The bike

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Guajes de Sotrondio, Samartín del Rei Aurelio. 1948

Apart from choosing a bicycle that matches your personal needs and goals, something important to bear in mind is that you will have to decide whether you will take your own bike with you or you prefer to buy or rent one in Japan.

If you are bringing your own bike, you should know that, to avoid thefts, every Japanese bike is enlisted in an official catalogue.  Hence, when travelling with a foreign bike, it is better to be prudent and take with you any document proving that you are the owner of the bike as well as its country of origin.  Although it did not happen to me, Japanese policemen usually stop foreigners in order to verify whether they are the legal owners or not.

If your choice is buying or renting: touristic areas are packed with hotels, hostels and camping sites where you can rent a bicycle for 300-800 ¥ per day. Many bike shops are specialized in bike renting, too. A good clue to find a bike shop is looking for the city station: as a general rule, there is at least one bike shop in the surroundings of important stations.

Quick guide to cycling in Japan

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Visiting Japan by bike. Introduction

Experiencing my own bike touring adventures made me realise that trying to discover a country by bike is not such an imaginative, difficult task as some people may suppose.  Of course, as any other way of travelling, it has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it will make you feel more independent and free to plan your timetables and itineraries. It also allows you to go through some natural spots which might not be as easily accessible to other means of transport. In a wide range of possibilities, bike touring is but another option to discover a country and its landscapes.

On the other hand, bike touring requires time and a more or less intense degree of personal physical effort. At the same time, you might adapt to the weather conditions to achieve your travelling purposes. This is why it would be helpful to plan your trip beforehand, taking your time to design your own routes and adequate them to your physical rhythm.  Besides adjusting your budget, these are some of the aspects you should consider before making a final choice:

  • What places would you like to visit?
  • In which season are you going to travel? What kind of clothes will you have to wear?
  • Where can you buy food?
  • Where to sleep?
  • Where to go / what to do in case of emergency?

This amateur little “guide” you are reading now is the result of a two-month solo bike expedition around Japan. My aim is to share all the experiences I think might be useful to whom, like me, could be interested in discovering a more or less wide part of this country by riding a bike.

Design your own bike-adventure! Good luck!

Suso