Cycling Japan in practice

by Ewcyna
wild camping in Japan

Japan is a beautiful country, easy to travel by bike and above all really safe.

I have already mentioned it in my previous posts, but at this point I will try to gather all the info on travel (by bike and not only) in this country. And at the end I give my own costs.

GETTING THERE: I flew Emirates Airlines (2500 PLN ), because they have the largest baggage limit that is. 30 kg registered and 7 kg. cabin, but it's hard for me to fit in this limit anyway. On the route Osaka and Sapporo KKagoshima Osaka I used the cheap airlines Peach, prices 300-400 PLN per flight with your bike;

WHEN TO GO: Spring or fall; To Hokkaido also in the summer, because it has a climate similar to the European, maybe more rainy. From June to September, on the other islands is rainy and hot. Japan is a country located almost longitudinally, There are 3 climatic zones: Tropical ie the Ryukyu Archipelago. Okinawa, subtropical in the south, Heat moderately at midnight. In the spring you should expect a larger amplitude of the temperature, autumn (September - November) is good for zmarzluchów – is much warmer than in Europe, in particular, the night temperature can not differ much from that in the day and is 15-20 degrees, during the day over 20. Or: cycing during spring should go from south to north, Conversely autumn.

Here is my route in Japan – How I avoided agglomeration

japan map new

AREA: Japan is a mountainous country (Upper part of the oceanic mountain chain) - Ok. 90% of the country is hilly (it is said, that there is no place in the country where, from which the mountains would not be seen, I found such - northern Hokkaido). One has to prepare mentally and be fit, but the views compensate all efforts. .

SAFETY: Japan is to me. I safest country in the world. Japanese respect others and their property, theft are extremely rare, but apparently also happen. In fact, the bicycle is not secured clasp almost never. Though, that happened to me a minor accident involving a car and I say that, that drivers are very careful not to honk almost never.

VISAS: to stay to 90 days no visa is required

The yen has fallen in recent years 2-3 years by about. 20% (ie. as compared to 2010), so this is the perfect time to visit Japan. During my stay, ie. spring 2013 the conversion was 3,2 to 3,5 PLN for 100 yen.

As in Poland, in many places you can pay by credit card, but it is not as common as it might seem. The safest carry a VISA or MASTERCARD, and preferably one and a second. Remark: Maestro card does not work! Zośka, mu friend, went on a trip only with this card and could neither withdraw money nor pay with it. Well enough, she had a lot of cash, and me to help:)

Only some, quite a few withdrawals from ATMs support foreign cards: best use of these in the mail or in chain stores 7-Eleven.

Japan traveler's cycling is not an expensive country. This is why, which travel around the country generating the highest costs are transport and accommodation – riding a bike and spending the night in a tent, the two components fall.

FOOD: The cost of food (assuming, that we feed in shops and supermarkets) is comparable with those in Poland. Everywhere you can get ready, tasty and affordable takeaway tray food, which in addition we can immediately heat up in the store. Fruits and vegetables are very expensive. Drinks are also rather expensive, but tap water is safe to drink, I drank it all the time. Extremely useful are the chain stores of the so-called. Convenience stores. 7-eleven, Lawson, Family Mart, which in the cities and on their outskirts are at every step. You can buy almost everything there and use the toilet, There are also very useful thermoses with hot water – you can pour yourself an instant soup or your own tea or coffee.

Examples of food costs (Prices in stores):
– water 2 l – 80-180 yen
– drinks 0.5 l – 90-120 yen
– pasta-based dish – 300-500 yen
– a rice dish with meat / fish – 400 – 600 yen
– Tempura (vegetables / prawns in batter) Rice - 400-500 yen
– toasted bread box – 100-230 yen
– baguette – 160 – 260 yen
– Sushi – 600-1200 yen
– apple – from 100 yen per piece
– pressure filter coffee: from 100 yen

Other costs:
– FERRIES. Japan is a country on islands. Depending on the route, it is usually necessary to use a ferry. Cost: from a few hundred (half-hour cruise) to several thousand yen (2-4 Hour, for example,. in Hokkaido)
– ADMISSION FEES. From 200 yen, tourist sites often passes can be bought according to what has

I do not want, really do not want to popularize reviews, that in Japan you can put the tent anywhere, because it is not true, but finding accommodation for touring cyclist in Japan should not be a problem, as long as he keeps a few rules. From my experience, that the tent can be put up at night almost everywhere, as long as it is a public area (Squares, Parks – but not Japanese gardens obviously!, promenades, Usually there are sheds, benches, toilets), not private. Pitching up in public space is often a necessity, since every centimeter of land is used. Open-air for a place difficult. The country, in which 90% They occupy mountains, really every piece of land is used to the centimetre. There is no such thing as meadow se easy to be found in Europe (ie. appear in Hokkaido), And forests are usually one big big maze. Hence, even better in the evening I prefer to head to the city and look for a secluded place and .. children's playgound. And of course, we try to leave as early as possible in the morning and do not leave a trace.
The biggest problem with finding a place to camp I was in the Japanese Alps, hardly any on the coast.
Let me add, that this way of camping is practiced also by the Japanese bike travelers (This is a response to the complaint concerning “boorish behavior of foreigners”, I heard that from someone, Poland, of course,:).

The campsites - are, but often are open only in summer, Moreover they are often located high in the mountains. The first camp I encountered on my route after nearly two months in the north of Honshu. By far the biggest amoount of campsites found on Hokkaido, I used them several times. Sometimes they were marked on the map sometimes not. Price range is very large - many camping is free (!), I paid 200 to 800 yen (but the last one was a luxury). Often there will not be 99% hot water for the shower or you have to pay 100-200 yen.

Hostels: They are quite popular and even more common than with us, But prices are often prohibitive, So I used them only in emergency situations. The cheapest was in Kyushu: 2100 yen per bed, the most expensive in Hokkaido to almost 4000 yen per bed (I did not use). In this case, the price already get hotel room.

Hotels: I used the one time, but you should not be afraid of them- prices are from 3000 yen (ok. 100 PLN) per room. But I advise seeing a room before taking . In Japan, the so-called cheapest. Business Hotels, that are significantly worse (!) from normal. For me it is unacceptable if window do not open – I always check.

This is not a troublesome topic. There are so many toilets in Japan, that you can not keep up with them :), both those in shops and other public places as well as in the middle of nowhere. They are 99% clean and neat. There is no hot water (ie. happened to me twice, in Hokkaido).
More thorough washing is best done in common public baths, i.e.. onsen or sento. The former use water from hot springs and are often small SPAs – they occur often, but not everywhere, sento is the same, but the water is heated and there are probably in every locality, because the Japanese love to soak. Onsen is made up of: room, where they undressed (naked) and leave your stuff, showers and wash stations, several wells with hot and cold water , often is also a sauna and outdoor swimming pool (rotenburo). The basic principle: can not lather in water! after getting undressed first you thoroughly wash yourself, then you can go to the pool and soak up. To clean up you should take a plastic stool and a bowl; on a stool to sit down and pour the water into the bowl.. I do admit I used mainly shower, convenient because, Considering only, that it does not spray on the right and left. Being among other naked people are curious experience, but for the Japanese it is normal. Prices: from 100 to 600 yen, usually 300-400.
Toilet cyclist also support a Japanese toilets, which are equipped with all kinds of bells and whistles Bidet.

LANGUAGE: Unfortunately, the Japanese usually do not know the tooth than in any foreign language. They learn English, However, they can not use it and defend by all means before speaking, so before you go worth learning some important words and phrases and do not be surprised, that the question "do you speak Angielski" waving their hands and run away..

INTERNET ACCESS: It's not easy at all (ok, that was in 2013!). Unfortunately, in Japan there are many places with free wifi, and if these are usually in larger cities, that I am on the road rather skirted. There are a number of possibilities for the use of paid wifi, but it costs a few hundred yen per day. At the airport you can rent phones (Japan has a different system than ours)or SIM, cost even more. Internet cafes are only in the larger towns, Cost of 400 yen per hour. Most can count, and I was counting on the local tourist information center, though there best to have your own computer – less and less available to the computers and if they are often old and slow.
Of course, things are different when you spend the night at the hotel, hostel or other such place, usually there is a possibility to use the internet or wifi (but is it better to satisfy itself).

Very much, but it's very handy to me Kindle type. Keyboard, which alone provides access to the Internet via 3G. This allows the most free in the wilderness I could check email and weather. The only snag: limit transmission 250 mb, that is, you should avoid sites with lots of photos. The first month was enough for me 1,5 Weekly, the next longer whole month.

BIKE TRAIN CARRIAGE: bike can be transported by rail only in the bag, nor is it required no additional fee. Poster, that I encountered at the train station instructed, it must be a small bag, and that bicycle transport is almost submitted "on four" - is it possible for the Japanese, who ride only on kolarzówkach

KITCHEN TOURIST: generally no problem (in supply stores or home type Castorama) You can get gas cartridges cheaper than in Poland; better that it was a type of Coleman, but I also saw Campingaz. When I wanted to buy fuel for the gas stove did not want me to sell it officially (apparently you can not fill in anything else but the car tank).

My costs: I was in Japan for 87 days. The daily cost of living in Japan (including accommodation, specifically 10) in my case it was a little over 60 PLN per day. It could be cheaper, because I did not cook and sometimes “I allowed myself” and on the bike I'm still hungry… The biggest cost was of course, the plane ticket (2500 PLN , Emirates airlines because they najwięszy baggage ie. 30 kg. with a bicycle) and insurance – 900 PLN (! – But on this, as a rule, I do not save).

The slogan promoting Japan reads: “Many smiles await you” that is “Many smiles await you”. And without lime, this is true!