS Member の写真
Andrea, No need to


No need to disassemble your bike to take the bus across the bridge at Osaka Airport.
They just put mine in the underneath compartment when it was still in the cardboard box.
And the price is something around 1$.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真

Nick, I'm back in Japan late February and leaving Tokyo 4 March for Osaka where I will catch a Sunflower ferry to Kyushu. From there I am cycling north to Tokyo. This will be my fourth cycle trip in Japan. If you want to save yourself the hassle of trying to navigate Japan with a bicycle box I suggest you send it on to your hotel etc; by courier. JALABC at narita will deliver the next day for you ( if in Tokyo area , a little later elswhere), Kuroneko (Yamato transport) are also in the airport but the last trip they directed me to JALABC but they do deliver internally. Depending on the time of day you arrive riding from Narita can be a task. Firstly you have to get rid of your boxe(s) then negotiate your way from there to Tokyo , about 60 klms. Having a hotel or hostel in Narita city or Chiba city will get you to a hotel much easier (take a local train for Narita city, NEX for Chiba city) and give you time to adjust and get over the jet lag.I will be leaving Japan mid May so contact me via warmshowers if you want any info or alternatively check some photos on my Flickr site of Japan, Be aware taxis are very expensive and if unsure check with information counter about bikes on buses or for them to arrange help getting boxes delivered. When leaving you can box your bike a day or so earlier and have it delivered to the courier companies counter at Narita.Cost of delivery is about $30 per box. Taxi fare with boxes to Tokyo , a couple of hundred dollars.

Unregistered ユーザー anon_user の写真

Wow thanks Paul. We aren't sure whether we will make it to Japan but all this info is gold.

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