Getting Ready for your Cycling Adventure [Resources + Itineraries]

You’ve booked your flight to Japan. You’ve confirmed your ticket to ride with Bike Tour Japan. You visited your neighborhood’s local Japanese restaurant to celebrate this upcoming trip. You’re excited to experience some of the world’s most incredible traditions and countryside landscapes. Now, it’s time to make sure that you are prepared for the unforgettable journey ahead. Every good adventure requires good preparation, so please explore the resources below to get ready for your tour!

Recommended Reading

Packing for your BTJ Cycling Holiday

The Most Useful Tech Tools For Traveling + Cycling in Japan

Cycling Safely in Japan

Emergency Japanese Phrases

Japanese Train Etiquette

Add-on ItinerarieS: SElf-Guided Exploration

Want BTJ to organize your ryokan/hotel bookings as an add-on to your countryside cycling tour?

Getting to YOUR TRIP’s Start Point

Japan’s train transit services are extremely punctual and comfortable. Conveniently, most of the main stations have English signs and announcements. In our experience, the most challenging aspect of train transit in Japan is navigating transfers between stations or within a large station.

Especially in the Tokyo area, there are many lines/transfers that will allow you to get to your start location. Below, we outline our recommended routes with minimal transfers. However, please make adjustments depending on your exact start location and time of transit. We recommend utilizing Google Maps, which has exact train/bus schedules. The app is very accurate in predicting the optimal route(s) to get from A to B.

Nikko Station

From Narita Airport: Take the Narita SkyAccess to Asakusa Station. Transfer to the Tobu-Nikko Line. This train will take you directly to Nikko Station. (Approximately 3 hours)

From Haneda Airport: Take the Keikyu Line to Asakusa Station. Transfer to the Tobu-Nikko Line. This train will take you directly to Nikko Station. (Approximately 3 hours)

From Tokyo: From your nearest station, take necessary transfers to Asakusa, Tokyo SkyTree, or Kitasenju Station. Transfer to the Tobu-Nikko Line. This train goes directly to Nikko Station. (Approximately 2 hours)

Ashikaga Station

From Narita Airport: Take the Narita SkyAccess to Asakusa Station. Transfer to the Ryomo Line. This train will take you directly to Ashikaga Station. (Approximately 3 hours)

From Haneda Airport: Take the Keikyu Line to Asakusa Station. Transfer to the Ryomo Line. This train will take you directly to Ashikaga Station. (Approximately 3 hours)

From Tokyo: From your nearest station, take necessary transfers to Asakusa, Tokyo SkyTree, Hikifune, Higashi-Mukojima, Kanegafuchi, Horikiri, Ushida, or Kitasenji Station. Transfer to the Tobu Skytree Line or Ryomo (Akagi) Line. This train goes directly to Ashikaga Station. (Approximately 2 hours)

Matsumoto Station

From Narita Airport: Take the Narita SkyLiner to Nippori Station. Transfer to the Yamanote Line to Shinjuku Station. Transfer to the Chuo-Line. This train will take you directly to Matsumoto Station. (Approximately 4.5 hours)

From Haneda Airport: Take the Haneda Airport Limo Bus to Shinjuku Station. Transfer to the Chuo Line. This train will take you directly to Matsumoto Station. (Approximately 3.5 hours)

From Tokyo: From your nearest station, take necessary trains to Shinjuku Station. Get on the Chuo Line. This train will take you directly to Matsumoto Station. (Approximately 2.5 hours)

Onomichi Station

From Hiroshima Airport: Take the Hiroshima-Airport Limousine Bus to Miahara Station. Transfer to the Miahara Train Station (2 min walk). Get on the Local Okayama Train (Sanyo Line), which will go to Onomichi Station. (Approximately 1 hour).

From Hiroshima Station: Take the Local Itozaki Train (Sanyo Line) to Itozaki Station. Transfer to the Local Fukuyama Train (Sanyo Line), which will go to Onomichi Station. (Approximately 1.5 hours).

From Tokyo Station: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Fukuyama Station. Transfer to the Local Itozaki Train (Sanyo Line), which will go to Onomichi Station. (Approximately 4 hours).

From Kyoto Station: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Fukuyama Station. Transfer to the Local Itozaki Train (Sanyo Line), which will go to Onomichi Station. (Approximately 2 hours).

From Shin Osaka Station: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Fukuyama Station. Transfer to the Local Mihara Train (Sanyo Line), which will go to Onomichi Station. (Approximately 1.5 hours).

Takasaki Station

From Narita Airport: Take the Narita-Airport Limousine Bus to Tokyo Station. Transfer to the Joetsu Shinkansen, which will go to Takasaki Station. (Approximately 2 hours).

From Haneda Airport: Take the Haneda-Airport Limousine Bus to Tokyo Station. Transfer to the Joetsu Shinkansen, which will go to Takasaki Station. (Approximately 1.5 hours).

From Tokyo Station: Take the Joetsu Shinkansen, which goes directly to Takasaki Station. (Approximately 1 hour).

Learn More

What is an onsen?

What is the Japanese ryokan experience like?

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast: four hours of Modern Japanese History (1937-1945)

BOoK Recommendations

SNOW COUNTRY by Yasunari Kawabata (modern Japanese literature)

IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS by Jun Ichiro Tanizaki (philosophy/aesthetic)

JAPANLAND: A YEAR IN SEARCH OF WA by Karin Muller (self-reflection/autobiography)

KUSAMAKURA by Natsume Soseki (Edo/Meiji fiction)

SHōGUN by James Clavel (historical fiction)

HIROHITO & THE MAKING OF MODERN JAPAN by Herbert P. Bix (non-fiction biography)

THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC by Julie Otsuka (novel, Japanese immigration to the West)