(Note, the information below is out of date, please refer to my recent ride reports in Japan where I am currently based as of 2014)
I find myself somewhat unexpectedly heading off to Japan next month so I have decided to revisit my plans to do some riding there that I had shelved from last year.
Previously I had a rather grand plan for a two week tour however this was cancelled when I changed jobs and found myself unable to go. Since then I have forgotten much of the Japanese I had studied and have been so busy with this new job that I really have not had the time to think... Approaching the point of melt down with work coincided with Qantas offering discounted frequent flyer point flights to Japan and so I jumped in to take a holiday.
I am going to try a 3 day 'test run' mini tour to begin with and then build on this if successful. June is considered a rainy season in Japan which may be a show stopper if torrential however I have been to Japan many times and except winter when the roads are snowed in it seems to rain every 2nd or 3rd day from Spring through to Autumn regardless of which months are listed as lower rainfall so I am just going to cross my fingers and hope that there is a small window of dryish days.
I have ordered a new rain suit from New Enough in the USA and that should be arriving soon. I had planned to rent a motorbike from a place in suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo to avoid the traffic however I am now thinking of departing from Shinjuku where I can source a more touring focused motorcycle (Honda VFR) and then paying the tolls to ride one of the mega expressways direct out of the city. I have a top 100 rides atlas/book for Japan that I sourced some time ago. It was a limited run book and I searched and obtained one 2nd hand from Amazon Japan. I cannot read it all properly and the map part is useless however the roads can be located more of less on Google map since Japan roads use a numbering system like Victoria or the USA. The nature of the roads becomes obvious upon looking closer ie twisty road over a mountain and so I have chosen to try and ride routes 292 and 299 in Nagano.
Japan of course is pretty much all mountains and has 1000's of superb twisty mountain roads. Take a look some time at it via Google maps and notice except for the blue marked toll roads they are ALL twisty roads due to the terrain. It could be the most famous riding place in the world if it wasn't for the language barrier and possibly the rain.
More on this topic soon.