Japan is one of those places that is a perfect fit for bike riding. Most of the local population uses the main roads in the towns. Thus, most of the smaller roads are left with little to no traffic. Apart from the uncongested roads, the lovely scenery, the delicious cuisine and the warmth of the locals make Japan an excellent biking destination.
So if you are visiting Japan and have been planning a motorbike tour, start by deciding the type of bike you wish to use and the places you wish to visit.
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Planning A Memorable Motorbike Trip In Japan
Planning a bike trip, and that too in a foreign country is not easy. After all, you are alien to the language, the culture and all the biking routes. Moreover, you may not be able to ride on your bike, and you may have to use a rented vehicle. Thus, there are several things that you need to consider before you finalize a trip on the roads of Japan.
Hire A Bike
If you are confused between importing your own bike and renting one, the latter is better if you plan to be in Japan for a week or two. If you wish to import a bike from your home country, the import duties will be debilitating. Moreover, the paperwork to get your bike imported can be quite confusing. So if you want to give the import duties and paperwork a miss is a good idea to rent.
However, when you rent, you need to consider the bike’s condition, the adequacy of the paperwork, and the insurance requirements. The bike should be in good working condition so that it does not break down in the middle of the trip or it does not end up causing an accident. Most rental companies will allow you to get a test drive. So when you take a test drive, ensure the bike is in good condition and comfortable for riding.
Also, check the tires, the headlight, and the condition of the engine before you zero in on a vehicle.
You must read the rent agreement carefully once you have zeroed in on the vehicle. The rent agreement should have more clarity on the insurance coverage of the bike. See what is covered in case of a theft or accident. Also, check what your liabilities are in case an accident happens.
Know The Traffic Rules
A bike trip in a foreign land can only be fun if you know all the traffic rules. So ride on the Japanese road only once you have an international driving license. In Japan, parking at a designated parking lot in the city district is mandatory, and bikers need to stay on the left side of the road. Also, vehicles need to stop when there is a stop sign painted on the road (stop signs are painted at the intersection of two or more roads).
Only once you are well acquainted with all the traffic rules can you confidently ride alone in the streets of Japan.
Get A Map And Learn To Communicate
You must be acquainted with the roads when riding alone in a foreign land. Get a comprehensive map before you start the journey. Do not solely depend on GPS-like applications; have a physical map if possible.
Also, it is better if you know how to communicate with the locals. It is impossible to master Japanese in a few days but learn some Japanese phrases. Some phrases that you may need on the road, like asking for help, asking for directions etc., can be of great help.
Some Of The Best Motorbike Destinations In Japan
Some of the things that you must keep in mind while planning an epic Japanese road trip are the condition of the rented bike, the routes, the traffic rules etc. But once you have everything in place, be prepared to be enamored by the beauty of Japan.
Enjoy The Cherry Blossom Season
If you are in Japan at the time of cherry blossom, you must visit the beautiful Sakura Park or the cherry blossom festival in Okinawa. The cherry blossom season begins around the middle of January to early February. You can also join a local ritual during the cherry blossom festival, the hanami, which involves a picnic around the cherry blossom season.
Visit A Fishing Harbor
Fishing is an intricate part of Japanese culture. The soil in Japan is of volcanic origin; hence agriculture is not very productive. However, the ports of Japan have a rich harvest of fish as they are the meeting places of warm and cold water currents.
You can take a bike ride to harbors like Inatori fishing harbor to catch a glimpse of the fishing activities and have a seafood-based lunch afterward.
Visit An Active Volcano
If you have never seen an active volcano, you must visit Mount Fuji. If you take a trip to the Izu peninsula, you can easily see Mount Fuji on the western coast. The Izu peninsula’s mild climate and beautiful coastlines are every bike rider’s dream.
Apart from the places mentioned above, you can always take a day trip to the Southern Kanagawa peninsula, which is quite close to the capital city of Tokyo. Apart from this, Nara and Osaka are famous for their culture. Hakuba is great for adventure-based activities, and Nikko is great for its historical connections.
When renting a motorcycle for a trip to Japan, read the rent agreement carefully. Your life becomes much easier if the bike is in good riding conditions. Apart from this, being familiar with the culture and learning parts of the local languages helps build a bond with the locals.
Moreover, when you travel on the roads of Japan, be sure to follow all the traffic rules. Carry your map and have a few emergency contact numbers on your phone. You must have the contact number of the rental company and also a towing agent in case you meet with an accident.
A motorcycle ride in Japan can be fun and enriching if you put in a little research to learn about the local rules and culture before embarking on any journey.