Warren
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I have completed 110,000km touring Japan by motorcycle. I made this map initially just so I knew which roads I had explored because it got confusing with the extraordinary density of roads in this country.

It was never intended to be a guide for others but I decided to share it because information about riding in Japan for foreigners is limited and besides now I have seen more of this country then most people so this map actually has some good info.

If you open the map on to a new tab/page (use the brackets icon top right of map) then you can see the map legend and easy pan and zoom. Clicking on roads will usually give some description. Hotels are not positioned precisely and are just for my own records of where I stayed previously.

As you can see there are good roads everywhere in Japan as you might expect in a land of mountains as well there are superb viewpoints everywhere.

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If you are wondering where to ride first then anywhere away from the Japanese cities is enjoyable. Shikoku and the inland sea and Kyushu are my favourites but there are fabulous roads everywhere. Hokkaido despite the marketing hype offers few twisty roads being flat farm land. But in the extreme heat of Summer this is the best place to ride just don’t think it will be dry as that is also marketing, it rains there often.

If you have limited time then from Tokyo you cannot go wrong with planning a ride to Izu and around Mount Fuji. Even 3 days you can experience a lot and in as little as 4-5 days you could ride the Japanese alps in Nagano and Mount Fuji and Izu in a small tour that will show you some amazing scenery and awesome motorcycle roads.

I have written much much more detail about how and when to ride Japan in my Guide to Motorcycle touring Japan that tries to cover everything you need to know. Please click on that link for more information.

35 Comments

  1. Hey thank you so much !!

  2. Thank you a lot from this great map.
    I just finished one week long motorcycle trip in middle Japan. I partly used this guide to plan my route and I cannot thank you enough from the all great tips and routes that you have marked in here. I would have probably missed many great routes if not thanks to this guide!!!

  3. Jon Stevens

    I’m shocked with the news Warren, stay strong in mind and body and I agree with you that you will be riding bikes in future for sure. Determination to succeed is in your nature I know that.

  4. Hi Warren,
    Really appreciate your effort and dedication. A really wonderful act.
    I have been a serious follower of the routes you have highlighted. and tried many.
    Really enjoy the local roads you have selected.
    Thanks again.

    • Thanks Raghu, appreciate your feedback.
      Unfortunately no updates to my map in 2022 as I am unable to ride this year due to medical situation.
      Sure hope I will be able to ride more of Japan again in the future.

  5. thanks for all that!!!
    I want to make a trip to Japan and travel by motorcycle maybe…. not sure because have no idea. I ride here in the Usa.
    I also want to bring my painting equipment. Im an artist. Can you buy a motorcycle in Japan to travel ?

    • Hi Clark,

      You will need a residential address to buy a motorcycle in Japan, or register and insure it in a friends name perhaps.
      You can certainly bring your painting equipment and obtain a rental bike with luggage as an alterative to buying.

  6. Eric Harris

    Warren,
    I am traveling to Japan this April! Meeting up with my Japanese friend in Ebina (he鈥檚 bringing his SV650 on the ferry from western Honshu to Yokohama), renting a CBR from a shop there, then riding around the Izu Peninsula and Mt Fuji for 3 days before returning the bike. Do you have suggestions or 鈥渕ust sees鈥 while we are there? I previously thought that would provide plenty of entertainment for 3 days, but wondering now if we have time to go farther distances, and if so do you have recommendations?

    • Hi Eric,

      With three days I think Izu and Fuji is your best choice.
      You could go a little further however realise in April many high mountain roads will still be closed with snow or at the very least high risk of black ice.
      Izu will be open and free of snow and very low risk of any black ice in April there. It’s also a superb place to ride, Izu skyline seems like a road made for motorcycles.
      Between Izu and Fuji is Gotemba and Susuno, places where you will find affordable good hotel chains like Route Inn that I have used in both those locations.
      These are big congested towns so try use toll roads to get through there a quickly as possible.
      If you ride the 139 up to Motosu Lake there is good Mt Fuji view point there and the nearby roads in Yamanashi are less traffic than the roads at base of Fuji on the southern side.
      Pack your winter liners and warm gloves it will be cold around Mt Fuji foot hills.
      Have a great time 馃檪

  7. Jonny McK

    Hi Warren, thanks for this amazing resource! My friend and I are renting bikes out of Tokyo for just two days in mid May, 10am pickup, 6:30pm drop off next day. What would be the best use of our time without doing crazy miles?
    Much obliged, Jonny

    • Hi Jonny,

      For two days then I think the Izu region is your best choice. It is not too far from Tokyo, offers a mix of coastal and mountain roads and on a clear day has good views of Mt Fuji.

      If you use my best Japan motorcycle roads map then you can see the nice riding roads there marked and work on how many you might link together.

      The western coast IMO rides better from south to north as does the Izu Skyline because then you are looking towards Mt Fuji as you ride, but the skyline is good any direction.

      It really depends on where you stay that night as to how you might route. A suggestion might be exit at Gotemba and ride via Hakone to the Izu Skyline then the 414 then up the western coast and climb to ride the Nishi Izu Skyline with it’s excellent views and then cut back over to ride part of the Izu skyline again northbound then continue past it to the Akinoko Skyline at Hakone or one of the other roads good there then rejoin expressway at Gotemba.

      Alternatively you could just ride the Hakone roads, Izu Skyline and then cut over to the Nishi Izu skyline and stay in Mishima city which has lots of chain hotels and will be easy to find accommodation. Then day two ride back via Hakone roads and then to Tokyo via Doshi route 413 which is a popular bike road.

  8. Hi Warren,
    Hope you are doing great. I am planning a 14 days trip to Japan completely dedicated to riding. Initially I thought I’ll start from Tokyo go upto Hokkaido and back. Any alternate suggestions basis weather and number of days.
    Thanks in advance 馃檪

    • Hi Rahul,

      Unless you will be in Japan in Summer when it is very humid I would not recommend going to Hokkaido. It is mostly flat farm lands with straight roads.

      If you are going to Japan in Summer then has to be Hokkaido. If going in Spring or Autumn I suggest take the overnight ferry to Kyushu then ride back via Shikoku. Kyushu and Shikoku are the best areas of Japan in my opinion.

      To do this if you rented via Best Bike *link in my Japan guide https://motorcycleparadise.net/2016/05/see-japan-on-two-wheels.html* they can arrange for you to collect it at Yokosuka, my former home town, and an overnight ferry runs from there. Making the booking requires a little use of Google Translate, perhaps Best Bike can assist, a person I know just rented with them and took their bike to Kyushu on that ferry so they are familiar with this.

      It that sounds a bit too much then my other suggestion is do a tour from Tokyo to Shikoku and return. Take the ferry down via Wakayama but return via islands of the Seto inland sea.

  9. Hi Warren,

    Thanks for the response. I think in that case I’ll skip Hokkaido and follow the itinerary suggested by you. I’ll just have a visit to Hokkaido as it’s on the list too. And I’ll rent a bike from the suggested partner. Thanks a lot. Happy riding.

    • Hi Rahul,

      Hokkaido is also a must see, a different side of Japan. If you have your heart set on it then try schedule it for last week of May – first week of June or Last week of August – first week of September.

  10. Venom Bottle

    I just finished Kasumigaura Ring Ring road. Mainly for cyclists for most of it you can either ride on it, or parallel to it on a motorcycle. There were just a few small areas that were exceptions. Might be a nice addition, I really enjoyed it.

  11. Hi Warren,
    Thanks so much for sharing your rides! I’ve done rides looping through 162, 367, 169, 168 and Ryukin Skyline this week based on yours recs, and they were absolutely phenomenal! In general the rounds in Japan are pretty amazing so far, but these were stunning, I ascended Ryukin from the south as you recommended ?
    Cannot wait to come back and ride Shikoku! (I was meant to do it this week, but some thunderstorm predictions changed that).

    Thanks again
    Amelia

  12. Hi Warren,

    Thank you for this resource, it is incredibly helpful for someone like me. In 2024, I will be riding solo across Japan for 4 weeks with a BMW GS in the month of May, starting in Osaka, then clockwise around the country. I am a seasoned rider of 20 years and have hundreds of thousands of miles clocked – but only in the US. I have ridden in snow and rain, and am very confident in my abilities. Are there any areas in which you feel I should avoid during this time in the season, despite this? My main concern is potential for ice in certain areas that are still coming out of the winter as I plan on riding on mountain passes as much as possible.

    My main goal is to circumnavigate the entire country if possible – including Hokkaido, saving that for the end of the trip in hopes of warmer weather. I do not plan on spending every night (except for 5 days in Tokyo) in a room and am prepared to camp quite a bit, do you know how accessible or accepting it is for a foreigner to use these accommodations? I know that your posts mentioned staying at hotels, but was wondering if you had any insight.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Mike,

      Starting your ride in May is the best month however some mountain passes may still be snowed in. The central Japanese alps around Nagano and the high roads to the north of Nagano in Aomori some will be closed early May.

      The solution is from Osaka to go south and this is important for another reason, the rainy season starts the end of May from the south of Japan so you want to ride there first to let the northern road become open and to not be in the south late May.

      If you are starting in Osaka I would suggest taking your bike on the excellent overnight ferry from there to Shibushi in Kyushu. Then you can ride back north around Kyushu and Shikoku and Shimane region with much more time because four weeks to ride all of Japan is a little tight time wise but using the ferry network will let you ride more of Japan.

      From Osaka the ferry is the Sunflower ferry which I have used a few times https://www.ferry-sunflower.co.jp/en/ There is a few tricks to making a booking if you get stuck message me. And another ferry I would suggest you use is from Tsuruga to Hokkaido then ride Hokkaido and come back down to Osaka with more time to zig zag and ride all the best roads but I suggest you avoid the Kanto region the traffic is very heavy anywhere near Tokyo. (Osaka is intense too especially it’s complex expressway network)

      If you want to use commercial camping sites then you must phone ahead to make a booking and will need a reasonable level of Japanese. They do not accept people without a advance booking. On Golden week everything will be booked in advance including hotels, be sure to check the dates of Golden week 2024 and secure hotel or camp sites for that period well in advance.

      There is free camping/wild camping in Japan. Actually I met a guy who free camped his entire trip outside of Tokyo. Check my guide to motorcycle touring Japan if you have not already read it and there is a map there of free camp sites. Also if you are discreet you pretty much can camp in many of the parks that are out of town or at end of one way roads up a hill. Japan has very few parks in cities but the countryside is overflowing with small parks which you will see as you ride and a friend of mine pitches his tent out of sight or just as dusk is falling and everyone has left with no problems all over the country. He uses onsens for his bath and thus doesn’t use hotels much at all but rural onsens will require you speak Japanese and of course onsens are not for everyone, personally I find them scolding hot and don’t like the attention a naked foreigner attracts from other men.

      Your other option is stay at rider inns. There is a network of rider inns across the country which are affordable hostel type places but often with private rooms but shared bathroom or a onsen however you will need a little Japanese to use these and they are not on booking.com or anything like that just have to google and contact direct. I stayed in one on my first time riding in Japan and it was this guy who had an old ski resort he turned into his home and biker accommodation. They are very cheap but I do not have a list unfortunately.

  13. is there a nice riding route from tokyo to osaka or vice versa?

    • You can exit the expressway network at a few places and then ride nice roads then rejoin the expressway a little further towards your destination however there is no viable alternative to using the expressway unless you were prepared to detour well north and meander for couple days in the other prefectures then circle back.

  14. Hi Warren,
    I found your website a few years ago and I am so glad it is still on. I have been dreaming of doing a motorcycle tour of Japan for 6 years and will probably be able to do this Fall or Spring 2025. Your map is amazing and I am so thankful you shared it.
    I found a foreign moto garage owner in Yamanashi who would be capable to find me a bike to buy and resell when leaving. I think it will be cheaper than renting on very long trip. I have some other questions which you could probably help with.
    In terms of period I was thinking End of August go from Yamanashi to North through central mountains before it gets to cold on Hokkaido. Then head back south on west coast all the way to Kagoshima. Then Back up through shikoku.
    If I do it in Spring I was thinking to do the opposite starting in Mai? What do you think about the timing and itinerary?
    I don’t find any information about potential rider friendly accomodation. In Europe there are some places calling themselves “moto camp” with cheap rooms, camping available, and garage with tools if you need to do a bit of mechanic. Great rider community vibe too. Is there something similar in Japan?
    I am considering camping as I found quite a lot of free camping spots in Japan. And I hear public bath are really cheap. BUT camping gear requires lots of luggage to bring to japan. And lots of luggage on the bike. Also, I hear that whatever the season. going through all japan will 100% get rained on. So I am still a bit on the fence on this topic. If I camp a few days a week vs hotels everyday I wonder how much can it save on the budget. How much is a typical private camping with showers?
    I have done a few trip in central Japan (osaka,nagano, nagoya,..) So I am more interested everything West and South of Osaka and Tohoku. I will do Hokkaido but having ridden all accross Europe I don’t think it will be the most memorable thing to see…? As for you which region is worth having a particular focus to spend more time?

    Sorry for all the questions. I am going to save up your map to integrate it in my project. And if I can return the favor, I have been living in Taiwan for 8 years and I rode around this little rock so many times that I can definitely recommend you the best road and places to see if you want to explore this beautiful country.
    Cheers.

    • Hi Romain,

      Yes if you will ride for long time then buy and sell will be cheaper. If you do rent then choosing a 400cc bike will bring the price down considerably and 400cc is ample power for Japan especially if you rent a inline 4 engine like the CB400 which is a brilliant bike only sold in Japan. One idea might also be try Best Bike they have 400cc and then take the Ferry from Yokosuka were I used to live to Kyushu this will save you considerable time.

      I am guessing that dealer you found for buy sell is the one also listed in my Japan guide (Australian owner?) He will take care of everything needed to own and insure a bike in Japan but do look into the cost of everything Vs a smaller cc rental, it will depend on time frame. Consider also keeping the bike in storage at his shop if possible and come back year after as there is so many good roads in Japan one trip is not enough.

      Kyushu and Shikoku are the best areas of Japan, especially the areas of Amakusa and the Inland Sea regions.

      May is much better than August. August is steamy hot, almost unbearble to ride in. If you went south on ferry in May then rode north you stay in front of the monsoon and arrive Hokkaido end of May which is basically earliest you should go there then returning to Tokyo in June you will probably start to get more rain but May is best month in Japan.

      There is a chain of Rider Inns across Japan. You will need to speak Japanese to stay in these, if you can speak Japanese then if you Google rider inns there are web sites but booking is mostly phone ahead not by web site. I stayed in one on my first ride in Japan but even with some basic Japanese it was too awkward.

      Public bathing in onsens is cheap, speaking some Japanese is again needed to use these especially in countryside away from cities where tourists go nobody will speak a word of English.

      Commercial camping sites must be prebooked, no ride up’s are allowed, these also need Japanese as they are booked on phone mostly. They can cost as much as a cheap hotel, 3000Y a night for tent site as camping is a trendy thing in Japan but the sites have everything and being Japan are spotlessly clean toilets and hot showers.

      Free camping is easy to do in Japan, besides the map of free sites on my Japan guide page you literally can camp in most any park out of town if you arrive late in afternoon and leave fairly early but yes you will have rain. Also many small temples in countryside sit empty and I think you could pitch a tent round back, they always have a unlocked toilet. I used them many times for lunch breaks and often nobody goes there during weekdays.
      Another option is stay in Love Hotels out of town, they can be very cheap.

      I really want to return to Taiwan. I was set to go there last year in October to ride the southern cross island road then it was washed away in typhoon so I cancelled. I am thinking to come again this year about same time of year. Any tips for where I can rent either a scooter that is say 160cc like Nmax size or bigger or a small regular moto?

      Ask me anything more I will get back to you asap but I am riding in Mexico at moment so could be little delay. 馃檪

  15. Hi Warren,

    Thank you for the valuable advice. I am planning on riding in Shikoku or Kyushu in mid-March. Would ideally grab a bike from rental819 in Matsuyama and do a 3-4 day loop in and/or near Shikoku. Do you have any advice for this time of year? I’ve always wanted to surf the Tokushima coast. Also, is Kansai feasible? Would like to avoid icy roads.

    • Hi Alex,

      Mid March will still be very cold. Plan on bringing full thermal winter gear. I rode in March one year and it was between 1 to 5 degrees. Near to the oceans the roads should be free of ice but higher roads would be risky.

  16. Hello, happened to stumble across this while researching for my few day – 1 week trip.
    Reading through this, you recommend taking the ferry from Yokosuka – Kyushu (Shinmoji?) I am hoping to do so with the Tokyo Kyushu ferry.
    My current plans are to maybe rent a bike in Yokosuka and ride it in the ferry, are there any extra costs attached when bringing one? I would also like to ride in the Kyushu region and eventually make my way up to Shizuoka and Ine to go around the surrounding areas of Mt. Fuji. How long would you allocate this trip for? I am a fairly new rider so I would be very cautious riding across the country, and I think it will be good weather to do so since I would like to do this around mid June.

    • Hi there (Oat?),

      Mid June is not a good time to do this route because the rainy season starts in Kyushu first week of June and moves north 鈥 you could possibly be riding in rain a lot.
      Best time is just after Golden Week about Mid May, this is best chance of fine weather in the south until August but that month is extremely hot. If not May then wait until after Typhoon season and go October.
      If you can only travel in June then please think about going North to avoid rain and return by ferry to avoid arrival of rainy season.

      If you can go in May then Best Bike rentals will deliver a bike to Yokosuka and you can collect anytime, the ferry leaves in the evening.
      There is a fee for taking a motorcycle on the ferry and it varies according to engine size.
      You will need the bike model and licence plate to make the booking which can be obtained in advance.
      I would allow two weeks, have a look at my Japan tours 鈥 there is some where I take ferry from Yokosuka or Osaka to Kyushu. These will give you an idea on routes and time needed. I tour at gentle pace not riding long days which might suit you also. All my GPS routes are available to download.

  17. Hi Warren,
    Thank you for all those precious informations!

    I was planning a trip for enxt year but I have an unexpected work trip to Tokyo in May and I will be able to escape from it for 3 days so I just booked a bike.
    I saw a comment above with somebody going for a 3 days trip around Izu and Mt Fuji, so I will probably do something similar. Do you have any other advices? (I’m going to rent my bike at Rental819 Ota).

    Thank you!
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      For three days I would suggest the Izu region. It is possible to also see the alps but would be long days and maybe too much for 3 days.

      From Ota you will use same roads I always travelled, route 16 toll road (prepay flat fee at toll gate) to E1 toll road west (take ticket then pay at exit of expressway) Can use credit card for both – always hand credit card with the toll ticket together to toll booth person.

      If this is your first time riding in Japan and navigating their expressways my suggestion is day one you could ride the roads around Hakone (see my best roads map and make a loop of them) suggest the Ashigarat艒ge Pass then ride over back roads to the Hakone Turnpike (toll) to Mt Taiken observation deck then ride down Tsubaki line and back up Yugawara parkway, then Ashinoko skyline (toll) then Hakone skyline and you could include visit to Lake Ashi inbetween those and then make your way to Gotemba for overnight (try the Route Inn). If riding during Golden Week holiday then many hotels will already be full and you will have to be flexible and alter your route to where you can find a room, book that asap.

      Day two do a big loop of Izu, ride all the best roads from my map, Izu skyline and the 127 are essential. Avoid Mishima/Shimizu city when you ride Izu, it is highly congested so essential to use the toll roads to by pass.

      Day three from Gotemba ride the base of Fuji stopping at the lakes to the north west for the famous Fuji views then you could time permitting ride routes 300,409,36,358 in a loop then East via 413 Doshi road then join expressway back to Ota. See my map for these roads.

      I’m confident if the weather is good you will be delighted with the views and roads on this ride.

      • Hi Warren,
        Sorry for the late answer. Thank you so much for this!
        It looks like an amazing itinerary! Can’t wait to go ride, if you happen to be in Tokyo, I’d be happy to buy you a drink!
        Thanks again for all the informations you provided!
        Chris

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