Tokyo - Nagasaki - Tokyo (the long way)

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by drbeamer, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. drbeamer

    drbeamer Adventure Capitalist

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I am getting ready to start my Japan adventure in May of 2017; attached is a picture showing a map of my routing.

    Any suggestions or recommendations, such as must-see sights along the way, would be very much appreciated.

    Cheers!

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,719
    Location:
    Nippon
    So out of curiousity have you experience riding/driving over here?

    A few things that jump out at me (I live on the Miura Pennisula just south of Yokohama)

    1) You are missing a TON of fun on the Izu Peninsula, the east coast is scenic, but its also super annoying to ride, all two lane, trafficy and difficult to pass. Depending on your priorities that may or may not be an issue. Likewise, Izu is the motorhead playground for most of the Kanto (Tokyo region) and it is for a reason, I am intimately familiar with it. I recently did a ride report called Chasing Daisies where the little lady and I spent a couple days criss crossing it. If you want an idea.

    2) Between Shizuoka and Hammatsu, that is a route that we affectionately call the tits, the east side is fairly open (which means it has two lanes) with a couple SUPER fun togues (passes) the west side is goat-trail, no lanes and you have to do corners by mirrors on the road. Also there is Rt63 that crosses between Rt362 (which you have on there) and the shin-Tomei experessway that is a great ride. If you have the time a lot of riders near me do RT 152 and ninja camp, it goes from Japanese "Highway" to goat trail and back a few times, but its a really amazing ride, and it goes from Hammatsu clear up to Chino on the Chuo expressway in Nagano prefecture.

    3) Time permitting, the northern loop after the Nato penninsula (which is pretty epic) if time permits going a little bit more north holds some seriously epic riding in the Miniami Alps, the highest road in Japan is Rt 292 in Nagano likewise there is a LOT and I mean a TON of seriously epic roads throughout Nagano, Gunma, and Yaminashi prefectures that are all three basically just big forested mountains. Particularly during the skiing offseason, you can book Rydokens (traditional Jpanese hotels) with hot springs and all of the for next to nothing, We use American holidays to get up there with no crowds.

    Nara and Sikoku I don't have any experience with (on motorcycle anyway)......Sikoku is a go to for a lot of the long time riders, likewise Kyushu, if you don't have Mt Aso and Barakamon, you should, Kyushu is stunning and ALL of the roads look fun.

    My rule of thumb is I generally try to stay off of the coasts, 137 odd million Japanese and someting like 85% of them live withing 15km of a coast line. Its damned crowded.
    #2
  3. drbeamer

    drbeamer Adventure Capitalist

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hello Tripped1,

    Thanks for writing; I have no riding experience in Japan so all of your recommendations are definitely appreciated (and by the time you read this, researched on Google maps :)

    I have now modified the route, also based on feedback received on gaijinriders website, to avoid the bad traffic on the eastern coast of the Izu peninsula. Plenty of coastal riding throughout the trip so I don't need to start the adventure with a headache - literally and figuratively - due to busy traffic.

    Between Shizuoka and Hamamatsu: I selected the 362 simply because Google maps indicates this to be the bigger (better developed) road versus the 63 (btw - looking at the map I can see where the road got its nickname ;). Are you saying the 362 (also) has unpaved stretches? I'd like to avoid unpaved...

    Nagano / Rt 292: I have now prepared an alternate route to include the 292 and will decide the day of which one to take. There is so much more riding north/east of Tokyo for which I won't have enough time, and so that's going to have to be another trip.

    And like you said, there are many more roads than I have time to explore in Kyushu - so that part of the country might also require another trip for full exploration. I just hope to get a good general overview of Japan this time, and then come back to do more riding in the areas I like best.

    Cheers!

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,719
    Location:
    Nippon
    No no 362 is paved end to end that isn't the issue. The issue is when I say goat trail, I mean goat trail, the western hump is a set of very narrow passes, we are talking maybe one car wide 1st-2nd gear stuff, with 0 site lines, they put up mirrors on the outside of the corners to get an idea if there is a car there.....and of course, two-way traffic.

    I can give you the highlights of those hills north and east of Tokyo (Saitama and Yamanashi) as well as the best roads on Izu, both areas that I am very familiar with.
    #4
  5. ChairmanMaose

    ChairmanMaose OneLessCar

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2017
    Oddometer:
    393
    Izu is nice and kind of exotic. It's hard to believe it's a couple of hours from Tokyo. North of Sendai, along the coast is shockingly underdeveloped for Japan and beautiful. But you certainly have a lot covered.
    #5
  6. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,719
    Location:
    Nippon

    I spend a LOT of time on Izu, because its hard to get a lot further on a single day trip, no matter which way I go I am roped into at least two hours either on toll roads, or wrapping around Sagimi Bay to get to anywhere worth riding and it puts a cap on things, particularly since my girl's days off are Sunday/Monday and mine are Saturday/Sunday.

    Depending on where you are in town I can be on Hakone Shindo from Ebina SA in about 35 minutes, you just roar down the Asugi/Odawara road and it basically dumps you out a couple blocks from the bottom of the Mazda turnpike, no muss, no fuss. I only do that when I am meeting up with other guys, its often faster for me to just white-line it down 134 past Kamakura and Enochima.
    #6
  7. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,719
    Location:
    Nippon
    My recommendation would be to put forth as much energy into catching 292 as possible, its an amazing ride, and includes what I call stinky mountain, the area is an active volcano, sulfer vents, natural hotsprings and whatnot.

    From Joetsu its like 405>403 and that will dropp you at one side of 292, from the other side of 292 you can basically pick your toll road back to Tokyo....or there are a number of very very nice roads through there that are usually minimally annoying with traffic if its not Sunday or some Japanese holiday.
    #7
  8. ChairmanMaose

    ChairmanMaose OneLessCar

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2017
    Oddometer:
    393
    I'd take the train to Kamakura then the local trains through the hills and hitchhike. To me it has a sub-tropical feel I love because I'm from Canada where the trees are big, the ocean is big wild and murky. Seeing the bottom of the ocean and colorful fish never grows old.
    #8
  9. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,719
    Location:
    Nippon
  10. drbeamer

    drbeamer Adventure Capitalist

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hello Tripped1,

    Thanks for writing; I have no riding experience in Japan so all of your recommendations are definitely appreciated (and by the time you read this, researched on Google maps :)

    I have now modified the route, also based on feedback received on gaijinriders website, to avoid the bad traffic on the eastern coast of the Izu peninsula. Plenty of coastal riding throughout the trip so I don't need to start the adventure with a headache - literally and figuratively - due to busy traffic.

    Between Shizuoka and Hamamatsu: I selected the 362 simply because Google maps indicates this to be the bigger (better developed) road versus the 63 (btw - looking at the map I can see where the road got its nickname ;). Are you saying the 362 (also) has unpaved stretches? I'd like to avoid unpaved...

    Nagano / Rt 292: I have now prepared an alternate route to include the 292 and will decide the day of which one to take. There is so much more riding north/east of Tokyo for which I won't have enough time, and so that's going to have to be another trip.

    And like you said, there are many more roads than I have time to explore in Kyushu - so that part of the country might also require another trip for full exploration. I just hope to get a good general overview of Japan this time, and then come back to do more riding in the areas I like best.

    Cheers!






    Awesome blog post, by the way!
    #10
  11. drbeamer

    drbeamer Adventure Capitalist

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Question for Tripped1: after riding the... humps...my Google map has me going into Hamatsu on the 344, and swing over to the 1 after crossing the Tokaido Shinkansen tracks. But when I try to build this route in Basecamp, the 344 is "grayed out" south of the Tomei Expressway (see pic).

    So Basecamp essentially forces me to take the 1 from north to south all the way. Fine by me, although Google says that's going to take a bit longer than riding the 344.

    Do you know why the 344 south of the train tracks might be grayed out? Is that road not finished or closed or damaged? (I am using the OSM Japan map dated April 2017 so I would think the map is up top date.)

    Attached Files:

    #11
  12. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,719
    Location:
    Nippon
    Could be a lot of things really. Private, seasonal (though that far south everything should be open) it could also be one way through that section I have run into that one before also.

    I just plotted it in google maps though, it routed normally from north of the Tomei clear down to the coast. In such events I put things like "continue straight as a waypoint and just carry on smartly, it shouldn't be that hard to route around if there is an issue. Hell, even if it turns into a walking trail, Japan, as long as the engine is off and both feet are on the ground you are considered a pedestrian.
    #12
  13. drbeamer

    drbeamer Adventure Capitalist

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I quickly wanted to say "thanks" to everyone here who has helped me with planning my trip to Japan in May of this year. In case anyone else stumbles across this thread and is looking for some inspiration, here is a little video I made: http://www.klauswaldorf.com/motostuff-japan2017.html
    #13