Getting your Road Bike to Japan

How do you get your road bike to Japan for your next cycling adventure? While our bike transit options are specifically for getting your machine to Japan, most of the tips are applicable for any trip abroad with your bicycle. Looking for packing tips? Then, check out this page for our cycling tour pack list.

Get ready to unlock an entire new world of amazing riding opportunities!

Ship it

Bike Transit Tips

  • First, clean your bike and especially your drive train before you begin packing to minimize the chances of a greasy mess.
  • Remember to unscrew your derailleur so that it does not get bent during transit!
  • Before you ship your bike, confirm the address. Further, make sure the business or individual you ship it to knows which date(s) to expect your delivery.
  • The cost to ship your bike can be between $200-700 USD depending on where you are shipping it from. Check Bike Flights for price quotes.

PROS

  • No need to lug a big bag/box to and from the airport.
  • Travel light on trains without having to deal with a big bag/box

CONS

  • You won’t be able to ride the bike right before your trip and immediately when you get home. Depending on where you are from, shipping a bicycle could take up to a week to be delivered.

Take your bike with you on the plane

Bike Transit Tips

  • First, clean your bike and especially your drive train before you begin packing to minimize the chances of a greasy mess.
  • Remember to unscrew your derailleur so that it does not get bent during transit!
  • Then, check with your airline on their rates for checking in sporting equipment. The rate typically depends on the dimensions and weight of your bike case or box.
  • When you check in your bike case or box, request “fragile” stickers from your airline attendant so that it’s handled with care!
  • If you are traveling with a high-value bike, we recommend purchasing insurance that covers any damages.

Recommended Bike Cases

  • Thule RoundTrip Transition
  • Evoc Road Bike Pro
  • Ritchey BreakAway Travel Bag

USING a bike case

PROS

  • Since you’ll continue using the same case, you get used to packing and unpacking it.
  • A bike case tends to be easier to roll/carry than an unwieldy cardboard.
  • You’ll have peace of mind that your bike is with you and that it’s securely packed in a case that is designed for bumpy transit.

CONS

  • Bike cases can cost between $300-800 USD.
  • You’ll need to figure out a place to store the box if you are doing a loop, or ship it forward if you are doing a “point A to B” cycling tour.

USING a cardboard box

PROS

  • This is the cheapest option and usually you can get a free bike box from your local bike shop.
  • You can recycle your box when you arrive and get a new bike box before you depart, so no need to find storage space for your box.

CONS

  • Cardboard is not the sturdiest material, so it can be damaged in transit.

Rent a Bike

Bike Transit Tips

  • Most importantly, it is absolutely essential for your safety to make sure that bike is in good operational order. You don’t want to deal with unnecessary mechanical issues or an unexpected hospital visit on your tour!
  • Do online research beforehand, read reviews and reach out to companies to ask about their mechanical support.
  • Before leaving the shop with your rental bike, check the ABCs (air pressure, brakes, chain).
  • Don’t forget to pack your saddle, helmet, bike shoes, and pedals from home. These are small items that will make a big difference in rider comfort as you roll through many miles in Japan.

PROS

  • You won’t need to deal with the logistics of bike transport.
  • It’s a chance to ride a bike that you might not typically ride at home.

CONS

  • An unfamiliar bike might take time to get used to.
  • It takes time to vet your bike rental company to make sure that they have expert mechanics taking good care of their bicycles.

Purchase a Bike

Tips

  • First, be sure to do your research online prior to your tour in order to minimize wasted time during your holiday.
  • Start by scouring local cycling facebook groups if you are looking for a used bike. Also check online marketplaces such as Rakuten.
  • If you are interested in a new bike that is sold internationally, search for local bike shops that partner with those brands in the city where you plan to start your trip. For example, Cycle Shop Tajima in Gunma has high-quality road bikes on offer.
  • If you are looking for a custom build, reach out weeks (even months) in advance to make sure that the builder can complete your new bike by the time you arrive in Japan.
  • Most importantly, be aware that you must register your bike after purchase. Police can request proof of ownership when you are on the road at any time. When purchasing your bike from a shop, you can register for 500 yen. The shop will give you a registration sticker to place on your new bike.
  • When buying a bike online, you will need to fill out a registration form at a local police station. Above all, remember to bring your bike, passport, registration fee (500 yen) and receipt (including store name, product name, vehicle number).

PROS

  • You’ll have a brand spanking new (or slightly used) bike to break in while you ride in Japan!
  • A new bike to add to your collection at home is a pretty cool souvenir to take home after an unforgettable adventure.

CONS

  • Since is a new bike, so it may take some time to get used to.
  • You will need to figure out a safe way to bring it home after your tour (either ship it or fly with it).

Note

High-quality road and hybrid bikes are included in every Bike Tour Japan adventure. Riders who would like to bring their bikes from home are welcome to ship/store bike boxes to our headquarters and our expert guides will assist with assembly.