After the European alps I am heading back to Japan for an extended period so naturally I have planned a ride.
The timing should be good, its going to be Autumn and in Japan that is lower rain fall season with spectacular foliage on display in the mountains. It is a very hot summer there this year and so I may push back the ride back until first week of November if need be however at this stage I am still aiming for October. Really depends on the amount of rain each week I am there as I need not book the bike or hotels until just prior.
I am probably going to rent with Kokubo the same company as last time, their bikes are a bit older however the price is less and the location at Hachioji-shi works for me, being out of town a bit to avoid the madness. Also they offer for you to collect the bike the afternoon prior to departure which is a significant item as shops do not open in Japan until 10.00am or later thus without that you would only get 1/2 a first day riding.
There are a couple of hotel chains in Japan that I will use and heartily recommend. Super Hotel group are an excellent budget chain as are Route Inn group and the more well known Toyoko Inn group. I am using Super and Route Inn this time, Super Hotels are the cheapest of the 3 chains however each days hotel was chosen by location not price, the ease to get to and park being important to me. All offer modern rooms with free wi-fi and complementary Japanese style breakfast.
When I first started going to Japan I stayed in traditional Ryokans but let me tell you these are more expensive and offer much less. Last ride in Japan I navigated by paper maps, this time I have the Japanese UUD map made for Garmin GPS installed and my routes plotted using Tyre. I am confident this ride will be easier than last having the GPS to navi me through towns and intersections and then take me all the way to the hotel door each day, this later being the hardest part since Japan does not use street number/name address system like the west.
Day 1, I ride west via the Mitaki valley, an area I often visit by train and noted popular with motorcyclists. There are many high mountains that I have ride between on my way to Mt Fuji where ride parallel and then ride the Ashinoko Skyline and Izu skyline before looping around the coast road and re ride the Izu skyline, one of Japans highest rated motorcycle roads back to Gotemba.
Day 2, I ride Mt Fuji Skyline and Fuji Panorama LIne with its magnificent views and then scoot up to Suwa and ride the Venus Line and some excellent roads over to Shiga Kusatsu then a few more mountain passes to Shibukawa.
Day 3, I ride the roads in the very mountainous areas around Nikko. Besides the famous 99 corner mountain road my Mapple top 100 rides touring book rates the roads around Nikko very highly. After this I will ride the daddy, Mt Bandai, voted no 1 ride in Japan then return to Aizuwakamatsu.
Day 4, I have threaded another route over the Japanese alps based solely on my own judgment that any road this twisty has got to be enjoyable to ride. A bit of motorway riding today to blast back towards Tokyo in a reasonable time and then once closer I jump off and explore some more back roads before winding it up.
Hope it is fine for the four days.