Beginner’s Guide to Bikepacking in Japan | Living

With increasingly people having fun with cycling because the start of the pandemic to avoid overcrowded trains and buses, bikepacking has grow to be a well-liked latest solution to explore the country. Along with understanding while traveling and being surrounded by Japan’s stunning landscapes, bikepacking also provides a chance to explore hidden gems that aren’t easily accessible by public transport or automotive. Follow us on our journey and discover where to go and the right way to start with bikepacking in Japan!

Inspired by our first experience of an overnight bike trip along the world-renowned Shimanami Kaido along a string of islands between Shikoku and Honshu, we bought latest bikes in Yokohama and were able to go on our first week-long bikepacking trip in March 2021!

Bikepacking in Tottori & Shimane Prefecture

If you could have cycled the Shimanami Kaido yourself, you will probably be acquainted with the blue cycling lines along the roadside which were placed there as official cycling route guides. After we discovered that these were also introduced across the east coast of Tottori, we selected this as our first outing and cycled along it through beautiful countryside, old villages, and past coastal backdrops. While you’re out in your bike, it’s as much as you to make your mind up what form of terrain to follow and which sights to soak up along the way in which. The combined area of Tottori & Shimane is known as San’In and you possibly can visit unusual sights just like the sand dunes, Detective Conan town, and even a winery. We’d highly recommend starting on Higashihama’s stunning rocky coastal route on Tottori’s east coast to Matsue in Shimane prefecture during cherry blossom season. Our absolute highlights were the views from the Yonago castle grounds on a hilltop and staying in a lake house on the tiny lake island called Daikonshima with its Michelin-starred Yuushien Garden.

Cycling the Wakayama 800 Along Coastlines, Rice Fields, and Sacred Temples

The newly established cycling route Wakayama 800 served as the idea for our second week-long bikepacking trip in autumn 2021. This time we added just a few more challenges and decided to cycle up the sacred Mount Kōya with the reward of a soothing overnight temple stay. With well-planned blue cycling lanes through mikan fields and all along the rugged coast, it was a straightforward path to follow, nevertheless far more difficult as a result of its mountainous profile. Considered one of our highlights on this trip was visiting a white-sand seaside resort called Shirahama and watching the sun set over its iconic sea cave island called Engetsu (moon shape) island. From there, we enjoyed probably the most scenic coastal ride with views over phenomenal rock formations within the sea, to the southern-most point of Honshu in Kushimoto. In the event you’re inquisitive about these two bikepacking trips, take a look at our cycling channel Jitensha Adventure!

Getting Began With Your Own Bikepacking Adventure

If reading this made you should hop in your bike and start, we would love to share our suggestions with you for what you want to start! 

  • Initially, you wish a comfortable and versatile bike to explore different terrain, ideally no less than a hybrid bike or mountain bike or, even higher, a gravel bike. In the event you are planning to take your bike on a train, consider how heavy this may feel if you pack it right into a bag.
  • In the event you would love to utilize Japan’s clean and low cost campgrounds, make certain that your bike has panniers; or, when you’re in search of more comfort like us and like to remain in hotels or guesthouses, you possibly can simply buy attachable bikepacking bags for the front, middle, and rear of your bike. Fortunately, with so many convenient coin laundries in Japan, you won’t have to pack too many clothes and may make space for just a few basic bike tools. For greater repairs, now we have luckily found bike shops and friendly locals in restaurants to assist us out. 
  • One vital purchase you will have to make is a rinko bike bag to properly store your bike on the train, which might be bought in shops like Montbell and Y’s Road. For this procedure, you’ll have to take no less than your front wheel off and we’d highly recommend practicing this just a few times before your trip, just taking an area train along with your bike. How about joining the Half Fast Cycling Club in Tokyo for one in all their weekend rides to practice and get more advice from experienced riders?
  • Plan a route that suits you! Take into consideration your fitness level and what sort of landscapes interest you. Are there places in Japan which can be still in your bucket list and will you intend a visit to get around that area along with your bike? While planning, make certain the suggested route per day on Google Maps is kind of a bit lower than you possibly can comfortably cycle per day, because the kilometers soon add up with café and sightseeing stops and before you recognize it you’ll cycle far more than anticipated on certain days.
  • Stay protected and accessorize with high-visibility clothing, know the road cycling rules in Japan and make certain you arrive at your destination before dark falls.

In the long run, as with all kinds of travel, do it the way in which that brings you probably the most joy! A greater bike or more gadgets might make it more comfortable, but all that counts is that you just’re free to set your personal pace and have a good time. And when you’re preparing and planning your first bikepacking trip, I’m hopeful that the Japanese tourism organizations will proceed adding increasingly official blue cycling routes. In spite of everything, selecting a motorbike because the technique of transport in your holiday shouldn’t be just rewarding for yourself as every mile traveled can have been your personal body’s effort – but it’s also a contribution to the environment by being an eco-friendly solution to explore the world.

 

For more information visit:

Shimanami Kaido – https://shimanami-cycle.or.jp/

San’In Tourism (Tottori & Shimane) – https://sanin-japan.com/ 

Tottori Coastline Route – https://www.japanecotrack.net/activity/1 

Wakayama 800 – https://wakayama800.jp/ 

Half Fast Cycling Tokyo – https://www.halffastcycling.com/ 

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