Why Cycling in Japan?
One of the best ways to explore the diverse landscapes and seasonal beauty of Japan’s islands is via bicycle. Traveling on two wheels provides a slower sightseeing experience, one where you can avoid the crowds, head farther afield, and immerse yourself in regional history and culture at your own pace. But anyone seeking a little bit of structure without having to chart their own course can enjoy cruising one of Japan’s scenic, long-distance cycling routes. Bicycle rental shops are plentiful, which means you can easily grab a bike and hit the open road.
Getting in Touch with History and Culture
Cycling through sweeping vistas or along winding, unpaved countryside lanes gives a unique glimpse of another side of Japan. You never know what you might stumble upon; a hole-in-the-wall restaurant frequented by locals, a breathtaking view you won't find in any guide, or a chance encounter with someone from a warm, welcoming community.
Japan's Cycling Routes
In Japan, there are many local cycling routes throughout the country for visitors to enjoy, and more regional routes are in development.
Some routes are well-maintained cycling roads suitable for all levels of fitness and experience, such as the Setouchi Shimanami Kaido. Some have cycle stations—facilities that provide services such as air for tires, and bicycle rental—rest stops, accommodation options, and other facilities along routes to ensure a smooth, safe journey.
The National Cycle Routes (*)—six scenic routes throughout Japan— are a great place to start your cycling journey.
* The National Cycle Routes
Hot Springs, Local Cuisine, & Endless Sightseeing Opportunities
The freedom cycling affords means you can make your own itinerary. Stop where you want, when you want. Cycling works up an appetite, so sample some local specialties along the way. Hot springs are plentiful in the Japanese countryside. Be sure to take some time to stop and soothe your tired muscles with a well-earned soak.