Guides & Stories

Cycling in Japan’s National Parks

Cycling is a wonderful way to appreciate Japan’s scenic landscapes up close and at your own pace, whether you cruise through forests or pedal along coastlines.

Traveling by bicycle is very popular in Japan; guided tours, bicycle rentals, bicycle parking, and the ability to travel by train with a bike make it easy for visitors to enjoy the many well-maintained and signposted routes throughout Japan’s national parks.

Popular National Park Cycling Routes

Renting a Bicycle in Japan

If you join a guided group tour, rental bicycles are usually included in the cost. You will have the benefit of a guide who can direct you along the route and show the group hidden gems and off-the-beaten path places of interest. However, if you’d rather cycle at your own pace with the freedom to explore and stop whenever you want, rental bikes are widely available and relatively inexpensive. 

Larger train stations often have bike rental shops, and railway companies such as JR East, JR Kyushu, Hankyu and Kintetsu offer bicycle rentals at certain stations. Bike rental shops may ask for a deposit, photo ID, and possibly the address and phone number of your accommodation. Electric-assist bicycles are sometimes available for a higher fee. 

Many shops do not rent overnight, so renting a touring bike can be more difficult. For longer trips, it may be wise to bring your own bicycle. Check with airlines for rules regarding checked baggage and packing a bike; some airlines allow touring bicycles to be checked for fee. Many railway companies allow bicycles to be brought on board if the front wheel is removed and the entire bicycle is placed into a special bag. There may be a fee to carry the bike on a train.

Pedaling the cycling route through the Hiruzen Plateau

Do's and Don'ts of Cycling in Japan

Keep these best practices in mind when cycling in Japan: 


  • Stay on the road or ride on designated paths
  • Ride in the direction of traffic
  • Remember that traffic keeps to the left in Japan
  • Wear a helmet
  • Use front and rear lights after dark 
  • Use a bicycle bell to warn others 


  • Hold an umbrella while riding 
  • Use any electronics while cycling
  • Drink and cycle
  • Cycle side-by-side with another cyclist
  • Ride with more than one person on a bicycle
Cycling through the Hiruzen Highlands in Daisen-Oki National Park

Written by Sian Lye

Related guides