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Map Japan Trip 2019

1 day
337 km / 210 miles

Early September 2019 I flew to Japan for a business trip. I decided to stay a day longer and rent a motorcycle to see at least a little of Japan. The last time I was there, years ago, it was in winter with lots of snow and I didn't even get to see much of the city I was in.

Renting a motorcycle online through was easy, it didn't require any pre-payment, and provided good information on required documents and the process on site.

I rented a helmet too, but brougth the rest of my gear, pants, jacket, and gloves. The helmet was very used and beat up, but better than nothing.

The best time for such a trip is late spring or early fall. Summer temperatures are hot and very humid in this part of Japan (I still had temperatures in the 90+F (32+C) in early September, cooler on the mountains and the coast. Winter has lots of snow and on the mountains (though not very high mountains). There can still be snow in late spring and already in early fall. If you are riding on the south/west coast there may be Typhoons in fall.

The road conditions are generally good. Many major roads are toll roads, where you pay with a device on-the-go, or pay in cash (no credit cards).

Japan drives on the left side, like in England. The speed limits are very low, so keep that in mind for planning a route.

Typhoon warning
There was a Typhoon about to hit the Tokyo area before I left, but my flight arrived as planned (the last hour of the flight was a bit rough though).
After de-boarding the flight I found out that all trains from Narita Airport were cancelled, but trains were supposed to be running from Tokyo station. So several hundred people tried to get taxis or bus tickets to Tokyo. The lines were absolutely insanely long, but also surprisingly orderly. I waited in line for a taxi for over 4 hours. 
Endless line waiting for taxis
With French girls on a taxi
In 4 hours only 3 taxis arrived, so I knew I had to do something else. In line I met 3 women, 2 from France and one from Japan, and the 4 of us came up with a plan. We grabbed a taxi that had just dropped somebody off. He wasn't allowed to take us from there, but the Japanese woman, coached by the French, talked him into doing it anyway. Leave it to the French to break any rules ;-) Over 2 hours later we arrived in Tokyo on side roads, lots of main roads were closed too.

Of course I missed the last Shinkansen of the day leaving Tokyo statio by 10 minutes, 10! I was stranded in Tokyo and looked for a hotel. The third hotel finally had a room available and I took it without even asking for the price.
Shinkansen Ticket Office
Yamagata Castle
If you ever find yourself in Yamagata, Japan, I recommend visiting Kajo Park with Yamagata Castle. Yamagata Castle
Cherry's Harley in Yamagata, Japan
I took a taxi to Cherryl's Harley Davidson store in Yamagata Japan to pick up my rental motorcycle, NOT a Harley. Unfortunatelly they don't open until 10 am, I would have wanted to leave earlier.

The store has Harley's on one side and everything else on the other side
Cherry's Harley in Yamagata, Japan
Cherry's Harley in Yamagata, Japan The sales guy from which I rented the motorcycle was a very nice guy. Unfortunatelly he didn't speak a word of English, and neither did anybody else in the shop. But 819rental had supplied them and myself with paperwork in English and Japanese, so it wasn't a big deal that we couldn't communicate other than with hand signs.

Motorcycle aluminum panniers and top cases

Made by an experienced motorcycle traveller.

Motorcycle Aluminium Pannier

Motorcycle Aluminium Top case

Motorcycle Aluminum Top box

Panniers available in 47l, 40l and 33l
Top boxs available in 20l and 36l
Silver/Grey or Black

Motorcycle Aluminium Top box

Motorcycle Aluminum Trunk

Motorcycle Aluminum Top case

Quality is essential, not only on a RTW tour.