Sunday, July 11, 2010

The best motorcycle roads in Japan

Update: I now live in Japan so please go to my home page to read more up to date info about Japan and my rides on some of these roads!

The Japanese BikeJin magazine held a survey of it’s readers to rate their best roads. Scenery as well as road surface/curves were considered so the final ranking reflects the voters opinions on that.
I managed to get a copy of the April issue that had this article and will give a bit more info here with some notes on the scans mainly on some of the roads that are within riding distance from Tokyo.

13. (tie) Zaou Ecoline. This drive winds across Mt. Zao range from the East to the West, and connects Miyagi prefecture and Yamagata prefecture. The drive is closed from the beginning of November to the end of April of the following year for the winter but is bursting with colours of red in autumn.

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13. (tie) Mikata Goko Rainbow Line. This scenic mountain road lies in the Fukui Prefecture which is positioned at the southwest part of Hokuriku District.

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13. (tie) Tatsudomari Line

13. (tie) Hachimantai Aspite Line

12. Choukai Blue Line is in the Yamagata prefecture and is a fair ride from Tokyo. The Chokai Blue Line rises from sea level to 1150 metres, offering spectacular view of Mount Chokai and the Sea of Japan.

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11. Tsunoshima Big Bridge

10. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway

9. Aso Panorama Line – have been up by car – would be great riding, its in Kyushu though. Lots of corners and spectacular views as well as another active volcano to visit at the top, conditions being suitable.

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8. Kouya Ryuujin Skyline. The Ryujin-Koya Skyline as also referred to is route 371 that links Koyasan and the Kumano area and is a mountain road famous for beautiful autumn coloured leaves as well as being a popular road for motorcycles.

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8. (tie) Shimanami-kaido.

6. Shiretoko Oudan Road.

5. Izu Skyline – many say this is in fact the best motorcycle ride in Japan. I will ride it next time I am there. There are so many mountain roads in Japan but this road is said to be designed as if by a rider such is the surveying. Being close to Tokyo means this probably got more votes simply as more people would know it than any other road so I will decide for myself once I ride it.

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4. Shiga Kusatsu Road - I have ridden this mountain (active volcano) also on my last ride and it was fantastic! You can find this road easy by looking on Google maps for the route 292 situated east of Nagano.



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3. Yamanami Highway.

2. Venus Line - I rode this last time, my header photo was taken on the upper section of this road where it is numbered route 199. The lower section is route 40 however the road flows in two directions the best section of the road runs north from the junction with 199 however the road back to Suwa is also good. Idea ride is from Suwa ride up 40 then up 199 to the top and back down then onwards north on the rest of route 40 which is superb all the way to Tateshina.

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1. Bandai Azuma Skyline



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Not been there but its definitely somewhere I want to go given its number one rank. Mt Bandai is situated north of Tokyo in Fukushima prefecture a fair ride away which puts it at odds with also riding Izu and Fuji on my next trip but will see what I can map out.

Read about my riding in Japan here
PS. I am aware older browsers are not displaying the pages here correctly but have decided not to reduce the content of the blog for the minority. Correctly displayed there is a full page backdrop photo then a smoke translucent overlay then a inner blacked out section where the text is in white with yellow hyper links to the outsides of this.

12 comments:

  1. I did a similar post about individual roads here in North Carolina. Those roads in Japan look plain sick! Roads like that should be experienced by every motorcycle enthusiast. http://sadisticcycles.com

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  2. I am going to japan biking for 4 days soon i cant wait
    any advice greatly appreciated
    email me on haggisatlarge@yahoo.co.uk please for thoughts

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  3. Hi Haggis at large,

    First up check the other articles on this blog for info about riding in Japan to give you some ideas.

    Main thing to tell you is if you cannot speak Japanese then you may have problems hiring a bike. There is a place in Tokyo that will help you http://www.facebook.com/japanbikerentals and can assist with GPS and hotel bookings.


    With 4 days I would ride Isu and Venus line.

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  4. I have booked with japanbikerentals they have been super efficient and hepful
    thanks for the advice re Isu and Venus line really appreciate it

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  5. Hey good work!

    Dunno if you have hotels in mind, I like the Route Inn chain, reasonable price and free breakfast.

    Try using the full service petrol stations and ask for 'hi oc, man tank' which means full tank of premium. They will operate bowser and bring your change.

    You can save a dollar by occasionally buying lunch or dinner at the convenience stores 7-11,Lawsons etc which offer excellent quality lunches and dinners unlike the ones outside Japan. Just ask 'ting' (sound of microwave) to have a dinner heated up for you and take back to hotel with a few cold beers.

    Hakone Skyline and the roads nearby would be some of the best riding I have experienced anywhere. You can make there easy on first day Besides the Venus line, Shiga Kusatsu is jaw dropping spectacular and you can easy ride that and Venus line in one day. Riding between Isu and there via Mt Fuji panorama line is 1/2 a day so you have all options available.

    Enjoy!

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  6. wow excellent info thanks
    Ive just bought a roadmap of japan so I am busy plotting my route

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  7. No prbs, this may help you http://www.motowhere.com/maps/route/Isu-loop-ex-gotenba , this is the isu and hakone skylines, fuji skyline, venus line and shiga.

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  8. Iron Chef
    just come back from japan, i took your advice...
    OMG what an amazing trip i used www.japanbikerentas.com
    they were amazing, had many of the routes you describe pre-programmed into their gps units it was a dream come true. Great weather (july), geat food, friendly people, no police, AMAZING ROADS, spectacular scenery

    must say the best roads I have ever had the luck to ride on
    THANK YOU very much

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  9. Hey no prbs, glad you enjoyed and thanks for the update.

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  10. that was AMAZING
    thank you so much

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  11. So many good roads in Japan. I spent two weeks riding there in Oct 2011. Many of the roads off your list. I found that although these tourist roads (the ones with names like Azuma skyline) are full of tourist cars and buses and it was often the roads nearby which were better. For example the Bandia Azuma Lakeline was a better road than the Skyline, for that very reason. I have compiled a list of some of my favourite roads from that trip in the link if you click my name.

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  12. here they all are on a map! enjoy and share: http://goo.gl/maps/8Sidc

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